Under the Children's Protection Act 1993, certain people/professionals must notify Families SA if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child has been, or is being, abused or neglected.
Ultimately the decision about whether a child is in need of protection rests with Families SA. However, under the Children’s Protection Act 1993, police officers have the power to remove a child from their home if they believe they are at risk. Intervention can occur in situations of immediate or serious risk (with or without parental consent).
Where Families SA believes a child is at risk a Care and Protection Order can be applied for in the Youth Court. The burden of proof required at the hearing of an Order is on the balance of probabilities and not, as in the case of a criminal charge, beyond a reasonable doubt. Children must be represented by a lawyer unless they are old enough to make an informed decision that they do not wish to be represented.
Given that the Youth Court has the lawful power to make wide-ranging orders, which can include removing a child from a parent or guardian’s custody for up to 12 months (or even until the child turns 18 years), we strongly recommend that both the parent/guardian and the child obtain legal advice and representation to ensure their position is considered properly before any final order is made.
Contact Carter & Co Lawyers for expert and experienced advice to represent you at this important time. To discuss your matter, contact us on (08) 8440 2478.
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