The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 establishes the Youth Court’s Care and Protection jurisdiction, which empowers the Court to hear Applications relating to the care and protection of children and young people.
 

Care and Protection Orders

If it is considered that a child is at risk and that court orders are necessary or appropriate to protect the child from harm, the Minister for Child Protection or Chief Executive of the Department for Child Protection may apply to the Court for care and protection orders. This may or may not be the result of the Chief Executive investigating the circumstances of the child and his/her parents beforehand. Care and Protection orders may also be sought to cement care and protection arrangements for a child which were put in place pursuant to a decision of a family group conference.
 
After a Care and Protection proceeding has been commenced in the Court, the Court may adjourn those proceedings for the purpose of referring specified matters to a Family Group Conference. The Conference will then report back to the Court before the matter is finalised.
 
The Court has power to make orders regarding the guardianship of the child, the examination and assessment of the child and his/her parents, directing that a party do a specified thing, and any consequential orders that the Court thinks fit. The Court does not have the power to make orders regarding the parents’ access with the child, these decisions sit with the Chief Executive of the Department for Child Protection.
 
The length of a care and protection order will depend on the child’s circumstances and the possibility of reunification with the parents. Although the Court has power to make orders up until the child attains 18 years of age a shorter order may be granted if reunification may be viable.
 

Variation/Revocation/Discharge of Care and Protection Orders

On the application of a party to the original Care and Protection matter, the Court may vary or revoke an existing order if there has been a significant change in the child’s circumstances.
 
The Chief Executive may also apply to discharge a Care and Protection Order.
 

Reunification Court

On applications where a viable reunification plan has been identified in the Care Plan, the matter may be diverted to Reunification Court.
 
Reunification Court aims to rebuild relationships between the child and parents by working together with the Department for Child Protection and external support services. Reunification hearings are less formal than regular Care and Protection hearings, with the parents being invited to sit at the bar table and speak directly to the judicial officer.
 
If reunification is successful, the originating Care and Protection application is withdrawn.
 

Other Care and Protection Applications

The Court also has the power to hear a number of less common Care and Protection matters such as:
  • Matters regarding instruments of guardianship or restraining notices;
  • Applications to transfer a care and protection order to or from another state; and
  • Applications to review certain decisions of the Chief Executive.

Statutory Guidelines

In all Care and Protection matters, the paramount consideration is to ensure that children and young people are protected from harm. In addition, the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 provides the following further considerations in the administration of the Act:
  • The child’s need to be heard and have their needs considered;
  • The child’s need for love and attachment;
  • The child’s need for self-esteem;
  • The child’s need to achieve their full potential;
  • The importance of early intervention;
  • The child’s personal views on the matter
  • The need to preserve the child’s culture, language and religion; and
  • The need to maintain a nurturing, stable and secure environment for the child.
In all Care and Protection matters, the child must be given a reasonable opportunity to personally present to the Court their views relating to their ongoing care and protection, unless it would not be in their best interests to do so. 

Related Services

For more information regarding related services, see the Related Links on the right-hand side of this page.

 

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Forms, Fees and Rules

Related Links

Contact Us

For further information, contact the Youth Court Registry:
 
p: +61 8 8204 0331
f: +61 8 8204 0333
youthcourt@courts.sa.gov.au
 
Location:
75 Wright Street
Adelaide, South Australia, 5000
 
Postal Address:
75 Wright Street
Adelaide, South Australia, 5000

Contact Us

For further information, contact the Conferencing Unit:
 
Family Conference Enquires
p: +61 8 8204 0594
f: +61 8 8204 0513
familyconference@courts.sa.gov.au
 
Family Group Conference Enquires
p: +61 8 8204 0594
f: +61 8 8204 0591
careandprotection@courts.sa.gov.au
 
Location:
75 Wright Street
Adelaide, South Australia, 5000
 
Postal Address:
Attn: Conferencing Unit
75 Wright Street
Adelaide, South Australia, 5000
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