The Conferencing Unit conducts both Family Conferences in relation to youth criminal offending and Family Group Conferences in relation to the care and protection of children.
 

Family Conferences – Criminal Matters

Family conferences are convened by youth justice coordinators and take place when a youth admits the commission of an offence. Conferences are intended to divert matters away from the court system. At a conference the young offender, the offender's guardian/family/or other appropriate person, the victims of the crime, a police officer and a coordinator meet together. These people discuss the offence and determine a suitable outcome that will attempt to address the needs of all parties, while adhering to the philosophy and policy directives set out in the Young Offenders Act 1993.
 
This model is based on a "family decision making" philosophy. Current worldwide thinking in this area is that, given supports such as information, opportunity and resources family members and other participants are able to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances. This process empowers participants to take responsibility for key decisions affecting them.
 

Family Group Conferences – Care and Protection Matters

Under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017, the Conferencing Unit responds to referrals from the Department for Child Protection and the Youth Court. Referrals state the care and protection concerns in relation to children and the Conferencing Unit offers families the opportunity to address these concerns via a Family Group Conference. It is the family’s right to have such a conference if they believe it would be useful. However, they are not obliged to do so and may prefer to seek alternatives.
 
These conferences are conducted by Family Group Conference coordinators. The conferences involve the guardians/parents of the child, family members, an officer from the Department for Child Protection, any person who has counselled or treated the child, the child, and any other person who may be appropriate/supportive in their role. Additionally, the child must be represented by an advocate so that his/her wishes are adequately represented at the conference. It is the coordinator’s role to arrange for the appointment of the child advocate.
The aim of a Family Group Conference is to provide an opportunity for a child and their family to make informed decisions as to the arrangements for the care of the child and to make voluntary arrangements for the care of the child that are consistent with the Act. Those decisions can be reviewed from time to time.
 

20 years of Conferencing

In 2014 the Conferencing Unit celebrated 20 years of conferencing in South Australia. To commemorate this milestone a short video was produced. The video, A tale of two meetings, looks at the Conferencing Unit's productive past, how it works and predictions for the future.

 

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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