The Youth Court of South Australia presides over matters in relation to criminal offending, child protection, adoption, and surrogacy. Adoption and surrogacy figures do not form part of the Report on Government Service counting methodology and are therefore excluded. The Youth Court hears complaints of offences alleged to have been committed by young people in its criminal jurisdiction.
In its civil jurisdiction, the court hears matters relating to a child’s care and protection, and the court also hears applications for intervention orders. The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 made significant changes regarding the type of Applications made to the Youth Court and how they could be dealt with. Prior to 2018 certain applications, (e.g., applications for short term orders), could be summarily decided, within strict legislative timeline requirements. Matters are no longer summarily decided and therefore a number of additional adjournments are sought. There has been an introduction of a Reunification Court which is a Smart Court Model. The Court engages with the family while there is a reunification process being undertaken. This can mean that a file remains open in this jurisdiction for up to 12 months (via an interim order) returning to Court regularly to review the reunification plans.