find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
LIV calls for reinstatement of Children’s Court powers

LIV calls for reinstatement of Children’s Court powers

lady justice

Recent changes to the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 will dilute the role of the Children’s Court, with negative consequences for child protection, according to the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV).

The amendments, passed by the previous State Government, make it more difficult for children removed from their parents to return home safely, according to the LIV.

The new legislation, which came into effect on 1 March, invests more authority in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and strips away the powers of the Children’s Court.

The LIV, the Office of the Public Advocate and child welfare lobby groups are calling for full oversight and review powers of the Children’s Court to be reinstated.

"[These reforms are] against the best interests of Victoria's most vulnerable children,” said LIV president-elect Belinda Wilson.

The legislation was promoted as a response to children’s need for a permanent stable care arrangement, according to the LIV.

However, the backlog of up to 3,000 DHHS cases mean that many families have no allocated case worker.

This means that families must resolve issues of concern identified by child protection within 12 months to avoid having children removed, but do not get access to support services to help with the process.

The changes also limit the power of the Children’s Court to order that a child be reunified with a parent, said the LIV.

“Children as young as two could be placed in state care on long-term care orders until they turn 18 with no independent authority [currently the Children’s Court] able to place conditions on their care arrangements and review [the situation],” said the LIV.

Julian Pocock, a director at child welfare group Berry Street, said the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has highlighted how critical it is that child welfare systems are subjected to independent judicial review.

“Many survivors have made the point to the Royal Commission that while in state care they were forgotten and vulnerable to exploitation in a system where the child welfare department had unfettered powers over their care,” he said.

“It is not in the best interests of any family or child in Victoria for us to be returning to a discredited child welfare model that invests too much control in the department.”

Muriel Bamblett, CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, said Aboriginal children will be particularly affected by the change.

As of 30 June 2014 Aboriginal children in Victoria were 12 times more likely than other children to be placed in state care.

“For Aboriginal children [removal from their families] means separating them from their Aboriginal culture and identity,” said Ms Bamblett.

“The changes wind back the clock 30 years to a discredited welfare model that was guilty of some of the worst treatment of Aboriginal children and disregard of Aboriginal families.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

LIV calls for reinstatement of Children’s Court powers
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Oct 23 2017
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
Oct 23 2017
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...