Much of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA) commenced on 22 October 2018.
Key reforms from this date included:
- A broadening of the mandatory reporting requirements
- The Department for Child Protection now has the power to remove children suffering or likely to suffer serious harm for up to 5 days without a court order, rather than for only 1 day without a court order
- The Department for Child Protection now has the power to direct parents to attend assessments or random testing. The Court can still order both children and young people and their parents and guardians to undergo assessments and granting custody of the child or young person to the Chief Executive for as well, but there is no longer any provision for a 42 day investigation and assessment order for these purposes.
- Family group conferences no longer need to be convened or attempted before court orders are sought, but may be convened whenever appropriate
- Custody and guardianship is granted to the Chief Executive rather than the Minister
- Contact arrangements (between parents/families and children in care) are determined by Chief Executive, but reviewable by a Panel
- The Chief Executive can direct that child or young person's name be changed, and the Court can declare the same where a child or young person has been in continuous guardianship for 24 months.
- Those aggrieved and sufficiently interested in the Chief Executive’s decisions under Chapter 7 of the Act may apply for internal and external review (by SACAT), with children’s views to be considered
- There are no longer strict adjournment and hearing time frames, but matters are to be dealt with “expeditiously” by the Court
- Carers can apply for children and young people to be transitioned to their own guardianship after 2 years of care
Prescribed child protection complaints have gone to Ombudsman SA since 18 December 2017.
For more information about these changes, see the following sections of the Law Handbook.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.