In Tasmania, the safety of children and young people is dealt with under the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997. The role of Child Safety Service is to protect children and young people who are at risk of abuse or neglect.
Anyone in the community who is concerned for the safety or welfare of a child can phone the Advice and Referral Line on 1800 000 123 to report their concerns. In addition, the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997 lists certain people who are legally obliged to report child abuse or neglect. These people are called ‘mandatory reporters’ and include medical practitioners, police officers, psychologists, school principals, ministers of religion, teachers and others.
Child Safety Service will review all notifications. If their initial risk assessment indicates that they need to talk to parents or a child, they will make contact or arrange a home visit. If Child Safety Services determine that a child is not safe in the care of a parent and there is no other way to protect the child from risk of harm, Child Safety Service may take legal action.
The Magistrates Court (Children’s Division) deals with matters relating to the safety of children.
The Court can make different types of Orders:
- These types of Orders are made where a child is in immediate danger and time is needed for the gathering and analysis of information. This information may include Child Safety Service staff speaking to parents, carers, other services and other professionals. It may also include a medical examination of the child.
- An Assessment Order gives authority to Child Safety Service staff to request information from relevant people so that they can make their assessment of the safety and risk of harm to the child.
- Assessment Orders may also sometimes grant short term custody of the child to Child Safety Service
- Assessment Orders are subject to time limits prescribed by the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997.
Care and Protection Order
- These types of Orders are sought by Child Safety Service if, following their assessment, they consider that the child needs to be kept safe for a certain period of time.
- The Court must be satisfied that the child is at risk when making a care and protection order.
- The Order will specify how long it will remain in place. Care and protections orders can be made for a set period, such as 12 or 24 months. Orders may also be made that remain in place until a child reaches the age of 18 years.
- A care and protection order may include requirements for a parent or guardian to do or not do certain things. The order may set out where the child is to live for the period of the order (with a parent, member of their extended family or in out of home care), and who will have guardianship of the child (dealing with matters relating to the health, welfare, education and care of the child). The Orders may also provide for access between a parent and the child.