There are several principles and objects of the Care & Protection Act. If you are interested in reading more about the Act, we will refer you to another fact sheet that details about Family mediation and etc. where you can download information from the internet or you can request a copy from our office. In summary however, the objects and principles are as follows:
- The safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child is the paramount consideration, this means that it is the most important thing the Court must consider.
- Where appropriate, assistance should be given to parents or other persons who care for children to promote a safe and nurturing environment, unless there is some risk in doing so.
- The views of the child or children are to be taken into account to the extent it is appropriate to the circumstances and level of maturity of that child.
- Children are to be given the opportunity, information and assistance necessary to help them participate in decisions that would affect their lives and again, taking into account their level of maturity.
- The culture, language, religion, disability and sexuality of the child or young person subject to any proceedings must be taken into account, as well as the parent or parents and any other person with parental responsibility for the child in the proceedings.
- Children are at all times entitled to have an environment free of violence and exploitation, one which fosters their health, development needs, spirituality, dignity, self respect and self esteem.
- If action is necessary to protect a child from harm or risk, the course taken must be appropriate with options that are the least intrusive interventions to the life of the child and the family.
- A child who is removed from their home is entitled to contact with their parents, siblings, extended family and friends unless this is contrary to the child’s best interests. The child’s name, identity, language, culture and religion should be maintained as far as possible.
- If for some reason the child is placed in out of home care (this is also called Foster Care) they should be provided with a safe nurturing environment and early arrangements for a suitable permanent placement should be considered, particularly where the child is very young.
- In cases where the child is from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, there must be recognition of the harm caused to generations of indigenous people as a result of removal of children from their families and communities.
- Indigenous children who cannot be cared for by their parents are to be placed, where possible, in the care of a member of the extended family or of the indigenous community to which the child belongs or living near the child’s usual home or a suitable person approved by FACS in consultation with members of the child’s extended family and relevant indigenous organisations.
- We note however, that these principles do not prevent an indigenous child with a non indigenous parent from being placed with the non indigenous parent or family if that is determined to be in the child’s best interests.
- If a child has one indigenous and one non indigenous parent, arrangements can be made to ensure that the child remains connected with both families and backgrounds.
Contact our Sydney Family Law Office if you need any help.