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Victoria - Legislation

Children Youth and Families Act 2005

State of Victoria

From
2005
To
2005
Categories
Legislation

The Children Youth and Families Act was passed by the Victorian parliament in late 2005, and its provisions came into effect on 23 April 2007. The Act required that there was a Charter for children and young people in care in Victoria, to provide a framework for promoting the wellbeing of these children and young people. The establishment of a Children's Charter in Victoria was first considered in a discussion paper from 1983, reflecting a shift in philosophy in child welfare towards recognising and enshrining the 'rights of the child'.

Details

The Children Youth and Families Act 2005 consolidated and replaced the Children and Young Persons Act 1989 and Community Services Act 1970. The Act exists within the overarching framework of the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005. The introduction of this Act was accompanied by reforms, given the name 'every child every chance'.

Under the Children, Youth and Families Act, a child or young person comes into 'care' under one of eight orders available to the court.

Undertaking (s.278)
An undertaking may require: the child, the child's parent(s), the person with whom the child is living to undertake in writing to do or refrain from doing actions specified in the undertaking. An undertaking can only be made where the person consents to the making of the order. An undertaking may be appropriate when the family has demonstrated a willingness to address protective concerns through involvement with community agencies or in other satisfactory ways.

Supervision order (s.280)
A supervision order gives statutory responsibility for the supervision of a child to the Secretary, does not affect the custody or guardianship of the child and provides for the child to be placed in the day to day care of one or both of the child's parents. A supervision order is designed to support and monitor the child's safety within the family and can be made to one or both parents. A supervision order is generally made for a period not exceeding 12 months.

Custody to third party order (s. 283)
A custody to third party order is usually made to someone in the community able to care for the child, not to professionals. In practice, it is expected that relatives would be the main custodians under these orders. The order grants sole or joint custody to the person or persons named in the order.

Supervised custody order (s. 284)
A supervised custody order gives custody of the child to a person other than a parent and gives powers or duties to the Secretary or otherwise involves the Secretary in the supervision of the order. The order must provide that at any time whilst the order is in force, the Secretary may in writing direct that the child return to the sole or joint custody of the parent or parents if satisfied that it is in the child's best interests to do so.

Custody to Secretary order (s. 287)
A custody to the Secretary order grants sole custody of the child to the Secretary without affecting the guardianship of the child. Whilst the Secretary is responsible for day-to-day decision making in respect of the child, the parents still have participation in decision making in guardianship matters, such as determining religion, consenting to overseas trips, the young person's marriage, medical consent or education.

Guardianship to Secretary order (s. 289)
A Guardianship to Secretary order (GSO) grants custody and guardianship to the Secretary to the exclusion of all others. The Secretary has responsibility for the long term welfare of the child and has all the rights and duties that are usually associated with parental responsibility. A GSO remains in force for the period (not exceeding two years) specified in the order (if not extended).

Long-term guardianship to Secretary order (s. 290)
A long term GSO grants custody and guardianship to the Secretary to the exclusion of all others. The Secretary has responsibility for the long-term welfare of the child and has all the rights and duties that are usually associated with parental responsibility. A long term GSO remains in force until the child reaches 18 years or marries, which ever happens first.

Interim protection order (s.291)
An interim protection order (IPO) provides for a period of supervision and placement of a child if the court considers it necessary to test out a course of action. An IPO is appropriate when the initial assessment has identified a course of action but testing the appropriateness of this action is desirable. An IPO remains in force for a period not exceeding three months.

Timeline

 1864 Neglected and Criminal Children's Act 1864
       1887 Neglected Children's Act 1887
             1890 Neglected Children's Act 1890
                   1915 Neglected Children's Act 1915
                         1890 Infant Life Protection Act 1890
                         1907 - 1915 Infant Life Protection Act 1907
                         1924 Children's Welfare Act 1924
                               1915 - 1928 Infant Life Protection Act 1915
                               1924 Children's Welfare Act 1924
                               1926 Children's Welfare Act 1926
                                     1919 - 1928 Children's Maintenance Act 1919
                                     1928 Children's Welfare Act 1928
                                           1928 - 1957 Children's Maintenance Act 1928
                                           1933 Children's Welfare Act 1933
                                                 1954 Children's Welfare Act 1954
                                                       1960 - 1970 Social Welfare Act 1960
                                                             1970 Social Welfare Act 1970
                                                                   1978 Community Welfare Services Act 1978
                                                                         1989 Children and Young Persons Act 1989
                                                                               2005 Children Youth and Families Act 2005

Publications

Reports

  • Child Welfare Practice and Legislation Review Committee, Victoria, Discussion Paper, Melbourne, September 1983. Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Child Welfare Practice and Legislation Review Committee, Victoria, Discussion Paper, Melbourne, September 1983; Brendan Nathan (Team Leader, Freedom of Information), Corporate Integrity Information and Resolutions unit, Department of Human Services.

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill