Introduced in October 1905 by the Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Act, a Children's Court is a hearing, intended to ensure children receive specialist support and they are sheltered from adult courts. While children usually attend courts in specialised buildings in main centres, Children's Courts can be convened by a Children's Court Magistrate in any room of any courthouse in New South Wales.
Since their creation Children's Courts have dealt with all matters relating to children, including offences by them, and against them. Children's Courts were the first legal method of removing children from their families and were able to place neglected or delinquent children under probation (supervision), send those convicted of offences to reformatories or industrial schools and order maintenance or boarding out payments for deserted mothers. It also made decisions about truancy, boarding out, institutionalisation and other matters. The Children's Court is still is the major arbiter of decisions relating to children.
Children's Courts that operated in the past but were closed by the 1980s were in Surry Hills (Metropolitan Children's Court), Burwood, Campsie, Parramatta, Hornsby and Haberfield (Yasmar).
Sources used to compile this entry: Blackmore, Rod, 'History of Children's Legislation in New South Wales - The Children's Court', in History of the Children's Court, Lawlink, Lawlink NSW, 2012, http://www.childrenscourt.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/History%20of%20Children's%20Legislation%20in%20NSW.pdf; Crawford, John, 'Children of the Perishing Class', in History of the Children's Court, Lawlink, Lawlink NSW, 2009, http://www.childrenscourt.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/Children%20of%20the%20perishing%20class.pdf; Curthoys, Patricia, '"problem children" of this community': Christ Church St Laurence and the Children's Court, Sydney, 1936-1941, Sydney Journal, vol. 4, UTSePress, 2013, 86-98 pp, http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/sydney_journal/article/view/2788/3802; Djuric, Bonney, Abandon All Hope: a history of Parramatta Industrial School, Chargan, Georges Terrace, 2008, 238 pp; Lawlink, 'The Children's Court of New South Wales: Timeline of Major Events 1905-2011', in History of the Children's Court, Lawlink, Lawlink NSW, 2012, http://www.childrenscourt.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/History%20-%20Timeline%20of%20major%20events.pdf; Lawlink, History of the Children's Court, Lawlink NSW, 2012, http://www.childrenscourt.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/childrenscourt_aboutus/history.aspx; Ludlow, Christa, 'For their own good' : a history of the Albion Street Children's Court and Boys' Shelter, Network of Community Activities, Surry Hills, 1994, 47 pp.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 26 October 2011, Last modified: 13 February 2018