This title was first published in 2001. Making decisions about the care and protection of children who appear before the courts is complex. Attention must be paid to the best interests of the child, the child’s need for their family, community views on parenting, and concern about welfare intrusion into family life. Magistrates have a unique authority to make, or reject child protection orders - yet the criteria they use to decide a protection order, how they understand the information presented to them in court and the factors that influence their discretion and decision-making have, until now, been little known. Presenting the findings of a study undertaken at Melbourne Children’s Court, this book offers a much-needed investigation of how magistrates actually make child protection decisions. Case examples highlight this decision-making and the book thus offers practical assistance to professionals working with children in the legal process.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; The best interests of the child; Uncovering the decision process; Deciding best interests; Magistrate decision-making; Alternative dispute resolution; Future directions; Conclusion; Bibliography; Appendices.
’...a rare insight into judicial decision making in the child welfare courts...will be of interest to social welfare and child and family law professionals operating in varied jurisdictions across the world. It highlights the need to conjoin welfare and legal concerns in a way that recognizes the community’s responsibility towards its vulnerable children.’ Christine Hallett, University of Stirling, UK ’The book is of interest to all those involved in the child protection arena, not just in Australia, as the issues raised in this book translate to all jurisdictions.’ Family Law ’...this is a very useful publication for a comparative overview of legal processes involved in promoting child welfare, and the tensions and conflicts contained within those processes.’ International Social Work ’...an insightful and sensitive account of the workings of the children's court and the efforts of magistrates to make decisions which reflect the best interests of children...highly recommended for social workers involved in child protection work and for others who are interested in reflecting on practice and considering how their practice world is viewed by other disciplines.’ Australian Social Work 'The author has provided a compelling and highly readable text that is essential reading for professionals involved in child-welfare policy, education, and/or practice. Highly recommended.' Journal of Family Studies '...very well suited to people who are being introduced to the areas of child welfare and child protection, for example social work and law students and of course t those practitioners who are involved in legal and welfare work with children. It is timely in bringing useful information to the table for discussion and highlights some serious problems within the current legal system.' Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work