The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997, is strongly based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and reflects the view that all efforts should be directed towards accurately balancing assessment of safety and risk with strengthening positive aspects in the individual, family and community systems.

Responsibilities under the Act involve a wide range of people as well as a wide range of possible options in promoting the care and protection of children and young people. These include community education, prevention and early intervention, support to families, partnership building with children, young people, families and community-based services as well as legal intervention and placement of children in either short-term or longer term out of home care.

The object of the Act (Section 7) is to provide for the care and protection of children in a manner that:

  • maximises a child’s best interests
  • recognises that a child’s family is the preferred environment for care and upbringing; and
  • recognises that the responsibility for the protection of a child rest primarily with the child’s parents and family.

The Principles to be observed in Dealing with Children (Part 1A) outlines in detail the principles that must be upheld when working with children and families under this Act. The Principles include:

  • responsibility of Government
  • role of the child’s family
  • treating the child with respect
  • best interests of the child
  • child participation, and
  • Aboriginal children