Australia's Children's Courts: An assessment of the status of and challenges facing the child welfare jurisdiction in Victoria

Rosemary Sheehan, Allan Borowski

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5 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports the findings of a study of the views of Victoria s Children s Court magistrates on the current status and challenges faced by the Children s Court as well as proposals for reform that have recently been canvassed in Australia and overseas. This study was part of a larger national assessment of Australia s Children s Courts. The Children s Court is a key social institution whose legal decision making has major social consequences for children and families. This paper reports on the findings of a study which examined the court s contemporary status and challenges from the perspective of judicial officers and other stakeholders; it sought also their views about their degree of support for a range of possible reforms. The focus of this article is on the Court s child welfare jurisdiction which hears child protection matters brought before the Court by the statutory child protection service. This study was part of a larger national assessment of Australia s eight state and territory Children s Courts. The findings point to support for change in the approach to, and management of, child protection matters, within a more problem-solving court. Findings also point to the need for research on the understanding of court processes and decisions by parents and families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95 - 110
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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