The types of cases that can be heard in Children's Court, and what the court can decide in relation to child protection cases, including imposing conditions for parents before a child can return home.
What is Children's Court?
The Children’s Court of NSW is a special court that deals with cases involving children and young people.
The court has jurisdiction to hear and determine cases related to:
- the care and protection of children and young people aged under 18 years
- criminal offending involving people who were aged under 18 at the time of the alleged offence
- traffic cases where the defendant is not old enough to hold a driver’s licence or permit
- applications for Apprehended Violence Orders where the defendant is aged under 18
- applications for Compulsory Schooling Orders where a child or young person has not been attending school
- breaches of parole and the eligibility of children and young people for release on parole.
The role of the Children’s Court is to ensure that the best interests of children and young people are paramount to any proceedings.
The court only deals with children and young people. If an adult - a parent, for example - is charged with a crime against a child, they go to a different court.
Not all cases involving children are dealt with in the Children’s Court. For example, in cases of separation and divorce, the Family Court of Australia can determine where a child will live. The Family Court also deals with contact and guardianship matters. Local or Magistrates courts are also empowered under the Family Law Act to deal with family violence cases.
A person appealing a decision made by the Children's Court is heard by the District Court of NSW. The Supreme Court of NSW deals with adoption matters.