New guide for children’s lawyers in child protection to promote high quality services

New guide for children’s lawyers in child protection to promote high quality services

Friday, 29 March 2019

We have released a comprehensive new guide to help lawyers representing children in child protection proceedings deliver high quality services.

The guide provides an overview of the lawyer’s role and covers key issues including the lawyer-child relationship, information gathering and analysis, confidentiality, and children’s needs.

The strong need for clearly documented expectations of the role and duties of children’s lawyers was identified during consultations for our Child Protection Legal Aid Services Review.

‘Lawyers representing children, whether on a direct instructions or best interests basis, need to have particular skills and knowledge,’ our Executive Director of Family, Youth and Children’s Law, Nicole Rich said.

‘Children in child protection proceedings need high-quality services that are tailored to their individual needs, to ensure they understand and can participate in decisions about their future.’

The new guide draws on insights and experience of child protection lawyers, as well as young people with experience of the child protection system. We also consulted with the Children’s Court of Victoria, the Commission for Children and Young People, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency and other key agencies in the child protection system in developing the guide.

The guide includes a foreword from the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Liana Buchanan.

‘This guide gives practical guidance on how to ensure meaningful participation of children in child protection proceedings,’ Ms Buchanan writes.

‘It fulfils a clear need, and I encourage all lawyers who work with children and young people to make this resource part of their everyday work practice.’

Our relevant practice standards are being updated to reflect the new guide.

Child protection duty lawyer services

Representing children in child protection proceedings: a guide for direct instructions and best interests lawyers will complement new Child Protection Duty Lawyer Guidelines introduced on 25 March 2019.

These guidelines are creating a more transparent, consistent and certain service for clients and practitioners across the state.

More information

Read more from our Child Protection Legal Aid Services Review.

If you have questions about the guide or the Child Protection Duty Lawyer Guidelines please contact childprotectiontransformation@vla.vic.gov.au

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