Child Protection Matters in the Northern Territory
8 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2014 Last revised: 21 Aug 2014
Date Written: July 1, 2014
In this paper the authors argue for the implementation of mandatory alternative dispute resolution in child protection matters in the Northern Territory, save in exceptional circumstances. The authors propose a model of alternative dispute resolution based on 'family group conferencing', which was developed in New Zealand in the 1980s and successfully implemented in a number of jurisdictions. The proposed model is designed to meet specific demographic and child protection issues in the Northern Territory, where 84% of children in out of home care were Aboriginal in 2011-12. The authors argue that the successful implementation of their family group conferencing model will result in higher levels of reunification of Aboriginal children with their parents and better family unity within Aboriginal communities, whilst ensuring that the best interests of children remain the primary consideration in child protection matters.
Keywords: Northern Territory, Aboriginal, Indigenous, Child Protection, best interests of children, best interests, child, children, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Family Group Conferencing, Mediation, Australia
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