(1) This section applies if, in proceedings under this Act, the care, welfare and development of a child who is under 18 is relevant.
(2) The court may direct a family consultant to give the court a report on such matters relevant to the proceedings as the court thinks desirable.
(3) If the court makes a direction under subsection (2), it may, if it thinks it necessary, adjourn the proceedings until the report has been given to the court.
(3A) A family consultant who is directed to give the court a report on a matter under subsection (2) must:
(a) ascertain the views of the child in relation to that matter; and
(b) include the views of the child on that matter in the report.
Note: A person cannot require a child to express his or her views in relation to any matter (see section 60CE).
(3B) Subsection (3A) does not apply if complying with that subsection would be inappropriate because of:
(a) the child's age or maturity; or
(b) some other special circumstance.
(4) The family consultant may include in the report, in addition to the matters required to be included in it, any other matters that relate to the care, welfare or development of the child.
(5) For the purposes of the preparation of the report, the court may make any other orders, or give any other directions, that the court considers appropriate (including orders or directions that one or more parties to the proceedings attend, or arrange for the child to attend, an appointment or a series of appointments with a family consultant).
Note: Before making orders under this section, the court must consider seeking the advice of a family consultant about the services appropriate to the parties' needs (see section 11E).
(a) a person fails to comply with an order or direction under subsection (5); or
(b) a child fails to attend an appointment with a family consultant as arranged in compliance with an order or direction under subsection (5);
the family consultant must report the failure to the court.
(7) On receiving a report under subsection (6), the court may give such further directions in relation to the preparation of the report as it considers appropriate.
(8) A report given to the court pursuant to a direction under subsection (2) may be received in evidence in any proceedings under this Act.