New South Wales Consolidated Acts
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CHILDREN AND YOUNG PERSONS (CARE AND PROTECTION) ACT 1998 - SECT 37
Alternative dispute resolution by Secretary
(1) In responding to a report, the Secretary must consider the appropriateness
of using alternative dispute resolution processes that are designed:
ensure intervention so as to resolve problems at an early stage, and
reduce the likelihood that a care application will need to be made under
Chapter 5, and
(c) to reduce the incidence of breakdown in adolescent-parent
(d) if an application for a care order under Chapter 5 is
made, to work towards the making of consent orders that are in the best
interests of the child or young person concerned.
(1A) If the Secretary
determines that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm, the
Secretary must offer alternative dispute resolution processes to the family of
the child or young person before seeking care orders from the Children's
(1B) Subsection (1A) does not apply in relation to the family of a
child or young person if the Secretary forms the opinion on reasonable grounds
that their participation in alternative dispute resolution processes would not
be appropriate due to exceptional circumstances.
(1C) If the Secretary
becomes aware of criminal proceedings or a police investigation that may be
compromised if alternative dispute resolution processes are offered under
subsection (1A), the Secretary:
(a) must seek the advice of the Commissioner
of Police as to the likely effect of the processes, and
(b) is not required
to offer the processes if the Secretary determines that it is not appropriate
to do so after taking the advice into account.
(1D) Subsection (1A) does not
affect the Secretary's obligation under section 34 (1) and is subject to
sections 35 (1) and 36.
(2) Participation in any such
alternative dispute resolution is voluntary.
Note : Within this provision,
models for conferencing may be developed to accommodate the unique
requirements of a community (whether cultural, geographic or language), the
complexities of the case, or the nature and severity of the abuse suffered by
the child or young person.
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