LEGAL ISSUES

By the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Identify the laws and policies that guide care
  • Describe the meaning of Guardianship and Custody
  • Describe Access / Contact
  • Explain the term ‘Home for Life
  • ’ Identify the process of Family Group Conferences
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the different courts

The first session aims to lessen the complexity of the law that governs practice around children who come into care. It looks at some of the ways providing care to a child in care, may differ from the way carers provide care for their own children because of legislation. This session also explores the objectives and principles of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989, the key piece of legislation impacting on the child in care, and will also refer to the newer Care of Children Act 2004.

The second session defines the rights and responsibilities connected to guardianship and custody, and identifies which legal relationships change when a child moves into care. It explores the different sorts of guardianship, and the concept of paternity. It also looks at access / contact and the role and responsibilities carers have in supporting children and young peoples right to maintain contact with their family.

The third session sets out the legal acts through which children and young people come into care. The aim of the session is to help carers understand the meaning and implications of the sections of the act, which are listed on the care plans of the children and young people for whom they provide care. It is important that the carers understand where the guardianship and custody rests with each of the legal orders, and thereby, what they can or cannot do with the child or young person in their care. This session also explores Home for Life – looking at the pathways into Home for Life and the supports / implications for the carer of each pathway.

The last session expands the carers understanding of the laws that may impact on them in their carer role. A carer may be asked to become involved in the legal system in a number of ways and this session informs them of their possible roles within the different courts in the New Zealand system. Lastly we will cover the Family Group Conference process and explain the differences between the Care & Protection FCG and the Youth Justice FGC.

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