Topic: Expert evidence for child protection matters in the Children’s Court
About this paper: Under s.68 of the Child Protection Act, the children’s court can order expert reports for two purposes in relation to a child protection application: social assessment reports about a child and the child’s family, and reports on a specific topic — for example, a child’s illness or injury. This practice paper will address the purpose of expert evidence, what expert reports should contain, and issues to consider when commissioning a social assessment report. It will further consider how courts can appraise social assessment reports about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, and how cultural competence can be assured.
Chair: Magistrate Andrew Moloney
Rayleigh Joy BA(Psy) BSW(Hons) PhD
Rayleigh has been practicing clinically in the psycho-social health field for over 25 years. She gained her Doctor of Philosophy in 2004 in which she mapped across the fields of psychology and law in the context of child abuse. Rayleigh works at Lifecare Consultancy providing individual, relationship, group and family therapy in the areas of trauma, grief and loss, family breakdown and separation, abuse and violence, attachment, stress, anxiety and depression. She provides assessments and interventions in child protection and family law (provision of Family Reports, therapeutic mediation, parenting after separation, and adjustment therapy).
Candice Butler, BSocWk is the Senior Practice Leader at the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak. Candice is committed to ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are strong and supported through their developing years and assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child protection workers to excel in best practice and quality case management. Candice was recently appointed to the Queensland Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce.
Maree Crawford, B.Med, B.Surgery, Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, is a consultant Paediatrician at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital working in general paediatric medicine and child protection. She has extensive experience in giving expert evidence in the children’s court. Her research interests are infants of substance-abusing mothers and health of children in care.
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