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Making decisions about the care and protection of children who appear before the courts is complex. Attention must be paid to the best interests of the child, the child's need for their family, community views on parenting, and concern about welfare intrusion into family life.
This text examines the criteria magistrates use to decide a protection order; how they understand the information presented to them in court; and the factors that influence their discretion and decision-making. It presents the findings of a study undertaken at Melbourne Children's Court and offers an investigation of how magistrates actually make child protection decisions. Case examples highlight this decision-making, and the book thus offers practical assistance to professionals working with children in the legal process.