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The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act (Tas) 1997 (CYPFA) is an Act to provide for the care and protection of children and related purposes. The Act is intended to provide for the care and protection of children in a manner that gives a child opportunity to grow up in a safe and stable environment.

There are numerous people required under the CYPFA to report concerns about abuse or neglect or certain behaviours (s14, CYPFA). These people include:

  • Medical practitioners
  • Registered or enrolled nurses
  • Midwives
  • Dentist and associated roles
  • Police officers
  • Probation officers
  • Teachers at education institutions
  • Paid child care providers
  • Certain person employed by government agencies

These people are required to report where they believe or suspect on reasonable grounds:

  • that a child has been or is being abused or neglected, or is an affected child under the Family Violence Act
  • that there is a reasonable likelihood of a child being killed, abused or neglected by a person with whom the child lives; or
  • where a woman is pregnant there is a reasonable likelihood that after the birth of the child the child may be killed, abused or neglected by a person with whom the child lives; or
  • a child after the birth will require medical treatment or intervention as a result of the behaviour of the mother or any other person with whom the woman resides or is likely to reside before the birth of the child.

After a concern is reported, assessment of the child and the situation can take place, if the Secretary of the DHHS is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the belief or suspicion. However, the Secretary is not obliged to take action where they are satisfied that the notification was not based on sufficient information or observations to constitute reasonable grounds for belief or suspicion (s17).

If an assessment does take place, there are a number of courses of action available, including restraint orders (s23), family group conferencing (s30), and care and protection orders (s42).

The Act also creates offences. For example, it is an offence under the CYPFA to leave a child unattended (s92). This does not include anyone under 16 who is not the parent of the child. It is also an offence under the same Act for a person who has a duty of care in respect to a child to fail intentionally to protect a child from harm (s91). Other offences include making a false or misleading statement in response to questions under an order of the Act (s102).

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