Conciliation Conference Notice
Families and child protection workers will participate in conciliation conferences by telephone, from Tuesday 17 March 2020. Legal representatives for families and for the DHHS will continue to attend conciliation conferences in person, as usual.
Full participation by family members and child protection workers in each conference is still expected, and parties will also have the opportunity to speak privately to their legal representatives by telephone.The Convenor (mediator) will call families and child protection workers before each conference begins, so it is important that parties provide up to date contact numbers. Call the Children's Court Conference Unit on 03 7004 6547 to provide your number, or to ask any questions about the conciliation conference.
What is a conciliation conference?
Conciliation conferences are meetings conducted in child protection cases before the Children’s Court of Victoria. The aim of a conciliation conference is to provide an opportunity for the parties to agree on what should happen without resorting to a contested court hearing. In a conciliation conference parents and children are able to speak for themselves.
Who attends a conciliation conference?
Conciliation conferences are attended by:
- a convenor who is employed by the Children's Court to conduct the conference
- family members
- Department of Health & Human Services child protection staff, and
- legal representatives.
Relatives of the family, other relevant professionals and interpreters may also attend.
What happens in a conciliation conference?
The participants work collaboratively with the assistance of the convenor to highlight the strengths within the family. They will also discuss what can be done to build on these strengths in the best interests of the child or children involved to meet the protective concerns.
What happens after a conciliation conference?
If the parties agree in the conciliation conference about what should happen, the case goes to court where the judge/magistrate will, if appropriate, make orders in line with the agreement reached.
If the parties were not able to reach an agreement in the conference, the case goes to court and the magistrate will determine the future course of the case.
If you have a question about attending a conciliation conference, you should speak to your lawyer or telephone the registry of the Children's Court where your case is to be heard. Contact details for all court venues are available via the link in the right hand menu.