Why see a lawyer about your court-ordered plan of care?

Information for young people aged 12 to 18 who have been asked to agree (in writing) to a court order for a plan of care by a child protection worker for the Director of Child Protection


  • This information is for young people between 12 and 18 years old who've been asked to agree (in writing) to a court order about where they'll live and who'll look after them (also called a section 60 consent).
  • A court order is what the court has decided about your guardianship or custody, and may include where you'll live, who'll look after you, and other related things.
  • Your plan of care is the written plan prepared by your child protection worker that sets out the details of where you'll live and who'll look after you.
  • The law says you have a right to see a lawyer if you're being asked to agree to this kind of court order. You probably have lots of questions about the court order and the plan of care. It's important to see a lawyer and get answers to your questions.

Why should I see a lawyer?

The lawyer can explain exactly what the order means for you and how it will affect your life. You don't have to pay the lawyer.

How do I get a lawyer?

  • Ask your child protection worker about when and where you can see a lawyer.
  • If you need help to get to the lawyer's office, tell your child protection worker.
  • The child protection worker makes an appointment with the lawyer for you.

What does my lawyer do?

  • Your lawyer's job is to discuss the court order with you, explain what it says, answer your questions, and tell you what your choices are.
  • Your lawyer then asks you if you agree to the court order.
    • If you agree, the lawyer will ask you to sign a form that says you give consent.
    • If you disagree, you can explain to the lawyer what's wrong with the plan of care and suggest changes, if you like. Your lawyer may be able to change the plan for you.

What should I do before I see my lawyer?

  • Write down any questions you have so you don't forget them.
  • You may bring someone with you when you go to see your lawyer.

Some questions you may want to ask might be:

  • When and how often do I see my parents and family?
  • Who decides about such things as my school and health care?
  • How long is the plan of care for? What happens after that?

What do I tell my lawyer?

  • Tell your lawyer as much as you can. Everything you say helps your lawyer understand what your situation is.
  • The lawyer works for you. The lawyer isn't allowed to tell anyone — including the judge and your parents — anything about what you've said without getting your permission.
  • If you have a list of questions, show it to your lawyer. That way, your lawyer can get a really good idea of what you think. For example, you could give your lawyer reasons why the plan won't work, and tell your lawyer not to talk about those reasons with your parents, your child protection worker, or the judge.

What happens next?

Ask your lawyer to tell you what will happen next.

  • If you agree to the court order, the lawyer will tell your child protection worker, in writing.
  • If you want the plan changed, your lawyer will discuss the changes with your child protection worker, if you agree to that.
  • If you don't agree to the court order, and you don't want your lawyer to tell anyone your reasons, your lawyer just tells your child protection worker that you don't agree.

What if I have problems with my lawyer? What if I don't like or trust my lawyer?

  • Go back to your child protection worker and explain why you want to see another lawyer.
  • Your child protection worker will try to find you a different lawyer.

Important:

  • It's very important that you go to see a lawyer.
  • The lawyer works for you, not anyone else.
  • Tell your lawyer exactly what you think about the plan of care.

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