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Children's Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005)

Chapter 9 : Child in need of care and protection

Part 2 : Children’s court processes

155. Decision of question whether child is in need of care and protection

 

(1) A children's court must decide the question of whether a child who was the subject of proceedings in terms of section 47, 151, 152, 152A or 154 is in need of care and protection.

[Section 155(1) substituted by section 7 of Act No. 17 of 2016]

 

(2) Before the child is brought before the children’s court, a designated social worker must investigate the matter and within 90 days compile a report in the prescribed manner on whether the child is in need of care and protection.

 

(3) The designated social worker must report the matter to the relevant provincial department of social development.

 

(4)
(a) If, after an investigation contemplated in subsection (2), the designated social worker finds that the child is not in need of care and protection, he or she must indicate the reasons for the finding in the report, which must be submitted to the children’s court for review.
(b) The designated social worker must where necessary indicate in the report the measures recommended to assist the family, including counseling, mediation, prevention and early intervention services, family reconstruction and rehabilitation, behaviour modification, problem solving and referral to another suitably qualified person or organization.

 

(5) If, after an investigation contemplated in subsection (2), the designated social worker finds the child to be in need of care and protection, that child must be brought before the children’s court.

 

(6) The children’s court, hearing the matter may—
(a) Adjourn the matter for a period not exceeding 14 days at a time; and
(b) Order that pending decision of the matter, the child must—
(i) Remain in temporary safe care at the place where the child is kept;
(ii) Be transferred to another place in temporary safe care;
(iii) Remain with the person under whose control the child is;
(iv) Be put under the control of a family member or other relative of the child; or
(v) To placed in temporary safe care.

 

(7) If the court finds that the child is in need of care and protection, the court may make an appropriate order in terms of section 156.

 

(8) If the court finds that the child is not in need of care and protection, the court—
(a) Must make an order that the child, if the child is in temporary safe care, be returned to the person in whose control the child was before the child was put in temporary safe care;
(b) May make an order for early intervention services in terms of this Act; or
(c) Must decline to make an order, if the child is not in temporary safe care.

 

(9) When deciding the question of whether a child is a child in need of care and protection in terms of subsection (1) the court must have regard to the report of the designated social worker referred to in subsection (2).