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Parental Rights in Australia

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Primary caregivers in charge of children under 18 years have a responsibility to take care of the needs of such children. However, a family is an oftentimes complex unit and in case of a breakdown or complete separation, there are precise parental rights to which the primary caregivers are entitled. These rights are either spelled out in the law or under some statutes, with notable cases of parenting rights that have been resolved in various family courts in Australia.   There is no single Parliamentary Act in Australia that spells out all the parental rights to which primary caregivers are entitled.

The law is rather spread across a number of statutes and these include: • The Education Act of 1937 • The Education Act of 2004 • The Family Law Act of 1975 • Children and Young People Act of 2008 Despite all these legal statues, some of the circumstances that parents undergo while bringing up their children are not covered by these acts. In most instances, there are issues such as the maturity and best interest of the child, which must be taken into consideration before parental rights are determined.

Whereas the law allows parents to nurture their children in line with specific values and belief systems, there are specific duties that parents have and these are the precise parenting rights in Australia. They include 1. Protecting children from harm2. Providing children with basic necessities3. Supporting children financially4. Providing safety and supervision5. Providing education6. Providing medical care. The Right to Protect Children from Harm According to the National Framework for Protecting Australia’ s Children (2009-2020), every child deserves a safe, healthy and happy childhood and this is a parenting right that is legally set by the Council of Australian Government.

It is recognized within this legal framework that the best way through which children are protected is by the prevention of any form of abuse and neglect (New South Wales State Library, 2012). A vast majority of Australian parents have the capacity to support their children fully but where there are shortages, the community and the government have made significant investments to ensure that children are safeguarded against neglect and abuse.

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