Oranga Tamariki (Parent's and Guardian's Responsibility) Amendment Bill

  • defeated on 21 March 2018

Oranga Tamariki (Parent’s and Guardian’s Responsibility) Amendment Bill

Member’s Bill

28—1

Explanatory note

General policy statement

There are a number of factors influencing a young person’s decision to offend. One of the factors identified by professionals as being of high significance is the lack of suitable parental or guardian oversight.

As it stands, the law has limited ability to respond to situations where a lack of oversight is the reason youth offending occurs. This is a deficiency that has been identified by the Police, Judges, and the wider community working with young people.

This Bill gives Youth Court Judges the ability to impose conditions on parents or guardians when their child is already in the jurisdiction of the Youth Court. Failure to comply with these orders is punishable by a fine or a term of imprisonment.

This liability serves 2 purposes. First, it gives courts the ability to recognise the connection between a child’s offending and a parent’s or guardian’s behaviour toward the child. Secondly, it is intended to make a parent or guardian stop and recognise the consequences of their behaviour to their children.

The Bill’s amendment to the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 does not seek to punish ordinary parents and guardians. For parents and guardians to come within the scope of the provision the young person must have been charged with an offence in the Youth Court and be released on bail.

New Zealand can do better to recognise the holistic drivers of youth crime. This Bill takes a step in the right direction by making a parent or guardian lawfully entrusted with the custody and care of a child or young person accountable for their child’s behaviour where it is connected to a lack of adequate oversight.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 is the Title clause.

Clause 2 is the commencement clause. The Bill comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

Clause 3 provides that the Bill amends the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 (the principal Act).

Clause 4 is the purpose clause.

Clause 5 inserts new section 240A providing Youth Court Judges with the ability to impose conditions on the parents or guardians of young persons against whom a charge has been proved. It also provides for liability in situations where orders made by the Youth Court are not complied with.

Barbara Kuriger

Oranga Tamariki (Parent’s and Guardian’s Responsibility) Amendment Bill

Member’s Bill

28—1

The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:

1 Title

This Act is the Oranga Tamariki (Parent’s and Guardian’s Responsibility) Amendment Act 2018.

2 Commencement

This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

3 Principal Act

This Act amends the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 (the principal Act).

4 Purpose

The purpose of this Act is—

(a)

to allow the Youth Court to recognise the link between a parent’s or guardian’s deficient behaviour toward their children, and offences committed by their child as a result of that behaviour, by giving Youth Court Judges the ability to impose conditions on parents and guardians lawfully entrusted with the custody and care of a child or young person charged with an offence and released on bail; and

(b)

to provide an incentive for parents and guardians to stop and assess their own behaviour by making them liable for breaches of the court orders.

5 New section 240A inserted (Court responses to parents)

After section 240, insert:

240A Court responses to parents

(1)

Where a child or young person is released on bail pursuant to section 238(1)(b), the court may make 1 or more of the following orders in respect of the young person’s parent or guardian where they are lawfully entrusted with the care or custody:

(a)

requiring the parent or guardian to reside at a nominated address with the child or young person:

(b)

requiring the parent or guardian to observe a specified curfew:

(c)

prohibiting the parent or guardian from consuming alcohol and drugs:

(d)

prohibiting the parent or guardian from associating with any specified person:

(e)

any other order the Judge considers necessary to ensure the ongoing safety of the young person.

(2)

A parent or guardian who fails to comply with any order made pursuant to subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both.