how the magellan program helps abused children
basis of the program
The Magellan program is a case management system that fast-track family law cases in which there are serious allegations of child abuse. Serious allegations of physical and sexual abuse against children are given immediate attention by courts. The Magellan program was developed purposely for cases with allegations of child abuse.
What is the Magellan Program?
This is a program that aims to immediately act on cases that have serious allegations of abuse against children. It is a system of managing court cases that effectively and efficiently disposes of them in a short period of time. With the program strict timelines must be followed and the goal is to finish a case within six months from the time it is placed in the Magellan list.
The Magellan team that will handle all the cases on the list is composed of judges, registrars and family law consultants. The ideal set-up is that the same team will be handling the case from start to finish.
The program’s focus will be on the children who are alleged to be victims of physical or sexual abuse. In order to achieve strict timeframes the team will be working closely with external agencies like the state welfare authorities. The team will coordinate with authorities who have direct contact with the family.
The judge will have a very hands-on approach in the case. The Court will be exercising full control on how the case will progress. Expert investigations and assessments are expected to be ordered by the court to speedily determine the allegations of abuse. To further protect the interest of the child an independent children’s lawyer will be appointed by the court and funded by legal aid.
During the hearing or even at the start of the case the court may issue interim orders that are meant for the protection of the child. These orders temporarily give relief to the victim and concerned parties while the court hears the main case.
Among the orders that the court may issue are the following:
- Subpoena to the child protection agency or to the state welfare authorities;
- For the family consultant to make a detailed report on the needs of the child;
- Appointment of an independent children’s lawyer.
Part of the coordination with child protection agencies is the ability of the court to make inquiries on whether:
- The agency has already investigated the abuse allegations;
- If an investigation has been conducted by the agency, what are their findings or conclusions;
- The agency has any recommendations;
- The agency will intervene in the family court proceedings.
The case will be terminated more quickly with parties having to make only few appearances in court. Cases under the program are considered a success if they do not reach the judgment but are resolved earlier. The program is so effective that only few cases are returned to the court.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.