Although a child under 18 years has no absolute right to leave home, children over 15 years are not normally forced to return home against their wishes. Each case depends on its facts - especially on the attitudes of the parents, the maturity of the child, and such factors as satisfactory accommodation, employment and a lifestyle that the authorities regard as reasonable. In making a decision, a court or the Department for Child Protection bases its actions primarily on what is in the best interests of the child.
A child under 15 years who has no fixed address or has been absent from school without satisfactory explanation is considered 'at risk' for the purposes of the Children's Protection Act 1993 (SA) (see s 6(2)(c)(e)).
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