10.21 Family courts

Purpose

This procedure outlines the interface between the department and family courts, including the process for:

  • responding to information about harm or risk of harm to a child subject to family court orders or proceedings, or whose parents reside separately
  • responding to a family court order, including Magellan matters, requesting intervention by the department
  • undertaking an investigation and assessment, where there is an interface or potential interface with the family court or family court orders
  • intervention by the department when a child requires protection from a parent who has a parenting order, or where there are current proceedings in a family court or the child's parents reside separately.

Key steps

  1. The family courts and child protection interface
  2. Exchange of information
  3. Assess information received about harm or risk of harm
  4. Respond to an order requesting intervention by the department - section 91B orders
  5. Undertake an investigation and assessment
  6. Respond to a child in need of protection

What ifs - responding to specific family court matters

Standards

  1. A child of separated parents is afforded the same right to protection and intervention by the department, as other children.
  2. A decision to intervene in a family court proceeding, or to provide documentation for a family court application or proceedings, is made only after consultation with Court Services.
  3. Documentation to be provided to a parent, in relation to a family court application (other than a letter to a parent under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 15(2)), is forwarded to Court Services in the first instance (for quality assurance), and is signed by a CSSC manager.
  4. If there is a protective parent who is assessed as willing to protect a child but unable to do so, because of an order requiring the child to live, or have contact, with a parent to whom child protection concerns apply, the department will take necessary action to protect the child.
  5. Every effort is made to avoid multiple proceedings running in concurrent jurisdictions (for example, the Childrens Court and Family Court). So far as possible decisions about a particular child should be made by only one court, namely the court that is most appropriate in the circumstances (the ‘one court principle’).

Authority