What ifs

1. What if the child has long-term guardian?

When the child has a long-term guardian, Child Safety is responsible for:

  • recording a 'Long-term guardianship to suitable person - Case plan' in ICMS as soon as practicable after the order is granted
  • having 12 monthly contact with the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VA) and long-term guardian and deciding whether a case plan review will occur
  • completing the case plan review, where appropriate
  • the provision of support, where requested and necessary
  • the provision of agreed financial supports, only where the guardian was previously the carer of the child - refer to  2.6 Apply for a long-term guardianship order.

Meet the contact requirements with the child and long-term guardian

For a child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, a minimum of 12 monthly contact is required with the child, and the long-term guardian must allow Child Safety to have this contact (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VA). This contact can occur more frequently where requested by the child or long-term guardian, or it is considered necessary by Child Safety.

Contact with the child

To organise contact with the child:

  • make a suitable time for a visit with the child and long-term guardian
  • negotiate with the long-term guardian and the child for contact to occur in a location other than the home if considered more appropriate.

During the visit:

  • talk to the child about their current situation and any matters they wish to discuss
  • give the child an opportunity to comment on or ask questions about the case plan, or ask for it to be reviewed (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VA), based on their age and ability to understand - ensure the child is aware that some requests for assistance or support can be actioned without the need to review the child's case plan
  • discuss any changes in circumstances or needs that may require additional supports for the child or long-term guardian
  • facilitate appropriate referrals to services within the community, where requested
  • discuss with a young person who is 15 years or older, that they may be eligible for the Commonwealth Government's Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA) and provide the young person with information about supports available through other organisations to help them prepare for adulthood
  • discuss how the guardian has been helping the child to have their cultural and identity needs met, and if applicable, how the guardian is helping the child to plan and prepare for adulthood
  • discuss the contact arrangements and any changes required to the frequency or type of contact with family members and significant others
  • consider the child's immediate safety and well-being, and determine whether a case plan review is required, regardless of whether it is requested by the child or long-term guardian
  • take any immediate actions considered necessary to ensure the child's immediate safety and wellbeing.

In circumstances where the long-term guardian does not allow the 12 monthly contact with the child:

  • remind the long-term guardian of their legislative responsibility to allow contact
  • organise to have contact with the child outside of their home
  • take any actions considered necessary to ensure the child's immediate safety and well-being.

Contact with the long-term guardian

Contact with the long-term guardian is also to occur 12 monthly. During contact with the long-term guardian:

  • ask if they would like to have the child's case plan reviewed (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VA) - ensure the long-term guardian is aware that some requests for assistance or support can be actioned without the need to review the child's case plan
  • confirm that the child is still residing in the direct care of the long-term guardian
  • discuss any changing needs or circumstances that may require additional support to the child or long-term guardian
  • ensure that the long-term guardian is continuing to meet their obligations to tell the child's parents where the child is living, give them information about the child's care and providing opportunity for contact between the child, parents, family members and other significant people (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80), unless the Childrens Court has made an exception
  • facilitate appropriate referrals to services within the community, where requested
  • discuss, where applicable, how the long-term guardian is assisting the young person to prepare for life as a young adult and provide the guardian with information about supports available to the young person through other organisations
  • ensure the long-term guardian is aware that a young person over 15 years may be eligible for the Commonwealth Government's Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA) - and is aware that further information can be accessed from the Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA) website
  • ensure that the long-term guardian is maintaining the child's cultural connection
  • discuss the ongoing provision of financial assistance, and record the financial delegate's approval in the case plan
  • remind the long-term guardian of their legal responsibility to notify Child Safety in writing, should the child leave their direct care and to provide information about where the child is living, if known (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80A).

Following contact with the child and long-term guardian, complete the relevant sections of the 'Long-term guardianship to a suitable person - Contact and review report' in ICMS and finalise unless a decision is made to formally review the case plan. Where a decision is made to formally review the case plan, refer to Chapter 4, 5.10 Long-term guardianship to a suitable person - case plan review.

Family contact

In circumstances where a child is subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person:

  • Child Safety has no legal authority to facilitate or monitor family contact arrangements
  • the long-term guardian assumes full responsibility for providing the opportunity for ongoing contact between the child and the child’s parents and appropriate members of the child’s family, as often as is appropriate in the circumstances, unless otherwise ordered by the Childrens Court upon the making of the order. 

Where the long-term guardianship order does not prevent or restrict family contact, and issues or circumstances subsequently arise that prevent or impact a child’s ongoing contact with their parents and appropriate members of their family, Child Safety will offer assistance to address the identified issues.

In the first instance, discuss options for resolving the issues and encourage the long-term guardian and family members to attempt to address the issues independently, or, where this is not possible, negotiate with the long-term guardian, for Child Safety to contact family members directly.

Any assistance regarding family contact will not include supervising family contact or transporting a child for family contact. If it becomes apparent that supervised visits are required, or family contact should be prevented, review the case plan, in accordance with the case planning requirements.

Respond to requests for support

In any circumstance the child or long-term guardian may contact Child Safety to request support - for further information, refer to the Supporting children in the care of long-term guardians and permanent guardians (PDF) policy.

The CSO with case responsibility for the child is responsible for receiving and responding to requests for support, and will:

  • discuss the request with the senior team leader
  • facilitate the provision of appropriate support
  • obtain the decision of the appropriate financial delegate, where the long-term guardian is eligible for financial support.

The available supports are outlined below.

Please note, with the exception of special payments (including Ex-gratia), financial support is only available where approved, for long-term guardians who were approved foster or kinship carers, and were subsequently granted the long-term guardianship of the child.

Requests for reimbursement of child related costs that are not approved within the child's existing case plan may be made following the granting of a long-term guardianship order, where the costs are considered to be significant or ongoing.

In addition, the long-term guardian will have access to financial support for services to meet the health, educational, therapeutic, transition into adulthood and cultural needs of a child, when the necessary services are not available to the general public. For further information, refer to the Child related costs - Long-term guardian support (PDF) policy.

High support needs allowance and complex support needs allowance

The high support needs allowance and complex support needs allowance may be provided to long-term guardians, when the child develops or presents with previously unforeseen special needs, whether of a short-term or ongoing nature. For further information, refer to the High Support Needs Allowance (PDF) policy and the Complex Support Needs Allowance policy.

Special payments (including Ex-gratia)

Long-term guardians are able to claim for a special payment (for example, if the long-term guardian has suffered a loss or property damage caused by a Child Safety client), subject to the Special Payments (including Ex-gratia) policy.

Respite

The long-term guardian of a child is eligible for emergent respite, only in circumstances where an emergency arises and there is no other option available within the long-term guardian’s existing support network.

In this circumstance, the child may be placed in emergent respite with an approved foster carer, only if the long-term guardian provides his or her written consent, using the Respite agreement form. For further information, refer to the Dual payment of carer allowances (PDF, File not found) policy.

A child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person is not eligible for ‘planned’ respite through Child Safety, however, if the child has a disability, they may be able to access this support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) — refer to NDIS information for Child Safety staff.

Evolve

A child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person is not eligible for Evolve Interagency Services, as the long-term guardian assumes full responsibility for attending to the child’s emotional and behavioural needs. However, where required, provide assistance with a referral to an appropriate mental health or counselling service.

Transition from care into adulthood

A young person subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person:  

  • can apply for the Commonwealth Government’s Transition to Independent Living (TILA) allowance
  • may be eligible for child related costs, as outlined above
  • is eligible for transition from care case work support by Child Safety, only if they are no longer living with a long-term guardian.

For further information, refer to the Transitioning from care into adulthood (PDF, File not found) and Child related costs - Long-term guardian support (PDF, File not found) policies.

Case work in response to emergent issues

Time-limited, intensive case work may be provided to the child and long-term guardian by Child Safety for up to three months, where emergent circumstances arise that are likely to impact on the stability of the care arrangement if intervention is not provided. This may include circumstances where the long-term guardian is indicating an unwillingness or inability to meet guardianship responsibilities, including the ongoing provision of direct care for the child, or where the long-term guardian is diagnosed with a terminal illness. To facilitate the case work, review and develop a revised case plan for the child.  If the emergent circumstances relate to a child’s disability support needs, refer to Maintaining Critical Supports during NDIS transition: decision tool.

If, following the period of intensive case work, the circumstances remain unchanged, the CSSC manager will decide whether to apply to vary the long-term guardianship order and seek an order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive in its place. In making this decision, consider the views of the child and the long-term guardian.

While the CSSC manager may decide to extend the period of case work, this will only be appropriate where it is apparent (based on progress made during the preceding three month period), that a brief continuation of the case work is likely to fully resolve the identified issues. It would not be appropriate for the case work to extend to a period of six months or longer, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Referrals for intensive family support

When a long-term guardian seeks support and it is assessed that the required support is able to be provided by an intensive family support service (IFS), and the child is not currently subject to case work for emergent issues, make an IFS referral for the child by completing an online referral through the Family and Child Connect website.

Support service case

Following a young person's eighteenth birthday, a support service case may be opened for a young person who was previously subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person. For further information, refer to Chapter 7. Support service cases.

Foster and Kinship Carer Support line

All long-term guardians may access the Foster and Kinship Carer Support line. For further information, refer to Chapter 9, 1. Provide support to carers.

Access to counselling services for a long-term guardian

Where a long-term guardian continues to be an approved foster or kinship carer for other children, and requires support in relation to a traumatic event related to the child in their guardianship, support should be provided by the affiliated foster and kinship care service in the first instance.

In some circumstances, the traumatic event may lead to the long-term guardian requiring more intensive support, such as counselling or psychological support or therapy that can only be provided by a professional counsellor or psychologist. Where the long-term guardian was an approved foster or kinship carer who was subsequently granted long-term guardianship of the child, counselling can be approved by the CSSC manager on a case-by-case basis through child related costs - refer to the Child related costs - Long-term guardian support (PDF, File not found) policy.

When deciding whether to approve counselling, the CSSC manager will consider the following:

  • contextual information regarding the need for the service, for example, does it specifically relate to trauma experienced in relation to the child subject to the guardianship order
  • whether the long-term guardian has accessed support from their foster and kinship care service, if applicable
  • the length of time for which counselling may be required
  • whether the long-term guardian is able to access Medicare rebates for the services of a psychologist or other allied mental health professionals.

Training

Any suitable person who is granted the long-term guardianship of a child, may choose to participate in training as a support to the care arrangement. For further information, refer to Chapter 8, 4.1 Standard and advanced training.

Child Support

Where the long-term guardian is a relative of the child, the long-term guardian may be eligible for Child Support. For further information, contact the Child Support Agency on telephone 131 272 or refer to the Child Support Agency website.

Other issues associated with long-term guardians

1. Regulation of care requirements

Long-term guardians are not required to hold a current blue card or have a certificate of approval as foster or kinship carers, unless they intend, or continue, to provide care to other children who are in custody or guardianship of the chief executive.

Long-term guardians are not subject to the Responding to concerns about the standards of care (PDF, File not found) policy for the child subject to the long-term guardianship order, and any information or concerns received about the child will be responded to in accordance with the process for a child in the general community - refer to Chapter 1. Intake.

2. Separation or divorce of long-term guardians

Where long-term guardians have separated or divorced, both long-term guardians continue to hold guardianship responsibility for the child subject to the order. As is the case for parents in the general community, the long-term guardians will need to consider the child's views and the circumstances of the separation or divorce, and negotiate future plans for the daily care and guardianship of the child. Long-term guardians who separate or divorce may, but are not obligated to, apply for orders from the family law court.

If a long-term guardian intends to apply, or applies, to a family law court, consult with Court Services, to consider and decide the level of Child Safety intervention in family law court proceedings - for further information, refer to Chapter 10.21 Family courts.

Where the long-term guardians have been receiving the fortnightly caring allowance, only one person can continue to receive the allowance following the separation or divorce. In circumstances where the future daily care of the child is to be shared, the long-term guardians will need to decide who will be paid the allowance. In this circumstance, the long-term guardian in receipt of the allowance may, but is not obligated to, pay part of the allowance to the other long-term guardian. Dual payment of carer allowances will not be paid in circumstances of shared care between guardians.

If a long-term guardian subsequently remarries or re-partners, there is no legal requirement for the new partner to be assessed or approved to provide care for the child subject to the long-term guardianship order. If, however, concerns arise regarding the new partner, Child Safety may:

  • request a meeting with the long-term guardian, to discuss relevant issues
  • undertake an investigation and assessment, where identified or reported concerns meet the threshold for recording a notification.

Please note: If the long-term guardian continues to be an approved foster or kinship carer for other children in care, the new partner is required to be assessed and approved as a carer - refer to Chapter 8, 2. What if there is a change in carer circumstances?

3. Succession planning for the child

Long-term guardians may document details of a nominated person or persons who they wish to be considered as the child’s guardian in the event of the death of a sole long-term guardian or a long-term guardian couple. While this is not legally binding, by informing Child Safety or recording their wishes in a will, Child Safety is able, should this be required, to consider inviting the persons to apply to become an approved carer for the child.

In the event of the long-term guardian’s death, arrangements need to be made to seek an appropriate child protection order, as required, as guardianship will revert to the child’s parents.

In the event that a long-term guardian is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the long-term guardian or long-term guardians wish to secure a child’s legal status prior to the death of a long-term guardian, seek a legal consult with OCFOS with a view to making a referral for an application to vary the existing order granting long-term guardianship to the suitable person and seek an order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive in its place. This may occur in the following circumstances:

  • where the terminally ill long-term guardian, or both long-term guardians state that they cannot continue to fulfil their role as long-term guardian during the course of the illness
  • where the surviving long-term guardian indicates they will not be able to fulfil their responsibility as the child's long-term guardian following their partner''s death.

4. Alternative care arrangements for the child

A long-term guardian is not able to give the care of the child to another person. In circumstances where this occurs:

  • the child’s parents could remove the child from the person selected by the long-term guardian, potentially placing the child at risk of harm
  • the person selected by the long-term guardian has no authority to have the daily care of the child, make any guardianship decisions or provide consents about guardianship decisions
  • Child Safety cannot, in any circumstance, pay allowances or child related costs to another person who is caring for the child instead of the long-term guardian.

In circumstances where a long-term guardian decides that they are no longer able or willing to meet their responsibilities as a long-term guardian, including the responsibility to provide daily care for the child, Child Safety will:

  • obtain and consider the child's views, prior to deciding the best way to proceed
  • review the case plan and explore all options available to the child
  • consider whether it is in the best interests of the child, to make a referral to DCPL for an application to vary the existing order and seek an order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive in its place.

If a person given the daily care of the child, or nominated to take over the daily care of the child, appears to be the most appropriate placement option to meet the child's emotional and physical needs and best interests, Child Safety will:

  • consult with OCFOS and, where there is agreement, recommend to OCFOS to make a referral to vary the existing order granting long-term guardianship to the suitable person, and seek an order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive in its place
  • invite the person to apply to become an approved carer for the child and, to ensure continuity for the child, facilitate the provisional approval of the carer applicant - refer to Chapter 8, 1. What if the applicant requires provisional approval?

Take actions where the child is no longer in the direct care of the long-term guardian

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 80A, requires the long-term guardian to advise the chief executive in writing when the child is no longer in their direct care and advise where the child is living, if known. Where the long-term guardian has advised that the child is no longer in their direct care:

  • contact the long-term guardian, if relevant, to confirm the child's current whereabouts and the circumstances contributing to the change
  • have direct contact with the child as soon as practicable after receiving the advice, to assess their immediate safety and well-being and determine whether a review of the case plan is required, where the child's address is known
  • review the child’s needs for safety, belonging and well-being, and take any actions considered appropriate (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80A)
  • assess whether the long-term guardian is prepared to resume direct care of the child and the child is prepared to return to the direct care of the long-term guardian, if the department provides a period of time-limited case work with a view to addressing factors contributing to the change - refer to the above section 'Respond to requests for support'
  • determine whether the fortnightly caring allowance for the child and other financial supports will cease - refer to the Fortnightly Caring Allowance and inter-state foster payments (PDF, File not found) and High Support Needs Allowance (PDF, File not found) policies
  • advise the long-term guardian that payments will cease if the child is not in their direct care, but that they can recommence, should the child return to the long-term guardians care
  • inform the long-term guardian of their responsibility to advise Centrelink of the conclusion of the child's care arrangement, if applicable
  • update the child's placement details in ICMS.

If the child's address is unknown, make reasonable attempts to locate them, by contacting:

  • the child's long-term guardian
  • the child's school or other educational facility
  • the child's parents, siblings or other family members
  • the child's friends
  • professionals or agencies currently or recently in contact with the child
  • Centrelink if considered appropriate in the circumstances. The child may also be reported to the police as a missing person.

For further information, refer to Chapter 2, 12. What if a child and family cannot be located?

After assessing the child's safety and well-being, Child Sfety may decide to intervene:

  • to assist the child and long-term guardian to resolve the issues contributing to the young person leaving and enable them to return to the long-term guardian's care
  • to review the appropriateness of the order to meet the child's ongoing care and protection needs.

In these circumstances, recommend to OCFOS a referral to DCPL to apply to the court to vary the long-term guardianship order and seek, in its place, an order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive.

Decision to vary the child protection order

Consider making a recommendation to OCFOS to make a referral to DCPL to vary the long-term guardianship order from a suitable person to the chief executive when:

  • the long-term guardian is no longer able and willing to be the child's long-term guardian and fulfil their obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 80
  • the long-term guardian is no longer able and willing to fulfil the guardianship responsibilities, but would like to continue caring for the child. In these circumstances, the long-term guardian can be assessed as a 'kinship carer' for the child and the child can remain in their care under a long-term guardianship order to the chief executive
  • the outcome of an investigation and assessment is 'Substantiated - ongoing intervention continues' and it is assessed that the child is at unacceptable risk of harm, and the long-term guardian is not willing to work with Child Safety to address the concerns.

In any of these circumstances, meet with the child, family and other significant people to review the existing case plan. A case plan review will be undertaken as outlined in Chapter 4. Case planning, with the exception that the family reunification and parental strengths and needs assessments do not require completion. Complete the child strengths and needs assessment, as outlined in Chapter 4, 5.7 Re-assess the child's strengths and needs.

During the court proceedings, the long-term guardian will continue to maintain guardianship rights and responsibilities for the child. The long-term guardian will be treated as a parent and afforded the same appeal rights. The long-term guardian will also be a respondent in the proceedings.

This does not negate the rights of a parent who will also have appeal rights and be a respondent in the proceedings.

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2. What if the child has a permanent guardian?

When the child has a permanent guardian, Child Safety is responsible for:

  • the provision of agreed financial supports, in additional to the foster care allowance, in exceptional circumstances.
  • recording a ‘Case plan – Permanent care order’ in ICMS as soon as practicable after the order is granted
  • completing a case plan review, where requested by the child or guardian
  • the provision of support, where requested and approved
  • the provision of agreed financial supports, in additional to the foster care allowance, in exceptional circumstances.

Family Contact

In circumstances where a child is subject to a permanent care order:

  • Child Safety has no legal authority to facilitate or monitor family contact arrangements
  • the permanent guardian assumes full responsibility for providing the opportunity for ongoing contact between the child and the child’s parents and appropriate members of the child’s family, as planned and agreed, unless otherwise ordered by the Childrens Court upon the making of the order.

Respond to requests for support

A child’s permanent guardian may contact Child Safety to request support by requesting a review of the child’s case plan. Details about support available to permanent guardians is outlined in the Support for children in the care of long-term guardians and permanent guardians policy.

High support needs allowance and complex support needs allowance

The high support needs allowance and complex support needs allowance may be provided, in exceptional circumstances only, to permanent guardians, where it is assessed that the child’s needs present a risk to the stability and suitability of the care arrangement. The payment can only occur for a time limited period that does not exceed six months. For further information, refer to the High Support Needs Allowance policy and the Complex Support Needs Allowance policy.

A permanent guardian may request a review of the child’s case plan, so as to seek additional financial support. The CSO will consult with the senior team leader or senior practitioner and arrange a meeting to discuss the guardians request and to make an assessment of the child’s current support needs and the support options available for the child.

The process of assessing the provision of the high or complex support needs allowance for a permanent guardian is the same as for any other carer or guardian.

Special payments (including Ex-gratia)

Permanent guardians are able to claim for a special payment (for example, if they have suffered a loss or property damage caused by a Child Safety client), subject to the Special Payments (including Ex-gratia) policy.

Transition from care to adulthood

A young person who has a permanent guardian:

  • can apply for the Commonwealth Government’s Transition to Independent Living (TILA) allowance
  • is eligible for transition from care case work support by Child Safety, only if they are no longer living with the permanent guardian.

For further information, refer to the Transitioning from care into adulthood and Child related costs - Long-term guardian support policies.

Referrals for intensive family support

When a permanent guardian seeks support and it is assessed that the required support is able to be provided by an intensive family support service (IFS) make a referral to IFS for the child by completing an online referral through the Family and Child Connect website.

Child support

Where the permanent guardian is a relative of the child, the guardian may be eligible for Child Support. For further information, contact the Child Support Agency on telephone 131 272 or refer to the Child Support Agency website.

Other issues associated with permanent guardians

1. Regulation of care

Permanent guardians are not required to hold a current blue card, or to have a certificate of approval as foster or kinship carers, unless they intend, or continue, to provide care to other children who are in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive.

Permanent guardians are not subject to the Responding to concerns about the standards of care policy for the child subject to the permanent care order, and any information or concerns received about a child will be responded to in accordance with the process for a child in the general community - refer to Chapter 1. Intake.

2. Separation or divorce of permanent guardians

Where permanent guardians have separated or divorced, both guardians continue to hold guardianship responsibility for the child subject to the order. As is the case for parents in the general community, the guardians will need to consider the child’s views and the circumstances of the separation or divorce, and negotiate future plans for the daily care and guardianship of the child.

Guardians who separate or divorce may, but are not obligated to, apply for orders from the family law court. If a guardian intends to apply, or applies, to a family law court, consult with Court Services, to consider and decide the level of Child Safety intervention in family law court proceedings - for further information, refer to Chapter 10.21 Family courts.

Where permanent guardians have been receiving the fortnightly caring allowance, only one person can continue to receive the allowance following the separation or divorce. In circumstances where the future daily care of the child is to be shared, the guardians will need to decide who will be paid the allowance. In this circumstance, the long-term guardian in receipt of the allowance may, but is not obligated to, pay part of the allowance to the other long-term guardian. Dual payment of carer allowances will not be paid in circumstances of shared care between guardians.

If a permanent guardian subsequently remarries or re-partners, there is no legal requirement for the new partner to be assessed or approved to provide care for the child. If, however, concerns arise regarding the permanent guardian or the new partner, Child Safety will respond to the information in accordance with Chapter 1. Intake.

3. Succession planning for the child

Permanent guardians may document details of a nominated person or persons who they wish to be considered as the child’s guardian in the event of the death of a sole long-term guardian or a long-term guardian couple. While this is not legally binding, by informing Child Safety or recording their wishes in a will, Child Safety is able, should this be required, to consider inviting the persons to apply to become an approved carer for the child.

In the event of the permanent guardian’s death, arrangements need to be made to seek an appropriate child protection order, as required, as guardianship will revert to the child’s parents.

In the event that a permanent guardian is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the permanent guardian or permanent guardians wish to secure a child’s legal status prior to the death of a permanent guardian, seek a legal consult with OCFOS with a view to making a referral for an application to vary the existing order granting permanent guardianship to the suitable person and seek an order granting permanent guardianship to the chief executive in its place. This may occur in the following circumstances:

  • where the terminally ill permanent guardian, or both permanent guardians state that they cannot continue to fulfil their role as permanent guardian during the course of the illness
  • where the surviving permanent guardian indicates they will not be able to fulfil their responsibility as the child’s permanent guardian following their partner’s death.

Alternative care arrangements for the child

A permanent care order does not enable the guardian to give the care of the child to another person. Child Safety cannot, in any circumstance, pay financial assistance to another person caring for the child instead of the guardian.

In circumstances where a permanent guardian decides that they are no longer able or willing to meet their responsibilities as a guardian, including the responsibility to provide daily care for the child, Child Safety will:

  • obtain and consider the child’s views, prior to deciding the best way to proceed
  • review the case plan and explore all options available to the child
  • consider whether it is in the best interests of the child to make a referral to DCPL for an application to vary the existing order and seek an order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive or another suitable person in its place.

If a person given the daily care of the child, or nominated to take over the daily care of the child, appears to be the most appropriate placement option to meet the child’s emotional and physical needs and best interests, Child Safety will:

  • consult with OCFOS and, where there is agreement, recommend to OCFOS to make a referral to vary the existing order granting long-term guardianship to the suitable person, and seek an order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive in its place
  • invite the person to apply to become an approved carer for the child and, to ensure continuity for the child, facilitate the provisional approval of the carer applicant - refer to Chapter 8, 1. What if the applicant requires provisional approval?

Take actions where the child is no longer in the direct care of the permanent guardian

The Child Protection Act 1999 requires the permanent guardian of a child to advise the chief executive in writing when the child is no longer in their direct care and advise where the child is living, if known. Where the guardian has advised that the child is no longer in their direct care:

  • contact the guardian to confirm the child’s current whereabouts and the circumstances contributing to the change
  • have direct contact with the child (where the child’s address is known) as soon as practicable after receiving the advice, to assess their immediate safety and wellbeing and determine whether a review of the case plan is required,
  • review the child’s needs for safety, belonging and wellbeing, and take any actions considered appropriate
  • assess whether the guardian is prepared to resume direct care of the child and the child is prepared to return to the direct care of the guardian
  • where the child is not returning to the care of the guardian, cease the fortnightly caring allowance and advise the guardian
  • inform the guardian of their responsibility to advise Centrelink of the conclusion of the child’s care arrangement, if applicable
  • update the child’s placement details in ICMS.

If the child’s address is unknown, make reasonable attempts to locate them, by contacting:

  • the child’s guardian
  • the child’s school or other educational facility
  • the child’s parents, siblings or other family members
  • the child’s friends
  • professionals or agencies currently or recently in contact with the child
  • Centrelink if considered appropriate in the circumstances. The child may also be reported to the police as a missing person.

For further information, refer to Chapter 2, 12. What if a child and family cannot be located?

After assessing the child’s safety and wellbeing, take action to:

  • assist the child and guardian to resolve the issues contributing to the young person leaving and enable them to return to the guardian’s care - this may involve a referral to an IFS service
  • review the appropriateness of the order to meet the child’s ongoing care and protection needs and consider a referral to DCPL to revoke the order and apply for another order in its place.

Referral to revoke the permanent care order

Consider making a referral to DCPL to revoke the permanent care order and make another order in its place when:

  • the guardian is no longer able and willing to be the child’s guardian and fulfil their obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999
  • the guardian is no longer able and willing to fulfil the guardianship responsibilities, but would like to continue caring for the child – in these circumstances, the consider making a referral to DCPL to apply for a long-term guardianship order to the chief executive and placing the child with the guardian as a foster or kinship carer
  • the outcome of an investigation and assessment is ‘Substantiated - ongoing intervention continues’ and it is assessed that the child is at unacceptable risk of harm, and the guardian is not willing to work with Child Safety to address the concerns.

In any of these circumstances, meet with the child, family and other significant people to review the existing case plan. For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, arrange for an independent person to help facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in decision making.

A case plan review will be undertaken as outlined in Chapter 4. Case planning, with the exception that the family reunification and parental strengths and needs assessments do not require completion. Complete the child strengths and needs assessment, as outlined in Chapter 4, 5.7 Re-assess the child’s strengths and needs.

During the court proceedings, the guardian will continue to maintain guardianship rights and responsibilities for the child. The guardian will be treated as a parent and afforded the same appeal rights. The permanent guardian will also be a respondent in the proceedings.

This does not negate the rights of a parent who will also have appeal rights and be a respondent in the proceedings.

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3. What if new child protection concerns are received?

New child protection concerns are defined as information not previously known that may pose a new or increased risk to the child’s safety. When new child protection concerns are received for a child during ongoing intervention, take action to ensure the child’s immediate safety. Where concerns about a child in care relate to the level of care being provided in their placement, refer to Chapter 9. Standards of care.

Concerns received by the CSO with case responsibility

When new concerns are received by the CSO with case responsibility, the CSO will: 

  • refer to the screening criteria to determine whether the concerns reach the threshold for a notification and consult with the senior team leader about the appropriate response
  • consider contacting the RIS for assistance in applying the screening criteria and advice regarding the response
  • determine whether the concerns meet the threshold for a new notification.

When the concerns do not reach the threshold for a notification, the CSO with case responsibility will record the concerns in a ‘Generic’ case note in ICMS using the title ‘OI - received concerns’ and:

  • include the rationale for the concerns not reaching the threshold for a notification
  • include details of consultation with the senior team leader and any other person that contributed to the decision
  • clearly document that the person providing the information is a notifier, so they are afforded protection in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 186
  • when the concerns relate to siblings, ensure the case note is a shared document and available in each child’s ongoing intervention event
  • ensure the concerns are addressed with the family, as outlined below.

When the concerns do reach the threshold for a notification, the CSO with case responsibility will:

  • complete the notification in accordance with intake policies, procedures and timeframes and submit it to the supervising senior team leader for approval - refer to Chapter 1. Intake.
  • consult and collaborate with the investigating CSO to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child is paramount throughout the investigation.

When there is an existing notification not yet finalised or an open investigation and assessment, record the information as additional notified concerns regardless of whether it meets the threshold for a notification.  Refer to Chapter 2, 6. What if Child Safety is contacted about additional concerns for a child or an unborn child?

Concerns received by the RIS or CSAHSC

When new concerns are received by the RIS or CSAHSC, the RIS or CSAHSC CSO will:

  • contact the CSO with case responsibility immediately to gather information and help decide the response, unless it is outside of business hours
  • record a notification where the concerns reach the threshold for a notification - refer to Chapter 1. Intake.

When the concerns do not reach the threshold for a notification the RIS or CSAHSC will record the concerns as a ‘Generic’ case note in ICMS using the title ‘OI - received concerns’ and:

  • include the rationale for the concerns not reaching the threshold for a notification
  • include details of consultation with the senior team leader and any other person that contributed to the decision
  • clearly document that the person providing the information is a notifier so they are afforded protection in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 186
  • when the concerns relate to siblings, ensure the case note is a shared document available in each child’s ongoing intervention event
  • notify the CSO and senior team leader with case responsibility immediately so they are aware of the concerns (if this has not occurred as part of the decision making process).

When there is an existing notification not yet finalised or an open investigation and assessment, record the information as additional notified concerns regardless of whether it meets the threshold for a notification. Notify the CSO with case responsibility of the information and a case note recorded in the ongoing intervention event - refer to Chapter 2, 6. What if Child Safety is contacted about additional concerns for a child or an unborn child?

Case work response

All new concerns that do not reach the threshold for a notification, must be addressed directly with the child and family as part of ongoing case work. Once the concerns have been addressed with the child and family, record the following in a case note:

  • the date when the concerns were discussed with the child and family and their response
  • the assessment and any resulting actions, including amendments to the child's case plan. Refer to Chapter 4, 5. Review and revise the case plan. 
  • the outcome of a new safety assessment, due to a change in circumstances.

Other matters

When the concerns relate to a child in the care of their long-term guardian or a permanent guardian, respond to these concerns in accordance with the process for a child in the general community - refer to Chapter 1. Intake.

Where the information involves allegations of harm to a child that may have involved the commission of a criminal offence relating to the child, immediately provide the information to the QPS (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2) and (3)) using the Police referral and attach the referral in ICMS. For further information refer to Chapter 10.2 Statutory obligation to notify the Queensland Police Service of possible criminal offences and the practice resource Schedule of criminal offences (PDF, 84 KB) (PDF).

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4. What if an ongoing intervention case needs to be transferred to another CSSC?

Case management responsibility for an ongoing intervention case will be held by the CSSC in the geographical area where the child and family normally reside. A case transfer between CSSCs may be required in the following circumstances:

  • the family of a child move, or plan to move to another geographical area
  • there is a plan to move a child in care to a placement in another geographical area
  • the approved carer of a child in care relocates to another geographical area, including a licensed care service or another entity (Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1))
  • a suitable person granted the long-term guardianship of a child moves, or plans to move, to another geographical area.

For information about exceptions to the case transfer principles and guidelines, refer to 'Exceptions to case transfers' outlined below.

Placement and transfer principles

The following principles are to guide decision-making, prior to the placement of a child and the transfer of a case:

  • the best interests of the child is the primary consideration, that is, what will best support the needs and well-being of the child - this consideration is paramount and takes priority over the location of the placement
  • children in care should be placed as close to family and supports as possible - any family placement must take into consideration whether there is an existing positive relationship between the proposed kinship carer and the child
  • the elements of the child placement principle and other considerations relating to decision making for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child – for further information refer to 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • placement and transfer will occur in a manner that prioritises the safety of the child and the provision of continuous and planned service delivery to the child, family or carer
  • any placement of a child must support the goal of the child's case plan
  • timely information sharing between CSSCs and Placement Services Units is vital to ensuring the above occurs. This includes circumstances when a child is to be placed with an approved carer in another geographical area, or reunified with a parent in another geographical area
  • all cases are to be transferred in the relevant timeframes - CSSCs are not to hold on to cases where they cannot regularly and adequately service the case.

Transfer guidelines

In addition to the principles, the following guidelines apply:

  • all case transfers will be planned with the family where possible, and negotiated with the new CSSC prior to the move or to the new placement occurring, to minimise unnecessary disruption to service delivery
  • where a family moves without the knowledge of the CSSC, a case transfer should be considered as soon as the new address becomes known
  • a child cannot be placed with an approved carer of another CSSC until that CSSC has been contacted and the CSSC manager has given permission to make the placement
  • where CSAHSC staff making placements after hours are not able to place a child within the child's own geographical location, they will advise the CSSC with case management responsibility and the CSSC where the child has been placed by the next business day, so that placement beyond this time can be negotiated
  • where a child is to be placed with a kinship carer in an area covered by another CSSC, the CSSC manager with case management responsibility for the child is responsible for the approval of the kinship carer, unless otherwise agreed between the CSSC managers - this must occur prior to the placement of the child in the other area
  • the child and family or carers are to be involved in the planning process for the transfer, where appropriate, and kept informed of the progress of the matter
  • transfer decisions are to take into account the placement and transfer principles and:
        • the planned length of the placement and whether the relocation is temporary or permanent
        • the planned length of the intervention (see exceptions below).

Exceptions to case transfers

The above principles and guidelines apply to case transfers, except in the following circumstances.

  • Short-term cases: When the original CSSC is within a reasonable distance and able to adequately service a case that is not likely to remain open for very long, they must advise the new CSSC that the family is in their area, but only transfer the case if circumstances change and the family requires ongoing involvement by Child Safety.
  • Temporary placements: When a temporary placement is made with a neighbouring CSSC due to a lack of placements in the originating CSSC area and the placement is within a reasonable distance, consideration must be given to maintaining case management with the originating CSSC to maintain stability in service provision.
  • Siblings placed with different carers in adjacent geographical areas: When a group of siblings is placed with approved kinship or foster carers who live in different geographical areas, but within close proximity, CSSC managers may agree it is in the best interests of the children for case management to remain with one CSSC for the duration of the arrangement, to maintain continuity and stability for all siblings.
  • Children placed in residential care services: When a child is placed in a grant funded residential care service placement, the case cannot be transferred, unless the child has remained in the residential placement for more than 12 months, both CSSC managers agree to the transfer and it is in keeping with the placement and transfer principles. When a child is placed in a residential within the region, the case is to remain with the original CSSC and negotiations are to be had with the CSSC where the residential is located, to undertake any required case work tasks, for example, visits to the child, if the residential is not within reasonable driving distance.
  • Admission to a hospital: When a child is admitted to a hospital in another location, but their family remains in the original geographical area, the case is not to be transferred. Case management will remain with the CSSC where the family or carer reside, and the CSSC in the area of the hospital will be required to undertake visits to the child, liaise with hospital staff and complete other case work task, in accordance with the child's case plan.
  • Boarding schools: When a child attends a boarding school, but their family remains in the original geographical area, the case is not to be transferred. Case management will remain with the CSSC where the family or carer reside, and the CSSC in the area of the boarding school will be required to undertake visits to the child, in accordance with the child's case plan.
  • Expiry of a child protection order: When a child is subject to a child protection order that is due for renewal within the transfer timeframes, negotiation should occur between CSSCs about the type of order required, but case management will remain with the original CSSC until the order has been finalised.
  • Transition from care: A support service case for a young person over the age of 18 who is transitioning from care, will not be transferred. However, the CSSC in the new area is to be provided with relevant information, so that they are able to respond to the young person, should the need arise.
  • Homeless or mobile young people: When it is not possible to determine a 'usual address' for a child because they are homeless or highly mobile, case management will not be transferred until there is some stability with the child's living arrangements, unless otherwise negotiated between CSSCs. Where a child is mobile and homeless in Brisbane or a larger centre, negotiations need to occur to ensure that the CSSC where the child is temporarily living undertake active case work tasks with the young person where they are at high risk.

Accept a case transfer

Before a case can be transferred, the CSSC in the new geographical area must accept the transfer, based on the case transfer principles and guidelines. There are three levels of acceptance that apply:

  • senior team leaders: may accept the case transfer for:
    • a child subject to a support service case (see exceptions below)
    • a child subject to an intervention with parental agreement case, including where the child is subject to child protection care agreement
    • a child subject to a protective supervision or directive child protection order
  • CSSC managers: must give approval for the placement of, and accept the transfer for, any child subject to a child protection order where the child is in a care placement
  • regional directors: must approve the financial cost for a placement of a child from another region where there is a transitional placement or grant funded residential placement, in accordance with their financial delegation, prior to acceptance of the case transfer.

Acceptance and approval of the transfer must be given in writing, prior to the placement of the child, and must include an agreement about the likely timeframe of any planned case transfer.

Timeframes for case transfers

The following timeframes apply to case transfers, both planned and unplanned:

  • within six weeks for:
    • support service cases
    • intervention with parental agreement, including a child subject to a child protection care agreement
    • child protection order cases where a child is not in care
  • after three months for:
    • a child subject to a child protection order and in care
    • a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person.

In all circumstances, the new CSSC is to begin the required case work tasks immediately following advice that the child is in their area and that the case is to be transferred. For a child in care, ensure that the new placement is stable prior to initiating the case transfer.

Unplanned relocation of a child who is not in care

When a child subject to ongoing intervention and not in care is relocated to another geographical area by their parents or family, the following actions are required (with the exception of a child subject to the long-term guardianship of a suitable person):

  • advise the senior team leader in the new area within 24 hours of becoming aware of the relocation, that the family has moved without the prior knowledge of the CSSC and that the case may need to be transferred to the new CSSC
  • negotiate how the review of the case plan or support plan will occur and who will be involved
  • advise what case work tasks the new CSSC will be required to undertake until the matter is reviewed and either closed, or transferred
  • proceed with the transfer process outlined below.

Responsibilities of the transferring CSSC

It is the responsibility of the transferring CSSC to:

  • commence discussions and negotiation between senior team leaders or CSSC managers as soon as possible about:
    • the case, including critical case issues, financial commitments and service needs
    • the plan to place the child in their area
    • the process for approving a foster or kinship carer applicant in the new area
    • timeframes for the transfer and responsibility for specific case work tasks required over the transfer period
  • contact the PSU in the region where the prospective kinship carer resides to request a foster or kinship assessment, where necessary
  • complete a review of the current case plan or support plan in conjunction with staff from the receiving CSSC, to ensure the revised case plan or support plan includes actions that have been discussed with and agreed to by the CSSC in the new area. This may occur in person or via a telelink or by phone discussion
  • have face-to-face contact with the child to prepare them for the transfer process
  • ensure all electronic case documentation in ICMS is completed and approved, prior to the transfer
  • complete a Case summary for transfer and attach to a case note screen on ICMS
  • request acceptance of the case transfer from the relevant person at the receiving CSSC
  • inform other agencies providing services to the child and family of the pending transfer
  • hold a joint case transfer meeting with the family and the receiving CSSC, where possible, to enable all parties to meet and to facilitate a smooth transfer of the case.

Case management responsibility for the case remains with the transferring CSSC until written acceptance (email or written correspondence) of the transfer has been received. The new CSSC is responsible for essential case work tasks until this occurs. Following this:

  • re-allocate open events in ICMS to the receiving CSSC, including outstanding 'event tasks' so that any partially completed forms are also transferred
  • send the paper files to the receiving CSSC.

Responsibilities of the receiving CSSC

The receiving CSSC is responsible for the actions outlined below:

  • participate in:
    • all discussions regarding the transfer process with the transferring CSSC
    • the review of the case plan or support plan, either in person or via a telelink or phone discussion, to ensure the case work requirements can be met by the new CSSC
  • allocate a CSO to the case and ensure contact with the child and family occurs within one week of their arrival to the area
  • undertake essential case work tasks prior to the transfer of the case and coordinate referrals to community agencies in the new area, where required
  • finalise the approval for any new foster or kinship carer applicant that resides in their area, and who will provide care for a child in care
  • provide written confirmation of the acceptance of the case to the CSSC manager or team leader from the transferring CSSC, once the transferring CSSC has completed and approved all electronic case documentation in ICMS, including a Case summary for transfer
  • participate in the joint case transfer meeting with the family and the transferring CSSC, where possible
  • provide confirmation that the child's paper case files have been received
  • update the case management screen in ICMS
  • contact the child and family to advise them that the transfer is complete, once all of the relevant documentation has been received
  • assume all responsibility, including financial responsibility, for the case.

Interim orders and appeals

A case for a child subject to an interim order or an appeal of a child protection order can be transferred, but only where both CSSC managers agree. When the receiving CSSC does not agree to the transfer, the case cannot be transferred.

Where the child has moved to a new geographical area but the case is yet to be transferred, a co-ordinated approach by both CSSCs is required to undertake specific tasks until the order is finalised and the case can be transferred. In the interim:

  • the CSSC with case responsibility will provide the CSSC in the area where the child resides with a case summary that includes the specific tasks to be undertaken as agreed to by the CSSC in the new area
  • the CSSC in the new area will:
    • allocate a CSO to the child immediately and sight the child within one week
    • undertake appropriate case work tasks, as negotiated with the original CSSC.

Where the case for a child subject to an interim order is transferred, the matters to be negotiated between OCFOS lawyers and team leaders on a case by case basis are outlined in the practice resource Transferring an ongoing intervention case (PDF, 49 KB).

Unplanned relocation of a child in care by an approved carer

The unexpected, unplanned relocation of a child who is in an a placement with an approved carer should be a rare occurrence.  Where it does occur, consideration needs to be given to the ongoing appropriateness of the placement and to recording a standard of care or harm report in relation to the approved carer’s actions, refer to Chapter 9. Standards of care.

This procedure does not apply to a child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person or a child subject to a permanent care order, as the child is not considered to reside in a care placement.

When a notification is recorded during the transfer process

If a new notification is recorded during a case transfer process, the CSSC where the family is residing is responsible for undertaking the investigation and assessment. In this circumstance, ongoing liaison between the two CSSCs will occur until the transfer process is completed.

Resolving disagreements

It is the responsibility of the CSSC managers to resolve any disagreement during the transfer process of ongoing intervention cases. Disagreements must be resolved within a two week period. Where CSSCs cannot reach an agreement in principle about a placement in another area, the matter should be referred to the appropriate directors to determine if the grounds for placement are sound and if the placement or transfer should proceed.

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5. What if assistance is required with social housing?

The Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) provides a range of housing services for Queenslanders, including children deemed to be in need of protection and their family or carer. A child in need of protection included in the Department of Housing and Public Works - interagency priority (PDF, 404 KB) Department of Housing and Public Works - interagency priority (DOCX, 45 KB) may be:

  • a child at risk of being removed from their family
  • an unborn child at risk of being removed from their family following birth
  • a child living with an approved foster or kinship carer but who is returning to live with their family
  • a child living with an approved foster or kinship carer
  • a young person aged up to 25 who is transitioning to adulthood or has transitioned to adulthood and who requires independent living.

Where support is required for housing services for a child, their family or carer; or for a young person who is transitioning to adulthood or has transitioned to independence:

  • discuss and inform the applicant of the referral process
  • complete ‘Part A - Referral to the Department of Housing and Public Works’ to request housing assistance for a child in need of protection.

Upon receipt of Part A - Referral to the Department of Housing and Public Works, the Housing Service Centre will:

  • check the referral has been completed and signed by the applicant and Child Safety
  • complete and forward Part B - Referral to the Department of Housing and Public Works to Child Safety within two business days of receiving the referral.

After receiving Part B - Referral to the Department of Housing and Public Works:

  • contact the Housing Service Centre to arrange a meeting to discuss the referral
  • involve the applicant and/or the young person whose housing need is being met
  • develop a Joint Action Plan with DHPW to determine what form of housing assistance is required and to ensure all parties understand their commitment
  • ensure the Joint Action Plan is signed by DHPW and Child Safety
  • place a signed copy of the action plan on the relevant client file.

Applicants who are aged up to 21 and living in care, who need to transition out of this arrangement to independent living are included in the Interagency Priority group. 

Note: Applicants who are aged 21 and over and living with carers who need to transition to independent living are not identified under the children in need of protection Interagency Priority group. These applicants are assessed based on their current circumstances and placed on the Housing Register in accordance with their level of housing need.

For further information refer to the practice resource - Department of Housing and Public Works - interagency priority (PDF, 404 KB) Department of Housing and Public Works - interagency priority (DOCX, 45 KB)

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6. What if a child is subject to ongoing intervention and youth justice intervention?

A child subject to ongoing intervention by Child Safety may also be subject to youth justice intervention (Youth Justice Services).

Where a child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship, the person who has been granted custody or guardianship meets the definition of parent, as outlined in the Youth Justice Act 1992 (PDF). This requires the person with custody or guardianship, to participate in youth justice matters, as would the child's usual parent.

Where a child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, the CSO with case responsibility is required to participate in all youth justice processes. The CSO will work collaboratively with the Youth Justice Services to deliver services to address the young person's protective needs and support change to new behaviours. Where the child is placed with a foster or kinship carer, the carer will also be invited to participate.

Where a child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to another person, that person, not the CSO, is required to participate in all youth justice processes for the child. The CSO must consult with the youth justice case worker to determine if their attendance is required to inform the court about supports to the child and their guardian to maintain the placement and address behaviours.

Unless the involvement of the parents would impact on the child's safety or well-being, encourage or facilitate the parents' involvement in youth justice processes. Where issues of safety or well-being arise, make decisions about the parents' attendance in consultation with the youth justice case worker. The youth justice case worker, however, is responsible for directly liaising with parents about all youth justice matters.

For a child subject to a permanent care order, the guardian, who has parental responsibility, is required to participate in all youth justice processes for the child.

Where a child is subject to an investigation and assessment and youth justice intervention, refer to Chapter 2, 16. What if a young person is subject to youth justice intervention?

Ensure service delivery coordination

For the period of time that a child is subject to both ongoing child protection and youth justice intervention:

  • inform the child and family of the legal obligation to liaise with Youth Justice, to ensure service delivery coordination and the sharing of information
  • obtain information from the youth justice case worker that will inform the child and parental strengths and needs assessments, if applicable to the type of ongoing intervention
  • involve the youth justice case worker and associated agencies, in the development and review of the case or support plan - where the youth justice case worker or a youth justice related service is unable to directly participate in the meeting, ensure that relevant information is shared, to inform the planning or review process
  • advise the youth justice case worker of the outcome of all case planning and reviews undertaken by Child Safety, including advice of a decision to:
    • reunify a child with parents
    • close an ongoing intervention case
  • provide information to the youth justice case worker about any critical incident or an alert recorded by Child Safety in relation to the child or family - refer to the Critical incident reporting policy and Chapter 1, 9. What if an alert needs to be recorded in ICMS? 
  • provide information about the child that may be relevant to, or impact on, the child's offending behaviour or ability to fulfil the requirements of their youth justice order or program, for example, hospitalisation may prevent the child from fulfilling the conditions of an order.

If the child requires a care placement, discuss the child's youth justice obligations and reporting requirements with the child, the parents and carers, including matters to be attended to by each party for the duration of the placement. Agreed responsibilities will be recorded:

For information about the role and responsibilities of parents and carers, refer to the practice resource Youth justice - an overview (PDF, 60 KB).

In addition, for a child subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive:

Note: Where a youth justice case worker directly participates in the development or review of the case plan or support plan for a child, and has responsibility for the implementation of certain components of the plan, provide the youth justice case worker with a written copy of the plan. A copy of the case plan or support plan should also be provided to a youth detention centre upon admission of a child subject to a child protection order.

Respond to a request by Youth Justice Services for information about a child

The child's youth justice case worker may contact the CSSC to:

  • provide information and documentation about the child
  • request information relating to the child, for example, the details of child protection history to inform youth justice court proceedings.

Where the information requested is considered relevant to coordinating service delivery or meeting the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs, provide the information in a manner consistent with the confidentiality requirements of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 186 and 187 and 188.

If there is uncertainty about whether the information should be provided verbally or in writing, consult with the senior team leader.

Participate in a youth justice conference

Where a child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, the CSO is required to participate in any youth justice conference for the child. Where a child is subject to a support service case, intervention with parental agreement or a directive or supervision order, participation in a youth justice conference may occur where considered necessary and appropriate by the youth justice conference convenor as negotiated with the senior team leader or CSSC manager.

Participate in youth justice reviews or meetings

Where a child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, the CSO is required to participate in:

  • the initial interview and final review held by Youth Justice Services, with a child, in relation to:
    • a probation or community service order
    • conditional bail
    • an intensive supervision order
    • a conditional release order
    • a supervised release order
  • at least one progress review a month, in relation to:
    • conditional bail
    • an intensive supervision order
    • a conditional release order.

Where the CSO is not able to attend any of the above meetings or reviews:

  • seek advice from the senior team leader or CSSC manager and make other appropriate arrangements, for example, another Child Safety officer already known to the child might be able to attend
  • advise the youth justice case worker of the person who will be attending on behalf of the CSO
  • provide relevant information to the youth justice case worker, prior to the meeting.

Record the inability to attend and the reason, including details of other arrangements made, as a case note in ICMS.

The participation of the CSO or senior team leader in additional progress reviews will be determined on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the senior team leader and, where possible, will be documented in Child Safety’s case plan. Where possible and appropriate to the child’s needs, the CSO may also attend warning meetings undertaken by Youth Justice Services with respect to the child’s non-compliance with a youth justice order.

Where a child is subject to a support service case, intervention with parental agreement or a directive or supervision order, it may be appropriate to participate in youth justice reviews for the child where:

  • it is considered appropriate, for example, where a support service case is specific to a young person who has transitioned from care
  • where requested by the child or family, or the youth justice case worker.

Attend youth justice court proceedings

Where the child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, the CSO will attend the court proceedings and undertake the responsibilities usually fulfilled by a child's parents, including:

  • transporting the child to and from court
  • supporting the child throughout the proceedings
  • participating in interviews with legal representatives and Youth Justice Services' staff, as required
  • providing information to the court as appropriate including accommodation options and therapeutic interventions
  • responding to questions of the court
  • ensuring that the child understands any court decisions and outcomes.

The CSOs attendance at youth justice court proceedings does not negate the legislative requirement under the Child Protection Act 1999, for the child's parents to participate in matters involving their child, to the extent possible and practicable in the circumstances.

The youth justice case worker retains responsibility for representing the chief executive in youth justice court proceedings.

Where the CSO is unable to attend youth justice court proceedings, the senior team leader or another Child Safety officer will attend the court proceedings. The person attending must have relevant information about the child, including:

  • the type of order the child is subject to under the Child Protection Act 1999, including who has custody and guardianship rights and responsibilities for the child
  • the child's placement details, if applicable
  • the child’s case plan including information on current supports offered to the child and level of engagement in these supports, and any current referrals made and waiting approval.

If the inability to attend youth justice court proceedings is due to geographical issues, explore with the local court the possibility of participating by teleconference.

Where a child is subject to a support service case, intervention with parental agreement or a directive or supervision order, the CSO is not required to attend youth justice court proceedings but must attend where:

  • requested by the Childrens Court
  • requested by the child or family, or the youth justice case worker.

Respond to advice that a child is being held in watch-house custody

Where a child subject to ongoing intervention is being held in watch-house custody, contact the youth justice case worker to negotiate a joint plan for phoning and where possible, visiting the child, for the duration of their detention in watch-house custody. Should the child’s current placement or circumstances impact on the child’s eligibility for bail, then Child Safety will offer, where possible, other alternatives and additional supports to increase the child’s opportunity for bail.

Participate in planning and review processes - child subject to a detention order or remanded in custody

Where the child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, the CSO is required to participate in youth justice planning and review processes and to maintain contact with the child, as outlined below. Contact with the child will occur by phone, and in person, where geographically possible.

Upon the child's admission to a detention centre, provide the detention centre with relevant information about the child. This will include, where applicable, information about:

  • the child's strengths and needs
  • family contact arrangements
  • contact details for persons of significance to the child
  • the child's education support plan
  • the child's health needs and outstanding matters requiring follow up
  • issues impacting, or likely to impact, the child's safety or well-being, or the safety of detention centre residents or staff.

While the child is in the detention centre:

  •  maintain contact with the child’s family and if applicable, the child’s carers 
  • arrange all visits with the child through the detention centre case worker and arrange regular visits or telephone contact, if geographically difficult to attend in person 
  • liaise with the detention centre case worker and the youth justice case worker to monitor the child’s progress 
  • attend youth justice court appearances for the child
  • attend to any issues as requested by detention centre staff or the youth justice case worker
  • participate in planning and preparations for the child’s transition from: 
    • detention
    • being a child in care, if applicable.

Prior to, and upon the release of the child from the detention centre:

  • determine whether there are outstanding medical appointments to be attended to
  • obtain relevant information about the child's future education or employment plans
  • ensure that the responsibilities agreed to by both Child Safety and Youth Justice Services are clear and will be actioned in a timely way
  • ensure that the child's basic needs will be or are attended to, for example, accommodation, contact with family or community and education or employment
  • make contact with the child to discuss arrangements for their release
  • consider whether the child's change in circumstances is such that a review of Child Safety's case plan is required - refer to Chapter 4. Case planning and where applicable, Chapter 5. Children in care.

Where a child is subject to a support service case, intervention with parental agreement or a directive or supervision order, the CSO will liaise with the youth justice case worker and the detention centre case worker, to ensure service delivery coordination and information exchange.

Visit or telephone a child in a detention centre

To arrange telephone calls or visits with a child in a detention centre, contact the detention centre case worker and negotiate an agreed plan and process.

When arranging any visit or telephone call, consider and, where necessary, inform the detention centre case worker of any matters to be discussed with the child during the visit or telephone call that may have a detrimental effect on the child's well-being or behaviour.

Obtain approval of costs, prior to Youth Justice submission to a court

Where a child is subject to ongoing intervention and the child's living arrangement is, or is likely to be, a component of conditional bail or a youth justice order, the program proposal and any associated costs to be met by Child Safety are to be endorsed by the appropriate financial delegate, prior to any submission being made to a court by the youth justice case worker.

In these circumstances, liaise with the youth justice case worker to:

  • provide advice that written approval of proposed costs is to be sought from Child Safety's financial delegate, prior to any submission being made to a court in relation to the youth justice matter
  • discuss planning programs, alternative care placements, if applicable, and support options for the child
  • negotiate proposed costs to be met, pending approval, by each of Child Safety and Youth Justice
  • document the proposed program, and proposed costs to be met, by each of Child Safety and Youth Justice.

Following these negotiations:

  • seek the appropriate financial delegate's approval of proposed costs to be met by Child Safety
  • urgently advise the youth justice case worker of the financial delegate's decision, to facilitate Youth Justice Services' timely completion of a submission to a court
  • comply with Child Safety's policy and procedure with regard to any proposed transitional placement and flexible funding for a child.

The approval of costs to be met by Child Safety, for the purpose of the child's conditional bail or youth justice order, only applies up to and including the child's next youth justice court appearance. Following the child's court appearance, continuations or extensions of existing programs and associated costs require re-negotiation and re-approval by the delegated Child Safety officer.

On rare occasions where a court orders that accommodation arrangements are to be part of conditional bail or a youth justice order, prior to the endorsement of proposed costs, the requirements of the order must be implemented until such time as the condition is otherwise ordered by the court as part of a sentence review.

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7. What if you require a child protection authority in another state or territory to provide case work assistance to a child placed interstate?

When a child is subject to a child protection order in Queensland and resides in another state, territory or New Zealand (jurisdiction), Child Safety may request the other state or territory to provide case work assistance to the placement.

The matter remains an open case in Queensland and case management and financial costs remain the responsibility of the CSSC, until such time as the order is officially transferred to the jurisdiction - refer to 7. What if a child protection order or proceedings are to be transferred to another jurisdiction?

To request the transfer of case work tasks:

  • complete the Interstate request for casework assistance template, giving particular attention to specifying the case work tasks required, as identified on the template - be realistic in what is being asked of the other jurisdiction, including the frequency of visits, as the interstate office may not be able to offer the same level of support to the placement as has been provided in Queensland
  • provide as much information as possible in section C of the template 
  • sign the completed form and obtain the senior team leader’s signature
  • attach appropriate supporting documentation, for example, medical or psychologist reports, school reports and the child's current case plan
  • email the request to ILO@communities.qld.gov.au

The ILO will advise the CSO as soon as advice is received that the other jurisdiction has agreed to the provision of case work assistance, and will advise the name and contact details of the child's new interstate case worker.

If a child is placed with a parent who resides in another jurisdiction, Child Safety may request that the other jurisdiction provides the child and family with case work support, to assist the reunification process. This request will be negotiated with the jurisdiction, initially through the ILO, and will generally be for a time-limited period.

Family contact

When a decision is made by the CSSC that a child is to visit kinship members in another jurisdiction for family contact or a holiday, refer to Chapter 5, 2.5 Facilitate and monitor family contact.

Reunification assessment request

If requesting an assessment for the purpose of reunifying a child subject to a Queensland child protection order, with a parent who resides in another jurisdiction, refer to Chapter 4, 6. What if a reunification assessment is required when parents live in another jurisdiction?

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8. What if a child protection order or proceedings are to be transferred to another jurisdiction?

When a child is subject to a child protection order or child protection proceedings in Queensland, Child Safety may request the transfer of the child protection order, short or long-term, or child protection proceedings, to another state, territory or New Zealand (jurisdiction). In relation to a child protection order, there are two types of transfers:

  • an administrative transfer, which may occur when all relevant parties consent to the transfer of the order (Child Protection Act 1999, section 209)
  • a judicial transfer, which may be sought when a parent refuses to consent to the administrative transfer of an order.

Administrative transfer of an order to another jurisdiction

Before requesting a transfer to another jurisdiction, the child protection order should be for the maximum period of time possible. This may necessitate a new application to the Childrens Court, to extend the child protection order, before any request for a transfer is made. Legal advice indicates that there may be difficulty in extending an order when the child is placed interstate and is not considered to remain ‘at risk’ in Queensland, for example, the parents have moved from Queensland. Consult with OCFOS to confirm a referral to the DCPL is legally possible before contacting the Queensland ILO to discuss the matter further.

Case management and financial costs remain the responsibility of the CSSC until such time as the order is officially transferred to the other jurisdiction, through registration of the transfer.

If there are high costs associated with the placement in Queensland, for example, child related costs – placement and support funding or high support needs allowance paid to the carers, the transfer of the order requires careful negotiation between the ILO and the child protection agency in the other jurisdiction. This will include negotiations about the provision of the relevant documentation that will be provided as part of the transfer request. While there is potential for negotiation, the other jurisdiction may refuse to accept transfer of the order on the basis of the very high costs involved.

To request an administrative transfer of a Queensland child protection order to another jurisdiction, refer to the Transfer summary sheet - administrative transfer from Queensland to all states and New Zealand and:

  • contact the ILO at Court Services to discuss the process of transferring the order to another jurisdiction - custody orders cannot be transferred to Western Australia, Northern Territory or New South Wales and supervision and directive orders cannot be transferred to Western Australia, and in some cases to New Zealand
  • meet with the family to discuss the decision to proceed with an administrative transfer of the order, the rationale for the decision and the terms and effect of the proposed interstate order - this meeting may occur as a family group meeting or a case plan review
  • request a copy of the 'Request for Interstate Transfer of Child Protection Order' form and 'Consents for Interstate Transfer' form from the ILO
  • under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 209(1), obtain the written consents of:
    • the child, if the child is 12 years of age or over
    • the child's parents
    • the child's carers, if the child has moved to the interstate jurisdiction at the same time as the carers
  • record the consents on the 'Consents for Interstate Transfer' form, which must be signed by the CSSC manager - there is no requirement to record all consents on one form
  • complete the 'Request for Interstate Transfer of Child Protection Order' form and have the request signed by the CSSC manager.

If the child's parents cannot be contacted or their whereabouts ascertained, attach a record of the attempts made to gain their written consent to the transfer.

When all forms are completed and where appropriate, signed, scan the documentation to the Queensland ILO at ILO@communities.qld.gov.au, with a copy of the child protection order and a copy of the child’s birth certificate. New Zealand requires two certified copies of the child protection order and two copies of the required consents, mailed to the ILOs, while the material for a transfer to South Australia should also be mailed to the ILO.

The Queensland ILO will advise the CSSC manager when advice of consent to the transfer has been received from the interstate jurisdiction and will provide the CSSC manager with a letter which must be sent within three business days to all parties whose consent is required for the transfer. This letter advises the consenting parties of their appeal rights.

If an appeal to the transfer has not been lodged by any party within the 28 day appeal period, the ILO will send an ‘Administration transfer of child protection order from Queensland’ form to the CSSC manager to sign and return by mail to the Queensland ILO, who will forward it to the interstate jurisdiction ILO for registration in the appropriate interstate court.

Following advice from the Queensland ILO, that the order has been registered in the court of the interstate jurisdiction the CSSC:

  • prepare a photocopy of all relevant file material, including a print-out of the electronic file, and send to the manager of the interstate office in the accepting jurisdiction - the original file will be kept by the CSSC and will not be forwarded to the other jurisdiction. The ILO will advise the appropriate interstate address
  • cease carer payments as advised by the ILO
  • complete the administrative requirements for concluding the placement - refer to Chapter 5, 4.1 Conclude the child's placement in care
  • close the case management record and update the order details for the child in ICMS.

Note: Payments to a foster or kinship carer are to be made up to and including the day before the date of transfer (date of registration of the order), unless otherwise advised by the ILO.

Judicial transfer of an order to another jurisdiction

The judicial transfer of a child protection order occurs only rarely, and may be sought when parents refuse to consent to the administrative transfer of a child protection order. An application to the Childrens Court is required for an order to be transferred, and is similar to applying for a child protection order in Queensland.

Due to the complexity of judicial transfers, the transfer of the child protection order must not be commenced until consultation has occurred with the Queensland ILO.

If following consultation with the ILO, a decision is made to proceed with a judicial transfer, the ILO will provide the CSSC with procedural information for completing the transfer process.

Transfer of child protection proceedings

Requesting the transfer of Queensland child protection order proceedings to another jurisdiction, will only occur after consultation with the Queensland ILO, and OCFOS and should not be viewed as a substitute for seeking or continuing with an application for a Queensland order. The transfer of proceedings is a complex matter, subject to the complete agreement and ongoing co-operation of the 'receiving' jurisdiction throughout the transfer process, within a 28 day timeframe for the child to be moved interstate.

The ILO will provide advice in relation to the viability of the request, especially in relation to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 229, which outlines the grounds on which such a transfer may take place.

If following consultation with the ILO, a decision is made to proceed with the transfer of child protection proceedings, the ILO will provide the CSSC with procedural information and appropriate forms for completing the transfer process.

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9. What if a matter needs to be referred to the SCAN team system?

During ongoing intervention, it may be appropriate to make a referral to the SCAN team, when a coordinated multi-agency response is required to effectively assess and respond to the needs of the child to ensure their safety, belonging and wellbeing. A referral to a SCAN team may also be made by a core member agency representative. Referrals must meet the mandatory referral criteria.

For further information, refer to the Information Coordination Meetings (ICM) and the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Team System Manual.

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10. What if immediate custody is required for a child in need of protection - use of a TCO?

Under the Child Protection Act 1999, sections 51AA-51AM, a TCO may be applied for when a child is assessed as being in need of protection and is at unacceptable risk of immediate harm.

The purpose of a TCO is to authorise the action necessary to ensure the immediate safety of a child while Child Safety or the DCPL decide the most appropriate action to meet the child’s ongoing safety, belonging and wellbeing needs and to start taking that action.

A TCO is an order sought from a magistrate, not a court, to authorise any of the following actions:

  • have contact with a child
  • take a child into, or keep the child in, the custody of the chief executive while the order is in force
  • authorise medical examination or treatment – for further information, refer to Chapter 2, 9. What if a child needs a medical examination?
  • direct a parent about contact with the child
  • enter a residence or premises and search for a child
  • remain in the place for as long as necessary
  • exercise powers using the force that is reasonable in the circumstances.

Apply for a TCO   

An authorised officer or OCFOS lawyer may apply for a TCO for at any time to ensure the immediate safety of a child while a decision is made about the most appropriate action to meet the child’s ongoing safety, belonging and wellbeing needs. This includes circumstances where a referral has been made to the DCPL for an application for a child protection order and a decision is pending as to what action will be taken.

The magistrate may decide the application for a TCO without notifying the child’s parents of the application or hearing them on the application.

It is not desirable to apply for a TCO when there are existing child protection proceedings. The new information relating to the concerns should, where possible, be presented to the same magistrate for their consideration.

If an interim child protection order is in place and new child protection concerns are received that indicate a child is at unacceptable risk of immediate harm, ask the OCFOS lawyer to organise an urgent case consult with the DCPL to discuss:

  • whether the matter can be urgently listed for consideration
  • presenting the new information before the same magistrate hearing the substantive child protection proceedings
  • whether the interim order should be amended.

An after-hours application should be made to ensure the safety of a child, where needed, if concerns for the immediate safety of a child are received after business hours.

When preparing an application for a TCO, the nature of the concerns and the rationale for seeking specific provisions under that order need to be clearly articulated.

An authorised officer or OCFOS lawyer may apply for a TCO for a child removed under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 18.

To apply for a TCO:

  • consult with OCFOS
  • OCFOS will complete a draft ‘Form 39 - Application for a temporary custody order’, however if necessary due to time constraints, draft the Form 39 for OCFOS to settle/finalise and complete a draft order in ICMS.
  • check these documents thoroughly including the timing of the order
  • OCFOS will make a time to appear on Child Safety’s behalf before the magistrate, including in after-hours situations
  • afterwards, collaborate with OCFOS to prepare a referral to the DCPL.

If a referral has already been made to the DCPL and new immediate safety concerns are received while DCPL is still deciding whether to make an application for a child protection order, an authorised officer or OCFOS lawyer can make an application for a TCO. The application should be discussed with the OCFOS lawyer and if possible the DCPL prior to it being made.

Note:

  • The application must advise the magistrate what actions were taken in relation to the child during any period of custody of the child.
  • The magistrate must be satisfied the child will be at unacceptable risk of suffering harm for the duration of the TCO if the order is not made, and that Child Safety will be able (within the term of the TCO) to decide the most appropriate action to meet the child’s ongoing needs for safety, belonging and wellbeing and start taking that action.

When a TCO is granted by a magistrate:

  • finalise the ‘Form 39 - Application for a temporary custody order’ in ICMSrecord the order details in the ‘Form 39 - Temporary custody order outcome form’  in ICMS
  • tell the child about the order, where age and developmentally appropriateensure the child, where age and developmentally appropriate, understands the reasons why they have been removed from the home and placed in care
  • make reasonable attempts to contact at least one of the parents and record the nature of the contact or details of the attempts to make contact
  • provide a copy of the order to at least one of the child’s parents
  • explain to the child and the parents the reasons for, and the effect of, taking the TCO
  • inform the parents about the right of appeal and because of the duration of the order, that if they wish to appeal, they must take immediate action to lodge the appeal
  • consult with OCFOS about the most appropriate course of action to meet the child’s ongoing safety, wellbeing and belonging needs.

When considering a TCO for a child subject to long-term guardianship to a suitable person, the long-term guardian will have the same rights as a parent. Contact at least one of the long-term guardians to provide them with a copy of the order, explain the terms and effect of the order and inform them of the right to appeal.

Effect of a TCO on existing child protection orders

Under the Child Protection Act, 1999, section 51AM, the child protection order, as it relates to the child’s custody or guardianship, ceases to have effect while the chief executive’s custody continues under the TCO.

Duration of the TCO

A TCO cannot remain in effect for longer than three business days, from midnight on the date it was decided. For example, a TCO decided on Tuesday will end at midnight on Friday. The provisions of a TCO cannot be exercised once the order has ended.

A TCO can be extended once only, to the end of the next business day if the magistrate is satisfied the order has not ended and the DCPL intends to apply for a child protection order during the period of extension. This allows the application for a child protection order to be lodged with the court during business hours. The application for a child protection order must be lodged before the court closes on the day the TCO expires. OCFOS will complete the application for the TCO extension in the same event in ICMS as the initial application. It is necessary to provide a copy of the email confirmation that the DCPL intends to apply for a child protection order.

Alternatively, a TCO granted for a period of either one or two days may be extended for a maximum of either two days or one day, respectively.

Under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 99, the TCO will continue until the application for a child protection order is decided.

Assessing safety prior to returning a child to the care of the parents

When a child has been placed in care subject to a TCO, consider all of the available information and complete a safety assessment prior to returning the child to the care of the parents. For further information, refer to Chapter 2, 2.6 Complete the safety assessment.

If the child is considered to be ‘unsafe’, determine the appropriate placement intervention that will ensure the child’s safety and where applicable, lodge an application for a child protection order, before the TCO expires.

When a child has a long-term guardian, and has been placed with a carer whilst subject to a TCO, consider all of the available information and complete a safety assessment prior to returning the child to the care of the long-term guardian. If the child is considered to be ‘unsafe’, determine the most appropriate placement intervention that will ensure the child’s safety, before the TCO expires.

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11. What if there is a change in the individuals residing in the family home?

Due to the possible impacts on child protection concerns and the resulting case plan, inform the parents, when developing or reviewing the case plan, that Child Safety must be notified when:

  • the parent commences a new relationship and their partner will be having regular contact with the child or is intending to take up residence in the family home
  • the parents' relationship ends and one of the parents takes up residence at a separate address
  • an adult is intending to or has taken up residence in the family home - for example, a member of the extended family, a family friend or a boarder
  • another child or young person is intending to or has taken up residence in the family home - for example, a member of the extended family, the child of a family friend, one of the children's friends or a boarder.

Following notification by a parent of a change in the membership of the family household:

  • complete child protection history checks on the new household member
  • complete a further safety assessment
  • review and modify the case plan, as required 
  • give consideration to completing criminal and domestic violence history checks on the new household member.

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12. What if obvious or blatant breaches of pool fencing requirements are noticed?

If during ongoing intervention with a family, obvious or blatant breaches of pool fencing requirements are noticed, for example, broken fencing or gates, or unfenced access points, discuss the associated safety risks and water safety strategies with the parents.

Following the discussion with the parents, contact the relevant local council to report the safety concerns. Staff can only provide the property address and the nature of the issue relating to the pool fence to the relevant local council. Staff cannot provide identifying family details.

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