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1.2.4 Income management for child protection

Last Modified: 28-Jun-2018 Review Date: 03-Jan-2017

Purpose

To guide Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support division child protection workers in referral and review processes relating to the Child Protection Income Management (CPIM) and Voluntary Income Management (VIM) measures.

 

Income Management areas in WA (as at 11/04/16)

 

CPIM and VIM Income Management measures are available in the metropolitan districts, Peel, East Kimberley and West Kimberley districts, except in Kununurra or Wyndham during the Cashless Debit trial in these two areas.

 

 

 

Practice Requirements

  • The decision to place a client on CPIM must be based on the referral criteria for CPIM (refer to Procedures) and endorsed by the team leader.
  • Child protection workers must consider CPIM or VIM in circumstances where the parent’s use of the financial resources contributes to child neglect.
  • The child protection worker must inform the client about the reasons for being placed on CPIM, the duration on CPIM, and the process for seeking a review of our decision.
  • If, as part of the case plan involving CPIM, the case is to be closed but the client remains on CPIM, then the case manager must inform:
    • the client, and
    • the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Income Management Contact Officer (IMCO), advising them to contact our duty officer for future contact/review.
  • A final review must occur with the DHS prior to the end date period on CPIM (with either the child protection worker if the case is open, or the duty officer if the case is closed. CPIM will generally end at the due date unless further contacts while the case was closed warrant extending the period).
  • Recording: Client income management details must be entered into the case plan.

Procedures

  • Overview of CPIM
  • Referrals to CPIM
  • Voluntary Income Management (VIM)
  • Commencing CPIM
  • Case closed, CPIM continues: duty officer nominated as our contact point
  • End-date reviews with DHS (Centrelink)
  • Ceasing, Extending and Transferring CPIM
  • Client seeks review of CPIM decision
  • Overview of CPIM

    CPIM is a compulsory form of income management which aims to assist a parent/person with parental responsibility meet their child’s basic needs, or assist a young person meet their needs by:

    • guaranteeing income managed funds are spent on necessities such as food, housing, utilities, clothing and medical care, and
    • limiting access to discretionary cash that may be used to support negative behaviours such as substance misuse and gambling. 

    Only individuals in receipt of an eligible income support payment can be placed on CPIM, for a period of three to 12 months. 

    For the duration of CPIM, 70 per cent of the individual’s fortnightly payments, and any advances and lump sum payments are placed on a BasicsCard and can only be spent on essential priority items. Income managed funds cannot be spent on alcohol, home-brew kits, tobacco, pornography or gambling products or services. There is no restriction on the way the remaining 30 per cent of the individual’s payment is spent. 

    Child protection workers should refer to the following web pages for further information:

    DHS (Centrelink) Income Management Contact Officers (IMCO):

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    Referrals to CPIM

    Child neglect cases

    Individuals can be referred to CPIM after the completion of a safety and wellbeing assessment (SWA) if:
     
    • We have assessed that child neglect is occurring (significant harm does not need to be substantiated, but there should at least be wellbeing concerns likely to place the child at risk of significant harm in the future if joint work is not undertaken with the family)
    • CPIM is likely to be in the best interests of the child
    • The parents, or person with parental responsibilities, or individual’s use of available financial resources is contributing to the neglect, and 
    • CPIM is likely to improve the parent’s use of available financial resources.

    Refer to Chapter 2.2: Neglect for factors to consider when assessing neglect.

    CPIM can also be considered for an individual or other family members (who receive an eligible income support payment) staying in the home of a parent, carer or individual on CPIM, where their use of financial resources:

    • contributes to the parent/carer neglecting their child/children, and/or
    • undermines the safety goals for the child/family on CPIM.

    The child protection worker should explain to the individual how CPIM contributes to the overall safety plan for the child and be given the opportunity to support this part of the plan. However, if their use of financial resources continues to impact negatively on the family, then CPIM can be applied to that individual (for a minimum period of three months) while he or she lives in the house. To record this in Assist, add the individual to the ‘Family Group’, as ‘an associate member’ and document the reasons for the referral.   

    CPIM must cease if the individual leaves the house earlier than the end date. 

    Concerns for an unborn child

    A pregnant woman, or the father of the unborn child, can be referred for CPIM where Communities has assessed that:

    • the pregnant woman’s current use of available financial resources is likely to result in the child being at risk of significant harm due to neglect when born, and/or
    • the father’s use of available financial resources is contributing to the likelihood that the child will be at risk of significant harm due to neglect when born.

    Multiple presentations for financial assistance

    When an individual or family presents on multiple occasions for financial assistance within a short period of time, consideration should be given to referring them to CPIM or VIM, to assist them in managing their income support payment to meet their priority needs.  

    At-risk young people

    A child protection worker providing support to an at-risk young person should consider CPIM as a strategy to assist them to manage their income support payment.

    Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities.

    Reunification cases

    All of the following criteria must be present to refer an individual to CPIM:

    1. reunification is part of the child's current case plan
    2. the parent’s (or person with parental responsibilities) current use of available financial resources is a barrier to reunification as it is likely to result in the neglect of the child
    3. CPIM is likely to improve the parent’s (or person with parental responsibilities) use of available financial resources to meet the needs of the child, and
    4. managing the income is also in the best interests of any children currently in the parent’s (or person with parental responsibilities) care.

    Vulnerable young people in the CEO's care

    As part of leaving care planning, a young person receiving an eligible income support payment can be referred to CPIM (or encouraged to accept a referral or self-refer for VIM) to assist them to save for, and live independently.

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    Voluntary Income Management (VIM)

    Any individual in receipt of an eligible income support payment, living in a district where income management is available, can contact DHS directly to be placed on VIM. Fifty percent of their regular fortnightly payments, and any advances and lump sum payments are allocated to the BasicsCard to buy priority items. There is no restriction on the way the remaining 50 percent of the payment is spent. DHS provides the same level of assistance to the individual on VIM as they do to an individual on CPIM. 

    Individuals must remain on VIM for a period of 13 weeks, after this they can exit at any time.

    Where appropriate, child protection workers should discuss VIM with their clients, explaining how this measure could assist them in managing their budgeting and finances, and/or improving the wellbeing of their children and themselves.

    VIM with client consent to exchange information

    If VIM is part of the case plan, or if the individual wants the child protection worker to be informed about them being on VIM, the client can sign a Consent to Release Information, Voluntary Income Management form - this allows the exchange of the following information between Child Protection and Family Support division and DHS:

    • the VIM commencement date
    • the VIM cease date, and
    • when the client withdraws consent to release the information. 

    Child protection workers can make enquiries about these three matters through the DHS Income Management Contact Officer (IMCO) in their area. The signed consent form should be emailed to the relevant IMCO (see above).

    For directions on how to refer a client to VIM with consent, refer to UGG Taskcard 6 – Referring a client for Voluntary Income Management (in related resources).

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    Commencing CPIM

    Child Protection and Family Support division's role

    To refer a client to CPIM, the child protection worker must:

    • record details in the case plan (and submit it for team leader approval)  
    • inform the client in person of the reasons for placing them on CPIM, the duration and their avenue of review. Give or send them the completed Notification of decision to be placed on income management notification letter, and 
    • provide client details to DHS via the Unified Government Gateway (UGG). Each district office has staff members who have a user ID and password for logging on to http://www.humanservices.gov.au/business/ and entering the details into: 
      • UGG Taskcard 2 Disclosure of Information to clarify whether the client is in receipt of an eligible income payment, and
      • UGG Taskcard 3 Send a notice for commencement of income management to record the period for income management and rank the priority needs of the client (for example, adequate accommodation for children, food, utilities, clothing, treatment for medical needs, educational needs.)

    To obtain an UGG password to make these referrals, Department staff can complete and sign the form: UGG Security, Privacy and Confidential Undertaking (DHS) (in related resources), and email it to helpdesk.ccs@humanservices.gov.au.  Alternatively, ring.  

    Once a client is on CPIM, the child protection worker can also:

    • view the client’s current allocation details to registered third party organisations (UGG TaskCard 5), and
    • check daily reports for information, such as clients being switched on/off CPIM and changes in their circumstances (UGG Task Card 7).

    Child protection workers should continue to monitor the impact of CPIM on the child and family, and respond to DHS IMCO’s end-date reviews. 

    Child protection workers should also contact the DHS IMCO when changes in the individual’s circumstances impact on CPIM (for example, a change of address). No specific form is required.

    Department of Human Services’ role

    DHS will conduct an initial ‘allocation’ interview with the client after receiving a referral notice from Communities to:   

    • explain how income management works and the client's obligations under CPIM and rank the client's priority needs
    • allocate thier income managed funds to meet these needs and issue a BasicsCard to the client,and
    • offer the client a referral to a financial management service.

    The DHS IMCO may occasionally contact the child protection worker to notify of changes to the client’s situation.

    Placing a case on the Monitored List

    Cases involving CPIM can be placed on the Monitored List where the case requires periodic review and there are workload issues. 

    Where we are not providing any services other than the referral to CPIM, then the case should be closed (see below).

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    Case closed, CPIM continues: duty officer nominated as our contact point

    Where the case is to be closed (that is, there is sufficient safety for the child and no further review or active role for us) but the case plan recommends that the individual remain on CPIM until the designated end date (where, for example, CPIM is having positive effects on the child and the family needs to establish or maintain ongoing stability), then child protection workers must:

    • Provide this information to the client, explaining how CPIM is working well, the benefits of continuing on CPIM and, where possible, reaching a consensus about staying on CPIM until the prescribed end-date. Ultimately the child protection worker makes the determination 
    • Record in the case plan: 
      • the rationale for the client remaining on CPIM to end date
      • the effects CPIM has had on the family to date, and
      • that the DHS IMCO will contact the duty officer for future review (one month prior to cease date on CPIM), and 
    • Inform the DHS IMCO about the client’s progress on CPIM to date (case closure review)
      • that the case is to be closed, and
      • that the DHS IMCO should contact the Communities duty officer for planned reviews or to raise any concerns.

    Duty Officer

    When contacted by DHS for a CPIM review, duty officers must check the case plan and Objective for information about our involvement with the individual on CPIM, including information in case closure notes and any recent duty interactions. 

    Where we have not received any further concerns or information, the duty officer should advise DHS that CPIM should continue to the end date as planned, and 

    Where there have been some recent duty interactions and these indicate the need to extend or change CPIM, the duty officer should follow the current duty and intake process, including carrying out a SWA (if appropriate). Duty officers should determine whether CPIM should be extended or ceased before the end date, and advise DHS of the decision.

    If the individual objects to CPIM, he or she can contact us to seek a review of the decision (see below).

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    End-date reviews with DHS (Centrelink)

    The DHS IMCO will contact the case manager to review each individual on CPIM one month prior to the end-date, to confirm whether CPIM will cease or be extended.

    DHS should speak with the case manager where the case is open or has been placed on the Monitored List or with the duty officer if the case has been closed (see above) or where case management has changed, (for example the case has passed to the parent support team), the current case manager should perform the review (and where necessary, seek the views of the child protection worker who referred the client to CPIM).

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    Ceasing, Extending and Transferring CPIM

    Ceasing CPIM

    CPIM will cease:

    • automatically on the nominated end date unless a new notice is lodged to extend, or 
    • if Child Protection and Family Support division revokes it. This decision may be taken for various reasons, for example, the neglect or financial issues have been addressed, or the client is moving to a region where CPIM is not available and, after consultation with DHS, CPIM cannot continue.

    To cease (revoke) CPIM before the end date, the child protection workers must:

    • inform the client   
    • complete and lodge a revocation form with DHS  (separate form for each parent). Refer to UGG TaskCard 4 Revoke Income Management (in related resources)
    • close the 'issue' related to CPIM.

    Extending CPIM

    To extend CPIM, child protection workers should:

    • inform the client of the intention and reasons to extend, and send them a new notification letter
    • lodge a new notice to DHS (for each individual) via UGG prior to the current end date, and
    • record the rationale for the extension in the section of the open case plan.

    Transferring a CPIM case to district where CPIM is not available

    Where a family on CPIM intends to relocate to a district where income management is not available, that is Southwest, Great Southern, Goldfields, Wheatbelt, Murchison and Pilbara districts, consideration should be given to ceasing CPIM or VIM prior to case transfer.

    If the preferred option is for the individual to stay on CPIM, the child protection worker can discuss with the DHS IMCO whether arrangements can be made for the client to access their money at the new location.  If so, we should advise the IMCO in writing of the change in circumstances and contact details of the new case manager.

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    Client seeks review of CPIM decision

    • Individuals subject to CPIM have the right to seek a review of the decision to refer them to CPIM, the length of time placed on CPIM, and/or extension of the duration of CPIM. Refer to Review of Decision Processes for Income Management for Child Neglect (in related resources).
    • Our review of CPIM decisions are separate to, and are not part of the Complaints Handling and Resolution Module (CHARM). 
    • DHS deals with appeals and reviews in relation to the determination of eligibility and the application of income management under s.123UC of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (Commonwealth).
    • The CPIM review processes relate to a review of the original decision, which can be overturned or affirmed. 
    • Participation in CPIM continues, pending the outcome of the review or until Communities revokes its notice to DHS.
    • Copies of any letters given to parents regarding the outcomes of reviews must be placed on Objective. 
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