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3.2.5 Identification of children

Last Modified: 29-Jun-2018 Review Date: 01-Apr-2017

Purpose

To guide child protection workers regarding the identification of children in the CEO’s care, or any person who has previously been in the CEO’s care.

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

Practice Requirements

 
  • Children in the CEO's care should not be excluded from beneficial social experiences associated with photographing, video recording and other published media. This includes, for example, school photographs and sports club articles.
  • Child protection workers must not publish information or material that identifies, or is likely to lead to the identification of a person who is, or was, the subject of an investigation, a protection application or a protection order under the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act) or previous legislation, unless written authorisation for publication of the information or material has been obtained from the:
    • Director General
    • Assistant Director General Service Delivery Metropolitan Communities
    • Assistant Director General Service Delivery Regional and Remote Communities.
  • If the person concerned is 18 years of age or older, he or she must provide written authorisation, or if we cannot locate them after reasonable inquiries, the Director General or relevant Assistant Director General may authorise publication.
  • Consideration must be given to what is in the child’s best interests and any adverse consequences which may result through the publishing of information (for example, safety concerns for the child should their whereabouts become known). Consultation must occur with the team leader before seeking authority to allow publication.
  • Child protection workers must discuss with carers the legal requirement not to identify a child as being a child in the CEO's care.
  • If a child protection worker becomes aware of the publication of any information that identifies a child as being a child in the CEO's care, inadvertently or otherwise, they must report this incident to the district director immediately.
  • Depending on the circumstances of the case, child protection workers must also seek the consent of the child or child’s family.

 

Process Maps

Not applicable

Procedures

  • Definitions
  • Overview
  • Privacy and social networking
  • Permissible photographing, video recording and other published media
  • Approval to publish the identity of a child in the CEO's care
  • Storage of published media
  • Definitions

    ‘Publish’: to bring to the notice of the public or a section of the public by means of newspaper, photographs, television, radio, the internet or any other form of communication media.

    ‘Social Networking’: to communicate and share information between two or more individuals on an online community. Some well-known social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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    Overview

    Under section 237 of the Act, a person must not publish information that identifies, or may lead to the identification of a child as being a child in the CEO's care, except under the express permission of the Director General who can approve such publishing if it is in the child’s best interests.

    Child protection workers must check that carers are aware of their responsibilities in relation to identifying a child in the CEO's care. Further information is available in Information Sheet - Confidentiality (in related resources). 

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    Privacy and social networking

    Social networking websites and mobile phones have become popular tools for children to socialise and share information. Children in the CEO's care are a vulnerable group whose personal information should be safeguarded to prevent exposure to bullying, stalking or disclosure of their location.

    Children in the CEO's care should be made aware of the importance of keeping their personal details private when they are using social networking sites or using mobile phones.  This includes identifying:  

    • themself as a child in the CEO's care 
    • the foster carer 
    • the child’s full name  
    • any relevant addresses 
    • any relevant telephone numbers, and
    • what school or groups the child attends (such as a sporting club)

    Please refer to the Cyber Safety (in related resources) and Department of Communities' internet resources on cyber safety.

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    Permissible photographing, video recording and other published media

    Child protection workers can allow a child in the CEO's care to be photographed, video recorded, or included in other published media provided the child is not or cannot be identified as a child in the CEO's care, and their safety is not placed at risk by the publishing of the information.

    When responding to a request for permission for information to be published by a school, community group or other which does not identify the child as being a child in the CEO’s care, child protection workers:

    • must sign the permission form provided by the school, community group or other and place a copy on the child’s case file
    • should consult with their team leader if there are any concerns about granting permission, and
    • should, depending on the circumstances of the case, seek the consent of the child or child’s parent (refer to Form 773 - Permission Form – Media and/or Publications in related resources).
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    Approval to publish the identity of a child in the CEO's care

    If information that will be published by us, a newspaper or other medium identifies the child as being a child in the CEO's care:

     

    Child protection workers must consult with their team leaders and district director about the publication of any media that identifies, or is likely to lead to the identification of a child as a person who is, or was, in the CEO's care.  For example, if we seek the public’s assistance to locate a child in the CEO's care who is missing, or if an article is published on the Achiever Awards about young people in the CEO's care, the following process must be followed (for young adults over 18 years of age written authorisation must be obtained from that person).

     
    • Submit a briefing to the district director for endorsement. The briefing should include:
      • an outline of the background, current status and assessment of the issue and include the birth family's likely reaction
      • the circumstances surrounding the proposed publication, and 
      • the rationale for publishing information that would identify the child in care.
    • Forward the following by email to Corporate.Communications@cpfs.wa.gov.au:
      • a copy of the material to be published
      • the briefing note endorsed and signed by the district director 
      • a completed Form 773 - Permission Form – Media and/or Publications (in related resources) which has been signed by the person/s agreeing to be photographed and by our staff (if applicable), and 
      • a completed Instrument of Authorisation (in related resources) template for the Director General's consideration and approval.

    The child protection worker will be advised of the outcome of the request.

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    Storage of published media

    Child protection workers must store all published media (including photographs) of a child in the CEO's care on the Child History Folder and scan a copy for the child’s Child History File.

    Store any contentious published media and associated case notes in the child’s case file.

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