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3.2.2 Change of name by registration

Last Modified: 21-Aug-2019 Review Date: 01-Oct-2016


To provide information to child protection workers on the procedures required when a child in the CEO's care wants to change his or her name by registration under Part 5 of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1998.

Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support divison.

Practice Requirements

  • Decisions to approve and apply for a change of name by registration for a child in the CEO's care must be carefully considered as part of the care planning process.
  • District directors must approve a submission to apply for a change of name.
  • Carers must be notified of the intention to apply for a change of name.
  • The care plan must consider whether the parents should be notified of the prospective change of name. If there is any doubt, contact the Child Protection Legal Unit.
  • The child, where appropriate, must participate in the decision to change his or her name, and our decision to support the child must be based on an assessment of his or her capacity to make such a decision (refer to Gillick Principle in related resources).
  • Where a child is 12 years of age or older he or she must provide written consent on the Application to register a change of name (BDM401).
  • Where a child has an Aboriginal background, the relevant Executive Director or Regional Executive Director must be consulted and approve the name change. The consultation and approval must be recorded and saved in the Objective case file.
  • Where a child has a culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) background, specific language and cultural needs must be considered. Where possible, this information should be obtained from the child's family and community. Additional cultural information is available through the CaLD Resource Library (link in related resources).


Process Maps

Not applicable.


  • Introduction
  • Child or carer approaches the Department about changing name by registration
  • Completion of documentation
  • Approval process
  • Application process
  • Informing the child, parents and carers
  • Recording
  • Introduction

    The CEO has authority under s.127 Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act) to approve a change of name by registration for children in the CEO’s care.

    A decision to apply for and approve a change of name by registration for a child in the CEO's care must be carefully considered as part of the care planning process. Where a child is the subject of a protection order (time-limited) or a protection order (until 18), consent of the child’s parents is not required, as the CEO is the guardian of the child and has full parental responsibility for the child.

    The care plan must consider whether the parents should be notified of the prospective change of name.  If there is any doubt, contact the Child Protection Legal Unit.  Factors to be considered include:

    • the nature of the relationship between the child and his or her parents
    • the reasons why the child is the subject of a protection order
    • if it is a protection order (time-limited), the duration of the order
    • the age of the child, and 
    • the views of the child.

    An application for a change of name can be made where a child is unable to understand the meaning and implications, whether due to age or mental incapacity. However, if the latter: 

    • a psychological assessment addressing the issues related to the child's incapacity should be made, and
    • the Child Protection Legal Unit must be consulted for advice. 

    Child or carer approaches the Department about changing name by registration

    If a child in the CEO's care or a carer approaches us for information about the process for changing a child’s name, child protection workers should access information from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) (link also available in related resources).

    If the child was not born in Western Australia (WA) but born overseas, she or he must be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident, and have resided continuously in WA for 12 months immediately preceding the application to be eligible to register a change of name. If the child was born in another state or territory of Australia, the application for a change of name by registration must be made through the relevant agency in that state or territory.

    Where a child was born interstate or overseas, child protection workers should contact the Child Protection Legal Unit for direction on the future conduct of the change of name application process.​​


    Completion of documentation

    Open the template 'Change of Name by Licence' from the 'templates' tab within the child's '360 degree view' tab in Assist and complete all relevant details.

    Child protection workers must also:


    Approval process


    Child protection workers must submit the documentation to the team leader, who will check, consider and endorse the documentation and forward to the district director for approval. If the team leader is not available, and arrangements have been made, the senior practice development officer can endorse and submit the documentation to the district director. 

    The district director considers and approves the submission. If the matter is contentious, the submission must be forwarded for noting to the relevant Executive Director or regional Executive Director. The approved submission must be saved to the Objective case file.

    When approved, child protection workers process payment of the fee by recording and seeking approval for the costs in the 'Funding' component in Assist. Information on fees is available from the Department of the Attorney General - Fees for Products and Services (in related resources).

    The team leader approves the case support costs request, and payment is made by Government Purchasing Card (GPC). Refer to the Assist User Guides for further information.



    Application process

    ​Child protection workers must provide the following documents to the Registrar General:

    • the original completed BDM Form 401 - Register a Change of Name (including payment details using the GPC)
    • relevant supporting documentation (outlined in the BDM Form 401)
    • Form 268 - Letter to Registrar General Re: Application for Change of Name by Licence
    • a copy of the protection order bearing the seal of the Children's Court of WA
    • a copy of the most recent care plan that outlines the reason for a change to the child's name including our endorsement of the decision (to support Part 4 of the application), and if applicable, the form
    • BDM 104 - Add a previously registered change of name to a birth registration.

    For a child in the CEO's care who was born in WA, a birth certificate is not necessary. If the child is an Australian citizen born overseas, their Birth Certificate, current Passport and Citizenship Certificate must be provided. If the child was born overseas and is a permanent resident of Australia, their Birth Certificate, a current Passport and proof of residency status must be provided.

    If applying in person, original documents must be provided. When applying by post, original documents must not be posted. Clear photocopies certified by a qualified witness as being 'true copies' of original documents must be forwarded with the application to:

    Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
    PO Box 7720
    Cloisters Square
    PERTH  WA  6850


    Informing the child, parents and carers

    Depending on the age of the child, child protection workers must inform the child and his or her carers that the district director has approved the change of name and the documentation has been forwarded to the Registrar General's Office.

    Depending on whether the child's care plan recommends that the child's parents be informed of the intended application to change the child’s name, the parents must also be advised.



    Once the signed Change of Name Certificate from the Registrar General's Office has been received, child protection workers must: 

    • update the child's 'Person' details in Assist
    • update the Child Information Portal in Assist
    • scan copies of all documents into the Objective case file
    • scan the Change of Name Certificate into the Child History File in Objective, and
    • place hard copies of all documents in the Child History Folder (including the Change of Name Certificate).