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3.3.5 Protection order (supervision)

Last Modified: 03-Jan-2019 Review Date: 02-Jul-2018

Purpose

To inform child protection workers about the Department of Communities Child Protection and Family Support processes, legal obligations and responsibilities when working with a child who is under a protection order (supervision).

Practice Requirements

  • Child protection workers must develop a safety plan with the parent(s) that is effective and rigorous enough to keep the child/ren safe from further harm before applying for a protection order (supervision). The safety plan must be reviewed on a regular basis.
  • District directors must approve applications to the Children’s Court (the Court) for protection orders (supervision).
  • Child protection workers must specify a period for the order when applying to the Court. The time period must not exceed two years and must end before the child reaches 18 years of age (s.48 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act)). The order can only be extended once (s.49 of the Act).
  • Child protection workers must specify relevant sections in the safety plan as conditions of a protection order (supervision).
  • Communities has a legal obligation to monitor and facilitate the conditions set by the Court (s.47(1) of the Act).
  • While a protection order (supervision) is in force, child protection workers must arrange for appropriate social services to be provided for the child and his or her parent(s) (s.53 of the Act).
  • Child protection workers must conduct a case planning meeting within 20 days of a protection order (supervision) being made by the Court.
Process Maps

Not applicable.

Procedures

  • Protection order (supervision) - overview
  • Types of circumstances for a protection order (supervision)
  • Determining whether to apply for a protection order (supervision)
  • Decisions to be made before applying for a protection order (supervision)
  • Case plan decision to apply for a protection order (supervision)
  • Case management responsibilities
  • Decision to apply for revocation of an existing order and replacement with a protection order (supervision)
  • Applying for a protection order (supervision)
  • Application to vary, revoke or replace a protection order (supervision) with a protection order (time limited) or protection order (until 18)
  • Protection order (supervision) - overview

    When it has been assessed that a child is in need of protection Communities can take intervention action and apply to the Court for a protection order (supervision). Refer to Chapter 2.2: Assessment and investigation processes and Chapter 3.3: Intervention action.

    A child on a protection order (supervision) is not a child in the Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO's) care.

    A protection order (supervision) authorises child protection workers to assess and monitor a child's wellbeing for the duration of the order, without affecting the parental responsibility of any person. The goal is to increase safety over time and support the parent/s to become more protective, while maintaining the stability of the child’s living and care arrangements.

    Communities can apply for a protection order (supervision) for children living with their family, and as a replacement of a protection order (s.68(1) of the Act), to support reunification work with a family. A protection order (supervision) may be made by the Court even if we seek another order.

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    Types of circumstances for a protection order (supervision)

    Circumstances where it may be appropriate to apply for a protection order (supervision) are similar to those when applying for a protection order (time limited) except:

    • the parent(s) acknowledge the protective issues
    • there is no risk of immediate harm to the child, and
    • ongoing risks can be managed by an agreed safety plan that is adhered to, maintained and monitored.

    This could include the following circumstances:

    • where a newborn/child is likely to suffer harm as a result of abuse and/or neglect
    • where a child has suffered significant harm as a result of physical, emotional or sexual abuse
    • where childhood obesity co-occurs with child protection concerns, or
    • where the Court has determined that the child is in need of protection and granted a protection order (time limited), and during this period the parent(s) have increased safety markedly, and the child could be returned home if the safety plan is sustained, maintained and monitored.
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    Determining whether to apply for a protection order (supervision)

    A protection order (supervision) should be considered where we have developed a safety plan with the family and their safety network (including when planning for reunification of children in the CEO’s care).  

    The safety plan is an essential step in establishing transparency and accountability in terms of what the family needs to do to increase safety for their child.

    The child’s safety plan must be specific, measurable, realistic, timely, achievable and state:

    • what we need to see the parents doing in order to keep the child safe
    • how the supervision order will be monitored and implemented
    • the estimated time that we will need to supervise the matters before the child’s protective needs are met
    • the social services or other supports that are required, and
    • funding implications.

    When determining whether to apply for a protection order (supervision), child protection workers, in consultation with their team leader, must consider the capacity of the parents and the effectiveness of their safety network to increase safety.

    The parent(s) must be committed to taking actions that will demonstrate that their child is safe in their care.

    To determine whether a protection order (supervision) is likely to be effective, the child protection worker should consider the following:

    • level of cooperation from the parent(s)
    • the working relationship with Communities
    • capacity and effectiveness of the safety network
    • level of safety if the child was to remain with their parent/s, and
    • whether the concern(s) are likely to be resolved within a timeframe of less than two years.

    Child protection workers should discuss the plan with the parent/person with whom the child is living to ascertain the level of cooperation with the following:

    • allowing a child protection worker to visit their child and willingness to be available for arranged meetings
    • working with the child protection worker to make and carry out plans for their child
    • complying with formal directions from the child protection worker
    • notifying the child protection worker before any change of address
    • meeting any conditions a magistrate may place on the protection order, such as attending counselling or taking their child to appointments.

    It is important that a parent/person with whom the child is living is able to work with the child protection worker to make plans for their child’s future, and to find ways to increase safety for the child and address the issues that led to the protection order (supervision) being made.

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    Decisions to be made before applying for a protection order (supervision)

    Child protection workers will need to determine the following before applying for a protection order (supervision):

    • duration of protection order (supervision) (s.48)
    • conditions of protection order (supervision) (s.50), and
    • provision of social services (s.53).

    Duration of protection order (supervision)

    The timeframe sought by us should reflect:

    • the level of risk
    • the changes required by the family, and
    • the period of maintenance required to ascertain whether the safety plan will continue after the our involvement with the family ceases.

    Whilst the Act allows Communities to apply for a period of up to two years, child protection workers should consider applying for a period up to 12 months.  This will allow enough time to build a constructive working relationship with the parent(s), and allow parent(s) to demonstrate how they will increase safety, and then maintain those changes.

    When applying for protection order (supervision) for a period longer than 12 months (but less than two years) child protection workers must include strategies and/or conditions in Form 641 -  Written Proposal for Child on:

    • how the risk will be managed over a period of longer than 12 months, and
    • how the safety plan will be adhered to and maintained with our involvement.

    Conditions of protection order (supervision)

    Conditions for the child's parent or an adult with whom the child is living should include where relevant:

    • sections in the safety plan, and
    • services such as parenting programs.

    Conditions may also be sought for the child (for example, counselling, tutoring or mentoring). List the conditions in detail and include information on how the conditions will be met, what services will be provided, and how these will benefit the child.

    The order may include conditions that the child must comply with, if, in the opinion of the Court, the child is able to understand.

    The order must not include a condition about any other person(s) with whom the child is to live with or who has responsibility for the day to day care, welfare and development of the child (s.50 of the Act).

    Provision of social services (s.53 of the Act)

    The social services that will be provided should also be outlined in the proposal (s.53 of the Act), and include specific information about who will provide the service, what services will be provided, and how this is expected to increase safety.

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    Case plan decision to apply for a protection order (supervision)

    A protection order (supervision) can be applied for when intensive family support is being provided to the family. The case plan should record the decision to apply for a protection order (supervision) and this must be endorsed by the district director.

    The case plan can be modified when there is a major change in the child's circumstances, placement or contact.

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    Case management responsibilities

    While the order is in force, the child protection worker's role is to:

    • advise, assist and build a relationship with the parents/family
    • take steps that are reasonably necessary to implement the case plan including safety plan
    • provide, arrange or coordinate social services where appropriate, and
    • review the safety plan on a regular basis and consider the progress made or otherwise to address the concerns.  Refer to Chapter 2.2: Signs of Safety - child protection practice framework.
    Where case support costs are required to implement the case plan, approval is required from the team leader, assistant district director or district director depending on the amount sought. Child protection workers should refer to Chapter 3.5: Case management costs – case support costs for further detail.
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    Decision to apply for revocation of an existing order and replacement with a protection order (supervision)

    A protection order (supervision) can be applied for after a child is taken into the CEO's care to replace an existing order and to support reunification with the family. The reasons for this decision must be recorded in the case plan (family). Refer to Chapter 2.2: Case allocations, management, transfer, requests for co-working or services and case closure. 

    When considering a protection order (supervision) for a child in the care of the CEO, refer to Chapter 3.4: Care planning - provisional care plans, care plans and Viewpoint for further information.

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    Applying for a protection order (supervision)

    Child protection workers should refer to Chapter 3.3: Intervention action for detailed procedures when applying for a protection order (supervision).

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    Application to vary, revoke or replace a protection order (supervision) with a protection order (time limited) or protection order (until 18)

    Where the protection order (supervision) is not complied with, or the child protection worker considers that the order is no longer necessary, a decision should be made on whether or not to apply to the Court to vary, revoke or replace the order.

    This could include circumstances where:

    • new information is received that increases or decreases risk to the child
    • a safety plan review identifies that the child/children's vulnerability to further harm has changed, and/or
    • the extent of the family and safety network's protective capacity to decrease or respond to harm to the child has changed.

    A protection order (supervision) can only be extended once and the application must be lodged with the Court prior to its expiry. Refer to Chapter 3.3: Intervention action for further information.

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