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).
When it has been assessed that a child is in need of protection the Department can take intervention action and apply to the Court for a protection order (supervision). Refer to Chapter 2.2 Conducting a Child Safety Investigation 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.
The Department 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.
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:
This could include the following circumstances:
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:
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 parents 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, child protection workers should consider the following:
Child protection workers should discuss the plan with the parent or person with whom the child is living to ascertain the level of cooperation with the following:
It is important that the parent or 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.
Child protection workers must determine the following before applying for a protection order (supervision):
Duration of protection order (supervision)
The timeframe sought by us should reflect:
Whilst the Act allows the Department 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 parents, 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:
Conditions of protection order (supervision)
Conditions for the child's parent or an adult with whom the child is living should include where relevant:
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 persons 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). Include specific information about who will provide the service, what services will be provided, and how this is expected to increase safety.
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.
While the order is in force, the child protection worker's role is to:
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.
Child protection workers should refer to Chapter 3.3: Intervention action for detailed procedures when applying for a protection order (supervision).
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:
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.