To inform child protection workers about case management responsibilities for children in the CEO's care who are living with non-assessed and/or non-approved persons.
Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities (the Department).
Sometimes children in the CEO’s care, particularly older children, live in unendorsed placements that have not been assessed or approved by the Department.
Where a child has self-selected to live with people or family who have not been assessed, child protection workers must arrange an assessment as a matter of priority. Depending on the relationship between the person and the child, it may be appropriate to assess the person as a 'Significant Other' carer or a 'Family Carer'. Refer to Chapter 3.1: Care arrangements with a family or significant other carer.
Child protection workers should conduct an initial search of Assist. Where this reveals potential cause for concern, the child should not be allowed to remain in the unendorsed placement.
As a matter of urgency, child protection workers should ask the person providing care for the child to complete and sign a Form 395 Record Check Consent Form. The Screening Unit will undertake a file review and discuss the outcome of this with the child protection worker or team leader. If the district director endorses the placement (without the results from the Screening Unit) the placement can proceed.
Where a child self-selects an unendorsed placement assessed as 'not dangerous', he or she should be offered guidance and alternative care arrangement options. Where the child refuses to stay with anyone else, child protection workers need to use their professional judgement about the risk of the placement versus the potential for harm if the child chooses to live on the streets, and any other consequences which may arise if the Department does not support the placement. The decision to support the placement must be endorsed by the team leader and approved by the district director.
Unsuitable placements will only be endorsed or supported in exceptional circumstances. Subsidies will only be paid to a person who has not been assessed or approved by us in rare circumstances. However, we are still responsible for addressing the child’s other support needs are addressed.
Child protection workers should assist and encourage the child to find more suitable accommodation, and identify strategies to minimise identified risk factors.
Reasons to support or not support a placement should be clearly documented on file, endorsed by the team leader and approved by the district director.
Child protection workers can record this type of placement in Assist as either 'Unendorsed Person', 'Unendorsed Environment' or 'Unknown'.
Where the placement is assessed as dangerous to the child’s wellbeing, the Department has a responsibility to secure the child’s safety. The child should not remain in a dangerous placement.
If the child refuses to leave the placement, the district director must be informed and all attempts should be made to relocate the child to a safe placement. The person the child is staying with should also be informed of our concerns and, where appropriate, it may be necessary to involve the Western Australia Police.
Child protection workers must develop a safety plan to address the risks. All relevant stakeholders should be consulted in the development of the safety plan. The safety plan must be approved by the team leader and district director.
Child protection workers must consult with Child Protection Legal Services where a child is in an unsuitable or dangerous placement.