To ensure that clients are involved in all matters relating to their case and consideration of natural justice and confidentiality requirements are met by the Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support division staff.
Electronic Recording by Clients of Staff Undertaking Communities' Duties Flowchart
The FOI Act gives every person the right to apply for access to documents held by State public sector agencies. Child protection workers who receive a request from a client for information in their case files should consult their team leader on the matter before releasing information. Written requests referring to the FOI Act must be referred to the Freedom of Information and Release of Information immediately.
Child protection workers can refer to the application process and procedures in the following related resources:
The Freedom of Information (FOI) team is available to provide help and advice on all aspects of FOI. The team is located in Corporate Information and can be contacted on (08) 9222 2555.
Where it is apparent that there is information about a third party on the client's case files, we, and the client must seek the third party's written consent for that information to be released.
Child Protection and Famly Support division needs to consider the interests of all parties, along with the following:
If a third party objects to the release of the information, the client making the request must be informed. The client may:
The right of parents and others with parental responsibility to access information about their child should be balanced against the child's right to confidentiality in certain situations.
Release of information must be in the best interests of the child.
Requests that relate to open cases and persons under 25 years but previously in care must be dealt with by the relevant district office. The request (in writing or a record of the verbal request) must be placed on the relevant file.
Any decision to allow a client to view their paper or electronic files must be endorsed by the district director after consultation with the relevant team leader.
Clients must be in the presence of a Child Protection and Family Support division officer to view their client files (paper or electronic). They cannot view any third party or other restricted information without the relevant authority.
All documents given to a client must be photocopies of the originals, or printouts of electronic documents. Information about third parties and all restricted information should be blanked out before being released to the client.
A file note recording how access was given and copies of the edited documents should be scanned and saved as 'informal FOI release' on the relevant file to record what information was given to the client.
Where cases are closed, and the applicant is over 25 years, clients may access their information through the FOI team. They can be contacted on (08) 9222 2555. Access may be given formally or informally.
Where the information requested is about a third party, the application should be referred to the FOI team.
If the information requested relates to past adoption matters, the application should be referred to Fostering and Adoption Services as specific legislative provisions exist. They can be contacted on:
Where an enquiry relates to a case, or a situation concerning past case practice and requires professional or legal input, the district director should consult with the manager, Release of Information and General Counsel, Legal and Legislation Services on the matter.
Information released from adoption records is governed by provisions in the Adoption Act 1994 and the FOI Act. All requests for information about an adoption must be referred to Fostering and Adoption Services - (08) 9222 2555.
Some documentation should not be released to clients. This includes:
For information on responding to requests from clients to electronically record their interactions with staff, refer to the following in related resources: