To inform child protection workers of the practice requirements in relation to a child in the Chief Executive Officer's (CEO’s) care who is under a protection order; either time-limited or until 18.
Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities (the Department).
A protection order (time-limited) and a protection order (until 18) are two of four protection orders that the Court can grant when it finds a child is in need of protection. These orders are the only protection orders that result in a child coming into the CEO’s care. See In the CEO’s care - Parental Responsibility Chart (in related resources).
A protection order (until 18) remains in place until a child reaches 18 years of age, unless the order is revoked under s.59 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act).
Before the expiration of a protection order (time-limited), child protection workers (CPWs) must make sure that the child’s care plan has been modified to explore the issues associated with, and make plans for, the child’s exit from care. This includes planning in relation to leaving a care arrangement and transitioning home (reunification) and consideration of other leaving care provisions (in perticular, for young people transitioning to independence). Refer to Chapter 3.4: Leaving the CEO’s care for more information.
In the case of a child unable to return to the care of their parents, CPWs must identify whether this is because of protective concerns, and what arrangements need to be made for the ongoing safety and wellbeing of the child. If there are protective concerns, a further application for a protection order may be warranted. Where there are no protective concerns, facilitation of a negotiated placement agreement may be appropriate. Maintenance of an existing care arrangement should be a priority if the child requires a continuing care arrangement.
A protection order (time-limited) remains in place for a period of up to two years unless the order is extended or revoked. The period specified in the order must not exceed two years and must end before the child reaches 18 years of age (s.55 of the Act).
When a child enters the CEO’s care under a protection order, information must be recorded in the Child Information Form in Assist. Information on the Quarterly Care Report must be reviewed and updated as necessary, or at least every three months.
Where a child is from a CaLD background, where possible, information about a child’s language and cultural needs should be obtained from the child’s family and community. Additional cultural information is available through the CaLD Resource Library (in related resources).
Where a child is Aboriginal, child protection workers must consult with the Aboriginal practice leader or Aboriginal officer in the district for assistance in developing an effective care plan that takes into consideration cultural issues.
This consultation must be recorded in Assist. Refer to Assist User Guides - Case Plan - Case Plan Consultation (in related resources).
Child protection workers should refer to Chapter 3.3: Intervention action for detailed procedures when applying for a protection order (time-limited and until 18).
A child entering the CEO's care via a protection order may need to be provided with a care arrangement. This can include foster care, a family or significant other carer, residential care (the Department's or community service organisation), or an intensive specialised care arrangement. Refer to Chapter 3.4: Planning.
Senior child protection workers placement services (SCPWPS) should be involved in the process of identifying and securing an appropriate care arrangement. For Aboriginal children there must be consultation with an Aboriginal practice leader, or other relevant Aboriginal officer, in the process of identifying an appropriate care arrangement.
If a family carer or significant other person is considered the best care arrangement option for the child, the person must be assessed. In emergencies, a child in the CEO’s care can be placed with family or a significant person under s.79(2)(b) of the Act, based on an initial assessment and assistant district director/district director’s approval of the care arrangement. Refer to Chapter 3.1: Care arrangements with a family or significant other carer.
Child protection workers (CPWs) must be sensitive to the needs of the child and provide any supports necessary to assist them manage the transition to care. Where possible, encourage the child’s parents, family or significant persons to take the child to the care arrangement. When the care arrangement begins, the carer should be given the Care Arangement Referral (CAR) detailing the day to day needs of the child.
When a child enters a care arrangement, payment of the subsidy can only be generated by the system after CPWs have completed Assist (agencies do not generally receive subsidies but are funded through service agreements). Child protection workers should refer to Chapter 3.5: Case management costs - basic subsidy provisions.
Care plans and ongoing case planning must occur for all children in the CEO’s care under protection orders. The focus of the case plan varies depending on whether the child is under a protection order (time-limited) or a protection order (until 18). Refer to Chapter 3.4: Care planning - provisional care plans, care plans and Viewpoint.
Any decision to make application for an extension or revocation of an order must be part of case planning.
An application for an extension of a protection order (time-limited) can be made to the Court at any time prior to the expiry of the order, but only once a review of the care plan for the child has taken place (s.56(2) of the Act).
If a case plan decision is made that an extension of a protection order (time-limited) is required, the child protection worker must seek approval from the CEO. In this case, the CPW must undertake the following:
Once the CEO’s approval is received, the CPW must proceed with the application to the Court for the extension.
The Court may extend the order for a period not exceeding two years, or revoke the order and make another protection order in respect of the child. A protection order (time-limited) can be extended more than once.
A child in the CEO's care under a protection order must be visited at a minimum every three months. The visits and any new information about the child's needs across the nine dimensions of care must be recorded in the Child Information Form (in Assist). Once the team leader or district director approves the Quarterly Care Report, it will be generated and publish the case file. Refer to Chapter 3.4: Quarterly care review and Quarterly care reports for further detail.