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4.2.1 Case alerts

Last Modified: 04-Jan-2019 Review Date: 02-Jan-2019

Purpose

To provide information to child protection workers on the use of alerts in case practice to help safeguard the ​wellbeing of children, families, staff or members of the public.

Practice Requirements

 

 

Process Maps

Procedures

  • Overview
  • Types of alerts
  • 1. Local Alerts
  • 2. Interstate Notifications and Alerts
  • 3. Case Alerts
  • 4. Medical Alerts
  • 5. Risk Alerts
  • Centrelink and Medicare - requests for information
  • Information relating to convicted child sex offenders
  • Requests for an Interstate Notification or Alert
  • Overview

    Alerts are used to inform staff about critical information and/or special considerations about Department of Communities' (the Department’s) clients, for example, information about medical conditions that impact the wellbeing of a child, interstate alerts or worker safety issues.

    Consultation with the team leader

    Child protection workers must consult with their team leader to discuss the rationale for the alert and the information to be recorded.

    Information recorded in an alert can be subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act 1992. Therefore, information recorded must be brief, specific and factual. Child protection workers need to be mindful of the language used and not use statements that could be considered libellous.

    Team leader approval

    Team leaders must approve alerts before they are placed in Assist.  When an alert is approved by the team leader, the alert document is saved into the case file (except where an Interstate Alert is required - refer to the section 'Requests for an Interstate Notification or Alert' below).

     

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    Types of alerts

    There are five types of alerts which may be recorded on Assist and in client files. ​

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    1. Local Alerts

    ​These are used when a child protection worker has serious concerns for a child or family who have left their last known address and their current location is unknown.  The alert is to request that the child protection worker be informed immediately if contact is made with the child or family. 

    Before, or at the time of placing the Alert in Assist, a request for information on the client's address and contact details must be made to Centrelink on Form 900 – Request for Information from Centrelink (in related resources) to attempt to identify the current location of the family. 

    Child protection workers must complete Form 900 and email it to the Department's nominated contact officer at Centrelink.InformationRequests@communities.wa.gov.au.  If the Centrelink search is unsuccessful in identifying the current location of the family, a request for information from Medicare (Form 899 in related resources) may be considered, along with making a another Centrelink Request on a later occasion.

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    2. Interstate Notifications and Alerts

    These alerts are used when a child protection worker has serious concerns for a child or family and there is reason to believe that the family has left or is planning to leave the State. 

    Locating the child

    Before requesting an interstate notification or alert, child protection workers must attempt to locate the child or family by completing:

    In urgent situations complete and forward Form 661 Request for Interstate/New Zealand Alert to the Department's Interstate Liaison Officer (WA ILO) via WAInterstateLiaison@communities.wa.gov.au while awaiting the responses from Centrelink and Medicare.

    Notifications – use when a child or family's location or interstate address is known

    If Centrelink or Medicare can provide a current new address complete Form 903 Request for an Interstate Notification with the new address and email it to: WAInterstateLiaison@communities.wa.gov.au.  The WA ILO will liaise with the relevant state's child protection department to record the Notification on their system.   

    Alerts – use when a child or family's location or interstate address is unknown

    To request that an alert be placed on another states' child protection system complete Form 661 – Request for Interstate/New Zealand Alert (in related resources) and email it to the WA ILO: via WAInterstateLiaison@communities.wa.gov.au.

    Child protection workers should be aware that recording an Interstate Alert on Assist does not mean that an Alert has been created and forwarded to other jurisdictions.  All child protection departments have their own client information systems and requests for Interstate Alerts are actioned through each jurisdiction's Interstate Liaison Officer (ILO).

    For more information, refer to the Interstate Child Protection Protocol  in related resources and the section 'Requests for an Interstate Alert' below

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    3. Case Alerts

    ​These are used to warn staff that there is more critical information available about a case and that contact should be made with the designated child protection worker.

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    4. Medical Alerts

    ​These are only used for children. Medical Alerts provide information about children’s medical conditions to staff.  These alerts enable staff to take reasonable precautions to reduce the possibility of harm or injury to the child and/or to staff or carers.  A Medical Alert may be used, for example, if a child has a condition such as diabetes, epilepsy or asthma, or an allergic reaction to bees or peanuts. 

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    5. Risk Alerts

    There are five categories of Risk Alerts:

    • Conviction for Violence Alert
    • Observed Violence Alert
    • Hearsay Violence Alert
    • Misconduct Restraining Order, and
    • Violence Restraining Order.

    These alerts do not contain a dialogue box for more details. Child protection workers must contact the officer responsible for the alert for more information.

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    Centrelink and Medicare - requests for information

    Before initiating an Alert, child protection workers should attempt to locate the child and family through Centrelink by completing Form 900 Request for Information from Centrelink.  When completed, forward it to Centrelink.InformationRequests@communities.wa.gov.au.

    If a Centrelink search is not able to provide information about the current location of the family, child protection workers should consider making a request for information from Medicare using Form 899 Request for Information from Medicare in related resources) or making another Centrelink Request at a later stage.

    For more information refer to

     

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    Information relating to convicted child sex offenders

    When recording information about a convicted child sex offender Department staff must not include information that:

    • the offender is managed by the Sex Offender Management Squad (SOMS), or that
    • the offender is on the Australian National Child Offender Register.

     Instead, Department staff must:

    • refer to the offender as "an offender under s.557K Criminal Code Act 1913".
    • record all contacts with SOMS as "the relevant section in the WA Police", and 
    • when placing an alert on Assist, write as "Person referred by WA Police who has been convicted of sexual offences against children".
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    Requests for an Interstate Notification or Alert

    Child protection workers should request an Interstate Notification or Alert to be placed on the relevant interstate and New Zealand agency systems when:

    • we become aware that a child with an open case or the subject of a child protection concern has moved interstate to a known address, or
    • we have serious concerns about the welfare of a child or young person who is suspected to be interstate, but who's exact location is unknown.

    If the interstate address is known, or becomes known to the child protection worker, complete Form 903 Request for an Interstate Notification with the current address of the child and family, and email it to: WAInterstateLiaison@communities.wa.gov.au.  The WA ILO will liaise with the relevant jurisdiction.  For more information refer to Chapter 3.4 Interstate and New Zealand liaison.

    Process for requesting an Interstate Alert

    Child protection workers must:

    1. Consult with and receive approval from their team leader to request an Interstate Alert. 
    2. Attempt to locate the child by completing Form 900 Request for Information from Centrelink and forward it to Centrelink.InformationRequests@communities.wa.gov.au
    3. WA ILO checks Form 661 to verify that all the necessary details have been provided and the request is approved.
    4. WA ILO forwards Form 661 request to the ILO in the relevant jurisdiction to have the alert placed on their agency's system.

    Where an urgent Interstate Alert is required after-hours child protection workers should contact the Crisis Care Unit.

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