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.
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'
There are five types of alerts which may be recorded on Assist and in client files.
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.
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
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.
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.
There are five categories of Risk Alerts:
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.
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
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
When recording information about a convicted child sex offender Department staff must not include information that:
Instead, Department staff must:
Child protection workers should request an Interstate Notification or Alert to be placed on the relevant interstate and New Zealand agency systems when:
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:
Where an urgent Interstate Alert is required after-hours child protection workers should contact the Crisis Care Unit.