To provide guidance
on the processes for transferring a child protection order or proceeding to interstate
and New Zealand child protection agencies.
primary consideration in any interstate care arrangement is the best interests
and needs of the child. Where possible and appropriate, the views of the child,
their parents and caregivers must be sought and respected.
All requests for
interstate matters including the transfer of Orders or proceedings must be made
through the WAInterstateLiaison@communities.wa.gov.au
In accordance with the Protocol each state has a dedicated Interstate Liaison Officer (ILO) who coordinates interstate referrals, requests for information and assistance, and promotes understanding of the Protocol. The WA Interstate Liaison Officer role is undertaken by a specialised senior practice development officer in the Statewide Referral and Response Service.
All Australian states and territories and New Zealand have agreed upon the Interstate Child Protection Protocol (the Protocol).
The Protocol (in related resources) provides a framework within which Australian states, territories and New Zealand work together within their respective legislations to promote the best interests and well-being of children. The Protocol is based on the principle that all parties to it operate on a basis of mutual respect and co-operation for the benefit of the children to whom it applies.
If it is in the best interests of a child on a WA protection order to reside in another state, then careful planning needs to take place beforehand. It is expected that a child's relocation interstate and potential order transfer is discussed as part of the care planning process. These decisions are open to review under normal processes such as the Care Plan Review Panel and SAT.
Child protection workers must provide the child and family with information about, and the reasons for the decision to seek a transfer in a manner and language that they can understand. The wishes and views of the child and their family must be considered in the decision to transfer an order.
If we decide to transfer a child on a WA protection order to another state, written notice must be provided as soon as possible, but within three working days of that decision to:
Complete Form 907 Interstate Order Transfer – Notice to Parents for this purpose.
Parental consent is required for the interstate transfer for a Protection Order (Supervision) (refer to Form 908 Interstate Transfers of Protection Order Supervision – Parental Consent). Parental consent is not required for an interstate transfer for a Protection Order (Time Limited) or (Until 18). However, when a decision is made to request an interstate transfer CPWs must notify parents via Form 907 Interstate Order Transfer – Notice to Parents.
From a practice perspective, a protection order (until 18) is the WA order which is legally comparable and generally more readily accepted for transfer by other states. Time limited orders may be administratively transferred in some situations, however, the short term nature of the order and proximity to order expiry may make transfer not possible in some situations. The policy, practice, legal and evidentiary requirements for a new protection order vary across jurisdictions, making the transfer of short term orders complex. Another child protection agency may not be in a legal position to seek an order extension upon the expiry of the short term order and these types of orders may not be accepted for legal, policy or practice related reasons. The type of order in place is an important factor when thinking about permanency planning for interstate cases. Special guardianship orders are not transferable interstate and a separate process applies to register these in the relevant Family Court. Child protection workers must consult with Child Protection Legal Unit.
A formal request must be made via the WA ILO for order transfers. Order transfers involve a complex process. We cannot compel another jurisdiction to accept an order transfer.
Before a request for transfer is made the following conditions need to be in place:
If the above conditions are met, the CPW can request the transfer of a final protection order from WA to another state.
When the child has relocated to another state, ongoing casework assistance is being provided by the other jurisdiction, and the above conditions are met, the CPW contacts the WA ILO to discuss the case. The expectation is that the Department's CPW and the other state's co-worker have had preliminary discussions and the jurisdiction has indicated it will consider the order transfer.
Completion of documentation
The following documentation is required for consideration of order transfers:
Forward the documentation to WAInterstateLiaison@communities.wa.gov.au In some instances, original or certified documents are required. The WA ILO will advise accordingly if this applies.
Contact with the WA ILO
The WA ILO must be consulted in all requests for an Order Transfer. The WA ILO has responsibility for progressing the transfer request, obtaining consent for the transfer, and negotiating the transfer with the other state.
Child protection workers forward documents to WAInterstateLiaison@communities.wa.gov.au The WA ILO works alongside the district to complete any further transfer requirements.
The WA ILO reviews the documentation, seeks Executive Director endorsement, prepares the Instrument of Transfer and negotiates with the receiving state.
Negotiation with receiving State
The WA ILO negotiates with the receiving state, coordinates in the event of any dispute, and advises CPWs of decisions to accept or decline transfers.
The receiving jurisdiction has up to eight weeks after receiving all required documentation to consider the request and advise of their decision in writing.
If the other state accepts the request for order transfer, the ILO in the receiving state will administratively register the transfer in their Children's Court.
Case management and financial costs are our responsibility until orders are officially transferred to the other jurisdiction and registered in the local Court.
Child protection workers have responsibility for:
Once the WA ILO has advised that the order has been registered in the Court in the other jurisdiction, CPWs must liaise with the co-worker around cut-off dates for foster subsidy payment.
Child protection workers must:
Refer to the Assist User Guide – Transfer of Interstate Order in related resources for information on recording interstate transfers in Assist.
The child protection worker must forward a copy of all client and carer files to the manager of the relevant office in the other jurisdiction within 28 days of receiving confirmation of transfer. The original Child History File should be sent to the other jurisdiction. All other original hard copy files are kept by us. Files and electronic records can either be photocopied or downloaded onto a CD, DVD or USB Flash Drive.
The child protection worker must:
In exceptional circumstances the Department can apply to the Children's Court to request an order to transfer proceedings to another state. The term 'proceedings' refers to the court process for applying for a protection order where the decision to grant an order has not yet been reached. Where it is determined to be in the child's best interests the Court may be able to grant an order to transfer proceedings to another state to reduce delay in decision-making.
A request for a transfer of proceedings to another jurisdiction is uncommon but may occur in situations where the child was temporarily residing in WA and care proceedings were necessary to protect that child from immediate risk of harm. The child has subsequently returned to their home or resident state or arrangements are being negotiated for the child's return. A transfer of proceedings usually occurs when proceedings are already in progress in the receiving or resident state. The receiving state will usually require its own significant child protection history for the child and/or family, and an ongoing connection with the family to progress the protection application in its Court, and to accept the request for a transfer of proceedings from WA.
A transfer of proceedings is subject to the complete agreement and ongoing cooperation of the receiving jurisdiction throughout the process. Child protection workers must consult with the WA ILO and Child Protection Legal Unit.
A transfer of proceedings can only be granted by the Court if the relevant ILO has consented in writing to the transfer. The proceeding is discontinued in the WA Court on the registration in the Children's Court in the receiving state.
The WA ILO is responsible for coordinating the request to transfer proceedings with the other jurisdiction. If the other jurisdiction agrees to accept the transfer of proceedings, the matter is progressed by Child Protection Legal Unit through the Children's Court until the proceedings are registered in the other jurisdiction and withdrawn in the WA Children's Court.
Other states may seek to transfer protection orders or proceedings to WA.
A request to transfer a protection order to WA may be made when a child on a comparable order from another jurisdiction is now residing in a stable care arrangement in WA. Generally, we will have been co-working the case for the other jurisdiction for a minimum of three to six months.
A request for a transfer of proceedings from another jurisdiction is uncommon but may occur in situations where the child was residing in another jurisdiction and care proceedings were necessary to protect that child from immediate risk in that state, and the child has since been returned to their home in Western Australia. Alternatively, the parents and/or significant family members are in WA and it is clearly impractical for the proceedings to continue in the other jurisdiction. The WA ILO notifies the relevant district director and the Practice Director, Legal Services of the request.
All requests for transfers from a sending state are sent to the ILO via WAInterstateLiaison@communities.wa.gov.au.
Generally, we must accept the transfer of protection orders or proceedings from another State under s.176 of the Act, unless it is our position, supported by Child Protection Legal Unit, that the proposed transfer of the order or proceedings is contrary to the best interests of the child or, in exceptional cases, where it is clearly impractical to accept the transfer. If the transfer is in the child's best interests, WA has a comparable orde and practice requirements outlined in the Protocol are met, we are obliged to accept the transfer.
In most order transfers the child is placed in WA with a family or 'significant other' carer. The family or 'significant other' carer must meet WA carer competencies and registration requirements. In exceptional circumstances order transfer may occur for a child placed in WA in residential care or other funded placement if the transfer is agreed to by both states.
Child protection workers must complete Form 196 Submission for Transfer of Protection and Care to Western Australia and Form 289 Summary Report (in related resources).
For more information refer to section 6.3 of the Protocol. The WA ILO is responsible for:
The sending state must provide a copy of their files (including electronic files) to WA within 28 days of this advice.