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3.3.9 Transferring child protection orders to other Australian states or territories and New Zealand

Last Modified: 11-Feb-2019 Review Date: 04-Jan-2021

Purpose

​To provide guidance on the processes for transferring a child protection order or proceeding to interstate and New Zealand child protection agencies.

Practice Requirements

The 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.

  • Before making a request to administratively transfer a child protection order to another jurisdiction, child protection workers (CPWs) must consult with the WA Interstate Liaison Officer (WA ILO) in the Statewide Referral and Response Service.
  • When a decision is made on transferring an order CPWs must complete Form 907 to provide written notification of the decision to the child's parents as soon as possible, but within three working days of the decision being made (for all orders).  Parents have a right of review to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) and/or the Supreme Court.  
  • Children in the CEO's care must not be placed in another jurisdiction unless an appropriate carer assessment has been conducted and a final order has been granted under usual circumstances. If a child is in provisional protection and care, the caseworker must consult with the Child Protection Legal Unit and the Department's Interstate Liaison Officer (WA ILO) before the child is relocated from Western Australia (WA) to another jurisdiction.
  • A request to transfer a protection order from WA to another jurisdiction may only be made when the other state has a comparable order, the other state has been providing casework assistance for at least three to six months, and the proposed carer meets the registration requirements of the other state.  
  • Before making a request to transfer proceedings to another jurisdiction, CPWs must consult with Child Protection Legal Services and the WA ILO in the Statewide Referral and Response Service.

Procedures

  • Interstate inquiries and requests
  • The Interstate Child Protection Protocol
  • Transfer of a final order from WA to another state or New Zealand
  • Process for requesting a transfer
  • Case management requirements by child protection worker
  • Provision of Department of Communities' records to the other jurisdiction
  • Procedure for the judicial transfer of proceedings from WA to another state
  • Transfer of protection orders and proceedings from another state to WA
  • Interstate inquiries and requests

    ​All requests for interstate matters including the transfer of Orders or proceedings must be made through the WAInterstateLiaison@communities.wa.gov.au mailbox

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    The Interstate Child Protection Protocol

    ​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.

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    Transfer of a final order from WA to another state or New Zealand

    ​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:

    • the child's parents
    • the child, unless the CPW considers that the child does not have sufficient maturity to understand the reasons behind the relocation and transfer to another state, and
    • to any other person considered by the CEO to have a direct and significant interest in the wellbeing of the child.

    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:

    • The care arrangement is assessed as meeting the best interests of the child
    • The protection order must be compatible with a protection order in the other state and the other state's legislation has an order of the same or similar effect
    • The protection order is not subject to an appeal and the time for instituting an appeal has expired
    • There must be at least six months remaining on the protection order at the time of submitting the request to transfer
    • The placement must be considered stable, long-term and appropriate. Cases cannot be transferred if there is any concern that the interstate care arrangement will break down
    • The case does not involve exceptional circumstances or extraordinary costs, such as a transitional high needs care arrangement, excessive support costs associated with the child's needs, or interstate contact arrangements where these costs cannot be negotiated between the states
    • The carer must meet the competencies and registration requirements of the receiving state
    • The receiving state is in a position to assess the merits of the request as a result of providing casework assistance, normally for a period of up to three to six months, and
    • The relevant ILO has consented to the transfer.

    If the above conditions are met, the CPW can request the transfer of a final protection order from WA to another state.

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    Process for requesting a transfer

    ​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:

    • Order Transfer Template (Form 910)
    • Form 163 - Submission for Interstate Transfer of Order (approval required from district director.  Note:  The WA ILO will obtain the relevant Executive Director approval)
    • Form 289 (with details of the circumstances that justify the transfer)
    • the child's birth certificate 
    • a genogram of the child's family
    • copy of the current protection order
    • copy of the current care plan
    • copy of the carer assessment and screening checks
    • the current subsidy rate paid to carer and any case support costs, including special purpose funding 
    • confirmation that parents have been formally notified of the decision to transfer
    • any current or recent consent to the transfer for a Supervision Order from the parents and child (age permitting)
    • treating specialist reports
    • details of the child's eligibility for criminal injuries or other compensation (consultation with the General Law Unit must occur).  The District must record this in the child's care plan, and ensure that financial provision has been made for the application at a later stage.  
    • if it is a transfer between Australia and New Zealand, details of the child's nationality, residency and citizenship.

    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.

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    Case management requirements by child protection worker

    ​Child protection workers have responsibility for:

    • advising the child (where sufficiently mature), the parents, carers, and any other significant person in writing of the decision to transfer the order (Form 907 – Interstate Order Transfer – Notice to Parents)
    • providing written notice to the parties no later than three working days after the decision to transfer the order
    • advising the parents and carers of any known significant administrative and funding contact arrangements, differences in foster subsidy rates and case support costs paid by the other state.  Child protection workers must consult with the co-worker and team leader in the other state and WA ILO where necessary
    • advising the relevant parties of their avenues of appeal to the SAT, and the Supreme Court
    • placing copies of all documentation on the client file, and
    • forwarding relevant documentation to ILO.

    Recording

    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:

    • update Assist to reflect the transfer by ending the WA protection order, ending the period in the CEO's care and, if appropriate, closing the case
    • cease payment to the child's carers by ending the period in the CEO's care in Assist. Payments are made up to and including the day before the date of transfer (date of registration of the order) unless the ILO advises differently, and
    • check that records in Assist and Objective are up to date (if necessary, update the records).

    Refer to the Assist User Guide – Transfer of Interstate Order in related resources for information on recording interstate transfers in Assist.

     

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    Provision of Department of Communities' records to the other jurisdiction

    ​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:

    1. Forward a copy of all client and carer files to the manager of the relevant office in the other jurisdiction by Registered Post or Courier within 28 days of receiving confirmation of the transfer. 
    2. Advise the WA ILO once this has occurred.
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    Procedure for the judicial transfer of proceedings from WA to another state

    ​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.

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    Transfer of protection orders and proceedings from another state to WA

    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:  

    • negotiating with the other state around conditions or issues impacting on the transfer
    • obtaining Executive Director approval
    • filing the administrative transfer in the Children's Court and,
    • advising the sending state when it is finalised. 

    The sending state must provide a copy of their files (including electronic files) to WA within 28 days of this advice.

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