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Decide the type of child protection order

Recommend a child protection order only if a child’s need for safety is unable to be met by providing another type of ongoing intervention and statutory authority is needed to enable intervention by Child Safety. Consider intervention with a child protection order when:

  • a child is assessed as being in need of protection
  • the safety, belonging and wellbeing needs of a child cannot be met by the use of intervention with parental agreement
  • the most recent safety assessment for a child has an outcome of 'unsafe'
  • a child's need for safety cannot be met by the sole use of a safety and support network and services external to Child Safety
  • removal from the family home is necessary to protect a child
  • the use of a planned care arrangement under a child protection care agreement is not appropriate
  • the family is not working with Child Safety and will not participate in any case planning that offers protection to a child
  • a parent responsible for harm to a child has access to the child and is unwilling to participate in the case plan.

Consider the following factors when assessing the most appropriate child protection order:

  • if a child can safely remain in the home or needs to come into care
  • the views of a child and family
  • for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child:
    • the long-term effect of the decision on a child’s identity and connection with their family and community
    • the five elements of the child placement principle 
    • the participation and outcome of the family-led decision making process
  • the outcome of any previous intervention, including the family’s engagement with Child Safety and other service providers 
  • the level of intervention needed for a child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing
  • the principles for achieving permanency for a child, including if the proposed order promotes relational, physical and legal permanency 
  • the goal of the intervention for the child.  

Additional factors that may be considered include:

  • if the current child protection order is due to expire
  • if the current child protection order has been extended more than once or a child's long-term need for permanency and stability must be considered
  • if a suitable person granted long-term guardianship or permanent guardianship of a child is no longer able or willing to meet their guardianship responsibilities.

Consider a child’s and family’s individual circumstances in the decision making process, including:

  • if a child needs protection from one or both parents
  • if a child’s contact with one or both parents needs to be restricted for safety reasons
  • if one parent, with support from their safety and support network members, may be able to assume a protective role with a child
  • the relationship between the parents and their level of involvement with the child
  • the parents’ ability and willingness to be involved with case planning and to implement case plan actions
  • who will have custody and guardianship of a child for the duration of ongoing intervention – for further information refer to Procedure 5 Determine who may decide a custody or guardianship matter

Practice prompt

To assist in deciding the most appropriate type of child protection order, consider referring the matter to a practice panel. (Refer to Procedure 5 Refer the case to a practice panel.)

Think about the length of time needed for the family and Child Safety to work towards meeting a child's case plan goals (Refer to Procedure 5 Assess and prepare to develop the case plan.)

 

Further reading

Recommend a directive order

There are two types of directive orders:

  • an order directing a parent of a child to do or refrain from doing something directly related to a child's protection—Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(a) 
  • an order directing a parent not to have direct or indirect contact either:
    • with a child
    • with a child other than when a stated person or a person of a stated category is present—Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(b)

Note

A directive order must not be for more than one year (Child Protection Act 1999, section 62(2)).

A directive order may be needed along with a supervision order or another child protection order. A child can be subject to both a directive order and intervention with parental agreement.

Directive order about parental actions—section 61(a)

A directive order can direct a parent to take an action or not take an action that is related to a child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing. A directive order about parental actions applies if:

  • The parents will not take the action, or stop the action, on a voluntary basis.
  • A child can safely remain at home as long as the parents take certain actions or stop certain actions. (Refer to the most recent safety assessment)
  • The action is able to be clearly defined, and what is required of parents is easily understood by the parents.
  • Failure on the parents’ part to keep to the directives of the order will not place a child at unacceptable risk of harm.
  • The parents are likely to follow the recommended order.

Tip

A directive order needs to be specific, for example: 'make sure a child attends school every school day’ instead of 'ensure proper schooling'.

Directive order about parental contact—section 61(b)

A directive order can direct the parent not to have contact, direct or indirect, with a child, or to only have contact when a stated person or a person of a stated category is present. A directive order about parental contact applies for any one of the following circumstances:

  • a child can remain at home with a protective parent if the parent to whom the child protection concerns apply is prevented or restricted from contact
  • a protective parent  consents to a child being cared for by another person (for example, a relative) and the parent to whom the child protection concerns apply is prevented or restricted from contact
  • a parenting order in the Family Court of Australia needs to be overridden for child protection reasons, allowing the protective parent to apply for variation of the parenting order
  • the order will prevent a parent from harassing a child in a significantly harmful way, (for example, making telephone threats) and prosecution may be required to enforce the contact order. In this case, the order may be made in conjunction with any other child protection order
  • a child's safety is met by supervising a parent’s contact with the child, and there is a person assessed as able and willing to provide the supervision.

It is not appropriate to recommend a directive order:

  • to deny both parents contact. (Consider an order granting custody instead)
  • when a child is living with their only parent and would be left home alone
  • to deny someone entry to the family’s home, except on a very temporary basis.

Practice prompt

If the Childrens Court makes a directive order about parental contact, the supervision of contact between the child and the parent may include:

  • supervised family contact visits (supervised by a suitable person or Child Safety)
  • a suitable person moving into the home
  • a child not being left alone with the parent to whom the child protection concerns apply.

The child’s parent or family may nominate a person for Child Safety to assess as suitable to supervise contact between the child and the parent to whom the directives order applies. A suitable person supervising the contact must be aware of the directive order and agree to their role in supervising the parent.

Attention

A court may impose penalties on a parent who knowingly contravenes a directive order regarding contact.

A child's case plan will clearly outline how the directive order will be implemented and monitored. (Refer to Procedure 5 Assess and prepare to develop the case plan .)

Recommend a supervision order

A supervision order requires the chief executive to supervise a child’s protection in relation to matters stated in the order (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(c)).

Recommend a supervision order when all of the following apply:

  • A child is in need of protection, but supervision and direction by Child Safety will allow:
    • a child to safely remain at home
    • Child Safety to monitor the situation to ensure the matters stated in the order are addressed by the parents.
  • Specific matters relating to a child's care need to be supervised by Child Safety.
  • Failure on the parents’ part to comply with Child Safety requirements will not place the child at immediate risk of harm.
  • The required intervention, with the child residing in the home, will not be accepted by the parents on a voluntary basis.
  • It is appropriate for the parents to retain their custody and guardianship rights and responsibilities.

Tip

A supervision order alongside a directive order (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(a)) can be recommended to the DCPL.

Note

Make sure a child's case plan clearly states how the supervision order will be implemented and monitored.  Refer to Procedure 5 Assess and prepare to develop the case plan.    

In line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 73, Child Safety may provide a Letter  to a parent regarding a supervision order that details the actions the parent is to do or refrain from doing relating to the child'd care. If the parent believes the written directions do not relate to the supervision order, the parent is able to seek an external review by the Queensland Civil and Administratice Tribunal (QCAT).

Recommend a short-term order

A short-term order grants custody or guardianship to:

  • a suitable person, other than a parent of a child, who is a member of a child’s family
    or
  • the chief executive.

Short-term custody to a member of a child’s family

An order granting short-term custody to a suitable member of a child’s family is assessed when the following apply:

  • A child cannot be safely left at home using a lesser order. (Consider the most recent safety assessment).
  • Child Safety is working towards the reunification of a child with the parents.
  • A suitable family member is able and willing to have custody of a child for the purpose of protecting the child; and to work with Child Safety in planning for the child to return to the care of the parents.
  • There is no significant conflict between the parents and the family member. (The CSO and senior team leader will assess the adult relationships and interactions and decide whether the behaviour is having any impact on the child.)
  • The family member will facilitate family contact between a child and the parents.
  • A 'no contact' decision on a parent is not needed.
  • The family member is able and willing to assume full financial responsibility for the care of the child.
  • The family member will work with Child Safety and allow the CSO to have contact with the child to achieve case plan goals.

If one of the factors do not apply, for example, the ability of the family member to facilitate family contact between a child and parents, consider a child protection order granting custody to the chief executive instead.

The child can still be placed with the family member if they become an approved kinship carer. (Refer to Procedure 6 Arrange the initial carer assessment.)

Note

When a child is subject to a child protection order which grants short-term custody to a member of a child’s family, this arrangement is not a care arrangement made by Child Safety under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1). Therefore, Child Safety does not provide financial support for the child’s care.

Short-term custody to the chief executive

An order granting short-term custody to the chief executive is needed when:

  • A child cannot remain safely in the home using a different type of chid protection order or type of intervention.
  • Child Safety is working towards the reunification of a child with the parents.
  • A ‘no contact' decision on a parent is not needed.
  • The parents are able to make guardianship decisions for the child.
  • There is no family member or relative willing or able to care for the child.

Short-term guardianship order

In line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(e), a short-term guardianship order can only be made in favour of the chief executive. Consider an order granting short-term guardianship to the chief executive when:

  • A child cannot remain safely in the home using a different type of child protection order or type of intervention. 
  • Child Safety is working towards the reunification of a child with the parents.
  • The parent is not willing and not able to make guardianship decisions for the child that will meet their safety, wellbeing and best interests (for example, regarding health care).
  • The parent has not been contactable or has not worked with Child Safety in case planning for a child.

Practice prompt

It is always better for parents to retain guardianship unless there are reasons why this is not in the child’s best interests.

Duration of a short-term order granting custody or guardianship

An order granting short-term custody or guardianship must not be for more than 2 years (Child Protection Act 1999, section 62(3)). The Childrens Court can make a further short-term order when it is satisfied that it is in the best interests of a child and reunification with the parents is reasonably achievable in the stated timeframe.

The 2-year timeframe may include one or more consecutive short-term child protection orders. For example, if a child has been subject to a short-term order for 12 months, a further order can only be made for a maximum of 12 months (2 years in total).

Attention

The 2-year period does not include interim orders that were in place before the first order was finalised.

It does include interim orders that were in place before the second order was finalised, for example, orders made under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 99.     

Recommend a transition order

A transition order continues the existing child protection order for a period of up to 28 days to allow for the gradual transition of a child into the care of their parents in a way that:

  • supports the child
  • may reduce any disruption or distress experienced by the child
  • is in the best of interests of the child.

Practice prompt

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, in consultation and with the consent of the child and their family, arrange an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the decision-making process. For further information, refer to Procedure 5 Decision making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Attention

The DCPL or a party to the court proceeding can make a verbal application for a transition order when:

  • the Childrens Court makes a decision not to grant a subsequent child protection order
    and 
  • the immediate return of a child to their parents’ care is expected to cause distress, and a gradual transition would be in the child’s best interest.

The Childrens Court may deciside to make the order on its own initiative (Child Protection Act 1999, section 65A (3)(5)).

A transition order may be considered for a child subject to a short-term order when the Childrens Court:

  • refuses to extend or make a further order
  • revokes the order
  • decides, in an appeal against the making of the order, in favour of a person other than the chief executive (Child Protection Act 1999, section 65A(1)(a)(i)–(iii)).

A transition order may also be considered for a child subject to a long-term order when the court:

  • revokes the order
  • decides, in an appeal against the making of the order, in favour of a person other than the chief executive (Child Protection Act 1999, section 65A(1) (b)(i)–(ii)).

The Childrens Court must:

  • be satisfied that the order is necessary to enable the gradual transition of the child to the parents’ care in a way that supports the child, reduces their disruption or distress or is otherwise in their best interest (Child Protection Act 1999, section 65B(1))
  • consider the child’s views and wishes
  • consider a parent's readiness to care for the child and any other relevant matters (Child Protection Act 1999, section 65B(2)
  • for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, have regard to Aboriginal tradition or Island custom in relation to the child and the five elements of the child placement principle (Child Protection Act 1999, section 6AB).

If the Childrens Court adjourns an application for a transition order, the pre-existing child protection order continues in force until the application is decided (Child Protection Act 1999, section 65A(4)).

Develop a transition plan

If the Childrens Court makes a transition order, a transition plan for the child must be prepared. The transition plan outlines how Child Safety will support and gradually transition the child into the parents’ care to minimise distress and disruption to the child. 

To develop a transition plan:

  • Decide if a meeting is needed—this will depend on the length of the transition order and the complexity of the plan needed.
  • Obtain and consider the views of:
    • the child, taking into account their age and developmental level 
    • the child’s parents and their safety and support network
    • other relevant people, for example, the child’s counsellor.
  • Finalise the Transition plan.
  • Submit the transition plan to the senior team leader for approval.

Note

A magistrate can ask to see the transition plan before deciding on an application for a transition order. Complete the Transition plan as a word document and attach it to the ongoing intervention event in ICMS.

Recommend an order for long-term guardianship

A long-term guardianship order grants guardianship to one of the following:

  • a suitable family member, other than a parent of the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(f)(i))
  • another suitable person nominated by Child Safety, for example, a foster carer or a kinship carer who is not a family member (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(f)(ii))
  • the chief executive (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(f)(iii)).

Consider an order for long-term guardianship when:

  • A period of active intervention and case planning with the family has not resolved a child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs.
  • A child is not able to be safely reunified to the parents.
  • A decision is made to cease reunification. 

If a long-term order is being considered:  

  • Consider the most appropriate type of order.
  • Complete the tool collaborative assessment and planning framework with the child, carer, parents and their safety and support network.
  • For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, arrange, with the child and family’s consent for an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the decision making process and offer the opportunity to participate in a family-led decision making process. (Refer to Procedure 5 Decision making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.)
  • For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child complete the Independent person  form in ICMS to record whether an independent person helped facilitate the participation of the child and family in the decision making process. (Refer to Procedure 5 Complete the independent person form.)
  • Refer the matter to a practice panel. (see Procedure 5 Refer the case to a practice panel.)

Attention

When making a decision about an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, consider:

  • the long-term effect of the decision on the child’s identity and connection with their family and community
  • the child placement principle.

For further information, refer to Procedure 5 Decision making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The outcome and recommendations of the practice panel and the outcome of the family reunification assessment will guide the decision as to when it is appropriate to cease working towards reunification and pursue an alternative permanency option for the child. (Refer to Procedure 5 Assess if reunification can occur.

Further reading

Long-term guardianship to a suitable family member or another suitable person

The Childrens Court can only grant a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person  who is not a member of the child's family if both of the following apply:

  • The child is already in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive under a child protection order.
  • The proposed long-term guardian is nominated by the chief executive.

The Childrens Court must not grant long-term guardianship of a child to the chief executive if the court can properly grant guardianship to another suitable person (Child Protection Act 1999, section 59(7)(b)).

Note

Consider if a child has established a secure attachment with the proposed long-term guardian and whether the care arrangement with the proposed long-term guardian is stable.

To complete the assessment process:

  • Organise separate meetings with the child, their parents and the proposed long-term guardian.
  • Seek the views of the child and family about a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person.
  • Seek the views of the proposed long-term guardian about the order.
  • Talk to the proposed long-term guardian about their guardianship rights and responsibilities, which include:
    • having the right to care for and make decisions about the child on a daily basis
    • telling the parents about where the child is living and giving them information about the child’s care
    • facilitating contact between the child and their parents or appropriate family members of the child’s family, unless an exception to these requirements has been ordered by the Childrens Court (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(1) and (2))
    • allowing Child Safety to have contact with the child at least once every twelve months to enable Child Safety to review their case plan (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VA
    • notifying Child Safety in writing if the child is no longer in their direct care and providing the child’s current whereabouts (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80A). 
  • Provide:
  • Talk with the child, their parents and proposed long-term guardian about any concerns that may suggest an order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive is more appropriate.
  • If the proposed long-term guardian is eligible for financial support, outline what financial supports may continue to be provided.
  • Obtain the CSSC manager’s approval for any proposed ongoing financial supports and inform the proposed long-term guardian of the outcome.
  • Consult with the OCFOS lawyer if a referral to the DCPL requires provisions that restrict information to, or contact with, parents and other family members.
  • Assess the likelihood that the proposed long-term guardian will be able and willing to meet all of the guardianship obligations for the duration of the order or until the child leaves home to live as an independent adult.
  • Record all of the discussions and information gathered in the Assessment report— long-term guardianship to a suitable person.

Attention

The Child Protection Act 1999 requires Child Safety, in consultation and with the consent of the child and their family, to arrange an independent Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander entity for the child (known as an independent person) to facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in decision making processes:

  • when making a significant decision for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
  • when deciding where and with whom an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child will livewhen the child is subject to a child protection care agreement, or an order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive.

For further information refer to Procedure 5 Decision making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Practice prompt

If the proposed long-term guardian’s compliance with any of their obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(1) would create a significant risk to the safety of the child or anyone else with whom the child is living, consult with the OCFOS lawyer about recommending that conditions be made on the child protection order.

The child protection order is unable to be transferred to another jurisdiction (interstate or overseas) if the proposed long-term guardian is likely to relocate at any stage after long-term guardianship is made by the Childrens Court.

Further reading

Finalise the assessment outcome and inform all parties

After completing the assessment process and before completing the Assessment report—long-term guardianship to a suitable person:

  • Discuss the outcome of the assessment with the child and family, senior team leader, senior practitioner and OCFOS lawyer.
  • Confirm that this is the most appropriate order to be recommended.

Practice prompt

If there is any conflict, it must be resolved in favour of the child’s safety, wellbeing and best interests (Child Protection Act 1999, section 5A).

When a decision is reached regarding the recommended order:

  • Talk with the child, parents and the proposed long-term guardian about the assessment outcome.
  • Include relevant comments and feedback (from the child, parents and the proposed long-term guardian) in the assessment report.
  • Finalise the assessment report.
  • Provide the assessment report and required attachments to the CSSC manager for approval.

Once an outcome is reached:

  • Discuss the recommendation and reasons with the child, parents, family and proposed long-term guardian.
  • If applicable, make sure all parties are informed of available review processes, which include:
    • Child Safety’s complaints system. For further information, refer to Child Safety’s Compliments and Complaints feedback website
    • the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). Where requested, direct parties to OPG’s website for information.
  • If asked, provide written advice of the recommendation and reasons, including the review process available.
  • Consider and provide appropriate support to the child, parents and proposed long-term guardian.

Record the assessment

If the proposed long-term guardian is able and willing to assume guardianship of the child, record the assessment and recommendation in:

  • the review report in ICMS
  • the affidavit 
  • the revised case plan for the child.

If there is no proposed long-term guardian able and willing to assume guardianship of a child, include the rationale for not recommending a suitable person and document the assessment and recommendation in:

  • the review report in ICMS
  • the affidavit
  • the revised case plan for the child.

Note

If a long-term guardianship to a suitable person is not recommended, the assessment report will recommend long-term guardianship to the chief executive as the most appropriate order.

Create the long-term guardianship to suitable person―case plan

When a referral is made to the DCPL to apply for a child protection order granting long-term guardianship of a child to a suitable person, prepare a case plan for the Childrens Court by doing the following in the child’s new ongoing intervention event in ICMS:

  • add the approved foster or kinship carer to the event (if this has not already occurred) and edit their role to long-term guardian
  • record a ‘generic’ case note explaining that the role of approved foster or kinship carer has been edited to long-term guardian to enable the LTG to suitable person - case plan to be created
  • create and complete the Long-term guardianship to suitable person―contact and review report 
  • create and complete the Long-term guardianship to suitable person―case plan based on information from the child’s current case plan. Note the case plan will only address the child’s needs and not any previously identified needs for the parents
  • submit the Long-term guardianship to suitable person―case plan to the senior team leader for approval.

Note

When an approved foster or kinship carer is not granted long-term guardianship of a child make sure the long-term guardian’s carer status is accurately recorded in ICMS. For example if they remain approved as a foster or kinship carer for the child, make sure their role in the event reflects this and that their carer entity information is correct.

Record the long term guardianship to suitable person - case plan

Make sure the following requirements regarding long-term guardianship orders to a suitable person are reflected in the Long-term guardianship to suitable person―case plan:

  • Child Safety will have contact with the child every 12 months (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VA(2)).
  • The proposed long-term guardian will allow Child Safety to have contact with the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VA(3)).
  • Unless an exception has been made by the Childrens Court, the proposed long-term guardian will:
    • keep the child’s parents informed about where the child is living 
    • give the child’s parents information about the child’s care (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(1)(a) and (b))
    • provide opportunities for contact between the child and the child’s parents and appropriate members of the child’s family as often as is appropriate in the circumstances.
  • The case plan must address the five elements of the Child Placement Principle for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 5C).
  • The proposed long-term guardian must notify Child Safety in writing if the child leaves their direct care at any time in the future and provide details of the child’s whereabouts, if known (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80A(2)).

A Long-term guardianship to suitable person – case plan is submitted to the Childrens Court and must include all of the following sections.

The child’s details and date of case plan 

In the first sections of the case plan record:

  • the child’s details
  • the date of the case plan―either the date of the most recent family group meeting or the date the case plan was reviewed (if no family group meeting was  held)
  • whether the child participated in the case plan review 
  • whether the proposed long-term guardian participated in the case plan review.

Case plan goal

In this section record:

  • the primary goal of the case plan to best achieve (or maintain) permanency
  • the rationale for the goal.

Support needs and actions

In the ‘support needs and actions’ section, record:

  • any support needs identified for the child and how they will be met
  • the actions required to address the needs
  • who is responsible for the actions
  • the date the actions are to be completed or reviewed.

Child information

Record the following information in the child information section:

  • Education―relevant information about the child’s schooling or child care arrangements. Note―a child who has a long term guardian is not eligible for an education support plan.
  • Family and community―refer to Family and Community.
  • Child health―information about current and potential future health needs the child has. Note―a child who has a long-term guardian is not eligible for a child health passport.
  • Cultural support plan, if relevant. Refer to Family and Community.
  • Transition to adulthood―if the child will be 15 years or older at the time the order will be made― include information about how the proposed long-term guardian will support the child’s transition to adulthood.

Attention

A long-term guardian assumes full responsibility for meeting a child’s educational, medical or therapeutical needs unless specific actions relating to how needs will be met are agreed in the case plan. 

Family and community

Attention

If the proposed long-term guardian’s compliance with any of their obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(1) would create a significant risk to the safety of the child or anyone else with whom the child is living, consult with the OCFOS lawyer about recommending that conditions be made by the DCPL on the child protection order.

Record the views of the child, parents and the proposed long-term guardian about:

  • the proposed contact arrangements between the child and:
    • their parents
    • other family members and significant people
  • any proposed submissions made by the DCPL to the Childrens Court to modify the long-term guardian’s ongoing obligation to provide family contact―due to significant risk to the safety of the child or anyone with whom the child is living.

Cultural support plan

To develop a cultural support plan (within the child’s case plan) record the following information:

  • for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child:
    • the name of the clan/language group/ethnic group or cultural group/island the child belongs to―record this in the ‘Indigenous community/Language group’ field of the  ‘Indigenous status’ section in the child’s profile in ICMS
    • the name of the mob/community and/or island group, clan group, language group and skin group the child’s siblings, mother and father belong to
    • activities the child will be involved in (and how often) to support and preserve their cultural identity and connection with family and community, including:
      • what help they will need to take part in the activities
      • who will support them to attend the activities
    • how the child will be supported to develop and maintain a connection with their culture and traditions and members of their family, community and language group
    • the support the proposed long-term guardian needs to:
      • develop and maintain the child’s cultural identity, connection with their family, community, culture, traditions and language― particularly if the carer does not identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
      • feel confident in participate in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or other cultural community events
    • the names, relationship (or organisation) and contact details of people who have agreed to have contact with the child to support and develop their cultural identity. 
  • for a child from another culture:
    • relevant cultural information about the child, his or her family, community, language, clan, ethnic, island or cultural group and personal history
    • activities the child will be involved in (and how often) to support and preserve their sense of cultural identity and links, including:
      • what help they will need to take part in the activities
      • who will support them to attend the activities
    • how the child will be supported to develop and maintain a connection with their family, community, culture, traditions and language group
    • the names, relationship (or organisation) and contact details of people who have agreed to have contact with the child to support and develop their cultural identity.

Case plan review

Record the date (within the next 12 months) of the next scheduled contact with the child, at which time a case plan review will be offered to the child and long-term guardian.

Also document the approved financial supports to be paid after the order is made including specific details of any child related costs and additional carer payments as recorded in the Assessment report—Long-term guardianship to a suitable person.

Long-term guardianship to the chief executive

The Childrens Court will only grant long-term guardianship to the chief executive if the court cannot properly grant guardianship to another suitable person (Child Protection Act 1999, section 59(7)(b)).

A long-term order granting guardianship to the chief executive is assessed as appropriate when:

  • There is no parent willing and able to protect a child now and in the future.
  • A child’s carers say they are not able or willing to assume long-term guardianship.
  • A child’s carers say they are willing to assume long-term guardianship but Child Safety has assessed that the carers are not, or may not be, able and willing to assume all guardianship responsibilities for the duration of the order.
  • A child’s long-term need for relational, physical and legal permanency is best met by the making of this order.

Recommend a permanent care order

A permanent care order grants permanent guardianship of a child to a suitable person, who has been assessed as being able to meet the obligations of a permanent guardian under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(g).

Recommend a permanent care order:

  • after a period of case work aimed at reunifying the child with their parents or a family member has not been successful in the required timeframe (Refer to Duration of a short term order granting custody or guardianship.)
    or if
  • a permanent care order will achieve permanency for a child subject to a long-term guardianship order.

Attention

When deciding the most appropriate type of child protection order for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child consider:

  • the long-term effect of the decision on the child’s identity and connection with their family and community
  • the child placement principle.

A proposed permanent guardian is nominated by the chief executive. The Childrens Court can only grant a permanent care order if satisfied that:

  • The proposed permanent guardian is a suitable person for having guardianship of the child on a permanent basis.
  • The proposed permanent guardian is willing and able to meet the child’s ongoing protection and care needs on a permanent basis.
  • The proposed permanent guardian is committed to preserving the child’s identity, the child’s connection to their culture of origin and their relationship with members of the child’s family—in line with the case plan.
  • The child is already in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive or in long-term guardianship to a suitable person.
  • The child has been living with the proposed permanent guardian for 12 months before the making of the order.

Note

A permanent care order can only be considered if it has been assessed as being in the child’s best interests and there is a suitable person who has been assessed as being able and willing to accept permanent guardianship of the child and meet all of the obligations of a permanent guardian.

If a permanent care order is not in the child’s best interests or there is no suitable person able and willing to accept permanent guardianship, consider an order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive (with the child remaining in a care arrangement with the carers) in the following circumstances:

  • There is uncertainty about the ability and willingness of the proposed permanent guardian to fulfil the obligations of a permanent guardian.
  • A high level of support by Child Safety is needed to meet a child’s needs.
  • A child is in receipt of a high or complex support needs allowance, which requires regular and ongoing review.
  • The proposed permanent guardian will need planned short breaks  following the making of the permanent care order, as they have no-one within their existing support network to provide short breaks as a private arrangement.

Further reading

Practice kit Permanency

Practice kit Safe care and connection

Practice guide Long-term orders - comparisons

Complete the assessment

When the family reunification assessment outcome indicates that Child Safety is to prepare for an alternative permanency option: 

  • Engage with the child, parents, family members and proposed permanent guardian to complete a Collaborative assessment and planning tool.
  • Seek the views of the child and family about a permanent care order.
  • For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, arrange, with the child’s and family’s consent, for an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the decision making process, and offer the opportunity to participate in a family-led decision making process. (Refer to Procedure 5 Decision making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.)
  • For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child complete the Independent person form in ICMS to record whether an independent person helped facilitate the participation of the child and family in the decision making process. (Refer to Procedure 5 Complete the Independent person form)
  • Refer the matter to a practice panel. (Refer to Procedure 5 Refer the case to a practice panel.)
  • Seek the views of the carer about becoming a permanent guardian.
  • Seek the views of the child and family about a permanent care order.
  • Complete a permanent guardian assessment report. (Refer to practice guide Permanent guardian assessment guide.)
  • Discuss any matters or considerations that suggest an order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive or a suitable person may be more appropriate.
  • Discuss the financial support arrangements available for the proposed permanent guardian (which includes the fortnightly carer allowance until the child turns 18).
  • Get the CSSC manager’s approval of any proposed financial support in exceptional circumstances (that is, more than the fortnightly carer allowance).
  • Before finalising the report, discuss the outcome with the senior team leader, senior practitioner, manager and the OCFOS lawyer.
  • Discuss the report and outcome with the child, parents and proposed permanent guardian.
  • Include feedback from the child, parents and proposed permanent guardian in the assessment report.

Attention

The Child Protection Act 1999, requires Child Safety, in consultation and with the consent of the child and their family, to arrange an independent Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander entity for the child (known as an independent person) to facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in decision making processes:

  • when making a significant decision for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
  • when deciding where and with whom an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child will livewhen the child is subject to a child protection care agreement, or an order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive.

For further information, refer to Procedure 5 Decision making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, there must be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who is independent from the case on the practice panel. The outcome and recommendations of the practice panel and the outcome of the family reunification assessment will guide the decision as to when it is appropriate to cease working towards reunification and pursue an alternative permanency option for the child. (Refer to Procedure 5 Assess if reunification can occur for a child in care.)

Tip

The proposed permanent guardian may be eligible for continuation of high support or complex needs allowance for up to 6 months in exceptional circumstances. For further information refer to the policy High support needs allowance and policy Complex support needs allowance.

Provide the child with:

Provide the parent with:

Provide the proposed permanent guardian with:

Finalise the assessment

To seek approval:

  • Finalise the permanent guardian assessment report. 
  • Provide the report to the senior team leader to endorse.

The senior team leader will provide the assessment and any other information to the CSSC manager for approval.

Once the permanent guardian assessment report is approved, the CSO and senior team leader will consult the OCFOS lawyer.

If the DCPL applies for a permanent care order:

  • Discuss the recommendation and reasons with the child, parents and proposed permanent guardian.
  • Inform the child, parents and proposed permanent guardian of available review mechanisms, including:
    • Child Safety’s complaints system. For further information, refer to the Compliments and Complaints feedback website
    • the Office of the Public Guardian. Where requested, direct parties to the Office of the Public Guardian(OPG) website for information.

Develop a permanent care order – case plan

When a referral is made to the DCPL to apply for a permanent care order, a revised case plan must be submitted to the Childrens Court. Consult with the following people to prepare a case plan for the Children's Court:

  • the proposed permanent guardian
  • the child and family members
  • members of the child’s safety and support network
  • relevant professionals.

Access the Permanent care order – case plan in the child’s new ongoing intervention event ICMS. To access the case plan:

  • add the approved kinship or foster carer to the event and edit their role to permanent guardian
  • record a generic case note explaining that the role of the approved foster or kinship carer has been edited to permanent guardian to create the Permanent care order— case plan in ICMS
  • create the Permanent care order—case plan. Note the recorded outcomes in the case plan will only address the needs of the child—not any previously identified needs for the parents.

After finalising the case plan process, complete the Permanent care order—case plan and submit to the senior team leader for approval.

Note

The Permanent care order—case plan will have an incomplete status until the child protection proceeding is finalised. When the child protection proceeding is finalised the senior team leader will re-open the Permanent care order—case plan and record the court outcome:

  • Order granted (Outcome: case closed—PCO)
    or
  • Order not granted (Outcome: ongoing)

The ongoing intervention event will close when the outcome of order granted (Outcome: case closed—PCO) is recorded. The child will no longer be subject to case planning.

If an outcome of Order not granted (Outcome: ongoing) is recorded, the ongoing intervention event will close. The senior team leader will create a new ongoing intervention event in ICMS. Make sure the proposed permanent guardian’s carer status is accurately recorded in ICMS. For example, if they remain approved as a foster or kinship carer for the child, make sure their role in the event reflects this and that their carer entity information is correct.

Record the permanent care order – case plan

A permanent care order—case plan submitted to the Childrens Court must include all of the following sections.  

The child’s details

In the first section of the case plan record the child’s name, date of birth, age, sex, indigenous status and ethnicity.

Case plan details

Record the:

  • date the case plan was developed, in the date of the case plan field
  • case plan goal as ‘Long term care to be provided by permanent guardian’
  • name of the proposed permanent guardian.

Outcomes and actions

In the ‘outcomes and actions’ section record the key needs of the child and how these will be met by the proposed permanent guardian in regards to:

  • safety, belonging and wellbeing―include information about how the proposed permanent guardian has met these needs for the child to date
  • family and community―refer to Family and Community
  • cultural connection―clearly detail how the proposed permanent guardian will preserve the child’s identity and connection to their community, culture and country. (Refer to the Practice kit Safe care and connection.)
  • health and wellbeing―outline how the proposed permanent guardian will support the child and respond to any identified health issues, considering:
    • the child will not be eligible for a child health passport
    • the proposed permanent guardian will be fully responsible for meeting the child’s identified medical and therapeutic needs
  • education, training and employment―outline how the proposed permanent guardian will support the child and respond to any identified education, training or employment needs, considering:
    • the child will not be eligible for an education support plan
    • the proposed permanent guardian will be fully responsible for meeting the child’s identified education, training and employment needs
  • transition to adulthood―if the child will be 15 years or older at the time the order will be made― include information about how the proposed permanent guardian will support the child’s transition to adulthood
  • financial matters―refer to Resources and financial matters.

Also in the ‘outcomes and actions’ section record the legislative obligations of a permanent guardian:

  • to ensure the charter of rights for a child in care is complied with (Child Protection Act 1999, section 79A (1)(a))
  • to help the child transition to adulthood (Child Protection Act 1999, section 79A (1)(b))
  • to preserve the child’s identity and connection to their culture of origin to the extent it is the best interests of the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 79A (1)(c))
  • unless an exception is made by the Childrens Court:
    • to keep the child’s parents informed about where the child is living 
    • to give the child’s parents information about the child’s care (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(1)(a) and (b))
    • to provide opportunity for contact between the child and the child’s family members and other persons of significance to the child as often as is appropriate in the circumstances
  • to notify Child Safety in writing if the child leaves their direct care at any time before they turn 18 and provide details of the child’s whereabouts, if known (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(A)(2)).

Family and community

Attention

If the proposed permanent guardian’s compliance with any of their obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(1) would create a significant risk to the safety of the child or anyone else with whom the child is living, consult with the OCFOS lawyer about recommending that conditions be made by the DCPL on the child protection order.

Document what arrangements will be in place for the proposed permanent guardian to:

  • preserve the child’s relationships with members of their family
  • ensure the child maintains contact with their family and persons of significance to them.

Record the views of the child, parents and the proposed permanent guardian about:

  • the proposed contact arrangements between the child and:
    • their parents
    • other family members and significant people.
  • any proposed submissions made by the DCPL to the Childrens Court to modify the permanent guardian’s ongoing obligation to provide family contact―due to significant risk to the safety of the child or anyone with whom the child is living.

Resources and financial matters        

Attention

A permanent guardian is entitled to the fortnightly caring allowance for the duration of the order.

Record how the proposed permanent guardian will support the child financially and identify if there are any financial issues that will impact on the permanent guardian’s ability to accept full financial responsibility for the child until the child becomes financially independent.

A permanent guardian may be eligible for the high or complex support needs allowance in exceptional circumstances for a time limited period―not exceeding 6 months if the review of the child’s case plan indicates that:

  • the child has emerging special needs
    or
  • the guardian requires financial assistance to establish a care environment for the child to meet the child’s ongoing needs.

Note

When a permanent care order is made by the Childrens Court, the placement event in ICMS must remain open for the permanent guardian to receive the fortnightly caring allowance.

Child Safety will have no further contact with a child unless:

  • a review of the case plan is requested by the child or permanent guardian
  • a complaint is made about the permanent guardian’s care of the child.

For further information, refer to Procedure 5 Permanent Care Order.

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