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Engage with other states, territories and New Zealand

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This page was updated on 25 August 2020. To view changes, please see page updates

Engage with other states, territories and New Zealand

The Child Protection Act 1999 provides for the transfer of orders and proceedings between Queensland, other states, territories and New Zealand. The Interstate Child Protection Protocol (the Protocol), and the Interstate Child Protection Protocol Operating Procedures, provide guidelines for:

  • the sharing of information
  • obtaining interstate assessments
  • requests for case work assistance and care arrangements
  • transfer of child protection orders and proceedings.

All requests Child Safety receives from other jurisdictions are received initially by the Interstate Liaison (IL) team at Court Services. Any requests a CSSC needs to make to another jurisdiction are undertaken by the IL team.

Note

Throughout this procedure, ‘state’ refers to any other state or territory of Australia and also to New Zealand.

Share information with another state

Information may be shared with another state when the chief executive reasonably believes the information is required to perform a function under that state’s child welfare law. This includes sharing information relating to an unborn child who may be at risk after birth.

If the CSAHSC is responding to a matter that requires an application to the on-call magistrate, they may consult with the on-call OCFOS lawyer for legal advice.

When a CSSC enters into an agreement with another state, the CSSC can share information with the child protection agency in that state without the involvement of the ILO.

An example is when a CSSC has entered into an agreement with another state to provide case work assistance to a child currently in Queensland who is subject to intervention in that state. If in doubt, contact the IL team.

Request case work in another state

If a child is subject to Queensland child protection intervention and they reside in another state, Child Safety can request case work assistance to be provided to the child by the equivalent department in that state. As mentioned, this request is initially negotiated with the state by the IL team.

A  CSSC is able to request case work assistance from another state for a child who has self-placed or is residing interstate as a result of a case plan decision. The IL team will inform the CSSC when a response has been received, usually within 4 to 6 weeks of the request.

To request case work assistance: 

Attention

Case management and financial costs remain the responsibility of the CSSC in Queensland unless the child protection order is officially transferred to another state or until the order expires.  

Respond to a request for case work from another state

Another state may request case work assistance for a child who resides in Queensland and who is subject to child protection intervention in the other state. If this occurs, the IL team will:

  • ensure the requesting state provides relevant information and supporting documentation about the child
  • provide all relevant documentation to the CSSC manager
  • liaise with the CSSC about accepting the case work request or facilitate negotiations with the requesting state, if needed.  

The CSSC will:

Time sensitive

Respond to another state’s request for case work assistance as soon as possible. Responses should be provided within 4 to 6 weeks.

Request a reunification assessment in another state

If a child is subject to a Queensland child protection order or child protection proceeding, and a reunification assessment needs to be completed to determine if the child can return to the care of a parent in another state:

  • Contact the IL team at Court Services for advice on the process.
  • Ensure the parent is aware of the assessment and has provided their consent to participate in the assessment.
  • Complete a non-urgent criminal and domestic violence history on the parent and, where appropriate, any other household member. Refer to Procedure 2 Check criminal and domestic violence history.
  • Request interstate child protection history checks on the parent and any other adult household member via the Data Management Services (DMS) email DMS_RFI@csyw.qld.gov.au.
  • Complete the Request for interstate reunification assessment form and provide any supporting documents, for example, a medical report.
  • Sign, and arrange for the senior team leader to sign, the completed form.
  • Send all relevant documentation to the IL team at ILO@csyw.qld.gov.au.

Note

The IL team and the CSSC should receive a response from the other state within 6 to 8 weeks of the request being submitted. If a response is not received within 6 to 8 weeks, contact the IL team to request follow-up.

Respond to a request for a reunification assessment from another state

If another state requests a reunification assessment be undertaken with a parent residing in Queensland whose child is subject to a child protection order or proceeding in the other state, the IL team will:

  • ensure the requesting state:
  • provide all of the received material to the CSSC manager
  • liaise with the CSSC about completing the assessment in the agreed timeframe.

When a CSSC receives a request for a reunification assessment, it will be allocated to a CSO who will:

  • liaise with the IL team and the requesting state to clarify any issues
  • complete the assessment in the agreed timeframe
  • arrange for the CSSC manager or senior team leader to sign off on the assessment
  • send the assessment to the IL team email ILO@csyw.qld.gov.au. The IL team will send the assessment to the requesting state.

Request an assessment of kin for family contact or a holiday in another state

Before requesting an assessment of kin, the CSSC manager must decide whether overnight contact with kin can proceed as family contact or a holiday, or the kin requires approval as a carer. Refer to Procedure 5 Decide the nature of overnight contact with kin.

To facilitate an assessment when the child’s kin resides interstate or in New Zealand, complete the following actions at least 9 weeks before the proposed visit:

  • Contact the child’s kin and:
    • confirm they are aware of the proposed visit and willing to care for the child
    • discuss any relevant issues relating to the proposed visit and the child’s safety during the visit.
  • Request an interstate or New Zealand child protection history check on the kin and all other household members via the DMS. Email DMS_RFI@csyw.qld.gov.au.
  • Complete the Request for interstate assessment—family contact/holiday and attach any relevant documentation, for example, a medical report.
  • Have the request signed by the CSO with case responsibility and also by the senior team leader.
  • Email the completed form and supporting documentation to the IL team via the email ILO@csyw.qld.gov.au.

The IL team will:

  • ask the other state to complete the assessment of the kin to determine suitability for family contact or a holiday
  • send the completed assessment to the CSSC manager once received.

The CSSC manager will decide whether the family contact or holiday will proceed, taking into consideration the assessment of the other jurisdiction.

Attention

Additional approvals are required for interstate or international travel, or if a passport application is required. Any international travel, including travel to New Zealand, requires the consent of the child’s guardian.

If the family contact or holiday interstate or in New Zealand is proceeding:

  • Obtain approval for the interstate or international travel―refer to Procedure 5 Make travel decisions—intrastate or interstate and Travel decisions − overseas.
  • Obtain approval for a passport application, if needed―refer to Procedure 5 Apply for a passport
  • Advise the IL team of the:
    • decision to proceed with the family contact or holiday
    • proposed dates for the visit
    • details of the child’s kin, including their name, relationship to the child, address and telephone number.

The IL team will advise the other jurisdiction of the child’s intended visit and:

  • request the details of the local office responsible for the location where the child’s kin lives
  • give the CSO the contact details of the relevant office in the other jurisdiction.

Respond to a request for an assessment for family contact or a holiday from another state

Another state may contact Child Safety requesting that an assessment be conducted for the purpose of facilitating family contact or a holiday.

The requesting state will contact the IL team, Court Services, and provide the completed Request for interstate assessment—family contact /holiday (or the requesting jurisdiction's equivalent form).

The IL team will:

  • ensure that sufficient information has been provided in relation to the child's behaviour and medical issues
  • send the CSSC manager or the director of the Placement Services Unit (PSU) relevant documentation, including an accompanying letter, summary of the case and the due timeframe
  • maintain contact with the CSSC or PSU to ensure completion of the request within the agreed timeframe.

In response to the assessment request, the CSSC or PSU will:

  • conduct the assessment within the agreed timeframe or obtain CSSC manager approval to contract the assessment out to a private practitioner
  • liaise with the IL team or the requesting state to clarify any issues
  • complete the assessment report and seek approval for the recommendation from the CSSC manager, senior team leader or the director of the PSU
  • email the completed assessment report, signed by the CSSC manager, senior team leader or director of the PSU, to the IL team
  • post the original report to the IL team
  • file a copy of the report within the CSSC or PSU, as appropriate.

On receipt of the assessment report, the IL team will forward the report to the IL team in the requesting jurisdiction.

Place a child in another state

A child who is in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive is not able to be placed in another state unless the child’s proposed carer is approved as a Queensland foster or kinship carer.

The decision to place a child in another state must be in line with the child’s case plan goals, so a case plan review and updated case plan may be required before placing the child interstate. Refer to Procedure 5 Review the case plan.  

Attention

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, decisions about where and with whom a child lives and about whether to place a child in another state are considered significant. With the child’s and family’s consent:

  • arrange for an independent person to help facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in the decision
    and
  • offer the child and family the opportunity to participate in a family-led decision making process. Refer to Procedure 5 Refer the family for family-led decision making.

As part of the decision making process 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
  • how the five elements of the child placement principle apply to the decision.

In line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 86, the decision to place a child in another state is a reviewable decision. If a child is placed in another jurisdiction:

Case management responsibility for a child placed in another state remains with the CSSC in Queensland unless or until the child protection order is transferred to the other state.

Note

A person living in Queensland caring for a child who is subject to a child protection order or child protection proceeding in another jurisdiction does not have to meet Queensland approval or renewal requirements for carers.  They are required to meet the approval and renewal requirements for carers in the other jurisdiction.

Request the assessment of a carer in another state

If an assessment of a proposed carer needs to be completed in another state, the IL team, Court Services, will liaise with the relevant state for the carer assessment to be completed. In line with the Interstate Child Protection Protocol, carer assessments are to be completed by the requested state within 6 to 8 weeks.

Prior to sending through a request to assess a proposed carer, the CSSC is required to complete all relevant pre-assessment screening checks, unless otherwise negotiated.

If an assessment of a proposed carer needs to be completed in less than 6 weeks, the request is considered to be urgent. The IL team will negotiate with the relevant state regarding the assessment being completed in the required timeframe.

Attention

If the relevant state needs to outsource the carer assessment to a private practitioner, the requesting CSSC or the relevant PSU will meet the costs of the assessment.

Request assistance from another state to locate a non-relative care arrangement

If a child subject to a child protection order in Queensland requires a care arrangement in another state, assistance may be requested from that state to locate a suitable non-relative carer. The decision to place a child in another jurisdiction must be in line with the child’s case plan goal to achieve safety, belonging and wellbeing.

Before seeking a non-relative care arrangement, consider:

  • why the planned move may be appropriate (for example, it will enable increased family contact because the child’s parent is living in another state)
  • how the move promotes the child’s relational and physical permanency needs
  • the difficulty all states experience in recruiting non-relative carers.

Attention

All kinship options for a child locally and in other states must be exhausted prior to any consideration being given to asking another state to locate a non-relative carer for a child. Potential family care options within the paternal and maternal sides of a child’s extended family will be fully explored and documented in a genogram for the child, attached to the child’s case plan in ICMS.

To request assistance from another state to locate a non-relative care arrangement:

  • Advise the IL team of the request.
  • Complete the Request to locate an interstate placement form and provide details about the type of care arrangement being sought, preferred location and the child’s strengths and needs.
  • Provide supporting documentation, for example, the child’s case plan and Evolve therapeutic assessment.
  • Sign the request and seek the senior team leader’s endorsement.
  • Email the Request to locate an interstate placement form and all other documentation to the IL team at ILO@csyw.qld.gov.au.

Once the form and documentation have been received by the IL team, they will:

  • send the request to the relevant state
  • liaise with the other state until a care arrangement is located or advice is received that a care arrangement cannot be located
  • update the CSO and senior team leader on the progress and outcome of the request.

If another state locates a care arrangement, make arrangements for the proposed carer to be approved as a Queensland carer. Refer to Decide the outcome of the application.

Time sensitive

A request for assistance from another state to locate a non-relative care arrangement for a child remains active for 3 months. If a care arrangement is not able to be located within 3 months, the IL team will close the request.

Respond to a request for assistance to locate a non-relative care arrangement from another state

Another state may ask Child Safety to locate a non-relative carer in Queensland for a child subject to a child protection order in the other state.  

The IL team will liaise with the relevant PSU to respond to a request received from another state for a carer assessment to be completed on a proposed carer in Queensland.

A person living in Queensland caring for a child who is subject to a child protection order or child protection proceeding in another jurisdiction does not have to meet Queensland approval or renewal requirements for carers.  They are required to meet the approval and renewal requirements for carers in the other jurisdiction.

In this circumstance, the IL team will:

  • make sure the requesting state completes the Request to locate an interstate placement form and provides supporting documentation
  • forward all the documentation to the relevant PSU director
  • liaise with the PSU and the requesting state to advise if an appropriate care arrangement has been located, or if a care arrangement is unable to be located.

In response to the request, the PSU will:

  • liaise and seek additional information from the IL team and the case worker from the requesting state, as required
  • advise the IL team if an appropriate care arrangement has been located or if a care arrangement is unable to be located
  • advise the relevant CSSC if the child is to be placed in their geographical area.

Note

If the PSU locates a non-relative care arrangement in Queensland for a child from another state, the requesting state is responsible for approving the proposed carer under the provisions of the legislation in effect in that state.

Respond to a request from another jurisdiction to complete a carer assessment

Another state may ask Child Safety to assess a proposed carer who resides in Queensland, or to complete a carer renewal assessment. In these circumstance, the IL team will:

The PSU will:

  • liaise with the IL team and the requesting state to arrange for the carer assessment to be completed
  • provide the carer assessment report to the PSU director for endorsement
  • email a signed copy of the carer assessment report to the IL team at ILO@csyw.qld.gov.au.  

Before requesting the assessment of a proposed carer, the requesting state is required to complete all relevant pre-assessment screening checks, unless otherwise negotiated.

If the assessment is outsourced to a private practitioner, the requesting state is responsible for meeting the associated costs.

Tip

A Queensland household safety study may be completed as part of the carer assessment, regardless of whether the requesting state’s assessment requirements include a similar household safety requirement.

Enact a Queensland warrant in another state

Before requesting the assessment of a proposed carer, the requesting state is required to complete all relevant pre-assessment screening checks, unless otherwise negotiated.

Warrants are enacted interstate under the Commonwealth Service and Execution of Process Act 1992. The Child Protection Act 1999, section 171 allows for a child subject to a Queensland child protection order to be returned to Queensland if unlawfully removed from a person’s custody or guardianship in Queensland.

The Interstate Child Protection Warrants Protocol  provides guidelines:

  • to give effect to Queensland legislation
  • to arrange the return of a child subject to a Queensland child protection order.

To decide if a warrant is needed, refer to Procedure 5 Respond when a warrant for a child is required.

Attention

The whereabouts of a child in another state must be known before a warrant recovery process can be initiated.

If the Childrens Court has issued a warrant and a child needs to be recovered from another state:

  • Contact the IL team to advise a warrant has been issued and to seek guidance on the process for enacting the warrant.
  • Provide the local Queensland police station with a copy of the warrant. The QPS will contact the local police station in the other state and provide them with the warrant.
  • Liaise with the relevant police officer in the other state.
  • Make arrangements to be in the other state at the time when the warrant is executed to:
    • assist the police
    • attend the Childrens Court in the other state for the magistrate to make an order for the child to be placed in custody (to facilitate their return to Queensland).  

Note

The CSO must have a copy of the warrant and the child protection order when attending court in another state. 

If there is a delay in the CSO attending another state, the IL team may request a worker from the state where the child has been located to attend court on behalf of Child Safety. In this circumstance, the magistrate may make an order granting temporary custody of the child to the child protection department in the other state to facilitate the child’s return to Queensland as soon as possible. 

Child Safety may request the other state to place a child with carers until the CSO arrives. The other state may ask Child Safety to cover the cost of this care arrangement.  

Respond to a request to recover a child in Queensland

The Queensland IL team must be involved in all interstate warrant matters, even if another state contacts a CSSC directly to recover a child in Queensland. The CSSC cannot assist with the recovery unless this is negotiated by the IL team.

If another state seeks the recovery of a child in Queensland, the IL team at Court Services will:

For another state to enact a warrant in Queensland:

  • The requesting state will:
    • contact the Queensland IL team to advise a warrant is being issued to recover a child from Queensland
    • provide the warrant to the police in their state, if the child has been located in Queensland
    • have their IL team or their police service contact the QPS and request that the warrant be executed under the Service and Execution of Process Act 1992
    • arrange for a staff member to be in Queensland at the time the warrant is being executed to assist the QPS and to attend the Childrens Court
    • notify the IL team of the arrangements made and who they have contacted at the QPS to enact the warrant.
  • The IL team will liaise with the QPS to ensure there is a shared understanding of the warrant being enacted and to determine if any further assistance is required.
  • A staff member from the requesting state will attend the relevant court.
  • The QPS will present the warrant and the child at the local childrens or magistrate’s court so the magistrate can make an order for the child to return to the custody of the staff member from the requesting state.  

If there is a delay before a staff member from the requesting state can arrive in Queensland, the requesting state may ask Child Safety to attend court on their behalf. In this circumstance, the magistrate may make an order placing the child in the temporary custody of the chief executive. If this occurs, the child may be placed with an approved carer, and Child Safety may request payment from the other state for the care of the child.

Transfer a child protection order to another state

Child Safety can seek the transfer of a child protection order or a child protection proceeding to another state in two ways:

  • through an administrative transfer, which may occur when all relevant parties consent to the transfer of the order (Child Protection Act 1999, section 209)
    or
  • through a judicial transfer, which may be sought when a parent is not willing or able to consent to the administrative transfer of an order.

An order granting long-term guardianship of a child to a person other than the chief executive or a permanent care order is unable to be transferred to another state. Refer to Request the transfer of a child protection proceeding for information on transferring interim child protection orders.

Request an administrative transfer of an order to another state

Child Safety can only seek another state’s agreement to accept an administrative transfer of an order if:

  • the child is residing in the state
  • the child’s care arrangement is stable and appropriate
    and
  • the other state has been providing case work assistance for the past 3 to 6 months.

A child protection order may only be transferred to another state if the child protection order is current and is not due to expire within 6 months.

To request an administrative transfer of an order to another state:

  • Meet with the child and family to discuss the proposed transfer.
  • Contact the IL team to discuss the process of transferring the order to the other state.
  • For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, with the child’s and family’s consent, arrange for an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the decision-making process. Also offer them the opportunity to participate in a family-led decision making process. Consider the long-term effect of the decision on the child’s identity and connection with their family and community, and how the five elements of the child placement principle apply to the decision.
  • Seek the written consent of:
    • the child, if the child is 12 years of age or over
    • the child’s parents
    • the child’s carer, if the carer has moved or is moving with the child to the state where the request is being made under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 209(1).
  • Complete the Request for Interstate Transfer of Child Protection Order form and Consent for Interstate Transfer form obtained from Court Services.
  • Email the request to ILO@csyw.qld.gov.au.

If a child’s parents cannot be contacted or their whereabouts are unknown, attach a record of the attempts made to contact them and to seek their written views about the proposed transfer.

Note

Case management and financial costs remain the responsibility of the CSSC unless the order is officially registered in the court of the other state. When the order is registered in the court of the other state, the transfer is finalised.

The IL team will:

  • advise the CSSC manager when advice of consent to the transfer has been received from the accepting state
  • provide a letter to the CSSC manager that must be sent within 3 days to all parties whose consent was required for the transfer. This letter advises the consenting parties of their right to make an application for judicial review.  

If an application for judicial review is not lodged within the 28-day appeal period, the IL team will send an Administration transfer of child protection order from Queensland form to the CSSC manager to sign. This will be forwarded to the accepting jurisdiction by the IL team.   

Once the order is registered, the CSSC will:

  • copy all relevant file material, including a print-out of the electronic file, and send it to the manager in the accepting jurisdiction. The IL team will provide the appropriate address
  • cease carer payments 
  • close the placement and relevant events on ICMS
  • record a generic case note in ICMS regarding case closure.

The original file for the child will be kept by the CSSC and will not be forwarded to the accepting state.

Note

Payments to the child’s carer will occur until the day before the registration of the order in the state to which the order will be transferred, unless otherwise advised by the IL team.

Request a judicial transfer of an order to another state

A judicial transfer of a child protection order may occur when:

  • a parent is not willing or able to consent to the administrative transfer of a child protection order
  • the proposed interstate order is equivalent to the Queensland child protection order
  • the protection that the proposed interstate order is seeking to achieve is unlikely to be achieved by a less intrusive order
  • the transfer is in the best interests of the child
  • if the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the requirements of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 5C are satisfied.

To ensure all legal requirements are fully considered, any action regarding the judicial transfer of a child protection order must not be commenced until consultation has occurred with a senior team leader and the IL team.

Once consultation has occurred, recommend to the Director of Child Protection Litigation (DCPL) that a judicial transfer occurs. To do this:

  • Talk with the child, parents and any other people important to the child about the transfer.
  • For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, with the child’s and family’s consent, arrange for an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the decision-making process and offer the family the opportunity to participate in a family-led decision making process.
  • In consultation with the senior team leader, seek legal advice from the Office of the Child and Family Official Solicitor (OCFOS) lawyer.
  • Complete an affidavit. Refer to Procedure 3 Prepare an affidavit.

Once this has occurred, the OCFOS lawyer will complete a referral to the DCPL. 

Note

The DCPL decides if an application will be made to the Children’s Court to seek the transfer of a child protection order to the other state.

Request the transfer of a child protection proceeding

Consult with the IL team about transferring a child protection order proceeding to another state. The IL team will provide advice and information about the transfer process.

If a child protection proceeding has been commenced in Queensland but the child and family usually reside in another state, consideration may need to be given to transferring the matter to the state in which the child and family reside, as:

  • the child and family are likely to have kin and community supports there
  • the Child Safety equivalent in that state is likely to have more comprehensive information on the child and family to ensure a thorough assessment can be carried out and relevant supports can be put in place.

Note

It is appropriate for the state in which the child and family usually reside to make an assessment of the most appropriate order to be sought; however, this will depend on individual family circumstances.

The DCPL decides if an application for the transfer of a current child protection proceeding to another state will be made.

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