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Decision making for a child

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This page was updated on 09 September 2022. To view changes, please see page updates

Decisions for a child in care can be made by a child’s parents, the carer, non-family-based care service or Child Safety staff, depending on the legal arrangements in place for the child.

Decisions for a child in care may be about:

  • the child's daily care, which can be made when the chief executive or a suitable person has custody or guardianship of the child
  • issues likely to have a significant or long-term impact on the child, which can be made by the child’s guardian.

Note

If the chief executive or a suitable member of a child’s family has custody of a child, the chief executive or suitable member of the child’s family have the right and responsibility to make decisions about the child’s daily care, in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 12.

If the chief executive or a suitable person has guardianship of a child, this gives the chief executive or the suitable person the right and responsibility to make decisions about the child’s daily care and all powers, rights and responsibilities in relation to the child that would otherwise have been the responsibility of the child’s parent. This is in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999section 13.

The person with legal authority to make a decision (or provide consent) for a child in care will vary, depending on:

  • the nature of the Child Safety intervention
  • the type of decision or consent required—whether it’s a custody or guardianship matter
  • if the chief executive has custody or guardianship of a child, who has the delegation to make the particular decision.

Decision making will take into account:

  • the importance or urgency of the decision
  • any risk associated with the decision, for example, the potential impact of an activity on the child's safety, belonging and wellbeing
  • any costs associated with the decision
  • the child’s views and wishes
  • the parents’ views and wishes, where applicable and appropriate
  • the human rights of the child and the parents
  • whether the decision is considered a significant decision for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child. (Refer to Enable participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in decision making.)

When making a decision about a child in care, Child Safety, the non-family-based care service or carer must:

  • act compatibly with human rights when making decisions or taking actions
  • give proper consideration to human rights when making decisions or taking actions.

Refer to Obligations under the Human Rights Act 2019.

Practice prompt

The Charter of rights for a child in care states that a child in care has the right to be consulted about, and to take part in making, decisions affecting their life. This includes decisions about where the child is living, contact arrangement with members of their family, the child’s health and schooling. (Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 1.)

The delegated officer will consider the views of the child and family when making decisions for a child in care.

If a decision is likely to have a significant impact on the life of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, arrange an independent person to help facilitate the child and family’s participation in the decision-making process, with their consent.

Decisions for a child in care are to be made in a timely manner, to: 

  • ensure the child has timely access to medical, dental and therapeutic services
  • minimise circumstances where the child feels or is seen as different because they are prevented from participating in a developmentally or age-appropriate activity due to a drawn-out approval process.  

Determine who has custody or guardianship of the child

If a decision or consent is required for a child in care, determine who has custody or guardianship of the child, based on the nature of the intervention the child is subjec to. Refer to the following table.

Nature of intervention/order Effect on custody and guardianship
Assessment care agreement

The parents retain custody and guardianship.

The types of daily care decisions the parents must be consulted about are included in the care agreement.

Child protection care agreement

The chief executive has custody (Child Protection Actsection 51ZG).

The parents retain guardianship.

The types of daily care decisions the parents must be consulted about are included in the care agreement.

Child at immediate risk taken into custody

The chief executive has custody (Child Protection Act 1999, section 18).

The parents retain guardianship.

Temporary assessment order

The chief executive has custody, where custody is granted as a provision of the order (Child Protection Act 1999, section 28(1)(a)(ii))
or
The parents have custody, where custody is not granted as a provision of the order.

The parents retain guardianship.

Court assessment order

The chief executive has custody, where custody is granted as a provision of the order (Child Protection Act 1999, (section 45(1)(c)(i))
or
The  parents have custody, where custody is not granted as a provision of the order.

The parents retain guardianship.

Interim order (made on adjournment of CAO)

The chief executive has temporary custody, where custody is granted as a provision of the order (Child Protection Act 1999, section 67(1)(a)(i))
or
The parents  have custody, where custody is not granted as a provision of the order.

The parents retain guardianship.

Temporary custody order

The chief executive has custody, where custody is granted as a provision of the order (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51AF(1)(a)(ii))
or
The parents have custody, where custody is not granted as a provision of the order.

The parents retain guardianship.

Interim order (made on adjournment of child protection order)

A family member or the chief executive has temporary custody (Child Protection Act 1999, section 67(1)(a)(ii)).

The parents retain guardianship.

Child protection order—directive  The parents retain custody and guardianship.
Child protection order—supervision The parents retain custody and guardianship.
Child protection order—custody 

A family member or the chief executive has custody (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(d)).

The parents retain guardianship.

Child protection order—short-term guardianship The chief executive has guardianship (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(e)).
Child protection order—long-term guardianship The chief executive or another suitable person has guardianship (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(f)).
Permanent care order The permanent guardian has guardianship (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(g)).
Transition order The chief executive or suitable person retains custody or guardianship (as per the existing child protection order) for the duration of the transition order (Child Protection Act 1999, section 65A).

Attention

If long-term guardianship of a child has been granted to a suitable person (either by an order granting long-term guardianship or a permanent care order), the guardian is responsible for all guardianship decisions for the child, except about the publication of information leading to, or likely to lead to, the identification of the child. Refer to Publication of information by the media.

Facilitate decision makingdaily care decisions

A daily care decision is a decision that relates to the day-to-day care of a child in care, regardless of whether the chief executive has custody or guardianship of the child. A daily care decision can be made by either a delegated officer, carer or non-family-based care service, depending on the nature of the decision. Further information is provided under specific topic headings in this procedure.

A carer or non-family based care service can make decisions about the following matters for a child placed in their care:

  • household routines, for example, meals, nutrition, homework and bed and bath times
  • household expectations, for example, keeping a tidy bedroom, and the amount of time using the television and computer  
  • the child’s appearance, including: 
    • clothing, grooming and hygiene
    • routine haircuts to trim the child’s current hairstyle, excluding a child’s first haircut, which is significant for many parents
  • the child’s absence from child care, school, training or employment
  • routine issues about school or child care
  • daily travel arrangements, for example, travel to and from school
  • occasional babysitting arrangements
  • pocket money, consistent with practices in the carer’s family or the non-family-based care service
  • accompanying the carer or non-family-based care service staff on outings and social events (if there is no conflict with pre-planned family contact)
  • arrangements for the child and their friends to visit each other.

For a child in the custody of the chief executive, some daily care decisions may require the input of the chief executive or the child’s parents. Examples of these types of decisions are:

  • medical decisions
  • education decisions
  • decisions about sport and recreational activities
  • decisions about the child's personal appearance.

Consult a senior officer about complex or sensitive decisions

If the decision or request for consent is complex or sensitive, always consult the senior team leader, senior practitioner or CSSC manager, regardless of who can decide the matter or provide consent. This will ensure any potential complexities associated with the decision are evaluated.

When there are specific complex or sensitive decisions that are to be made by a parent, delegated officer or carer or non-family-based care service, record them in the placement agreement. (Refer to Procedure 6 Negotiate the placement agreement.)

Facilitate decision making—guardianship matters

If the parents retain guardianship of a child, seek a decision or consent about a guardianship matter from both parents, unless all reasonable attempts to locate and consult with a parent have been unsuccessful.

If the chief executive has guardianship of a child, seek a decision or consent about a guardianship matter from the delegated officer. The level of officer delegated to make a decision or to provide consent varies, depending on:

  • the delegations assigned to their position, as outlined in the instrument of delegation
  • the requirements of the specific decision detailed in this procedure.

Obtain the delegated officer's decision or consent

If the child is subject to an order granting guardianship to the chief executive, and a guardianship decision or consent is required:

  • Explain the decision-making process to the child, the parents and the carer or non-family-based care service and obtain their views about the matter to be decided.
  • Determine who is delegated to make the decision or provide the consent.
  • Inform the delegated officer of the decision or consent required and the views of relevant parties.
  • Obtain and record the delegated officer’s decision or consent, and if applicable, attach written consent to the relevant event in ICMS.

If the delegated officer is not available and the decision is urgent, obtain the decision or consent from an officer of the same or higher level who has the delegation to make the decision. For example, if the CSSC manager is unavailable, contact another CSSC manager in the region or the regional director.

If a guardianship decision is likely to be particularly sensitive or contentious, the delegated officer may request that the decision be made by a more senior delegated officer.

Communicate and record the decision

Communicate the decision or consent

Once the parent or delegated officer makes the decision or provides consent, inform all parties of the decision and, if relevant, the rationale for the decision.

Provide advice about review mechanisms

Make sure all parties, including the child, are told how to access applicable review processes, should they wish to have a Child Safety decision reviewed.

Decisions and consents about custody and guardianship matters may be reviewed:

  • by a senior officer of Child Safety (Refer to the practice guide Complaints management: First attempt at resolution.)
    or
  • through the Child Safety complaints process (Refer to Compliments and complaints.)
    or
  • through external review mechanisms, at the request of the child or a person acting on their behalf (for example, a parent or carer), such as through the Office of the Public Guardian.

Make sure the child receives support and assistance in accessing review processes, as required.

Record the decision

Record all relevant information about decisions made for a child in care in a case note in ICMS, including:

  • a decision or consent about which a carer or non-family-based care service has sought advice from Child Safety
  • the views of the child, parents and carer or non-family-based care service
  • guardianship decisions made by parents, including verbal and written consents or refusals and their stated reasons
  • guardianship decisions made by delegated officers, including the rationale
  • a decision about an application for child-related costs. (Attach relevant documents in ICMS.)

Practice prompt

If the decision maker has provided written consent on an official letter or form, attach a copy of the letter or form in ICMS or place it on the child’s file.

Make decisions about child related costs

When a decision about the use of child related costs for a child in care is required, refer to the relevant policy and procedures:

Change a child's name 

If a child asks to be referred to by a different name, the child's views must be given consideration and supported, if appropriate.

The table below outlines who can make decisions about changing a child’s name and who can apply to have the name registered by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

Type of intervention Decision making
Child in the custody of the chief executive Parents
Child in the guardianship of the chief executive

Delegated officer:

  • Regional director

If the decision is made to proceed with changing a child’s name, the following two documents are required for an application to be made:

  1. evidence of legal guardianship issued by a court
    and
  2. a Queensland magistrates court order specifically ordering for the child’s name to be changed from one specified name to another.

Tip

An application to change a child’s surname is made to:

  • the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, if the child was born or adopted in Queensland
  • the registering authority interstate if the child was born or adopted in another Australian state or territory.

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, consider the long-term impact of the decision on the child’s identity and connection to culture. If a legal change of name is considered to be a significant decision for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, taking into account their individual circumstances, arrange, with the consent of the child and family, for an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the decision. (Refer to Enable participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in decision making.)

Contact decisions

This section covers the child’s contact with kin (as defined in the Child Protection Act 1999), that is:

  • any of the child’s relatives who are persons of significance to the child
    and
  • anyone else who is a person of significance to the child.

Family contact 

When a child is in care, the chief executive must provide an opportunity 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. This is referred to as family contact.

All decisions about family contact for a child in care are decisions to refuse to allow, restrict or impose conditions on contact between the child and the child’s parents or member of the child’s family under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 87(2), and are reviewable decisions.

The level and nature of family contact is recorded in the child’s case plan and in the placement agreement. Refer to Decide the level and nature of family contact

Contact with significant persons

A child may also have contact with persons other than family that are of significance to the child.

Decisions about contact between a child in care and people of significance to the child, other than family are not reviewable decisions and do not require formal written notice. These decisions are daily care decisions (Child Protection Act 1999, sections 12-13).

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, contact arrangements will include people of significance to the child under Aboriginal tradition or Islander custom who can help the child’s identity development and connection with the child’s family and community.

Make a contact decision

If overnight contact with kin is being sought, refer to Decide the nature of overnight contact with kin.)

The table below outlines who can make decisions about family contact, as well as contact decision with persons other than family.

Decision Decision maker
All decisions about family contact for a child in care

Delegated officer:

  • Senior team leader or CSSC manager
All decisions about contact between a child in care and a person of significance to the child, other than family

Delegated officer:

  • Senior team leader or CSSC manager

Each time a change is made to family contact arrangements:

  • Inform all affected persons of the decision, the reason for the decision and how to have the decision reviewed.
  • Inform the child about the review process and support options.
  • Provide written notice of the decision to the person affected using the Reviewable decision letter – family contact.
  • Provide the child with a letter, written specifically for them, suitable for their age, maturity and capacity to understand.
  • Advise the OPG of the reviewable decision within 3 business days by emailing the relevant regional visiting manager. (Refer to the OPG - Regional visiting manager contact details.)
  • Save a copy of the letter in iDOCs/Court and legal/Reviewable decisions and link it to the child’s ongoing intervention event in ICMS.
  • Refer to Facilitate, monitor and review family contact.

When child protection proceedings in relation to making, extending, amending or revoking a child protection order is before the court, a decision is made under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 87(2), and the person affected by that decision is party to the proceedings in the Childrens Court, provide written notice of the decision to the person affected, using the Letter re: refusal or restriction of family contact (section 99MA).

The senior team leader or CSSC manager is responsible for making sure the legislative requirement to provide written notice of a decision to refuse, restrict or impose conditions on family contact is complied with.

Practice prompt

If a child is no longer in the care of a long-term or permanent guardian and is subject to a CAO, TAO, temporary custody order or interim child protection order, the long-term or permanent guardian must be provided with written notice of a decision to refuse, restrict or impose conditions on family contact.

If the level and nature of family contact outlined in the case plan is no longer in the best interests of the child, consider whether a case plan review is required. Refer to Review and revise the case plan.

Note

Under the Public Guardian Act 2014, section 133, the Public Guardian is able to apply to the QCAT for a review of a family contact decision by a senior team leader or CSSC manager to not refuse, restrict or impose conditions on a child's contact (Child Protection Act 1999, section 87(2)).

The Public Guardian must attempt to resolve the concern with Child Safety before requesting a review by QCAT.

Decide the level and nature of family contact

Decisions about family contact must:

  • reflect the goals of the child’s case plan
  • be in the child’s best interests
  • not place the child at further risk of harm.

Attention

A child protection order granting custody or guardianship of a child to the chief executive overrides any contact that has been directed by the Family Court of Australia.

If there is Family Court ordered contact occurring and there are concerns about a child’s safety, take action to ensure the child's safety. (Refer to Procedure 7 Respond to alleged harm during contact ordered by a family law court.)

To decide the level and nature of family contact consider the following:

  • the child’s emotional and physical safety during contact
  • the child’s views and wishes
  • if family contact is helping to maintain and develop the child’s significant relationships
  • if family contact is providing a positive connection between the child and their cultural community
  • if the child’s parents are demonstrating an increased capacity to meet the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs
  • the type of child protection order the child is subject to
  • if the child is residing in a kinship care arrangement that has existing family contact arrangements
  • practical arrangements, including:
    • transport
    • pick up and drop off times
    • expectations about the contact 
    • the payment or reimbursement of any costs associated with the contact.

Practice prompt

If a family contact decision is different to the child’s views and wishes, explain the reasons for the decision to the child.

To decide on a location for safe and meaningful family contact, work with the child and parents to identify a location:

  • the family can easily access
  • that will be safe for the child
  • that will enable the child and parents to enjoy and participate in the visit.

If there are concerns about the child’s safety with a person who it is proposed will be present during contact, consider requesting the criminal or domestic violence history of that person from the QPS to inform decision making. This may be a parent, adult member of the parent’s household or an adult alleged responsible for harm to the child.

Note

Family contact visits will only occur at a CSSC if there is a significant risk to the child or a staff member, for example, threats of violence or risk of child abduction.

Further reading

Consider domestic and family violence

Attention

If there is a domestic violence order in place, any decisions about family contact must not be in conflict with the conditions of the domestic violence order. For example, if the domestic violence order states the respondent is not to have contact or come within 100 metres of the aggrieved and the named child – Child Safety cannot make a contact decision that allows the respondent to have contact with the child, which would be in breach the domestic violence order.

If a parent is perpetrating domestic and family violence, consider the following as part of the decision-making process:

  • Will family contact be used by the perpetrator to further harm the child or as a means to continue the abuse or control of the non-violent partner or extended family members?
  • Is family contact between the child and the perpetrator or extended family members in the child’s best interests?
  • Does the child’s behaviour significantly change before, during or after family contact?

If a child is placed with a kinship carer who is a member of the perpetrating parent’s family, assess:

  • if the carer is able to meet the child's safety, belonging and wellbeing needs during contact with the perpetrator
  • the level of fear family members have towards the perpetrator and the level of control the perpetrator has over family members.

If a child is placed with a kinship carer who is related to the non-violent parent, assess if there are safety concerns for the child or any members of the household when deciding the level and nature of family contact between the child and the perpetrator.

If there are worries about a child's safety during contact, make sure:

  • safety planning has occurred with the child, family and network.
  • action steps to keep the child safe are clear and have been agreed by all relevant people.
  • only agreed family contact is occurring and that kinship carers and the child’s parent are not making their own arrangements.

Further reading

Decide the nature of overnight contact with kin

If it is proposed that a child stays overnight with kin in Queensland or in another state or in New Zealand, the CSSC manager is delegated to decide:

  • if the child’s kin will be assessed as a carer, and the stay considered a care arrangement (Refer to Procedure 6 Provide and review care)
    or
  • if the stay will be considered contact or a holiday, not requiring the child’s kin to be assessed and approved as a kinship carer.

Provide the CSSC manager with the following information to make the decision:

  • the goal and outcomes of the case plan, including how contact complies with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle
  • the child's views about the contact
  • the child's age and vulnerability
  • any risk to the child posed by the contact
  • the history of previous contact between the child and the child's kin
  • the length of stay, location and circumstances of contact
  • if a request for approval for the kin to receive the fortnightly caring allowance is required.

The CSSC manager may decide to approve expenditure to meet costs associated with overnight family contact visits with kin. (Refer to the policy Child related costs.)

If the CSSC manager decides the arrangement will be considered a care arrangement subject to regulation of care requirements―approach the child’s kin about submitting an application to become an approved kinship carer. (Refer to Procedure 6 Help the prospective kinship carer to complete a carer application.)

If the CSSC manager decides the arrangement is family contact or a holiday, an assessment for this purpose is still necessary. (Refer to Complete an assessment for family contact or holiday with kin in Queensland or Request an assessment for family contact or holiday with kin interstate or in New Zealand.)

Further reading

Complete an assessment for contact or holiday with kin in Queensland

To complete an assessment about overnight contact when the child’s kin resides in Queensland:

  • Confirm the kin is willing to care for the child.
  • Arrange a time to visit and conduct the assessment of the kin.
  • Speak to the kin about the contact plans and any worries. 
  • Complete a child protection history check on the child’s kin and other household members. Their consent is not required, but tell them that the checks will be completed.
  • Complete an assessment interview with the child’s kin.
  • Complete the Assessment for the purpose of family contact/holiday form.
  • Seek approval of the decision from the delegated officer for intrastate travel. (Refer to Travel decisions.)

Attention

No history checks other than child protection history may be undertaken. If it is assessed that further checks are necessary, consider formally assessing the person as a kinship carer.

Practice prompt

If the child’s kin lives a significant distance outside the geographical area of the CSSC, request that the CSSC local to that area complete the Assessment for the purpose of family contact/holiday. The CSSC manager responsible for the child will make the contact decision.

Request an assessment for family contact or holiday with kin interstate or in New Zealand

If the child’s kin resides interstate or in New Zealand, request an assessment for family contact or holiday to be undertaken by the other jurisdiction. (Refer to Procedure 7 Request an assessment of kin for family contact or holiday in another state.)

The CSSC manager will decide if the family contact or holiday will proceed interstate or in New Zealand, taking into consideration the assessment of the other jurisdiction.

Arrange for the contact or holiday if approved by the CSSC manager.

Attention

Additional approvals will be required for interstate or international travel, or if a passport application is required.

Counselling and therapy decisions

Decisions about counselling and therapy will generally occur as part of the case planning process. Refer to Case planning.

A decision or consent regarding counselling or therapy that is not part of the agreed case plan must be provided by the guardian.

The table below outlines who can make decisions about counselling and therapy for a child.

Decision and intervention Decision maker
Counselling or therapy, where this is consistent with case decisions and the child's case plan

Delegated officer:

  • CSO or senior team leader
Counselling or therapy, where this is not part of the child's case plan – child in the custody of the chief executive Parents
Counselling or therapy, where this is not part of the child's case plan – child in the guardianship of the chief executive

Delegated officer:

  • CSSC manager

Note

Even when counselling or therapy is agreed to in the case plan, some service providers may require the consent of the guardian before providing a service, regardless of the type of child protection order the child is subject to.

Culture and religion

Details of who can make decisions about the child's observance, maintenance or participation in cultural and religious events and activities are outlined in the table below.

The child’s guardian is responsible for decisions about the child's observance, maintenance or participation in cultural and religious events and activities that are not consistent with the views of the child and their family

Decision and intervention Decision maker
Child in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive, where the decision is consistent with the views or beliefs of the child and their family. This includes religious education provided at school Carer or non-family-based-care service
or CSO or senior team leader
Child in the custody of the chief executive, where the decision is not consistent with the views or beliefs of the child and their family Parents
Child in the guardianship of the chief executive, where the decision is not consistent with the views or beliefs of the child and their family

Delegated officer:

  • CSSC manager

Education decisions

Note

Under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006, both custody and guardianship to the chief executive comes within the meaning of ‘parent’.

The following table provides who is able to make education-related decisions for a child based on whether they are in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive.

Decision Decision maker
Daily care decisions (child in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive)

Select and enrol a child in a child care centre that is eligible for the Australian Government Child Care Subsidy payment

This is separate to financial decisions about costs.

Carer or non-family-based care service

Variations to school routine, including day excursions of low to moderate risk that are intrastate or interstate

Refer to Seek approval for high or very high risk activities.

Carer or non-family-based care service

Sporting and recreational activities of low to moderate risk, undertaken at school

Carer or non-family-based care service

Attend meetings at the school about the child

Carer or non-family-based care service

Sign school reports

Carer or non-family-based care service

Consent to school or class photos for personal or family use

Carer or non-family-based care service

Consent to curriculum-related activities, including but not limited to swimming, Arts Council and religious education consistent with the views/beliefs of the child and their family

Carer or non-family-based care service

Guardianship decisions (child in the guardianship of the chief executive)

Enrol a child in a school (also referred to as selecting a school or changing schools)

After the decision is made and with appropriate supporting documentation, the carer or non-family based care service staff may attend the school to make enrolment arrangements.

Delegated officer:

  • Senior team leader

Any day excursion or sporting or recreational activity involving high or very high risk activities as part of the school program

Refer to Social, sporting and recreational activity decisions—daily and overnight.

School camps (except high or very high risk activity or overseas travel)

Carer or Delegated officer:

  • CSO

Educational adjustment programs for students with disabilities

Delegated officer:

  • Senior team leader

Work experience, including school-based apprenticeships and traineeships

Delegated officer:

  • CSO

The decision to seek dispensation from compulsory schooling, that is, for a child to leave school prior to the compulsory school leaving age

Carer or Delegated officer:

  • CSSC manager

Note

A CSO or senior team leader can also make education-related daily care decisions, if required.

A senior team leader can make a decision about enrolment or a change of school for a child in the custody of the chief executive if:

  • it is assessed to be in the child's best interests
    and
  • the parent is unwilling or unavailable to give consent.

Employment of a child in the entertainment industry

Attention

In Queensland, the employment of children is governed by the Child Employment Act 2006 and theChild Employment Regulation 2016. Legislative regulations covering the employment of children in the entertainment industry:

  • limit the amount of work children can perform to 40 hours per week
  • outline education requirements for children working in the entertainment industry
  • clarify the role of parents and supervisors.

The decision about a child’s employment in the entertainment industry is made by the child’s guardian.

Before employing a child in the entertainment industry, employers are required to:

  • inform parents about the Child Employment Guide 
  • provide them with a copy of the guide, if requested
  • have a signed ‘parenting consent form’ from the child's guardian.

If a child is in the guardianship of the chief executive, the CSSC manager is the delegated officer responsible for the decision.  If they agree to the child’s employment, the CSSC manager will sign the parenting consent form and make sure it is returned to the employer.

Intervention

Decision maker

Child in the custody of the chief executive

Parent

Child in the guardianship of the chief executive

Delegated officer:

  • CSSC manager

 

Joining the Australian Defence Force

The consent of the guardian is required for a young person aged under 18 years to join the Australian Defence Force, as outlined in the table below.

Intervention Decision maker

Child in the custody of the chief executive

Parent

Child in the guardianship of the chief executive

Delegated officer:

  • Regional director

Marriage of a young person

The consent of the guardian is required for a young person aged under 18 years to marry, as outlined in the table below.

Intervention Decision maker

Child in the custody of the chief executive

Parent

Child in the guardianship of the chief executive

Delegated officer:

  • Regional director

Medical and dental decisions

Many decisions relating to routine medical matters are considered daily care decisions and can be made by the child’s carer or non-family based care service, regardless of who has custody or guardianship of the child. Significant, invasive or non-routine medical examinations or treatments are the decision of the child’s guardian.

When responding to medical decisions for a child in care, determine whether the decision requires the consent of the child’s guardian, as outlined in the table below. For these decisions, if the chief executive does not have guardianship of the child, the child’s parent is the decision maker.

Also consider whether the child would be assessed as Gillick competent by a health practitioner and able to make the decision themselves. Refer to Gillick competency.

Attention

Health practitioners have the legal authority to proceed with treatment in:

  • life-threatening emergencies when treatment must occur before consent can be obtained
    or
  • circumstances where delaying treatment to obtain consent would jeopardise the child's life.
Decision Decision maker
Daily care decisions (child in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive)

Administer non-prescription medication and seek routine medical care related to common illnesses or dental care

Carer or non-family-based care service

Seek routine dental treatment not requiring a general anaesthetic

Carer or non-family-based care service

Seek the continuation of health or dental treatments and administering prescribed medication for established conditions, with the exception of:

  • psychotropic (drugs which affect a person’s mental state) or other medications prescribed to manage behaviour or mental health conditions. (Refer to Management of psychotropic medication.)
  • medications prescribed as part of a new treatment regime
Carer or non-family-based care service

Seek treatment requiring a local anaesthetic.

Carer or non-family-based care service

Seek medical or other health treatment for non-routine, newly presenting conditions. These include diagnostic tests relevant to the presenting condition (for example, x-rays)

Carer or non-family-based care service

Seek urgent medical or dental treatment not requiring a general anaesthetic, blood transfusion or surgery

Carer or non-family-based care service

Resume care of a child after they are discharged from a hospital

Carer or non-family-based care service

Seek a second medical opinion (but only a guardian can decide to act on a second opinion)

Carer or non-family-based care service
Guardianship decisions (child in the guardianship of the chief executive)

Immunisation

Refer to Immunisation of children in care.

Carer or delegated officer:

  • CSSC senior team leader
  • CSAHSC senior team leader or manager
  • CSSC manager
Regional director

Blood tests (excluding DNA testing)

Carer or delegated officer:

  • CSSC senior team leader
  • CSAHSC senior team leader or manager
  • CSSC manager
Regional director

Prescribed medications to manage behaviour or mental health conditions

For example, dexamphetamines (nervous system stimulants) and anti-depressants.

Refer to Develop a child health passport.

Delegated officer:

  • CSAHSC senior team leader or manager
  • CSSC manager

Invasive medical and surgical procedures or considerations

For example, medical treatment involving general anaesthetic, blood transfusion, surgery, or the degree of care to be provided to a critically ill child.

Delegated officer:

  • CSAHSC senior team leader or manager
  • CSSC manager
Regional director

Acting on a second medical opinion

Delegated officer:

  • CSAHSC senior team leader or manager
  • CSSC manager
  • Regional director
(depending on the type of illness/condition and proposed treatment)

Other decisions relating to medical matters requiring a guardian’s explicit consent

Delegated officer:

  • CSAHSC senior team leader or manager
  • CSSC manager
Regional director

Contraception, when:

  • a child is under 12 years of age
  • a child is assessed by a health practitioner as not Gillick competent

Refer to Gillick competency.

Delegated officer:

  • Regional director

Stage 1 treatment for gender identity dysphoria.

Delegated officer:

  • Regional director

DNA testing

Refer to DNA paternity testing.

Delegated officer:

  • Regional executive director

End of life decisions

Refer to Palliative care and end of life medical treatment decisions.

Delegated officer:

  • Director-General

Gillick competency

Gillick competency is a legal term referring to a child's capacity to understand and provide consent. Health practitioners carry out an assessment to establish if a child has sufficient understanding and maturity to appreciate the nature, consequences and risks of proposed health care and the alternatives, including the consequences of not receiving the health care. The more complex the health care or more serious the consequences, the stronger the evidence needs to be of the child’s capacity to consent.

If a child is Gillick competent, doctors are not required to notify a parent or carer; however, the parent or carer may be aware of the situation and be providing support to the child.

If a child is not Gillick competent, the consent of the child’s custodian or guardian is required.

An assessment of a child’s Gillick competence is needed for each new health care decision.

Practice prompt

Carry out medical examinations or treatment – section 97

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 97, provides the authority for a health practitioner to medically examine or treat a child subject to a child protection order granting custody to the chief executive, including a child subject to a child protection care agreement, without the consent of the child’s parent. 

When seeking the medical examination or treatment of a child by a health practitioner under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 97, provide the health practitioner with a Request to medically examine or treat a child - section 97 letter. The letter confirms the authority of the health practitioner to proceed with medical examination or treatment without the parents’ written consent.

Practice prompt

Give careful consideration before seeking the medical examination or treatment of a child subject to a child protection care agreement without the full consent of the parents, given the voluntary nature of the placement.

Make a medical decision that requires guardian consent

Medical decisions are only to be made after sufficient information has been obtained from the appropriate health practitioner about:

  • the treatment, procedure or surgery
  • any possible side effects or restrictions the child may experience
  • the rehabilitation requirements
  • any follow-up required with a health practitioner.

The delegated officer who provides consent for a guardianship decision about medical or dental treatment (for a child subject to a child protection order granting guardianship to the chief executive) must sign the Consent form—operations and treatment. Attach a copy of the form to the relevant event in ICMS and give the original to:

  • the health practitioner
    or
  • to the carer or non-family based care service, to provide to the health practitioner.

Practice prompt

Obtain approval for child-related costs from the CSSC manager before obtaining treatment for a child, unless expenditure is for emergency medical or dental treatment.

When a child is in the guardianship to the chief executive, the carer or non-family-based care service is authorised to:

  • consent to the child’s immunisation on behalf of the chief executive
  • consent to the child having a blood test, where a health practitioner has requested this to assist in diagnosis or medical intervention (excluding DNA blood testing).

The authority for these activities is included in the Authority to care—guardianship to the chief executive form. Carers are to give a copy of the Authority to care—guardianship to the chief executive to the immunisation provider as proof of this authority. (Refer to the policy Immunisation of children in care.)

Attention

Child Safety staff do not make decisions about termination of pregnancy.

The Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 enables a female person of any age to make their own decision to have a termination of pregnancy.

A health practitioner will assess whether a young person can consent to having a termination of pregnancy through an assessment of Gillick competence. Refer to Support a young person’s decision about whether to terminate a pregnancy.

DNA paternity testing

DNA paternity testing is a guardianship decision, as outlined below.

Intervention Decision maker

Child in the custody of the chief executive

Parents

Child in the guardianship of the chief executive

Delegated officer:

  • Regional executive director

A DNA paternity test can be used if:

  • there is uncertainty about a child’s parentage
    and
  • it is considered to be in the best interests of the child.

A DNA paternity test should only be undertaken in exceptional circumstances. These may include where significant conflict about the child’s parentage may result in a change in the child’s care arrangement or their usual family situation.

Child Safety does not have the authority to compel any child or adult to undertake a DNA test. In most cases, a DNA paternity test will not be undertaken by Child Safety when a father has been recorded on the child’s registered birth certificate.

In part, this is because there is a presumption contained in the Status of Children Act 1978 that a person listed on the birth certificate is the child’s parent. A mother or father is required to apply to register a birth under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003. A parent’s name cannot appear on the birth certificate unless the parent signed a birth registration application.

The recording of a father on a birth certificate is therefore considered the primary evidence of parentage of a child. If another person is identified as possibly being the child’s father, consideration of a DNA test to prove paternity will only occur in exceptional circumstances and when it is assessed as being in the child’s best interests.

Child Safety may make 2 types of approval decisions relating to a DNA paternity test:

  1. approval for a DNA test for a child subject to a child protection order granting guardianship to the chief executive
  2. approval for the financial cost of the DNA test.

Before seeking approval for a DNA paternity test, consult:

  • the senior team leader
  • the senior practitioner
  • the OCFOS lawyer, if relevant.

If the decision about DNA testing for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child is considered to be a significant decision, arrange, with the consent of the child and family, for an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the decision. (Refer to Enable participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in decision making.)

The approval of the child’s guardian is required for a DNA paternity test for a child subject to a child protection order granting custody to the chief executive.

The approval of the regional executive director is required for a DNA paternity test for a child subject to a child protection order granting guardianship to the chief executive.

If approval is to be sought from the regional executive director, prepare a brief outlining the following information:

  • who requested the DNA paternity test
  • the views of the parent (and the child, if age and developmentally appropriate) about the test
  • why the DNA paternity test is being considered
  • what understanding the family has of a DNA paternity test and the impact of the test outcome
  • what emotional support will be offered to the child and family
  • who will inform the family of the DNA paternity results
  • the potential long-term effect of the DNA paternity results on an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child’s connection to family and culture.

Once a decision is made, attach the brief and corresponding information to the relevant event in ICMS.

If costs for the DNA paternity test cannot be met by the child’s legal guardian, seek approval for the cost from the CSSC manager. The CSSC manager can use their financial delegation to approve the cost of a DNA paternity test if it is consistent with the case plan and the appropriate approval has been obtained.

Further reading

Practice guide Paternity testing

Practice kit Care arrangements.

Palliative care and end of life medical treatment decisions

Decisions about palliative care and end of life medical treatment will be required for a child in care if:

  • the child has a life-limiting illness, either long term or acute, and death is likely or expected
  • the child’s life is threatened due to illness, trauma or injury as a result of an accident or self-harm
  • the child’s life is threatened due to illness, trauma or injury as a result of harm inflicted by another person.

A child’s guardian has the legal authority to provide consent for palliative care and end of life medical treatment. This includes the decision about what treatment will and will not occur in an acute situation.

The table below outlines who can make decisions about palliative care and end of life medical treatment for a child in care, depending on the type of intervention they are subject to.

Intervention Decision maker

Child protection care agreement

Child protection order granting custody to the chief executive

Parents
Child protection order granting guardianship to the chief executive Delegated officer:
  • Director-General
Child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person Long-term guardian
Child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a permanent guardian Permanent guardian

End of life medical treatment decisions are to be made in a timely way by the person with the legal authority to make the decisions, informed by:

  • appropriate medical expertise
  • the views of the child and other relevant parties (carers, parents and Child Safety practitioners).

This will assist the relevant parties to make care and treatment decisions in the best interests of the child and alleviate the child’s pain and suffering.

Practice prompt

Immediately inform the CSSC manager, who will urgently seek advice from the Legal Services Branch if the child’s parents have guardianship of the child and:

  • they cannot be located or will not consent to the end of life decisions
  • the medical advice is that the proposed treatment, including the withholding of treatment, should proceed.

Refer to Palliative care and end of life medical treatment for the process of responding to a child's need for palliative care and end of life medical treatment.

Further reading

Passports

If a child in care does not have a current passport and requires one, the Australian Passports Act 2005 requires that the passport application be signed by all persons with parental responsibility, that is, both:

  • the guardian
    and
  • the person who has custody of the child.

If a person other than a parent has guardianship, the parents are not required to sign the passport application. Inform the parents of the proposed travel and seek their views, if possible.

In addition to the passport application, the Application for an Australian Travel Document B-10 must be completed and signed by either:

  • the regional director, if the chief executive has guardianship
    or
  • the long-term or permanent guardian.

The table below outlines the forms required, and the people responsible for signing them.

Type of child protection order Forms Type of consent required
Guardianship to the chief executive

Australian Passport Child Application Form

Application for an Australian Travel Document B-10

Regional director

Note: parental consent is not required
Guardianship to a suitable person

Australian Passport Child Application Form

Application for an Australian Travel Document B-10

Suitable person

Note: parental consent is not required
Custody to the chief executive, including an interim order Australian Passport Child Application Form Regional director and parents
Custody to a suitable person Australian Passport Child Application Form Suitable person and parents

If parental consent is required and either or both parents decline to sign the passport application, or are unable to sign, discuss the matter with the senior team leader, who may seek advice from Legal Services Branch.

Foster and kinship carers will be reimbursed for the purchase of a passport for a child, including the cost of the application and the child's photograph.

Personal appearance

A child’s personal appearance is a daily care decision. The child has the right to have their views considered in relation to their personal appearance, including haircuts, clothing, jewellery and ear piercing. If the decision may become contentious, the carer or non-family-based care service should consult the CSO with case responsibility.

The CSO or senior team leader may decide to:

  • ask the child's parents to make the decision
  • make the decision, after considering the views of the child, their parents and the carer.

Practice prompt

An example of a contentious issue may be when a carer wants to cut the hair of a child who has always had long hair, and the parents do not want the child’s hair cut.

Attention

The tattooing or intimate body piercing of a child under 18 years is unlawful.

Intervention Decision maker

Child in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive, where the decision is uncontroversial

Carer or non-family-based care service

*The child’s view must be taken into consideration.

Child in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive, where the decision is contentious

Carer or non-family-based care service to contact CSO

CSO or senior team leader may:

  • consult with the parents
  • make the decision following consultation with all parties.

Publication of information by the media

Regardless of who has guardianship of a child, the Child Protection Act 1999, section 189 requires that a person must not, without the written approval of the chief executive, publish information that identifies, or is likely to lead to the identification of, a child as:

  • a child who is, or has been, the subject of an investigation under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14
  • a child in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive
  • a child for whom an order is in force.

The person who wishes to publish the information—usually a media representative—is responsible for contacting Child Safety to seek approval.

Decision about publication of information Decision maker

Child in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive or other suitable person

Director-General

Note

The person who wishes to publish the information—usually a media representative—is responsible for contacting Child Safety to seek approval.

Social, sporting and recreational activities decisions—daily and overnight

Decisions about the involvement of a child in care in social, sporting and recreational activities depends on the nature of the activity and the type of intervention.

A carer or non-family-based care service may make daily care decisions about a child’s involvement in social, sporting and recreational activities (see Daily care decisions in the table below).

When a child is in the custody of the chief executive, the child’s parent is required to make the guardianship decisions outlined in the table below.

Social, sporting and recreational activity decisions Decision maker
Daily care decisions (child in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive)

Participation in sporting and recreational activities - not involving high or very high risk activities

If the activity is considered to be high or very high risk, refer to Seek approval for high or very high risk activities.

Carer or non-family-based care service

Consent for club photos, such as sport, dance or drama, if the photo is for personal or family distribution only and will not be published

Carer or non-family-based care service

Take a child on family outings that do not conflict with family contact arrangements or the case plan

Carer or non-family-based care service

Allow a child to stay with another person for a period of up to 2 nights, for example, a sleep-over at a school friend's house

Carer or non-family-based care service
Guardianship decisions (child in the guardianship of the chief executive)

Sporting or recreational activities involving high and very high risk activities undertaken as an individual

Refer to Seek approval for high or very high risk activities.

Delegated officer:

  • Senior team leader

Sporting and recreational activities involving high and very high risk activities undertaken by clubs (for example, Scouts, Girl Guides and sporting clubs)

Refer to Seek approval for high or very high risk activities

Carer or non-family-based care service or Delegated officer:

  • Senior team leader

Day excursions, organised by the school, involving high and very high risk activities

Refer to Seek approval for high or very high risk activities.

Delegated officer:

  • Senior team leader

Day excursions in Australia, involving high and very high risk activities undertaken by tourism operators, including those organised by the school

Refer to Seek approval for high or very high risk activities.

Carer or non-family-based care service or Delegated officer:

  • Senior team leader

Allow a child to be in the care of another person for 3 nights or more

Delegated officer:

  • CSSC manager

Attention

The decision to allow a child to be in another person’s care for 3 nights or more is intended to be used to normalise the child’s activities, for example, to allow a child to spend a weekend with friends. It is not intended to be a substitute for a care arrangement or to override regulation of care requirements.

Seek approval for high or very  high risk activities

Decisions about a child participating in a high or very high risk activity are the responsibility of the child’s guardian. Examples of high or very high risk activities include—but are not limited to—white water rafting, rock climbing, abseiling and high ropes courses.

When a request is received for a child to participate in a high or very high risk activity, tell the child:

  • about the approval process, including who is responsible for the decision
  • that a decision will be made or obtained in a timely way, to ensure that if consent is given, any delay in communicating the decision will not prevent the child from undertaking the activity
  • the decision, once it is made.

Refer to Guardianship decisions (child in the guardianship of the chief executive) in the table above.

Gather information about the activity

Gather the following information:

  • the nature, qualifications and credentials of the organisation or individuals providing the activity
  • what protective strategies can be taken to minimise the level of risk including:
    • the level of adult supervision to be provided during the activity
    • the supply and enforced use of compulsory safety equipment, for example, whether a Type 1 personal flotation device is available when participating in boating activities
    • the child's access to necessary safety equipment, for example, if the carer non-family-based care service will assist the child to have a mouthguard fitted
  • the potential hazards and risk level of the activity. (Refer to Determine the level of risk.)
  • the insurance provisions provided in the event of an accident.

Determine the level of risk

The risks associated with high and very high risk activities may be mitigated by the use of protective equipment, or participation under specific guidelines (age restriction, adult supervision, and codes and regulations).

High risk and very high risk activities may be defined as activities where:

  • there is a high risk of injury to the child or other people if the equipment or procedures associated with the activity are not used in the prescribed manner
  • there is a risk of severe injury to the child or other people
  • there is a high likelihood, high probability or frequency of an injury or event occurring, or a significant consequence or impact if it does occur
  • a high level of adult supervision of all aspects of the activity is required.

Attention

The Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit (part of Mater Health Services):

  • publishes injury bulletins on a range of topics on their website. The bulletins discuss risk factors that contribute to injuries, based on Queensland Hospital emergency department injury surveillance data; and relevant preventative strategies
  • cannot calculate the relative risk of injury
  • can provide advice about protective strategies for children who intend to participate in activities. They require a minimum of 7 days to respond to a request.

Review the injury bulletins before making a request for information.

Discuss with a 16- or 17-year old their participation in the activity, with a view to the young person increasing their decision-making skills. Check the activity’s indemnity form, as some activities may allow consent by a 16- or 17-year old.

Gather information about the suitability of the activity for the child

Gather sufficient information to determine the suitability of the activity for the child, including the views of the child, parents and carer about:

  • the activity
  • the suitability of the activity for the child’s age, developmental level and experience.

Seek consent from the child's guardian

Consent for high or very high risk activities can be given by the carer or non-family-based care service, the parents or the senior team leader, depending on the type of child protection order and who is organising the activity. (Refer to the Education decisions (Guardianship decisions (child in the guardianship of the chief executive) table and the Social, sporting and recreational activities decisions—daily and overnight (Guardianship decisions (child in the guardianship of the chief executive) table.)

Parents retain guardianship

If a child is in the custody of the chief executive and a request is received for the child to participate in a high or very high risk activity:

  • Contact both parents to advise of the request and seek their consent.
  • Explain to both parents the nature of the activity and the hazards and risks for the child.
  • Provide the parents with a copy of any written information obtained from the organisation offering the activity.

Note

Seek consent from both parents about the decision unless consent has been sought from one parent and all reasonable attempts to locate and consult with the other parent have been unsuccessful.

If the parents provide consent for the child’s participation in the activity:

  • Make sure the parents sign the consent form provided by the organisation offering the activity. If a form has not been provided, give each parent the Guardian consent form for high risk and very high risk activities to sign.
  • Place a copy of the signed consent form on the child's file and attach a copy to the ongoing intervention event in ICMS.
  • Tell the child and the carer or non-family-based care service that the parents have given consent.
  • Give the original signed consent form to the organisation offering the activity.

If the parents do not consent to the child’s participation in the activity:

  • Record each parent's decision on the consent form, place the form on the child's file and attach a copy to the ongoing intervention event in ICMS.
  • Inform the child and the carer or non-family-based care service that the parents have not provided consent, and the child cannot participate in the activity.
  • Inform the organisation offering the activity that the child is not permitted to participate in the activity.

Chief executive has guardianship

If consent is needed from the senior team leader (because the activity is not being undertaken by a school or club or an Australian tourism operator) for the child to participate in the activity:

Inform the senior team leader if a parent opposes the child's participation in the activity, so their views can be considered in the decision. The senior team leader may seek the guidance of the CSSC manager about the decision. If the senior team leader or CSSC manager approves the activity, record the parent’s views and the rationale for the decision in a case note.

Practice prompt

Inform the senior team leader if a parent opposes the child's participation in the activity, so their views can be considered in the decision, and record the parent’s views and the rationale for the decision in a case note. The senior team leader may seek the guidance of the CSSC manager about the decision.

If the senior team leader approves the child’s participation:

  • Place the approved form on the child's file.
  • Inform the child, the carer and the child's parents of the approval.
  • Give the organisation providing the activity the signed letter advising of Child Safety’s consent.

If the senior team leader does not approve the child’s participation:

  • Place a copy of the form on the child's file.
  • Inform the child, the carer and the parents of the decision not to provide consent.
  • Provide the organisation with the signed letter advising of Child Safety’s decision, stating that the child does not have permission to participate in the activity.

Travel decisions

Consent for decisions regarding travel for a child is dependent on:

  • who has custody and guardianship decision-making responsibilities for the child
  • whether there are any costs associated with the travel
  • the destinationintrastate, interstate or overseas
  • the duration of the travel.

Refer to the tables in Travel decisions – chief executive has custody, Travel decisions – chief executive has guardianship, and Travel cost approval.

Unless travel costs are likely to be sought, a carer or non-family-based care service is not required to advise Child Safety of the travel they can consent to, however, if the carer and a child in care, or a child in care, will be away from their usual residence for an extended period, for example, on holiday, advise the carer they are required to provide their contact details to the CSO with case responsibility.

If interstate or overseas travel is to occur for the purpose of family contact or a holiday with kin, refer to the requirements to involve the interstate liaison team outlined in Contact decisions.

If a child needs a passport to travel, refer to Passports.

Note

If the child is in the long-term guardianship of a suitable person or is subject to a permanent care order, there is no requirement for Child Safety to approve the travel, including overseas travel. Financial support from Child Safety for the travel is not available.

Travel decisions – chief executive has custody

The table below outlines who can make travel decisions for a child in the custody of the chief executive. This does not include the cost of travel. The Financial delegate approval for travel costs table outlines who can make decisions about the cost of travel for a child in care.

Travel decisions - chief executive has custody
Decision for a child to travel - not including costs Decision maker
Travel within Australia Intrastate Interstate
Day trips Carer or non-family based care service Carer or non-family based care service
Up to 3 nights and not in conflict with the case plan or family contact arrangements Carer or non-family based care service

Parent
 *CSSC manager

Up to 3 nights and in conflict with the case plan or family contact arrangements

Parent                        *CSSC manager

Parent

*CSSC manager
More than 3 nights 

Parent                        *CSSC manager

Parent

*Regional director
Overseas travel
Overseas air travel

Parent

*Regional director

* The parent, as guardian of the child is the decision maker for these decisions. Where the parent is not able to be located, is not willing to make decisions for the child, or is not able to make decisions due to health or mental health issues, the Child Safety officer indicated is able to make the decision.

Where there is conflict about these decisions between a parent and Child Safety, a carer or a family member, that impacts on a parent’s decision making, work with the parents to achieve an outcome that is in the child’s best interest.

Refer to Overseas travel costs for more information about decision making for overseas travel for a child in care.

Note

If interstate travel is to occur for the purpose of family contact or a holiday with kin, refer to the requirements to involve the interstate liaison team outlined in Contact decisions.

Travel decisions – chief executive has guardianship

The table below outlines who can make travel decisions for a child in the guardianship of the chief executive. This does not include the cost of travel. Refer Refer to Travel cost approval to Travel cost approval for who can make decisions around the cost of travel for a child in care.

Travel decisions - chief executive has guardianship
Decision for a child to travel – not including costs: Decision maker
Travel within Australia Intrastate Interstate
Up to 3 nights and not in conflict with the case plan or family contact arrangements Carer or non-family based care service Carer or non-family based care service
More than 3 nights and not in conflict with the case plan or family contact arrangements Senior team leader Senior team leader
Up to 3 nights and in conflict with the case plan or family contact arrangements Senior team leader CSSC  manager 
More than 3 nights and in conflict with the case plan or family contact arrangements Senior team leader Regional director                 
Overseas travel
Any overseas travel outside of Australia Regional director

Refer to Travel cost approval for more information about decision making for overseas travel for a child in care.

Travel cost approval

The table below outlines the financial delegate for approving travel costs for a child in either the custody or guardianship of the chief executive.

Financial delegate approval for travel cost

When the chief executive has either custody or guardianship

Type of travel Financial delegate
Intrastate  travel CSSC manager
Interstate travel Regional director
Overseas travel within 5 hours flying time Director-General
Overseas travel beyond 5 hours flying time Minister

Overseas travel

The consent of the guardian is required for a child in care to travel overseas. (Refer to the Travel decisions – chief executive has custody, Travel decisions – chief executive has guardianship tables.)

If there are costs to be met by Child Safety for overseas travel for a child (for example, for overseas airfares, accommodation costs and domestic flights) prior approval must be sought from the financial delegate. Refer to the Financial delegate approval for travel costs table, and the policy Child related costs and the procedure Child related costs – Travel.

Approval for these costs will be considered only:

  • to maintain family contact where it is assessed to be essential for the wellbeing of the child or to support a reunification plan
  • to enable a gifted child to participate at an international level in their field of excellence, for example, sporting or academic competitions
  • in cases where exceptional circumstances demonstrate that overseas travel is essential to maintaining a child’s safety, best interests and wellbeing.

Approval for overseas airfares and accommodation costs will not be given for a child in care to participate in school excursions to an overseas country.

The CSSC manager may approve incidental costs for overseas travel, such as passport fees, visas and travel insurance. Prior approval for eligible child-related costs must be obtained from the CSSC manager.

If Director-General approval is required for overseas travel costs, any applicable letters of advice to the carer will be:

  • prepared by the CSSC
  • signed by the regional director and forwarded to Executive Services with the approval request.

If a child in care has been approved to travel overseas and the carers are covering the costs of the travel, prepare an accompanying draft letter for the regional director’s signature. The letter will:

  • be addressed to either the carers or the child who is travelling (whichever is appropriate in the circumstances)
  • include the carer’s name and address.

Forward the draft letter for the regional director’s signature to the regional office.

Practice prompt

Staff are encouraged to seek travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) by telephone on 1300 555 135 or to refer to the Smartraveller website for information regarding security and/or health risks relating to the proposed travel destination.

Note

If overseas travel is to occur for the purpose of family contact or for a holiday with kin, refer to the requirements to involve the interstate liaison team, outlined in Facilitate, monitor and review family contact.

Related forms, templates and resources

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Version history

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Published on:

Last reviewed:

  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
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    August release - Procedure reordered and new key step introduced.
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  • Date: 
    Inclusion of link to Palliative care ilearn module
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    Manintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Content update
  • Date: 
    Content updated
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 updates and Travel decision making table update.
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
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    Updated new content relating to the Queensland Family Support Referral.
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    FPP update
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    Update travel and financial cost approval tables
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    Changes to decision making for children in the guardianship of the chief executive.
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    link update
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