Changing the status of a child from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Follow this procedure when changing a child’s status from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander to neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander during investigation, protective intervention, protection order or closure phase.

For the procedure to change the status of a child from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in intake phase, see Changing the status of a child from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander during intake phase.

Document ID number 1403, version 2, 23 June 2017

Introduction

There may be situations where a child’s status has been recorded as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in CRIS and it appears this status may be inaccurate. 

The procedures outlined below, referred to as de-identification, must be followed if consideration is being given to changing a child’s status from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin to neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander. Any other change in the ‘Indigenous status’ field in CRIS can occur without following these procedures.

For additional information refer to Changing the status of a child from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander - advice and De-identification during all other phases except intake - flow chart.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

The following tasks need to be completed if a child’s status is recorded as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and subsequent information suggests the child is not of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

  • Seek the views of the child (if appropriate based on the child’s age and stage of development) and the child’s parents about the new information. Record the discussions as a case note in CRIS. Select the case note category ‘Indigenous de-identification’ from the drop down box.

Following the CRIS guide: ‘Changing the status of a child from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander will help you record the decision-making process and rationale correctly in the ‘De-identification History’ tab.

  • Consult with ACSASS to establish whether they think de-identification should occur. Record the consultation as a case note in CRIS, selecting the ‘indigenous de-identification category’.

ACSASS will consult with local communities and ACCOs as appropriate.

  • Request an email from ACSASS confirming their advice to de-identify the child. Attach the email in the ‘De-identification History’ tab.

There may be situations where the parent/s and the child do not identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, however ACSASS has evidence that the child is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status. In this situation consultation must occur with the child protection team manager.

  • Discuss the information obtained with your team manager and reach agreement regarding the next steps. Record the consultation as a case note in CRIS.
  • Undertake or arrange any further work as directed by the child protection team manager.

If there are differing views regarding the de-identification of a child, the team manager will consider whether further work needs to occur. Further work may include:

    - additional consultation with the parent/s and the child

    - family tracing

    - an Aboriginal Family-led Decision Making meeting

    - consultation with ACCOs.

If there is evidence that the child is not of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, the child protection team manager will progress the process to de-identify a child. This decision ensures a child’s right to culture under section 19 of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 is upheld.

  • If sufficient confirmation has been obtained that the child is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, retain the child’s status as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in CRIS.

When de-identification is supported by the team manager

  • If the case is contracted, and this has not already occurred, contact the contracted case manager to discuss any information obtained regarding de-identification and the next steps.
  • Prepare a memo (may be referred to as 'briefing' in CRIS) for the Director, Office of Professional Practice, using the standard departmental memo template. The memo should: provide background information; outline the issues; include the views of the child and their parents and of ACSASS. Attach a copy of the email from ACSASS supporting de-identification to the memo.
  • Progress the memo through team manager, area manager and Child Protection operations manager to Director, Child Protection for endorsement.

The Director, Child Protection considers whether the de-identification process should be progressed, endorses the memo and sends a copy of the memo to the Director, Office of Professional Practice. The Director, Office of Professional Practice will consult with the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People and they will together consider whether a child should be de-identified. The Director, Office of Professional Practice will be responsible for making the final decision regarding whether the child should be de-identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, or not.

  • Once the Director, Office of Professional Practice has made their decision, attach a copy of the signed memo as a case note in CRIS under the subject ‘De-identification of a child as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander’.

A child or a parent can seek an internal review of the decision made by the Director, Office of Professional Practice.

  • Advise the child (if appropriate based on their age and stage of development) and their parents of the decision made by the Director, Office of Professional Practice, and of their right to have the decision reviewed by the Deputy Secretary if they disagree.
  • Advise the child protection team manager if the child or a parent is seeking an internal review of the decision made by the Director, Office of Professional Practice.
  • Record details of the internal review conducted by a Deputy Secretary throughout the process in the Internal/VCAT Reviews tab in the Case Practice component in CRIS.

The child or parent who requested the review will be advised of the outcome by the reviewing officer (in this case a Deputy Secretary). The review outcome letter will state that the child or parents may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for further review of the decision within 28 days of the decision being.

  • If the child is subject to a court order, notify the Children’s Court in writing at the next court hearing that the child’s Indigenous status has been changed and include a brief description of the consultation and review process, and rationale for the decision.

Team manager tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation about whether a child’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status should be changed.
  • If there are differing views regarding the de-identification of a child, undertake additional work as required such as further consultation with the parent/s and child, ACSASS, ACCOs, and so on.
  • Review and progress the briefing to the Director, Office of Professional Practice to de-identify a child as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

A child or a parent can seek an internal review of the decision made by the Director, Office of Professional Practice.

  • Advise the area manager, child protection operations managers and Director, Child Protection if the child or a parent is seeking an internal review of the decision made by the Director, Office of Professional Practice.

Area manager and child protection operations manager tasks

  • Review and progress the memo to de-identify a child as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.  

Director, Child Protection tasks

  • Review and consider a memo to de-identify a child as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
  • Record your decision on the memo and, if endorsed, provide the signed memo to the Director, Office of Professional Practice
  • Advise the Deputy Secretary if a parent or child seeks an internal review of the decision made by the Director, Office of Professional Practice.

A child or a parent can seek an internal review of the decision made by the Director, Office of Professional Practice.

Director, Office of Professional Practice tasks

  • Consider the memo endorsed by the Director, Child Protection.
  • Consult with relevant stakeholders such as child, parents, ACSASS,  ACCOs if required.
  • Consult with the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People regarding whether the child should be de-identified.
  • Make the final decision about whether the child should be de-identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, or not. 
  • If de-identification is supported:
    • Record the views considered, the decision and rationale in the De-identification History tab in CRIS.   
    • Change the child’s status in CRIS to neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander origin.
  • If de-identification is not supported:
    • Record the views considered, the decision and the rationale for the decision in the De-identification History tab in CRIS.
    • Do not change the child’s status in CRIS.
  • Advise relevant child protection managers and practitioners of your decision.

Deputy Secretary tasks

A parent or child may seek an internal review of the decision made by the Director, Office of Professional Practice in relation to de-identification of a child as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

If an internal review of the decision is requested, a Deputy Secretary will be responsible for undertaking the review, given the level at which the decision was made.

The review must be conducted by a Deputy Secretary who has relevant skills, knowledge and experience of the child protection program. The reviewer must not have had prior direct involvement in the decision under review.

  • Review all material relating to the decision, and consult as necessary.
  • Outcomes may include:
    • endorsing the decision under review
    • setting aside the decision under review in favour of a different decision.
  • Provide a written report to the person who sought the review no later than two weeks after the conclusion of the review process, setting out the decision made as a result of the review, and the reasons for the decision, including how the rights of the respective parties were considered.
  • The review outcome letter should state that the child or parents may apply to VCAT for further review of the decision within 28 days of the decision being made.
  • Advise relevant child protection practitioners and managers of the decision.
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