Emergency care applications

Follow this procedure when making an initial protection application to the Children’s Court by emergency care.

Introduction

When child protection assesses that a child is in need of care and protection due to immediate and unacceptable risk of harm, a protection application to the Children’s Court by emergency care can be made.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

  • Consult your supervisor about whether to make a protection application (PA) by emergency care. Clarify:
    • the grounds for the PA
    • the grounds for not applying by notice
    • whether a warrant is required.
  • Seek advice from the Child Protection Litigation Office (CPLO) or a divisional legal officer about the application.
  • Complete ‘Form 10: Protection application’ for a PA in CRIS (or off-line if necessary). See Court owned forms.
  • If you are seeking a warrant, additional paperwork will be required. See procedure Warrants for tasks that must be undertaken.
  • Take the child into emergency care.
  • Serve copies of the application on a child aged 12 years or older, parents and any party to the proceedings, by hand, if possible.

The information privacy principles state that ‘…personal information must be protected from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure’. Leaving court applications at a person’s home or with another person cannot ensure a person’s privacy is protected and therefore should not occur in any circumstance. 

  • You may apply to the Court for an order dispensing with service if after reasonable efforts a party cannot be located or there are exceptional circumstances.
  • See procedures Service of documents and Dispensation of service for tasks that must be undertaken.
  • If you are unable to locate and serve all parties prior to the hearing, you must serve them outside the court on the day of the hearing (if they attend court) and then complete the affidavit of service.
  • Provide young people and parents with appropriate information sheets:
  • Provide the family with information about how to contact Victoria Legal Aid for legal advice.
  • For metropolitan courts and rural headquarter courts (this includes Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Latrobe Valley and Shepparton) file the original application, the Court's protection application information form (green form), affidavit/s of service and copies of redacted CRIS notes (see below) with the court registry prior to 1pm (2pm at Melbourne Children’s Court for a secure welfare related placement) and be ready to proceed for a submissions hearing by 3pm.
  • At all other rural locations you must contact the court registrar prior to filing the application to ascertain the capacity of the Court to hear the application. If the Court has the capacity, you will be advised of the time the application must be filed and other relevant documents. You must be prepared, as soon as practicable after filing the application, for any submissions contests that arise as a result of the application.

If the Court does not have the capacity to hear the protection application that day, the registrar will refer the matter to the closest rural Children’s Court for the application to be filed.

  • Arrange a Bail justice hearing if the application cannot be brought before the court within 24 hours. Refer to Bail justice hearing guide - advice for information regarding exceptional circumstances.
  • Contact the court or police to arrange security at court if there are worker safety issues.
  • Arrange an appointment through Victoria Legal Aid for a child aged 10 years or older so that the child can give instructions to a lawyer and avoid the need to attend court to give instructions, unless the child expresses a wish to attend.
  • Complete a ‘Statement of grounds’ form and ‘Summary Information’ form in CRIS or off-line if necessary (see Court related forms) and: in metropolitan areas fax to CPLO prior to 9.30 am on the day the matter is to be heard or as soon as possible if PA is issued that day prior to 1 pm; or in rural areas, provide to the divisional solicitor as early as possible.
  • Consult CPLO or divisional solicitor prior to the hearing.
  • Complete an affidavit of service and file the documents with the Court. See Affidavits forms. These must be lodged prior to the hearing date.
  • Redact CRIS notes that are relevant to the rationale and circumstances for the emergency care application. You must redact or mask the name of any person who made a report and any information that is likely to lead to the identification of any person who made a report.
  • When redacting also keep in mind privacy considerations, and remove any references to legal consultation or advice. If you have any questions about the redaction or the scope of the relevant notes, consult with CPLO or your legal representative on the day. See Information security and Information sharing.
  • Attend court with two copies of the redacted relevant CRIS notes – one copy to be given to the CPLO or divisional solicitor and one copy to be provided to the court registry (in sealed envelope). Applications for the release of notes will be brought before the court as soon as practicable, if required, usually where there is a dispute as to the placement of the child which is to be determined by a submissions contest. 

Child protection practitioners are also required to keep a copy of the court applications and the affidavit of service on the paper file and give a copy of the court applications and affidavit of service to the CPLO for their paper file.

  • If placing the child in hospital or parent and baby unit paperwork ‘Form 13 – Statement of placement availability’ (see Court owned forms) must be signed by or on behalf of the chief executive officer declaring that a placement is available at the hospital or unit.
  • Give consideration to whether an undisclosed placement is required, and if so, make an application to the court.
  • Complete CRIS requirements including court screen and record of activity, decisions and rationales.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation.

Team manager tasks

  • Endorse the application for a warrant if required.
  • Endorse the application for a protection application by emergency care and recommended outcomes and order conditions.
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