Interstate and international travel

Follow this procedure when arranging consent for a child on a protection order to travel interstate or overseas.

Introduction

The department needs to be aware of all interstate or overseas movement of a child subject to a Children’s Court order, because the child is leaving the jurisdiction of the Court.

Who is able to give consent will depend on the order and permanency objective, the nature and timing of the travel.

Where the travel is planned in advance, carers may be authorised to consent in some circumstances.

Refer to advice on this topic, about authorisations of carers and about passports.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

All cases

  • Undertake an assessment of the benefits and risks of the proposed trip and make a recommendation about the travel to the responsible team manager. Consider:
    • purpose of the travel and the travel itinerary
    • how long the travel is for
    • who will be supervising the travel
    • who else may be travelling with the child
    • how to contact the child and supervising adult during the travel (if possible the child and supervising adult should be contactable at all times)
    • how the trip will promote the child's development
    • whether the travel supports or adversely impacts the child's case plan
    • the child’s views and wishes
    • the child’s specific medical requirements or special care or dietary needs if any
    • any medical issues associated with the travel destination. That is, risk of tropical diseases, risk of infection, need for immunisation, availability of emergency medical treatment and medical insurance
    • whether the plans contradict any condition of an order, such as contact arrangements
    • financial implications
    • current travel advice from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade ‘Smart Traveller’ website.

Consent for travel would generally not be given where there is current government advice not to travel to the destination.

  • You may need to make an assessment of prospective carers in another state or obtain police checks on adults with whom the child may have contact. Make these requests through the divisional interstate liaison officer (ILO).
  • Seek parents’ views for overseas travel, or interstate travel that would occur after a child’s anticipated reunification with a parent, obtain written parental consent if the child is subject to an IAO or the permanency objective is reunification. Allow four to six weeks to obtain parental consent and respond to issues.
  • If a passport application is necessary – see Passports.
  • Liaise with youth justice and others where relevant. Check that the proposed travel does not coincide with scheduled court dates or other known commitments.
  • Establish, or review if previously prepared, a risk management or contingency plan.
  • Ensure that a return ticket has been purchased and confirm a return date by sighting the ticket where there is any risk the child may not be returned to Australia.
  • Advise your supervisor to determine appropriate action if the child has not returned to Australia on the expected return date.  Consider seeking legal advice.
  • Complete all necessary documentation in CRIS including decisions and rationales.

Children subject to an IAO

It is not appropriate for a child subject to an IAO to travel interstate or overseas unless this is a condition of the IAO or every party gives consent.

  • Consult your supervisor about whether to make an application to vary the conditions of the IAO if travel is being considered.

Children subject to family preservation

  • Consult your supervisor and seek approval from the team manager for interstate or overseas travel.
  • Where there is disagreement between the parent and child protection, with the parent intending to travel interstate or overseas with the child, consult your supervisor and consider whether to seek to vary the conditions of the order to prevent the travel.
  • Where a parent acts against a condition or an order or a case planning decision and travels interstate or overseas with a child, or allows a child to travel with a third party, consult your supervisor and take action to have the child returned to Victoria.
    • If interstate, consider an interstate warrant. See Interstate warrant.
    • If overseas, consult Legal Services and consider whether to make an application under the Child Protection Hague Convention to have the child returned to Australia.

Children in out-of-home care

  • For proposed interstate travel, the team manager's written approval is required.
    • Where travel plans are known in advance consider authorising the carer to make travel decisions about the specific trip planned.
    • Seek parental consent in writing if the permanency objective is family reunification and the travel will occur after the anticipated date of reunification.
  • For proposed international travel:
    • for children on a family reunification order, care by Secretary order or long-term care order, prepare written advice for the child protection operations manager setting out the proposed travel and seeking written approval
    • seek parental consent in writing if the child is subject to a family reunification order.
  • If proposed travel will clash with parental contact, balance the importance of the travel with contact when making a decision about the travel.
  • If contact visits are missed as a result of travel, make alternative arrangements for contact, where they are determined by the case planner.  Where they are a condition of an order, seek written parental consent or apply to vary the order.
  • If the proposed travel includes participation in a high-risk activity, complete the 'Permission to participate in an activity' form.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and support.

Team manager tasks

  • Endorse interstate travel for children on protection orders.
  • Endorse international travel for children on family preservation orders.

Child protection operations manager tasks

  • Endorse travel outside of Australia for children on family reunification orders, care by Secretary orders and long-term care orders.

Related procedures

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