Referral from Children's Court - Criminal Division

Follow this procedure when responding to a referral from the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court. 

Introduction

When a child charged with an offence appears in a criminal proceeding and the Court believes there is evidence of grounds for a protection application, the Court may refer to child protection for investigation under s. 349 of the CYFA.

Child protection is required to investigate and provide the Court with a report of the outcome of the investigation within 21 days of the referral.

Procedure

Intake case practitioner tasks

  • Register the referral in CRIS as an intake report, with a reporter source 'Criminal Division – Children’s Court intake – court report request' if the child is not a current post-intake client. If the referral relates to a current post-intake client, the referral should go directly to the allocated practitioner.
  • Confirm whether the child or the family is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, Maori or from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community. For direction on how to ask, refer to Identifying Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children - for child protection practitioners (pdf, 68.5 KB)

Identifying Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children who are involved with child protection in Victoria is a practice requirement.

If the reporter (or other source) does not know if a child or sibling is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait islander, the child’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status should be recorded as under assessment on the client file (CRIS) and further enquiries made later.

Where either parent identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, the child is to be recorded on CRIS as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, irrespective of whether the other parent or carer identified the child as Aboriginal.

  • Consult your supervisor in all cases.
  • Consult with ACSASS where it is known or believed that the child is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
    • Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (Lakidjeka) ACSASS (entire state except for the Mallee area) - (03) 9388 2488
    • Mallee District Aboriginal Services ACSASS (Mallee area only) - 0429223833 (daytime), 0427474863 (after hours)
  • Ask the team manager to transfer the case to the appropriate investigation team.

Investigation practitioner or case managing practitioner tasks

  • Register the referral as a new allegation (familial) if the referral relates to an open post-intake case.
  • Contact youth justice to find out if:
    • the child is known to, or is a current, youth justice client
    • a pre-sentence report has been ordered
    • youth justice will have a role in supporting a coordinated approach to the investigation and advice to the Court.
  • Complete an investigation according to the procedure for Investigation if the child is not subject to Family Division Children’s Court proceedings.
  • Advise the family that the Court referred the matter to child protection.
  • If not yet known practitioners must proactively ask if each child and each parent is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
  • Consult the CPLO or a divisional solicitor on:
    • outcome of investigation and proposed advice to court
    • format and content of court report
    • process for submission of report and requirements for attendance.
  • Prepare the report for the Court and obtain team manager endorsement.
  • Submit the report to the Criminal Division of the Children's Court within 21 days of the referral confirming that child protection has enquired into the matter and that either:
    • the child is subject to a protection order, a therapeutic treatment order (TTO) or a therapeutic treatment (placement) order (TTPO), or
    • a protection application has been issued, or
    • an application for a TTO or TTPO has been made, or
    • child protection is satisfied that no protection application or application for a TTO or TTPO is required.

Section 350 of the CYFA requires child protection to provide a report to the Court. The CYFA does not require the report to be provided to any other party.

  • Attend the Court to give evidence if called upon to do so.
  • Refer to procedures for a protection application, a TTO or TTPO where an application has been endorsed by the team manager. Consult your supervisor about the next steps and provide a written report to the Criminal Division of the Children's Court on the outcome of the application including any orders made by the Family Division.
  • Consult your supervisor on next steps if no application to the Court has been made in respect of the child.
  • Complete CRIS requirements including court screen and record of activity, decisions and rationales.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and support.

Team manager tasks

  • Endorse key decisions including:
    • substantiation decision
    • applications to a Children’s Court. 
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