This procedure provides guidance to working with young people who are subject to concurrent youth justice and child protection orders.

 

When to use this procedure

When case managing young people who are subject to concurrent youth justice and child protection orders.

 

What else you need to know

 

Practice context and legislation

  • Youth justice and child protection often work with young people who are involved with both service systems at the same time. In this procedure, a dual order means that a young person is concurrently subject to child protection and youth justice involvement under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005.
  • Child protection intervention relates to the care and protection of young people. Involvement with youth justice occurs due to a young person’s alleged or proven involvement in a criminal offence. Both youth justice and child protection supervise orders imposed by the court.
  • The child protection and youth justice protocol clearly defines the key roles and responsibilities, decision-making processes and case practice for dual-order young people.
  • Child protection and youth justice workers will be involved in key decisions regarding case planning for dual-order young people. To work effectively, one service will have lead case management responsibility. Once this is determined, the lead worker will establish information-sharing and communication arrangements, monitoring, review and support systems for client service planning.
  • Each service is responsible for the supervision of the young person’s statutory order.
  • Young people on dual orders frequently have complex needs that require youth justice and child protection to work flexibly and in partnership.
  • When a dual-order young person is in a youth justice precinct, the precinct has primary case management responsibility. However, there must be close collaboration with child protection and the divisional youth justice worker to achieve consistency and continuity of care.
  • Cooperation between youth justice and child protection in working towards a common goal of the young person’s best interest must always remain foremost when working with a young person on dual orders.
  • Consultation between youth justice and child protection workers must occur to ensure effective case coordination, and define shared and specific responsibilities for each service.
  • Collaborative relationships between youth justice and child protection workers contribute to the development of innovative and purposeful practice, planned risk management and better outcomes for young people.
  • For further information, not contained in this procedure, refer to the child protection and youth justice protocol.
 

Roles and key tasks

Youth justice case manager

  • Provide case management and supervision.
  • If primary case manager, convene and ensure child protection workers are invited to care team meetings and client service plan meetings.
  • Consult with child protection throughout assessment, planning and review processes.
  • Share information with child protection in accordance with child protection and youth justice protocol.

Team leader / team manager

  • Provide consultation and supervision to case manager.
  • Negotiate, as required, with equivalent colleague in child protection.

Assistant Director / Manager Individual Family Support

  • Provide oversight, direction and monitoring of the area youth justice service.
  • Provide case consultation regarding young people exhibiting high-risk behaviours.

Youth Justice Senior Practice Advisor

  • Provide case consultation regarding young people exhibiting high-risk behaviours. This should occur subject to local area agreements between Assistant Director / Manager Individual Family Support and the Senior Practice Advisor.
 

The procedure in detail

Aims of the protocol

The protocol between child protection and youth justice confirms the partnership between the services.

Workers from both services need to understand:

  • the child protection and youth justice program frameworks
  • the child protection and youth justice service systems
  • the characteristics and needs of young people involved with both services
  • the key roles and responsibilities of workers from both services
  • mechanisms for information sharing and communication between workers and services.

Case management

Determine which service will have overall case management responsibility.

Primary case management responsibility will usually be held by the service with the most involvement with the young person. This is negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Child protection will usually retain primary case management responsibility, except if a young person is in custody.

When deciding primary case management responsibility consider:

  • the degree of current or future risk to the young person’s safety and wellbeing
  • which service has the most enduring order or involvement
  • whether child protection has guardianship
  • the relationship between the young person/family and the worker.

Collaboration with child protection

Youth justice workers must work collaboratively with child protection by:

  • communicating regularly to ensure a consistent approach to case management
  • encouraging the young person to maintain contact with their child protection worker
  • inviting child protection to all case plan meetings about the young person
  • involving child protection in assessment and case plan development, implementation and review.

Sharing information

Information exchanged between youth justice and child protection must be recorded on CRIS.

Privacy and legal requirements enable all CRIS users to view a common client layer on CRIS. This shows you when a young person is also involved with another service, unless this information is restricted.

If a young person’s information is restricted on CRIS, the young person will not appear in the common client layer.

Contact child protection to confirm lack of involvement with the service, if a young person does not appear in the common client layer.

Determining involvement with the other service

When staff of either service become aware that a young person is also involved with, or has previously been, to the other service, they will inform the other service.

Necessary information should be exchanged to allow each service to make a full assessment of the young person’s circumstances.

This exchange usually takes place when child protection is investigating a report or when youth justice receives a referral from the court.

If a young person is involved with child protection or youth justice, there should be immediate contact between the services to exchange relevant information.

Consultation must occur throughout the course of involvement and prior to either service ceasing involvement with the young person.

Consultation will be initiated by child protection if they are considering closing the case or by youth justice if the court order is due to expire.

Change in risk

Each service must pass on significant information relating to the young person’s behaviour or circumstances.

In particular, child protection must advise youth justice of any changes to placement, behaviour compromising the young person’s safety, or if the young person goes missing.

It is critical to share information about safe management of the young person.

Youth justice staff must advise child protection if they become aware of new information that may affect child protection’s assessment of risk to the young person.

Offending and court

When a child protection practitioner becomes aware of alleged offending behaviour or other behaviour that may be in breach of the terms of a youth justice order, he or she must report this to youth justice.

If child protection or youth justice is required to prepare a court report when a young person is involved with both services, consultation should occur regarding the contents of the report.

Specifically, each service must consult the other before making a recommendation to the court.

Both services should discuss the preparation of court reports for consistency, as all departmental staff are delegates of the Secretary and must present an agreed position in court.

The Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 precludes copies of the court report being provided to any person or agency other than a party to the proceedings or other person specified by the court without the consent of the young person subject to the report.

This ensures information can be readily exchanged between both services.

Case planning

Child protection case plans and youth justice client service plans should be developed collaboratively for young people on dual orders, with both services involved in decision-making meetings.

Each service should ensure that they have a copy of endorsed plans.

Where a young person on a dual order is identified as ‘high risk’ and is registered on a Divisional High Risk Youth Register, youth justice must actively participate in high-risk meetings and joint decision making.

Young people who are parents

Where a young person who is involved with youth justice (with or without child protection involvement), is a parent, child protection may have a role with the young person’s child.

This should not be assumed, however.

If a young person involved with youth justice is a parent, the youth justice case manager should proactively seek advice on whether child protection is involved with the child.

If at any stage a youth justice worker is concerned for a young person’s child, a report should be made to child protection, regardless of whether child protection is known to already be involved with the young person or their child.

If a young person’s child is involved with the child protection service, information about the young person’s child, including privacy limitations, will centre on the child as the primary client and the young person as parent, regardless of whether the young person is already involved with child protection.

If both the child and young person are currently involved with child protection, all of the requirements for a young person on a dual order will apply to the young person.

It is part of child protection’s legal obligation to inform young people involved with the youth justice service, who are the parents of a child involved with child protection, about any child protection proceedings.

They have a right to understand the process, participate in decision making (as appropriate) and be aware of any child protection court orders that may be made.

Consent

Young people and their families are entitled to participate in decisions that affect them.

Information sharing between practitioners should generally occur with the knowledge and involvement of the young person and their family within the limits of what is practical and in the young person’s best interests.

Information may be shared between professionals where relevant and pertinent to decision making, the carrying out of plans, provision of services and monitoring or enforcement of court orders.

There is a legal requirement to advise the young person and their family what information is likely to be collected, the purposes for which it is being collected, and to whom it will usually be disclosed and shared with.

This legal requirement is met by providing information sheets to young people, their parents or caregivers, and professionals.

Your personal information: information for young people receiving youth justice services and Your personal information: information for parents or caregivers of young people receiving youth justice services information sheets explain why child protection and youth justice collect information and how it will be used and disclosed.

For every young person, explain the collection notice and ensure that they understand it. The sharing of information should be regularly revisited with the young person and their family.

If the young person has been provided with a collection notice, written consent is not required for information sharing for the purpose of service delivery, for example, with a support agency. However, it remains best practice to seek the young person's agreement.

Attending court

In all cases where a young person who is subject to child protection involvement attends court on a criminal matter, child protection must consider attending the hearing with the young person.

If the young person is subject to a custody, guardianship or long-term guardianship order, the young person’s case manager (either child protection or case contracted case manager) must attend court hearings for criminal matters, unless there are good reasons not to.

Community service organisations’ contracted case managers will consult child protection before attending court and throughout the hearing.

If it is agreed that it is not necessary for child protection or a contracted case manager to attend the hearing, the child protection worker will record the rationale in CRIS and communicate this to the youth justice worker.

Dispute resolution

Disputes may arise between child protection and youth justice workers during case management of a dual order young person.

If there is disagreement about a particular course of action:

  • attempt to resolve the disagreement together
  • if this is not possible, refer the matter to the respective team leaders
  • if the matter continues to be unresolved, refer to the respective team managers.