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4.2.4 Language services - booking and payment

Last Modified: 02-May-2022 Review Date: 04-Jan-2021

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation


Children, their parents and other people who are significant in a child's life must be given an opportunity and assistance to participate in decision making processes under the Act that are likely to have a significant impact on the child's life. 

To enable this participation, children, their parents and significant others must be given adequate information in a manner and language they can understand.  This includes information about what those decision making processes are, and the outcome and reasons for decisions that are made.

This support includes ensuring accessibility for everyone involved, including people who have difficulty understanding or communicating in English. You should always ask the person in the first instance what supports or services they require, and ask when they would like to use them, noting that the person may not wish to use these supports or services during all meetings or processes. 

See below for details on how to book and pay for interpreting and translating services. 


  • Parents and other people significant to the child or young person must be provided with adequate information, in a manner and language they can understand.

  • The child must be provided the opportunity to share their views and wishes based upon their ability and understanding. The child's best interests must be the paramount consideration.

  • Where a client has difficulty understanding or communicating in English or they are a person with disability that prevents or restricts the person's understanding of, or participation in, decision-making or other processes, you must, as far as practicable, offer interpreting or other services to support the person's understanding and participation in the process.  

Process Maps

Not Applicable

Information and Instructions

  • Booking an interpreter
  • Issues with interpreting services
  • Payment of interpreting and translation services
  • Aboriginal language services
  • Alternative communication supports
  • Booking an interpreter

    Prior to booking an interpreter, you should confirm the following information:

    • the client's country of origin and spoken language. Where possible, this should include the relevant dialect. This information should be added to the client's Assist 360-Degree view under the Identity and Culture tab.

    • the most appropriate type of interpreting service required, such as onsite or telephone interpreting

    • the setting / environment where the interpreting will take place (whether it's an office meeting, interview or home visit), and

    • the context and complexity of the assignment - where court or statutory action is required, you should make this requirement known when booking the interpreting service.

    When confirming the spoken language of a person, you should ask the individual and the direct family in the first instance.

    If further information is required when working with an Aboriginal person, consult with your Aboriginal Practice Leader before using other resources such as the Austlang website to  assist identification.

    If you require further information when working with a culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) person, you can consult with the Principal Policy and Planning Officer Cultural Diversity. 

    The use of family or friends, including children, to act as interpreters is not appropriate, as they may be emotionally involved and also not likely to be professionally trained.  Where an interpreter is otherwise appointed, they should have relevant training or qualifications. Interpreters working with a person with disability should have disability awareness training.  

    In circumstances where there is family and domestic violence (FDV) or there are cultural considerations, it may be preferable to engage an interpreter of a specific gender. Ask the person you are working with if they have a gender preference for the interpreter, and if there are any other considerations (cultural, FDV, or otherwise) that you should be aware of. If the language group/community is very small, be aware that privacy and safety concerns may be present. Where privacy issues arise, you can ask to engage an interstate interpreter for telephone/virtual services.

    The Western Australian Government has launched a Common Use Arrangement (CUA) for interpreting and translating services in the Perth metropolitan area.  Refer to the Common Use Arrangement for further information. 

    Use of the CUA is preferred but not mandatory and other services can be used if required.

    You can familiarise yourself with how to engage an interpreter by watching the Working with Interpreters DVD series (in related resources.)


    Issues with interpreting services

    A resource on managing interpreter issues in child protection practice is available in related resources.  Feedback can be provided about a service via the performance review form contained in the CUA.


    Payment of interpreting and translation services

    Payment for interpreting services is made against the relevant district case support cost centre - category 42920.  When clients with no known child protection concerns require interpreter services, the payment can be made without opening a case in Assist. 

    Open Cases

    If a client has an open case in a district office and is also working with a Communities' program such as Best Beginnings, interpreter costs should be paid for by the unit holding case management responsibilities.

    When a client is referred to a community sector agency for a program funded by Communities, the cost of interpreting can be covered by us.  Specialist homelessness services have access to interpreting services at no cost through the ONCALL interpreter and translator service.

    When a client is referred to a community sector agency for a program that is not funded by Communities, the cost of interpreting should fall on the relevant agency. 

    Where a community sector agency does not have funds available for interpreting, child protection workers should negotiate with the agency in respect to costs to ensure that the client receives the service.


    Aboriginal language services

    It is important to note that there are many different Aboriginal languages and methods of communication within Australia. Different cultural customs and communication methods may include gestures, hand signals, painting, drawing, and more.

    To uphold cultural safety, you should ask the person or family you are working with about which services or supports are the most appropriate before consulting with an  Aboriginal Practice Leader.

    When working with Aboriginal people who require spoken language interpreter support, Aboriginal Interpreting WA is the preferred service. Contact or make a booking via phone or email through the website, or online by clicking here


    Alternative communication supports

    ​A range of communication techniques which can be used by many people to communicate without speech. These include, but are not limited to:

    • sign language, including Auslan
    • facial expressions
    • body language
    • using objects as symbols
    • photos, drawings, or symbols.
    • communication boards and displays
    • chat books which can contain photos, pictures, symbols, and words
    • speech generating devices, and
    • spelling.

    Where a child, young person, parent, family member or other person who is significant in the child or young person's life, has a disability and requires support, you should engage the most appropriate supports or services tailored towards the needs of the individual. Where eligible, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may provide associated support or services to a person, such as an occupational therapist, which can provide advice about managing accessibility in meetings. For people with disability, you should explore which supports or services the person is currently engaged with and may have readily available. Some people may already have a support person available to assist with communication. In these instances, the support person should be invited to meetings and involved in all relevant processes to support the person with a disability.   

    For further practice guidance associated with the NDIS, please refer to Chapter 3.4 Working with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). To contact the NDIS, please see below:

    While some people may be engaged with the NDIS, many people have disability that might impact on their ability to communicate, understand and participate, may not be eligible for the NDIS including the following demographics:

    • Children younger than 7 years of age.
    • People older than 65 years of age.
    • People who do not live in Australia or have Australian residency.
    • A person with disability that does not meet the NDIS criteria for support.

    Where a person has an identified disability but does not meet the criteria for the NDIS, alternative options to support the person should be explored. It is important to note that you should not assume a person does not need assistance if they do not qualify for the NDIS, or, alternatively, that a child or young person has a disability if they have not been diagnosed. Adapting your intervention and engagement strategies should be dependent on the safety risks and the needs of the child or young person, not based upon a formal diagnosis.  In the first instance, you should always ask the person directly about any supports or services they may require.

    For further practice guidance relating to supporting children or young people with disability, please refer to Chapter 3.4 Supporting Children with Disability

    When working with Aboriginal people with disability, you should ask the person or their family what the most appropriate communication style is. If further confirmation is required, consult with an Aboriginal Practice Leader.

    Although Auslan is the primary language used by people who are Deaf across Australia, different dialects exist within different regions.  It is important to note that AUSLAN may not be the most appropriate service as diverse cultural sign languages may be used by Aboriginal people.