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3.2.2 Change of name by registration

Last Modified: 24-Mar-2022 Review Date: 01-Oct-2016

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation

Overview

The CEO has authority under s.127 Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act) to approve a change of name by registration for children in the CEO's care.

A decision to apply for and approve a change of name by registration for a child in the CEO's care must be carefully considered as part of the care planning process. Where a child is the subject of a protection order (time-limited) or a protection order (until 18), consent of the child's parents is not required, as the CEO is the guardian of the child and has full parental responsibility for the child.

A child may wish to change their first name because they identify as non-binary or a different gender. This may be done informally until the child reaches 18 years.

Discuss this option with the child and their care team and document it in their care plan. While the change may be informal, it is important to be respectful of their new name and pronoun.

Consider changing their name in ASSIST. This decision should be made in consultation with the child and your team leader. 

Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities.

Rules

  • Decisions to approve and apply for a change of name by registration for a child in the CEO's care must be carefully considered as part of the care planning process.

  • The child must participate in the decision-making process to change thier name, and the final decision must be driven by the child's views and wishes as well as what is in their best interst. 

  • Where a child has an Aboriginal background, an Aboriginal practice leader or other relevant senior Aboriginal officer must be consulted.

  • Where a child is from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) background, specific language and cultural needs must be considered.  

Information and Instructions

  • Child or carer approaches the Department about changing name by registration
  • Completion of documentation
  • Approval process
  • Application process
  • Informing the child, parents and carers
  • Recording
  • Child or carer approaches the Department about changing name by registration

    If a child in the CEO's care or a carer approaches us for information about the process for changing a child’s name access information from the WA Government site - Changing Your Name.  

    If the child was not born in Western Australia (WA) but born overseas, they must be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident, and have resided continuously in WA for 12 months immediately preceding the application to be eligible to register a change of name. If the child was born in another state or territory in Australia, the application for a change of name by registration must be made through the relevant agency in that state or territory.

    Where a child was born interstate or overseas, contact Legal and Business Services for direction through the SharePoint Request Form page.  

    Complete the request form, attach required document using the 'Add Attachment' link, and select 'Legal Mailbox' button.  Then use the drop down menu and select 'Yes' to 'Submit to Legal & Business Services' at the end of the form and save it to lodge the request.   

    Changing a child's surname can have profound implications for their future in terms of their cultural identity.

    For a child from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) background, their surname may have connotations with a tribal or ethnic group. For this reason, you must consult with the child's family and the Principal Policy and Planning Officer Cultural Services in the Specialist Child Protection Unit (SCPU). 

    A name change for an Aboriginal child may impact how that child is viewed in relation to their skin and language groups. Before considering a name change for an Aboriginal child, you must consult with members of the child's family and an Aboriginal practice leader or other relevant senior Aboriginal worker. Consider consulting with an elder from the community or an external Aboriginal agency who may hold valuable information on how the name change could impact on the child's cultural identity. 


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    Completion of documentation

    Open the template 'Change of Name Application' from the 'templates' tab within the child's '360 degree view' tab in Assist and complete all relevant details.

    You must also:

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    Approval process

    Submit the documentation to the team leader (TL), who will check, consider and endorse the documentation and forward to the district director (DD) for approval. If the TL is not available, and arrangements have been made, the senior practice development officer can endorse and submit the documentation to the DD. 

    The DD considers and approves the submission. If the matter is contentious, the submission must be forwarded for noting to the relevant Executive Director or Regional Executive Director. The approved submission must be saved to the Objective case file.

    When approved, process payment of the fee by recording and seeking approval for the costs in the 'Funding' component in Assist. Information on fees is available from WA Government website - Changing Your Name.

    The TL approves the case support costs request, and payment is made by Government Purchasing Card (GPC). Refer to the Assist User Guides - Record Case Support Costs for further information.

    The Department can only approve a change of name by registration if the child is on a time-limited or until 18 protection order. 

    If the child is on a provisional protection order, you must seek approval through the Children's Court (the Court). 

     

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    Application process

    ​You must provide the following documents to the Registrar General:

    • The original completed BDM Form 401 - Register a Change of Name (including payment details using the GPC).
    • Relevant supporting documentation (outlined in the BDM Form 401).
    • Form 268 - Letter to Registrar General Re: Application for Change of Name by Licence.
    • A copy of the protection order bearing the seal of the Children's Court of WA.
    • A copy of the most recent care plan that outlines the reason for a change to the child's name including our endorsement of the decision (to support Part 4 of the application), and if applicable, the form.

    For a child in the CEO's care who was born in WA, a birth certificate is not necessary. If the child is an Australian citizen born overseas, their Birth Certificate, current Passport and Citizenship Certificate must be provided. If the child was born overseas and is a permanent resident of Australia, their Birth Certificate, a current Passport and proof of residency status must be provided.

    If applying in person, original documents must be provided. When applying by post, do not send original documents.  Clear photocopies must be forwarded with the application to:

    Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
    PO Box 7720
    Cloisters Square
    PERTH  WA  6850

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    Informing the child, parents and carers

    You must inform the child and their carers that the DD has approved the change of name and the documentation has been forwarded to the Registrar, Birth Deaths and Marriages.

    The care plan and Cultural Support Plan must consider whether the parents should be notified of the prospective change of name.  If there is any doubt, contact the Legal and Business Services through the SharePoint Request Form page.  

    Complete the request form, attach required document using the 'Add Attachment' link, and select 'Legal Mailbox' button.  Then use the drop down menu and select 'Yes' to 'Submit to Legal & Business Services' at the end of the form and save it to lodge the request.  

    Factors to be considered include:

    • the nature of the relationship between the child and his or her parents
    • the reasons why the child is the subject of a protection order
    • if it is a protection order (time-limited), the duration of the order
    • the age of the child, and 
    • the views of the child.

    An application for a change of name can be made where a child is under the age of 12 years or they are unable to understand the meaning and/or implications.  However, if the latter: 

    • a psychological assessment addressing the issues related to the child's incapacity should be made, and
    • you must consult Legal and Business Services for advice via a request for legal services throught the SharePoint Request Form page
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    Recording

    Once the signed Change of Name Certificate from the Registrar Birth, Deaths and Marriages has been received must

    • update the child's 'Person' details in Assist
    • update the Child Information Portal in Assist
    • scan copies of all documents into the Objective case file
    • scan the Change of Name Certificate into the Child History File in Objective, and
    • place hard copies of all documents in the Child History Folder (including the Change of Name Certificate).

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