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3.2.7 Joining the armed forces

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

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation


To provide information and guidance to child protection workers of the consent procedures in relation to a child in the CEO's care wishing to join the Armed Forces.

Under s.10 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004, child protection workers need to emphasise the importance of child participation, particularly in relation to significant events and times of intense planning for the child:

When a decision is being made that is likely to have a significant impact on a child's life, to make sure the child is able to participate in the decision-making process, the child must be given:

  • adequate information about the decision being made, in accessible language and in a way the child can understand.
  • an explanation on why the Department is making this decision.
  • an opportunity to express their wishes and views freely, according to their ability
  • any help they need to express their views and wishes
  • information on how their views and wishes will be documented, and
  • a chance to respond and to challenge the decision made.

In relation to the extent of a child's participation, due regard must be given to the child's age and level of understanding. 

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


  • The young person must actively participate in the decision to join the Armed Forces.  The Department's decision to support the young person is based on an assessment of the young person’s capacity to make such a decision.

  • Decisions about a young person joining the Armed Forces have serious ramifications and must be carefully considered. For this reason, these decisions must be considered and endorsed within the leaving care planning process, and must involve the young person, their carers, their parents, and any other person considered to have a significant interest in his or her the wellbeing.


Process Maps

Not applicable

Information and Instructions

  • Young person (or foster carer) approaches Communities about joining the Armed Forces
  • Completion of documentation
  • Approval process
  • Informing the young person, parents and carers
  • Recording
  • Young person (or foster carer) approaches Communities about joining the Armed Forces

    If a young person in the CEO's care or a foster carer approaches the Department about the process for joining the Armed Forces, child protection workers should be aware that to be considered for entry into the Australian Defence Force (ADF) young people must be:

    • at least 16 years and 6 months old to apply with parental or guardian consent, and
    • at least 17 years old at the time of enlistment.

    ADF information packages are available from the Defence Force Recruitment Centre (link in related resources). For an information package or an appointment, telephone 131 901 or visit

    The recruitment centre manages all applications. After an application is submitted to join the ADF, the next step in the process is to attend a 'Your Opportunities Unlimited (YOU)' session at a recruitment centre. After the YOU session, further counselling, aptitude tests and medical tests are conducted and a decision on an applicant’s suitability is made. More information is available at the ADF website.


    Completion of documentation

    Acess the template ‘Join the Armed Forces’ from the Templates tab within the young person’s 360 Degree View in Assist (click on the ‘Open’ button to view and edit the document). Add all the relevant details to the template submission for approval.

    Complete Form 267, a letter to the Defence Force Recruitment Centre. This must be signed by the team leader or, where the team leader is not available and arrangements between officers have been made, the senior practice development officer.

    You will also need to provide a copy of the most recent care plan and the Armed Forces application (this is to be completed and provided by the young person).


    Approval process

    Submit the documentation to the team leader (or senior practice development officer (SPDO), where the team leader is not available and arrangements between officers have been made). The team leader/SPDO must check, consider, and approve if appropriate.

    However, if the matter is contentious, forward the documentation to the district director for consideration and approval.


    Informing the young person, parents and carers

    You must inform the young person, parents and carers of the Department's decision.

    If approved, contact the young person to arrange for the Armed Forces application documents to be forwarded to him/her (as advice received from the recruitment centre suggests they would prefer the applicant to return the application form and covering letter to the recruitment centre in person).



    Scans and save documents to Objective and updates the relevant dimensions in the Quarterly Care Review in Assist.