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3.3.10 Young offenders - including children in the CEO’s care

Last Modified: 02-May-2022 Review Date: 31-May-2010

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation

Overview

The Department of Communities (the Department) and Corrective Services (CS) work collaboratively to provide services and ongoing support to children and young people:

  • in the CEO's care and
  • those involved with the Department but not in the CEO's care

when they appear before the Children's Court (the Court) in relation to a criminal matter where the Department has provided a Responsible Person Undertaking (Bail), or where the child is in detention.

Many young people who appear before the Court with established patterns of offending behaviour often present with complex issues and family backgrounds, and are likely to require services from the Department and CS. 

For more information refer to the Reciprocal Policies and Procedures between the Department and the Department of Corrective Services in related resources.   This outlines the case management responsibilities and referral and contact procedures for each agency.  It also provides guidance on how to resolve disagreements between workers and/or the departments about proposed intervention.

The Department retains case management and care planning responsibility when a child in the CEO's care is incarcerated (on remand or in detention).

Corrective Services is always responsible for the supervision of all Court orders.

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

Rules

  • You must consult with your district director if the child’s behaviour leads you to believe that they may not comply with the bail conditions.  You must document the decision not to bail the child or young person and your rationale for this decision and place it on file.  

  • Where a child or young person in the CEO's care attends court as a result of a critical incident you must refer to the Critical Incident Briefing Policy for guidance and effective responses. 
Process Maps

Staff can refer to the following flowcharts, available in related resources:

  • Child in the CEO’s care appearing before the Children’s Court
  • Child not in the CEO’s care appearing before the Children’s Court.

Information and Instructions

  • Corrective Services responsibilities
  • Information sharing
  • Case management
  • Referrals from Corrective Services to the Department
  • Court attendance requirements
  • Court etiquette
  • Changes to hearing dates
  • Reports to the Court
  • Timelines for reports to the Court
  • Detention - lengthy remand periods or continued custody after bail set
  • Financial assistance
  • Accommodation
  • Responsible person undertaking bail of a child in the CEO’s care
  • Education - case management
  • Contacting the Court
  • Corrective Services responsibilities

    Corrective Services has responsibility for:

    • preventing a child or young person from re-offending 
    • supervising orders from the Children's Court
    • supporting young offenders and their families during the period of an order and for an agreed period following completion of a Detention Order (this period is recorded in the Supervised Release Plan).
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    Information sharing

    Court staff provide basic information to Department child protection workers and assist with planning and care arrangements.

    Before making a request for information the Department must establish "good reason" to access information from the Court records without the child’s consent.  The Young Offenders Act 1994 and the Children's Court Of Western Australia Act 1988 govern release of information.  "Good reason" may include, but is not limited to:

    • our legal responsibility for a child in the CEO's care

    • the need to know a child’s offending history where there may be a risk to the safety of other children and people in a proposed care arrangement if the child is to enter the CEO's care 

    • where risk factors may affect our duty of care for a child, and/or affect case management and service provision, and/or

    • where Court imposed sanctions will affect case management and service delivery.

    Exchange of information between the Department and DCS

    Section 15A of the Young Offenders Act 1994 and s.23 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004, allow for the exchange of information relating to children involved in the justice system between both departments. Information about children should be exchanged in a collaborative manner subject to the provisions outlined in the Reciprocal Policies and Procedures between the Department and the Department of Corrective Services.

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    Case management

    The department with the primary reason for intervention should be the agency that assumes case management.

    Provision of case management and/or services 

     Department of Communities

      Corrective Services

    A child or young person:

    • is in the CEO's care or the subject of a care and protection application in the Court, or 
    • has been referred to us by CS because there are concerns for their wellbeing, particularly in relation to the their age, maturity or other circumstances, and the child safety investigation (CSI) is required. 

    A child or young person:

    • is subject to a community and youth justice service supervision under the Young Offenders Act 1994
    • is identified as being at risk of continual offending
    • is identified as requiring support, following completion of a Court Order, or 
    • Corrective Services request assistance from us for short-term emergency accommodation - CS retain case management responsibilities. 

    On request, CS officers participate in case planning conducted by the Department.  

    A child in the CEO's care may have a Community Based Order that requires the involvement of both departments. 

    One department will have sole case management, with the other department providing services as required.  In some situations, depending on the child and family's involvement with CS, a jointly developed and managed case plan may be required. Officers from both departments must liaise with each other to develop a case plan that meets the child’s needs.  

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    Referrals from Corrective Services to the Department

    Corrective Services make referrals to us for a CSI when:

    • the child or young person discloses that they have been harmed or are at risk of harm, and the parents or carers have not protected, or are unlikely to protect them

    • there is a belief or knowledge that a child has suffered significant harm, or are at risk of harm and the parents or carers have not protected, or are unlikely to protect them, or 

    • there are concerns for a child or young person’s wellbeing that are related to the adequacy of their home environment or standard of parenting received.

    The Department must advise CS of the CSI outcome verbally and in writing.

    Corrective Services or the Court will refer to the Department for a care arrangement for a child who is:

    • already notified for protection purposes 
    • in the CEO's care, or 
    • considered vulnerable by age, maturity and/or circumstances.
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    Court attendance requirements

    When you appear before the Court, you must be properly informed of the child's circumstances and be able to provide appropriate direction to the Court proceedings.


    Where a child is in the CEO's care, you must attend Court:
    • for all first appearances
    • when a bail application will or may be made
    • for mentions, where the child is on remand in custody, and 
    • for sentencing. 

    When notified of a required Court attendance, you should notify the child and their responsible adult to inform them of the Court date.

    Where a child or young person in the CEO's care is being transported from a regional district to Perth to have their matter dealt with, the Department's court officer will attend the Court for criminal matters with the child (and other shared clients) on their behalf.    

    The district retains responsibility for all decision-making.

    You must notify the Department's Senior Court Officer at the Perth Children's Court: Childrens_Criminal_Court@communities.wa.gov.au and provide information about the child's circumstances with: 

    • any plans for the child

    • approval to bail the child to the Department. If bail is to be refused, you must seek permission from the district director and record the decision and reasons for refusing to bail the child. Refer to the section 'Responsible person undertaking bail of a child in the CEO's care' below

    • accommodation options, and 

    • any other relevant information that the Court may wish to know.   

    Any plan to bail a child to the Department should also include information about the intended care arrangement for the child, and how it will be actioned. If the conditions are considered appropriate, you must inform the child’s lawyer or the Department's Senior Court Officer of this before Court commences.

    Criminal listings in the Perth Children's Court generally commence at 10am. 

    If you are required to attend Court outside the metropolitan area, you should check commencement times for children's criminal matters with the local Court, as starting times vary. 

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    Court etiquette

    When attending any Court matter in the Perth Children's Court, you must sit at the Bar Table.   Where the child is an open case only, you are not required to sit at the Bar. In all other Courts, check where you are required to sit with the Court Administration staff.

    On all occasions, when addressing a judge or magistrate, you must stand when speaking or when being addressed, unless directed otherwise.   When addressing a magistrate or judge, the proper term to be used is "Ma'am/Sir" or "Your Honour". Where Courts use the services of Justices of the Peace, address them in the same manner.

    All children attending metropolitan Children's Courts for criminal matters are provided with legal representation, either through Legal Aid, Aboriginal Legal Service or private lawyers.  Legal Aid generally provides legal representation for children in country Courts on certain days.  In regional districts you should contact Legal Aid directly for information when required.

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    Changes to hearing dates

    If you or a child or young person are unable to attend Court on a particular date, it is possible to change the date of the hearing to an earlier date.   You must contact the lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the matter.  If the lawyer is a regular Duty Lawyer, the Department's Senior Court Officer for the Perth Children's Court may request a change of the hearing date on your behalf. For more information email: Childrens_Criminal_Court@communities.wa.gov.au 

    If a child is too ill, or there is another acceptable reason for the child not to attend Court, advise the Court early in the day and another date may be set for the matter to be heard.   You, the family or carers may advise the Court to prevent a Bench Warrant being issued against the child.  To support a claim of illness, it is preferable for the child to have a doctor's certificate.  Provide the certificate to the Court on the next hearing date.

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    Reports to the Court

    Where the Children's Court adjourns a matter for sentencing a child in the CEO's care, both CS and the Department must prepare a pre-sentence report. Refer to the Judge's Practice Direction 2004 (in related resources).

    Use Form 612 Report to the President/Magistrate of Perth Children's Court template. 

    Collaborate with the child or young person's Youth Justice (YJO) to prepare the report.  It should include information on management issues and contain consistent information.   For information on the type of information that needs to be included, refer to Report for the President or Magistrate of the Children's Court - example document..

    If we are unable to keep a child safe or prevent the child from posing a significant risk to others in the community, include this in the report. The  reports must be succinct, and generally should only be two pages in length.

    If you do not know the YJO's name contact the Department's Senior Court Officer Perth Children's Court for more information:  Childrens_Criminal_Court@communities.wa.gov.au and request assistance in identifying them. 

    You can also contact the Senior Court Officer for information about the submission process.

    Do not direct the Court on sentencing decisions.

    Metropolitan Courts

    If you or the Senior Court Officer are not present in Court and the magistrate or President requests a Court Report for a client, a YJO must refer the request to the Department's Senior Court Officer in writing with the child's or young person's name, date of appearance and remand date.  The Senior Court Officer will inform you of the request.

    Country Courts

    If you or the Senior Court Officer are not present in Court and the magistrate or President requests a Court Report for a client, a Regional Youth Justice Services Officer (RYJS) must inform the  local district office of the request in writing. The RYJS will provide the due date for the report and the child's remand date.

    Should any miscommunication occur regionally, notify the Senior Court Officer at the Perth Children's Court in writing.

    Where a child in care is placed in the Kath French Secure Care Centre (Secure Care Centre)

    If a child in the CEO's care is in the Secure Care Centre, a YJO must contact you in the first instance to inquire about the best time for an interview to occur at the facility. You must liaise with the Secure Care Centre and inform the YJO of the appointment time.

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    Timelines for reports to the Court

    Court reports must be submitted to the Department's Senior Court Officer by 3.30pm the day before a child appears before a magistrate at the Perth Children’s Court, and by 3.30pm two working days before to a child appears before the judge (President of the Children’s Court) for quality assurance and lodgement with the Court.  Where this is not possible, you must advise the Senior Court officer when the reports are expected to be received.

    Reports to the Perth Children's Court should be sent to:

    Senior Court Officer
    Perth Children’s Court
    160 Pier Street
    PERTH  WA  6000
    Fax: 9325 6711

    For all other Courts, including country Courts, use Form 612 Report to the President/Magistrate of Perth Children's Court template and send it to the particular Court by 3pm the day before the child’s court appearance.

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    Detention - lengthy remand periods or continued custody after bail set

    A measure to address the increasingly extensive periods children are incarcerated in Banksia Hill Detention Centre before their matters are finalised, and for those who have been granted bail but have remained in custody for more than seven days since bail was set has been introduced by the Children's Court.  The President's Case Management and Bail list is intended to address the increasingly lengthy periods some accused are spending in custody before finalisation of their charges

    The President's Case Management and Bail list will commence at 9.00 am, usually on status conference days.  Youth Justice, responsible adults, the Department of Communities, and the parties will be notified in the week before a matter is listed.  If a child is released from custody before the matter is before the Court, it will be removed from the list.

    At the hearing, the Court will hear from the parties, Youth Justice, and any responsible adult about the reasons why the child remains in custody and consider whether it is necessary to expedite the matter or make any other desirable case management orders.   The Court will also hear or list for hearing any written or verbal application for bail review that may be brought by a party and consider whether it is necessary to order further reports or make other orders (s.14 of the Bail Act 1982).

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    Financial assistance

    The Department's Senior Court Officer does not provide financial assistance in any circumstances.  The only exception is for providing a taxi voucher when there are no other means of transport available to the child. 

    For those children who are 'joint' cases, responsibility for costs should be negotiated – for full details, refer to the Reciprocal Policies and Procedures between the Department and the Department of Corrective Services.

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    Accommodation

    We arrange care and accommodation for children who are:

    • in the CEO's care, or 
    • under the age of 16 years, unable to live at home, and for whom both departments have determined that no alternative family accommodation is available.

    Refer to the Reciprocal Policies and Procedures between the Department and the Department of Corrective Services for full details .

    The accommodation requirements of children in the CEO's care should be in place before attending Court. If it is unclear whether a care arrangement will be necessary, you must consider contingency plans for accommodation before you attend Court to prevent an accommodation crisis after the matter is heard.

    Where a child is not in the CEO's care, but is an open case to us, the Courts may request assistance with accommodation from us.   In these situations, CS should have been in contact with the you, and family care arrangement options and alternatives should have been explored. 

    Children or young people considered to pose a significant danger to the welfare or property of another person may be excluded from admission to a Department facility. 

    Children 16 years of age and above who are not in the CEO's Care

    Where a family care arrangement is not possible for a child who is 16 years of age or older, the Court may request that we assist with a placement service (refer to 3.4 Placement services under s.32(1)(a). On these occasions, in the metropolitan area, the Department's Senior Court Officer will contact the appropriate district office for assistance. 

    In some instances, the child's YJO may contact the appropriate district office directly for assistance with accommodation for a child.   On these occasions, the YJO should be referred to the duty officer. The duty officer should initially refer the YJO to access information from Entrypoint Perth.

    In regional offices, assistance may take the form of assisting the YJO to identify other family, extended family or community options.

    Before Youth Justice Services makes a referral to the Department for a short-term accommodation care arrangement for a child or young person, all efforts should have been made to locate the parents, carers, suitable extended family members or other appropriate placement options.

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    Responsible person undertaking bail of a child in the CEO’s care

    Bail

    Bail is a written promise that a person makes to attend Court on a certain day and at a particular time. The person also agrees to comply with the conditions that may be imposed by the Court. When signed, it is called a bail undertaking. This means that the child or young person does not have to be held in detention while they wait to go to court.

    For a child aged 10 - 16 years to get bail, a responsible adult must sign the bail undertaking to ensure the child complies with the requirements of the Bail Act 1982 (Schedule 1 Part C Clause 2).  If the child is in the care of the CEO, you, as a responsible adult, can sign the bail undertaking.  This is called 'Responsible Person Undertaking – CPFS Only' (Bail) of a child in the CEO's care.

    If the child is 17 years of age or older, the Court may release the young person on his or her own undertaking, provided the Court is satisfied of the young person’s maturity to live independently without the guidance or control of a guardian.

    A child in the CEO's care can also be bailed by CS under the Supervised Bail Program, but responsibility for care arrangement remains with the you.

    Where the Court directs bail of a child to the Department, you must locate a care arrangement and sign all documents relating to the Bailed release of the child.  On occasion, the Department's  Senior Court Officer may be requested to sign these documents on your behalf, and forward copies to you.

    On the next appearance, you should ask the Senior Court Officer for the original documents and place them on the child's file.  In all cases where the Senior Court Officer represents a country child protection worker, the original document must be forwarded to the district office by mail (or scanned and emailed to the child protection worker) for filing.

    Refusing a bail undertaking

    If you are concerned that the child's behaviour indicates that they may not comply with the bail conditions, you must consult with the DD.  With the approval of the DD the bail undertaking should be refused.  This may also occur if we do not have the capacity, despite strenuous efforts, to ensure the safety of the child and/or the community in the following circumstances:

    • When the child may pose a significant risk to the safety of others.

    • Where there is a risk that the child may endanger him or herself or self-harm.

    • Where the Court has imposed conditions such as a curfew or 24-hour supervision, and this cannot be provided in the care arrangement.

    • Where the child has a history of extreme violence or sexual assault. 


    You must consult with the DD and record the decision not to bail the child with the rationale and place this on the child's file.

    If required, the DD may consult directly with a director in Specialist Child Protection Unit or with the Department's Senior Court Officer. 

    Withdrawal of Responsible Person Undertaking (Bail)

    The decision to withdraw the Responsible Person Undertaking – CPFS Only (Bail) should only be considered after all other options have been tried and found unsuccessful. Bail should only be withdrawn in serious cases before a management plan has been implemented and attempted. 

    The decision to withdraw bail must be made in consultation with your team leader and DD.

    In the metropolitan area, where a decision has been made to withdraw a Responsible Person Undertaking - CPFS Only (Bail), notify the Department's Senior Court Officer.  The Senior Court Officer will forward the required documentation/template you to complete.  When completed, you can lodge it directly with Court Administration, or return it to the Senior Court Officer, who will lodge the document on your behalf.

    In country areas, you can apply directly to the local Court for the Responsible Person Undertaking – CSPFS Only (Bail) to be withdrawn, or you can contact your local Police station for assistance.

    The Department's residential group homes have procedures to manage seriously disruptive behaviour for children on bail.  If a child disruptive behaviour persists and the situation become unsafe for other children and/or staff, a decision to withdraw bail for the child must be made after discussion with senior management of that facility.  The residential group home must inform you of this decision the next working day. 

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    Education - case management

    The service provided by the Department and CS recognises the right of all children to access a meaningful education.

    The CS Education Officer assumes case management for all detainee students. 

    In the metropolitan area, the Department's education officers are encouraged to attend Discharge Meetings for children in the CEO's care. Upon the release of a child in the CEO’s care, the Department's education officer assumes case management with support from CS for the duration of the Order. The CS Education Officer provides information from custodial education to our district education officer where required. 

    In country areas, communication about, and participation in the Discharge Meeting is encouraged to provide continuity in all areas of need for children, including Education and Psychological services.

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    Contacting the Court

    Queries relating to criminal matters can be directed to the Department's Senior Court Officer at the Perth Children's Court: Childrens_Criminal_Court@communities.wa.gov.au


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