To inform child protection workers of the procedures for providing approval for a child in the CEO's care to stay overnight away from the carer’s home and to engage in other activities. In this entry, the term "carer" refers to both departmental and sector carers.
Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities.
In order to normalise a child’s experiences as much as possible, a carer can make decisions that relate to the day-to-day activities for a child in the CEO’s care placed with them.
The carer can sign permission slips for school excursions and activities that do not involve a waiver of legal liability.
The carer can use their judgement for the child to have an occasional overnight stay at a friend’s house, or to go on an outing with a friend and their family.
Child protection workers and carers should discuss any concerns about an event (such as an overnight stay or activity) and whether it presents a risk to the safety of the child. Each situation needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis and, in all circumstances, the potential risk to the safety of the child must be considered.
Where a Record Check is required
Examples where a record check may need to occur before a child stays over at a person’s home or is supervised by an adult other than the carer are provided in the related resource: Determining When a Record Check is Required. Further information can be found in Chapter 4.1: Record checks and the Working with Children Check.
After discussion with the carer the child protection worker may decide that there could be risk to the child's safety and require the person to obtain a criminal record check. In these situations, the child protection worker should request that the person apply for a national criminal record check through Australia Post. The child protection worker should also decide whether to undertake a check through our recording system. If assessed as required, the child protection worker must ask the person complete and sign a Form 395 - Record Check Consent Form.
The child protection worker submits Form 395 to the Screening Unit. The record check must be clear before the child protection worker approves the person to supervise the child for an overnight stay or other activity.
Where a child protection worker is unclear about the level and type of checking that is required, a decision must be made in consultation with their line manager and the Screening Unit.
High risk activity
If the child requests permission to engage in a high risk activity (for example, horse riding or abseiling), child protection workers must discuss the request with the carer and gain approval from the team leader. Factors to take into consideration to inform the decision include:
Careful consideration must be given to providing consent for the child to engage in an activity that requires a waiver of legal rights.
For children in residential care, child protection workers should refer to the Residential Care Practice Manual - Chapter 4.4: Children's Activity and Program Planning.