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Travel with Children in the CEO’s Care: Intrastate, Interstate and International

Last Modified: 03-Jun-2022 Review Date: N/A

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation

Overview

Refer to this entry for information on how COVID-19 impacts the way the Department of Communities (the Department) manages the movement of children in the CEO's care between Australian states and territories, and internationally.​

This entry should be considered alongside all approved information provided on the WA Government announcements site.  Department's Community Services Operational SharePoint site, the COVID-19 Response Management site, the Department's Director General Broadcasts and the Department of Health.

Rules
Your safety and the safety and wellbeing of children, parents and families who come into contact with the Department must be the focus and priority in all interactions.

For any matters or actions in your work that relate to the potential transmission or diagnosis of COVID-19 you should:

  • consult your line manager

  • escalate issues to your district director as required, and

  • ensure accurate recording, including documenting rationales for the cancellation of activities/actions.

You must continue to refer to all usual practice guidance contained in Casework Practice Manual entries, except where an item on this page overrides guidance outlined in that entry.

The Department must continue to deliver critical essential services to the community. 

Information and Instructions

  • Physical distancing
  • Advice to clients
  • Support for staff
  • Intrastate
  • Interstate
  • International
  • Other agencies
  • Recording in Assist
  • Physical distancing

    To reduce the spread of germs, effective immediately:

    • stay home if you are sick
    • refrain from handshaking as a greeting
    • hold meetings via videoconferencing or phone call
    • promote good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene
    • have lunch at your desk or outside rather than in a crowded lunchroom
    • clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly
    • reconsider non-essential business travel, and
    • consider if large gatherings can be rescheduled, staggered or cancelled.

    For further guidance on staying safe in the workplace please visit the COVID-19 Response Management site and the Safe Work Practices and Wellbeing page on The Common. 

    It's ok to advise clients that you are making alternative arrangements to ensure their health and safety.  If possible, arrange for meetings to occur by video or teleconference.

    When meetings must occur face to face with clients and/or colleagues, take precautions, such as: 
    • book a large enough space that physical distance can be maintained
    • encourage hand washing before and after the meeting
    • only having essential attendees at the meeting, and 
    • using a combination of face to face and video or teleconferencing.

    Refer to the Department of Health website for more information on physical distancing

    During this time of physical distancing and increased use of online communication, the eSafety Commissioner has released tips on how to stay safe and have more positive experiences online, visit COVID-19 eSafety Commissioner

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    Advice to clients

    ​If there are suspected or confirmed cases and you need to cancel meetings/contact/other with clients, use the following guide:

    Advise the client that the face to face meeting has been cancelled:
    • to protect the health and wellbeing of Communities' clients and staff, and
    • in response to the Government's commitment to containing the COVID-19 virus spread (self-isolation  protocols, minimising non-essential human contact, interaction and physical distancing).
    Advise the client that you will contact them to reschedule this meeting and arrange a suitable alternative. 

    Explain to the client that they can contact the local Child Protection district office by phone if you require support during business hours otherwise the Statewide Referral and Response Service (Crisis Care) after hours on 9223 1111.
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    Support for staff

    Line managers should ensure they are providing support for their staff during periods of lockdown through simple actions such as:

    • checking in with direct reports often
    • offering empathy and understanding
    • praising staff for their work
    • encouraging staff to access counselling through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and
    • prioritising the health and wellbeing of staff.

    Staff should feel supported to undertake the essential services they deliver, and staff wellbeing should be prioritised to ensure a stable workforce. It is important that you continue to use supervision as a forum to develop case plans and consider how case plans may need to be adapted due to COVID-19.

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    Intrastate

    Intrastate travel is travel between different regions within the state of WA. 

    Remote Aboriginal communities 

    Restrictions on travel to remote Aboriginal communities remain in place. Refer to the WA government information on Remote Aboriginal communities and the Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions No. 3

    These directions state the only people who can enter a remote Aboriginal community are residents, those providing essential services and supplies, and those entering for family or cultural reasons.  

    Where you are considering travel into a remote Aboriginal community you must:

    Travel within Western Australia

    Where there is a known risk of Covid-19, and you are considering travel within WA for a child in the CEO's care you must:

    • discuss the travel in detail with the carer, including activities the child will participate in
    • consult and seek endorsement from your team leader (TL), and
    • seek approval from your DD.

    Travel restrictions

    Where travel restrictions apply: you will need to provide a letter to the Authorised Officers when crossing travel borders.  For a template of the letter, access the Communities letter for intrastate travel in related resources.

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    Interstate

    For up-to-date information on requirements for travelling into Western Australia refer to the COVID-19 coronavirus: Controlled border website. This website also provides information on travel conditions, such as the completing a G2G pass, COVID-19 testing and quarantine.

    When planning to travel out of Western Australia, refer to the relevant State or Territories' Department of Health website for current information. All travel requirements must be considered, along with requirements for returning to WA.  

    Managing travel and quarantine requirements with children is challenging and requires additional planning and practice considerations. You must consult with the WA Interstate Liaison Officer (ILO) to discuss each case where a child in the CEO's care is relocating interstate, or a family with children are relocating interstate as part of 'family arrangement'. This includes relocation to or from WA. The WA ILO can be contacted via email at:

    WAInterstateLiaison@communities.wa.gov.au

    The decision to allow travel for a child in the CEO's care, whether they are entering or leaving the state of WA, must be approved by your assistant district director or district director.  

    The relevant Executive Director (Residential Care, Executive Director or Regional Executive Director) must provide written approval when travel is contentious - for example, there are strong parental objections.

    The Court must be informed of the intention to arrange interstate and overseas travel for children in provisional protection and care.

    When planning for a child in the CEO's care (provisional protection and care or subject to final order) to permanently relocate interstate or to New Zealand, you must refer to chapters 3.2 Interstate and overseas travel and 3.4 Interstate and New Zealand liaison.  

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    International

    The WA border restrictions are regularly updated based on current rates of community transmission. Rules related to individual states vary and you should seek up-to-date information at the time of travel from the COVID-19 coronavirus: Controlled border website. This website also provides information on travel conditions, such as the completing a G2G pass, COVID-19 testing and quarantine.

    The District Director must provide written approval for short term and temporary overseas travel. The relevant Regional Executive Director must provide approval where the decision to travel or the destination is controversial. 

    Consult with the WA ILO in cases where a child in the CEO's care is travelling or relocating interstate or to New Zealand.  Refer to CPM 3.2 Interstate and overseas travel and 3.4 Interstate and New Zealand liaison.

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    Other agencies

    ​Refer to individual organisations and agencies for decisions on how their day to day functioning is being affected.

    Be mindful in undertaking case management tasks, including safety planning, that the regular provision of services may not be available and take this into consideration in making your plans. 

    A collaborative approach should be taken when working in partnership with other agencies.
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    Recording in Assist

    For information on recording please refer to COVID-19 Recording in Assist (in related resources).

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Related Resources

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