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2.2.8 After-hours Action Request

Last Modified: 12-May-2022 Review Date: N/A

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation

Overview

This process is designed to replace the existing Possible Contact process for the Crisis Care Unit (CCU). 

The CCU is the Department of Communities' (the Department's) after-hours state-wide child protection response, managing all After-hours Action Requests.

This entry outlines when it is appropriate to complete an After-hours Action Request (Action Request) and provides direction for managing situations where an issue may arise after-hours.

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

Process Maps

Information and Instructions

  • After-hours Action Request criteria
  • Alternatives to an Action Request
  • Submitting an Action Request
  • Managing Action Requests in regional and remote districts
  • After-hours Action Request criteria

    After-hours Action Requests should be made where there are urgent or planned required actions that cannot be undertaken inside of business hours. Before submitting an Action Request, you should consider:

    1. if there are any alternative ways the situation could be managed

    2. the urgency of the situation

    3. whether there is a clear plan for CCU to follow, and

    4. whether the request is an action rather than an 'FYI' for CCU.

    See below for examples of situations that meet the criteria for an Action Request:

    • The district has received serious concerns for a child's safety, such as an allegation of an injury, but local district staff have not been able to, for whatever reason, respond and/or increase the child's safety.

    • A young person in the CEO's care has expressed suicidal ideation, is socially isolated and reluctant to engage with professionals. They have agreed to receive a support call from CCU to "check in", confirm they are safe and to remind them of the safety plan.

    • There is a secure care referral on file that has been accepted. The child could not be located during the day but is likely to return to the carer after-hours.

    • A decision has been made for a child to be taken into the CEO's care but their whereabouts are not currently known. A family member has advised they are likely to be at a particular address, but it was too late for the district to attend during business hours. In this instance, it is an expectation that the district will have already organised a care arrangement and details should be recorded on the Action Request.

    • A child in the CEO's care has absconded and despite extensive attempts to maintain the care arrangement, the carer has said they refuse to continue to care for the child. The CCU may be able to further negotiate/provide support to the carer or attempt to locate an emergency care arrangement. If the district is aware of the need for a care arrangement, this should be considered and organised prior to submitting an Action Request.

    • It is close to the due date for a pregnant woman and following a period of pre-birth planning, there is a decision for the baby to come into the CEO's care or to adhere to a strict safety plan.  The safety plan should be included and on file and the parents should be aware of the details. No additional pre-birth planning actions can be undertaken by CCU, including safety planning. The Action Request should include:

      • instructions to inform CCU if the baby is born after-hours
      • a clear outline of the safety plan, and
      • details of how to respond if the safety plan is not followed, and advice on whether the use of s.40 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 is likely to be required. If it is, this must be discussed with the hospital prior to sending the Action Request. 

     

    You must record all consultations with an Aboriginal practice leaders (APL) or other relevant senior Aboriginal staff. If there have been decisions made in consultation with an APL, this should be noted in the Action Request.  

    This is particularly important if statutory action is likely to be required as CCU workers may not be able to consult with an APL outside of office hours. 


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    Alternatives to an Action Request

     

    If you are worried about a situation but it does not meet the above criteria, call or email CCU for a consult. 

    If there is a situation that may arise after-hours, you should place a case note on file documenting:

    • what might happen
    • how you think CCU should respond if it does happen, and
    • a clear indication of what planning has already been completed, e.g. decisions from Signs of Safety meetings and APL consults.

    It is very important that you use the following naming convention for this case note:

    File note for Crisis Care – (child/family name) – (very brief description of issue)

    For example:

    File note for Crisis Care – Johnisha SMITH – child absconded and should return to her carer

    There are many situations where you might be worried about a child or family, but where the situation could be better managed without an Action Request. 

    If…

    Then…

    A safety plan is in place, but you are worried it is not being followed

    • Ask the safety network to call or visit after-hours to ensure the plan is being followed.

    • Ensure the safety network have the number for CCU and clear instructions for when they should call CCU and/or the police e.g. if there is any violence or threats of violence; and/or if the children are at immediate risk of harm.

    • Make sure the parents know they can speak with CCU. Difficult situations can be negotiated by phone with support and reassurance.

    • Place a case note on Objective, following above guidelines.

    ​A taxi may be required for a child in the CEO's care or family member, but you have been unable to organise this and the time when its required is unclear.
    • ​Book the taxi in advance and ask for a reference number to provide to the passenger. They can then call the taxi company directly. 

    • If the situation is very vague, such as a child who has absconded and they are particularly vulnerable on public transport, place a file note on Objective as described above. Text the passenger the number for CCU. 

    ​You have general concerns about a vulnerable child or client. There are specific reasons you believe that person should be supported in a particular manner if they contact CCU. This could include a child who is living in an unsafe self-selected care arrangement or who you believe is a victim of family domestic violence but has not been confident enough to engage with professionals.
    • ​Create an alert describing the general situation, that person's vulnerabilities and what you are worried could happen to that child, young person or adult. 

    • Provide some general guidance about what you believe would be most helpful in the situation i.e. an offer to refer a child to ARYA or an adult to a refuge. 


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    Submitting an Action Request

    ​Before submitting an Action Request, consult with your team leader. If it is unclear if the situation meets the criteria, call CCU to consult. If it is agreed an Action Request is the most appropriate follow-up to ensure the safety for a child, follow the below steps:

    Action

    Description

    Step 1

     

     

     

     

     

    Complete Form 190 – After-hours Action Request (in related resources).  Always access this via related resources as the form will not work properly if it is saved on desktop or shared. 

    Summarise the relevant informationDo not copy and paste large amounts of text from previous assessments.

    Step 2
    ​Save the completed referral form on Objective and email the Objective reference to CPFrontDesk_MS-CC_Crisis_Care@cpfs.wa.gov.au 

     

    You must publish document as CCU must be able to edit it. 

    ​Step 3

    ​Wait 10-15 minutes and call CCU on (08)9223 1111 to allow CCU an opportunity to read the Action Request. The CCU staff may ask clarifying questions or ask for additional information.

    The worker should also confirm how long the Action Request should be held for. 

    ​Step 4
    ​The CCU will write details of the consult and agreed actions directly into the form. Please note the CCU worker may require time to consult with their team leader.
     

    The CCU will confirm acceptance of the Action Request and that responsibility for managing the situation will be transferred to CCU. 

    On some occasions, the referral will not be accepted. In this instance, you must place a case file on ASSIST describing your concerns and how the district would like the situation to be managed. 

    ​Step 5

    ​The CCU staff will document any follow-up contact with the family in a new case note. This will be sent to the child protection worker and the district front desk email. 

    Case management responsibilities remain with the district. When an After-hours Action Request is accepted, the responsibility for managing the risks and responsibilities for the family during the designated timeframe sits with the CCU.

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    Managing Action Requests in regional and remote districts

     

    If you believe a child protection response is likely to be required outside of office hours in a remote or regional district, ensure the on-call worker is aware of the situation. There should be a plan in place to manage the situation and this should be documented on ASSIST in a case note in case CCU are made aware of the situation. 

    Make sure the case note naming conventions are followed to ensure the following is easy to locate:

    • The details of the situation.
    • The plan to manage the situation.
    • Which local district staff member to call for a local response.  

    If you are a worker from a remote or regional area you should consider completing an Action Request in the following circumstances:

    • A child protection response is required after-hours while the family/child is in the metropolitan area.

    • To request a "check-in" with an on-call worker who is completing work after-hours to ensure their safety.

    • A child protection response is required, but a visit or on-the-ground response is not necessary.

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Related Resources

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