See procedure Transfers to and from the AHCPES for tasks that must be undertaken.
The AHCPES provides a state-wide response for all divisions to reports of child abuse and neglect that are received after hours, at weekends or on public holidays. The AHCPES also manages requests from divisions for out of hours tasks.
As well as receiving the report of harm, practitioners working in AHCPES will coordinate, manage and, in metropolitan divisions, respond to the concerns if necessary. The response might be to visit a child or family in urgent cases where harm or the likelihood of the child being harmed requires immediate child protection involvement. In the first instance, regardless of whether the call is from a rural or metropolitan area, the AHCPES practitioner will, where possible, provide telephone advice and negotiation to manage reports.
Up-to-date essential information categories and a current risk assessment or review risk assessment will support AHCPES to have access to contemporary information about the child and their family to inform actions and decisions they may make.
As the service operates 24 hours a day, divisions can negotiate with AHCPES where a child protection practitioner has assessed a crisis or significant risk for a child may worsen overnight or during the weekend. In negotiations, divisions will need to outline the potential issues that may arise and recommend a course of action for AHCPES should they have contact with family members or others. AHCPES will also consider requests from divisions for tasks to be undertaken — for example, seeking or executing a warrant, or liaison with a hospital regarding a child over the weekend.
In all situations, AHCPES collaborates with agencies, children, families, and divisional offices to achieve outcomes in the child's best interests. Coordination and cooperation are vital to managing crisis or potential crisis situations successfully. AHCPES refers all situations back to the allocated child protection practitioner the following working day.
Cases may be transferred to AHCPES but divisions will always hold ongoing case responsibility. The case remains on the individual divisional list during the time of negotiated AHCPES involvement.
Coordination and cooperation is vital in successfully managing situations of crisis or potential crisis. As in all cases, obtaining the best outcomes for clients and families relies on the collaboration of the various relevant services working to assistant them.
As AHCPES operates outside normal office hours, it is crucial that it has access to accurate and up-to-date information about: any orders a child may be subject to and the associated conditions; the current case plan; the division's recommended course of action (as per the possible contact) and any other information that will assist in providing the client with the most appropriate course of action. AHCPES will provide a comprehensive and timely report back to the division regarding any contact that AHCPES has had with clients and will assist the division in developing a suitable response.