This advice provides information regarding:
- The right of parent/s and children to request a statement of reasons from Child Protection, and
- Preparing a statement of reasons when one is requested from a child or parent/s.
Document ID number 2461, version 2, 2 February 2023.
A child or parent/s may request that Child Protection give a written statement of reasons for a decision contained in a case plan without a protection order or any other decision made by the Secretary concerning the child (s.333 of the CYFA). Child Protection must give a written statement of reasons for a decision to the requester (child or parent/s) as soon as practical, and in any event within 28 days of receiving the request.
When a child or parent/s seeks to request a statement of reasons they must be advised that:
- Their request must be in writing and should detail the decision/s for which they are seeking a statement of reasons,
- Their request must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.
- A statement of reasons will be provided by Child Protection within 28 days of receiving the request.
- If they remain dissatisfied following the receipt of the statement of reasons the child or parent/s have a further 28 days after receiving the statement to seek a review of the decision by VCAT.
A statement of reasons may not be required to be provided in situations where legal proceedings have commenced, but a protection order is yet to be made. Speak with the Child Protection Litigation Office (CPLO) in these circumstances.
A statement of reasons is a document that explains why Child Protection has made the decision that is being questioned. It will:
- Set out the decision in question,
- Set out the basis for making the decision with reference to the applicable principles in the SAFER children framework, and
- Explains how the relevant principles were applied to the facts of the current case.
The statement must set out the reasons for the decision, and the findings on questions of fact that led to the decision, referring to the evidence on which those findings are based. For instance, Child Protection may decide that the risk of physical harm has been substantiated for an infant whose parent is a habitual drug user. The decision in this example is the substantiation. The reason for this decision is based on the finding made by Child Protection that the parent is a habitual drug user. That finding is based on the evidence known to Child Protection, for instance sighting littered syringes in the family home; slurred speech and unresponsive behaviour of the parent.
Child Protection will not be required to provide a statement of reasons if a written statement giving the reasons for the decision has already been provided to the requestor.
Letter format of the statement of reasons
A statement of reasons is to be provided in a letter format and titled at the top of the letter: Statement of Reasons.
See Statement of Reasons - letter template, with advice regarding the necessary content of the letter.
If a child or parent/s requests an internal review before a protection order is made, immediately advise them of the following:
That Child Protection will not be reviewing the decision internally.
- However, they may request a statement of reasons for the decision from Child Protection and that request must be made in writing within 28 days of the decision being made; or
- They may make an application directly to VCAT either within 28 days of the decision being made or within 28 days after being given, or being refused, the statement of reasons by Child Protection.
Upon receipt of a written request for a statement of reasons prepare in letter format (See Statement of Reasons - letter template) the statement of reasons and ensure this is provided to the requestor within 28 days of receiving their request.
- Section 333(2) of the CYFA
- Sections 45-47 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998