Clients on dual orders frequently have complex needs that require child protection and youth justice to work flexibly and collaboratively to achieve the best outcomes.
The Department of Health and Human Services is committed to enhancing joint work between the program areas to improve client outcomes. The protocol between child protection and youth justice defines the arrangements, decision making processes and required case practice for clients subject to dual orders. See Youth Justice protocol.
Where a child or young person is a client of both child protection and youth justice and either program is required to prepare a court report, consultation with the other program should occur regarding the content and recommendations of the report. Information exchanged between child protection and youth justice is recorded in CRIS.
Child protection practitioners are expected to share information appropriately to support effective collaborative practice and service provision to children and families in relation to protecting children, promoting their wellbeing and development, and assessing and managing family violence risk.
Case management and best interests
Both child protection and youth justice have legal responsibilities in supervising orders and meeting the needs of children and young people. The best interests of the child or young person will require both child protection and youth justice staff to adopt a flexible and collaborative approach to identify the strategies, support agencies and other resources to meet the child or young person's needs regarding safety and developmental needs and provided for their care an wellbeing.
Where dual order status exists, planning should involve both the child protection and youth justice programs in all key decisions and reviews, as well as the child or young person and their family. To work effectively, it is necessary to establish and agree on which agency will have lead case management responsibility. The lead agency will need to appoint one case manager who will establish information sharing arrangements, appropriate monitoring and review mechanisms and support systems relevant to the goals of the plan. The relevant youth justice caseworker should be invited to case planning (including FLDM) meetings or informed of planning decisions.
Programs retain statutory responsibility for supervision of the court order relevant to their program area.
Prior to a client's order expiring or being revoked, the child protection practitioner should advise the relevant youth justice worker of the proposed course of action and any related issues. Child protection should arrange a meeting with the family prior to case closure to confirm arrangements for ongoing supports. The youth justice worker is to be invited to the meeting.
In the first instance, disputes between child protection and youth justice shall be resolved at the practitioner level. Where timely dispute resolution is not achieved the issue is to be referred to the respective supervisors or managers.
It is always desirable to advise clients of an intention to share information where this will not compromise a person’s safety or welfare. Even if consent is not legally necessary, it is good practice in most instances to inform the client that information is to be used or disclosed in a way that they may not expect.
Cooperation and working towards a common goal of the child’s best interests must always remain foremost when working with clients on dual orders.