Referral from Children's Court - Criminal Division - advice

This advice provides additional information regarding referrals made to child protection by the Criminal Division of the Children's Court pursuant to s. 349 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (CYFA).
Document ID number 2011, version 2, 1 March 2016.


See procedure Referrals from the Children's Court – Criminal Division for tasks that must be undertaken.

The Criminal Division of the Children's Court may require the Secretary to prepare and submit a court report in certain circumstances. If it considers that a child appearing as a defendant in a criminal proceeding appears to be in need of protection, the Court may refer the matter under s. 349, CYFA, to child protection for investigation.

In accordance with the provisions of the CYFA,s. 350(1)(2)(a)(b), child protection must:

  • enquire into the matter, and
  • provide the Criminal Division of the Children's Court with a written report within 21 days of receiving the referral from the Court.

The written report must confirm that the child protection practitioner has enquired into the matter, and advise that:

  • a protection application has been issued, or
  • an application for a therapeutic treatment order has been made, or
  • child protection is satisfied that no protection application or application for a therapeutic treatment order is required.

The purpose of child protection's involvement is to assess whether the child is at risk of significant harm or in need of therapeutic treatment and if so, to determine the best way to ensure the child's safety, wellbeing and development. This may involve a protection application and hearing in the Family Division of the Children's Court. The details of the matter before the Family Division will not be transferred to the Criminal Division.

Considerations for good practice

  • Where there is a youth justice practitioner also involved with the child and family for the purpose of completing a report, it is vital the youth justice practitioner and child protection practitioner meet to discuss roles, responsibilities, share relevant information and coordinate their visits to the family so as not to overwhelm them.
  • Reports made under this section must be treated as any other report and sufficient time must be allowed to complete the assessment and report.
  • Coordination with the youth justice practitioner (where youth justice are involved and a practitioner is allocated) is important so as not to overwhelm the family with multiple visits, and to ensure consistent information is available for assessment and provided to the court.
  • Issues of information sharing and privacy must be considered in discussions with the youth justice practitioner.