CPLO is a legal unit within the department. CPLO has lawyers, paralegals and administrative staff and provides a service to child protection practitioners.
All child protection cases requiring advice and information on legal matters are eligible for assistance from CPLO.
- is responsible for providing legal representation for the metropolitan divisions of child protection for all matters before the Family Division of the Children’s Court
- provides legal advice regarding law to child protection throughout the state
- conducts litigation on behalf of the Secretary in a range of other jurisdictions including Family Law Courts, County Court, Supreme Court and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
- offers a model of early legal advice service for metropolitan divisional offices, with CPLO solicitors attending the metropolitan divisional offices to provide early advice
- offers a statewide daily telephone duty service to child protection for advice in relation to court matters and other legal issues
- offers advice and representation regarding child protection’s role in Family and Federal Circuit Court matters
- provides training for child protection practitioners in court and legal processes
- plays a role in identifying case practice issues and court related trends, and conveys this information to Children and Families Policy, Child Protection.
Role of a legal representative
The role of a legal representative is to provide legal advice to child protection practitioners and take instructions from practitioners as delegates of the Secretary in child protection matters.
Model of early legal advice
The CPLO model of early legal advice provides for solicitors from CPLO to attend each of the metropolitan child protection offices a number of days per week. They offer a legal consultation service and provide legal advice to child protection practitioners at the earliest point of statutory intervention to ensure the ongoing protection of children from abuse and neglect.