Case transfers policy

Follow this policy when making decisions about case transfers.
Document ID number 1300, version 3, 19 July 2022.

Child protection management must ensure that all transfer requests within and between areas or divisions are completed quickly and with a spirit of cooperation.

The best interests of the child are the paramount consideration in decisions about case transfers.

All relevant information must be communicated to ensure a smooth transition for the child and family and continuity of service delivery. 

Delays in transfer of case responsibility or acceptance of casework tasks must not occur on the basis of system issues, such as workload pressures or differing perspectives regarding the case plan, or the actions required to implement it.

The location of case responsibility is premised on:

  • the place of residence of the child when:
    • the child is living with their parent
    • the permanency objective is adoption, permanent care or long-term out-of-home care, or
    • the permanency objective is family reunification, but the parent does not have stable accommodation, or
    • the child is in care and working towards independent living or leaving care

(If there is a shared-care arrangement, the child’s primary residence is determined in case planning).

  • the place of residence of the parent who is the primary carer when the child is in care as the result of a voluntary agreement or an interim accommodation order
  • the place of residence of a parent to whose care the child will return when the child is in care and the permanency objective is family reunification (except where the parent's accommodation is unstable)
  • the place of residence of the mother in the case of an unborn child.

Case responsibility cannot be shared between divisions. However, for reasons such as proximity or geography, it is reasonable to request another area or division to assist with case tasks when a family is residing in their area even though case management responsibility is not being transferred at that time. The other area or division will assist with tasks in this situation.

When transferring cases, the transferring team or division will maintain case management responsibility until the point where the case is formally accepted by the receiving team or division on CRIS (generally within three working days of the transfer request).

Stability of parental living arrangements

If the family is highly mobile, case transfer can occur when the child or family has been in a new location for eight weeks. This timeframe applies to residence in transitional housing or caravan parks, as families may use these options for significant periods of time. However, it does not apply when a family is in temporary accommodation, for example a refuge or short-term emergency housing, as this type of accommodation is by design, short term. If a decision about transfer of case responsibility cannot be made immediately, consideration of the transfer of casework tasks may be appropriate.

If the family does not have a history of being highly mobile, the period of time the family lived in the new division is not relevant when considering case transfer.