Transfers between divisions
Follow this procedure when transferring case responsibility within or between divisions.
Document ID number 1301, version 6, 20 November 2021.
The best interests of the child must be the paramount consideration when transferring child protection cases between divisions.
Requests between divisions need to be completed quickly, so that the child and their family continue to receive timely support and case management required for the child’s safety and wellbeing.
This procedure includes the tasks and decisions required for transferring case management and processes for resolving transfer disputes or delays.
For information relating to transferring case tasks, see Case transfers policy.
Case practitioner tasks
- Consult ACSASS for an Aboriginal child.
- Consult your supervisor when considering a case transfer.
- Complete the Case transfer checklist.
- Complete a case transfer summary.
- Ensure CRIS and paper file are up to date.
- Address any outstanding case issues.
Transfer during intake phase
- Establish that the report is being made to the appropriate division. A division must accept a report regarding a transient family if the family is residing in the division at the time of the report.
- Do not transfer the case if the intake risk assessment indicates it will be closed from intake.
- Negotiate a transfer as soon as possible when assessment reveals the child resides in another area or division and the case is proceeding to investigation. Comply with mandatory two- and 14-day key performance indicators.
- Complete the intake risk assessment and intake report. This is sufficient to facilitate a transfer at intake. Complete a case transfer summary case note, referring the receiving division to the intake record.
Transfer during investigation phase
- Consider case transfer if the family relocates during the investigation and no protection application has been made. If the case is to be transferred, do not delay, as practitioners may have limited knowledge of immediate safety until completion of the investigation.
Transfer during protective intervention phase
If protective concerns have been substantiated a case plan will be prepared.
- Do not transfer a case if the decision is to close the case promptly following substantiation.
- If a case has just been substantiated and the intention is to intervene by agreement, the transferring division must at least begin a draft a case plan and actions table before transferring the case. The transferring and receiving divisions must cooperate to comply with case plan preparation policy.
Transferring within 21 days from substantiation
Depending on timing, either the transferring or receiving division needs to endorse the first version of the case plan and actions table and provide a copy to the child and parents within 21 days of the substantiation decision having been made.
- At any other time in this phase, the case plan and actions table are to be current before transferring a case.
- The risk assessment (risk assessment or review risk assessment) must be up to date current and endorsed.
- If a protection application has been issued, do not transfer a case until after the first court hearing (regardless of whether there is a contest and providing there is no further court activity within ten working days). The protection and disposition reports are to be completed before transfer.
- Advise the child and family of the transfer and confirm in writing.
Transfer during protection order phase
- Ensure the case plan and actions table are current before transferring a case.
- Ensure the risk assessment is current and endorsed.
- Advise the child and family of the transfer.
- Do not transfer a case:
- within 12 weeks of a scheduled annual review of the statutory case plan
- less than 12 weeks before the scheduled expiry of the protection order
- if an application has been or is about to be made for a revocation of the order or seeking a different order.
If a decision is subject to an internal review, the case can only be transferred if director or area operations manager from both divisions agree the transfer is in the child’s best interests and there are appropriate arrangements to ensure exchange of information between the divisions.
Supervisor or team manager tasks
- Decide whether a case should be transferred, taking into consideration:
- What is in the child’s best interests and where the case plan objectives can be best achieved should be guiding principles for all decisions (where relevant).
- The phase of intervention, as particular considerations may apply.
- Whether transfer of casework tasks (rather than case responsibility) is a viable short-term or long-term option.
- Whether case responsibility or casework tasks can reasonably and effectively be carried out by the area with current case management responsibility. This may be relevant when distance is manageable, continuity of service delivery is of paramount importance, intervention is time limited, or case closure is imminent.
- The merit of transferring case responsibility in relation to sibling groups (if this will result in more than one case manager) and the impact this may have on continuity and consistency of case planning.
If case responsibility is held in different areas or divisions for different siblings, consider strategies that will mitigate the risk of service fragmentation for the children and family. For example, one case planner may take a lead role in coordinating and monitoring case planning across the sibling group and conducting joint case planning meetings with the parents.
- Contact the relevant deputy area operations manager to establish which team manager to negotiate the transfer with.
- Negotiate transfer with the relevant team manager. For high-risk cases this is to occur as a matter of urgency to ensure access to appropriate support services. Consider seeking support from a practice leader to facilitate transfer to ensure safety.
- The team manager in the receiving team or division will accept the CRIS transfer of the case on CRIS as soon as transfer negotiation between the divisions is completed.
- Resolve any dispute about transfers according to the following timelines:
Transfer agreed, or decision elevated to area management
Within two hours of request
Within two days of agreement
Within two days of request
Within two days of agreement
Within five days of request
Within five days of agreement
- Escalate to deputy area operations manager, or area operations manager or director if unable to resolve the dispute within the above timelines.
Practice leader tasks
- If requested by a team manager, negotiate transfer of high-risk cases and cases requiring an infant intensive response to ensure access to appropriate support services.
Deputy area operations manager, or area operations manager or director, child protection tasks
- Resolve disputes regarding interdivisional transfers if a disagreement has not been resolved within the timeframes above.
- If the outcome of the transfer dispute cannot be resolved at this level within 48 hours of escalation, the matter must be escalated to the Chief Practitioner for adjudication, whose decision is final.
- Email request for adjudication to the Chief Practitioner at firstname.lastname@example.org, following the internal referral processes as detailed on the Office of Professional Practice internet page.
Chief Practitioner, Office of Professional Practice tasks
- Adjudicate the transfer dispute referred from Area operations manager, or director, child protection.
- Make and communicate the decision within 48 hours of receiving the request for adjudication.