If a decision has been made that a protection application before the Court is no longer needed, Child Protection can apply to the Children’s Court to strike out (withdraw) the protection application.
Case practitioner tasks
Following the completion of a review risk assessment where the outcome indicates change in the consequence of harm, probability of harm and supports a decision to withdraw the protection application, undertake the following tasks:
- Seek advice from the CPLO solicitor, divisional solicitor or legal officer about the decision to withdraw. Share your updated risk assessment with them as the starting point for the discussion and seek advice about what additional court forms or documents may be required from you.
- Inform the family of the intention to withdraw the protection application prior to the Court hearing.
- Facilitate the family’s connection to Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) for legal advice.
- Provide the family with information about how to contact Victoria Legal Aid for advice.
- Talk to your supervisor or CPLO or divisional solicitor about what should be included in your report for the hearing. Use the information in your review risk assessment to identify in your report what has changed within the consequence of harm and probability of harm to inform the decision to withdraw the protection application.
- Ensure your supervisor or manager signs the report and endorses the contents and recommendations being made.
- Provide the report and recommendation to the family in advance of the hearing and seek their views in relation to your position and the contents of the report you have written.
- Seven days before the Court hearing:
- File the report with the Court
- Provide electronic copies of all reports to the CPLO solicitor or the divisional solicitor.
- Serve a copy of the report to the lawyers representing the child, the child’s parents or any other party to the proceeding.
- Serve a copy of the report to the child if aged 12 years or older, the child’s parents and all parties to the proceeding. Consider in consultation with the team manager whether it is in the child’s best interests to provide them with an edited or limited copy of the report and discuss this with CPLO where required.
- If there are concerns about family violence or safety of any party through the service of the report on any party, consult with your manager and CPLO/Regional solicitor about the options available.
- Arrange an appointment with the Victoria Legal Aid for a child aged 10 years or older so that the child can give instructions to a lawyer and avoid the need to attend court to give instructions.
- Obtain consent in writing if the child’s parents or a party to the proceeding:
- are not legally represented
- have been served with a copy of the report, including the conditions sought by the department on the order
- cannot attend court
- consent to the application after being given the opportunity to seek legal advice.
- Contact the Court to arrange security if there are worker safety issues. Consider the safety implications of all parties, including any children attending court and risks related to family violence.
- After the hearing, update CRIS court screens and court activity document, including any negotiations, rationales for decisions, and outcome from court.
- Provide ongoing supervision and consultation.
- Support the practitioner to write the report and recommendations within required time frames and review the draft report.
Team manager tasks
- Endorse the review risk assessment and decision to withdraw the protection application.
- Endorse and sign the court report.