When a secure welfare service is at or nearing capacity

Follow this procedure when a secure welfare service is nearing or is at capacity.

Document ID number 1112, version 2, 2 July 2018.


There may be times when demand for placements at a secure welfare service exceeds capacity.


Secure welfare service general manager tasks

  • Every Thursday email  area operations managers/assistant directors, child protection, copying in area directors, outlining the status of children or young people currently in the service and any capacity issues.
  • Review all clients in the secure welfare service when occupancy is at seven and email area operations managers/assistant directors, child protection, copying area directors, with names of young people who could be considered for an early exit if capacity is reached in the unit. The recommendation will be based on knowledge of clients in the unit at the time, their progress towards meeting placement objectives and their current stability and risk issues.
  • When a unit reaches eight residents, escalate an email alert to area operations managers/assistant director, child protection requesting an updated exit plan for clients who are considered appropriate for an early exit.
  • Organise a teleconference (to be scheduled for 8.30 am Friday) between all area directors who have a child identified for possible exit and any child pending admission when a unit has reached eight admissions.

Area operations manager/assistant director, child protection tasks

  • Advise the secure welfare service general manager within 24 hours of receiving an email alert (occupancy seven) of the potential to exit the identified divisional clients. If exit is supported, an exit plan is to be included following consultation with divisional principal practitioner. If exit is not supported, document your reasons, including what needs to be achieved for the client before the expected exit date.
  • Update area director of response to the identified exit and any agreed exit plans.
  • Review further potential admissions (occupancy eight) and discuss with area director following a review of all options with the divisional principal practitioner. 

Director, secure services tasks

  • Convene a teleconference between area directors and director, office of professional practice (or delegate) if, during core business hours (7 am-7 pm), divisions are unable to reach agreement on the exit of identified clients and the unit reaches nine residents with an admission pending, or if the unit reaches ten residents.

The purpose of the teleconference is to determine the prioritisation of clients where demand for secure welfare services exceeds capacity, based on assessment of relative risk to each individual client under consideration – that is, the client proposed to be admitted and each existing resident. The proposed admission will not automatically be given priority. Existing residents are reviewed by their admission date, presenting risk issues on admission, progress towards goals and current presentation to ascertain whether the child or young person may safely be moved out of the facility to make room for a new admission. The current risks and needs of the client proposed to be admitted will be considered.

Director, office of professional practice tasks

  • Participate in a teleconference between the director, secure services and relevant area directors to prioritise clients for the unit if the unit is at full capacity.
  • Make a decision (or delegate the decision) regarding a necessary exit, or a suspension on future admissions, if a final agreement cannot be determined by area directors to resolve a capacity issue.

Area director tasks

  • Participate in a teleconference to determine the prioritisation of clients within the secure welfare services unit. The teleconference may be convened either by the director, secure services or the most senior staff member of the AHCPES.
  • Ensure that any young person identified for exit due to capacity issues has an appropriate exit plan.
  • Ensure the client's electronic file contains a record of agreed decisions and rationales regarding exit from the secure welfare services unit.
  • Consult with director, child protection at your discretion.

Divisional principal practitioner tasks

  • Provide input and consultation into the decisions to exit young people from secure welfare services due to capacity issues and the development of exit plans for divisional clients identified for early exit.

Most senior staff at AHCPES tasks

  • Convene a teleconference between relevant area directors and the most senior staff member on shift at the secure welfare service if the unit reaches its capacity of ten residents.
  • Advise participants of the time and phone number for the teleconference.
  • Remind participants of the purpose of the teleconference (see above).
  • Provide advice during the teleconference about the child, including the current risk assessment.

AHCPES tasks

  • Undertake any identified tasks from an after hours teleconference between the director, secure services, area directors, and secure welfare staff, such as transport of clients or coordination of placement if required.