Protocols are arrangements between various Departments or Agencies who may be dealing with the same family. These are put in place in order to make sure that all parties are working towards the same goal, that is the best interests of the child. Protocols exist between the DHHS and the following agencies amongst others:
The Family Court
The Family Court’s jurisdiction is limited by section 69ZK of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) in that it must not generally make an order in relation to a child who is subject to an order which places them in the custody of, or under, a prescribed child welfare law. Further, where it appears to the Family Court that the Children’s Court proposes to make an order by which a child is placed in the custody of, or under the guardianship, care and control of, a person under a prescribed welfare law, the Family Court may adjourn any proceedings before it in relation to that child.
Under the provisions of section 91B of the Family Law Act, the Court may request the intervention in the proceedings of an officer of the appropriate State welfare department (in Tasmania, the DHHS).
The Federal Circuit Court
The Federal Circuit Court was created in 1999 in part to complement the Family Court of Australia. It seeks to provide a simpler and more effective alternative to litigation in the Family Court and almost half of all family law children’s applications are now heard in the Federal Circuit Court.
As the Federal Circuit Court shares its jurisdiction with the Family Court of Australia there are arrangements for the transfer of matters between the courts. These arrangements enable a matter to be transferred to the court that is most appropriate having regard to the complexity of the legal issues involved or the evidence in the matter.
The Act specifies roles for police officers in relation to assessment orders, other legal orders and warrants. If the Secretary considers it necessary or appropriate, the Secretary may obtain the assistance of the Commissioner of Police in carrying out the assessment of the circumstances of a child. In certain circumstances, evidence for assessment and/or the immediate protection of the child, without a warrant, may only be provided by a police officer.
Under section 9 of the CYPF Act, a decision or order as to where or with whom an Aboriginal child will reside may not be made under this Act except where an Aboriginal organisation has first been consulted. In making any decision or order under this Act in relation to an Aboriginal child, a person or the court must, in addition to complying with the principles set out in section 8:
- have regard to any submissions made by or on behalf of a recognised Aboriginal organisation consulted in relation to the child; and
- if a recognised Aboriginal organisation has not made any submissions, have regard to Aboriginal traditions and cultural values (including kinship rules) as generally held by the Aboriginal community; and
- have regard to the general principle that an Aboriginal child should remain within the Aboriginal community.
Page last updated 14/12/2017