Last updated 23 November 2016
If the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (Child Safety) determines that a child needs to be in out-of-home care during the investigation, Child Safety should consider entering into an assessment care agreement for the child to be placed in out-of-home care.
An assessment care agreement (s 51Z(a) Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) (Child Protection Act)) is available when:
- Child Safety reasonably suspects the child is a child in need of protection
- an investigation is necessary to assess the child’s protection needs
- Child Safety is satisfied that it is necessary for the child to have some protection while the investigation is carried out.
An assessment care agreement is an agreement between the parents and Child Safety for the short-term out-of-home care of the child. Child Safety may enter into an agreement with only one of the child’s parents, if it is impractical to obtain the consent of the other parent to the agreement before entering the agreement.
Child Safety may not enter into an agreement with only one of the child’s parents if another parent refuses to enter the agreement (s 51ZE Child Protection Act).
Child Safety must obtain and have regard to the child’s views before entering into the care agreement, unless the child is unable to form and express views, taking into account the child’s age and ability to understand (s 51ZE Child Protection Act).
An assessment care agreement should be in the approved form (in writing) and signed by the parties and must state:
- the name of the carer
- the period of the agreement
- where the child will be living
- contact arrangements between the child and parents while the agreement is in place
- the types of decisions relating to the child for which the parents must be consulted (s 51ZF Child Protection Act).
An assessment care agreement must not be for more than 30 days and cannot be extended (s 51ZH Child Protection Act).
The parents or Child Safety may end an assessment care agreement on at least two days notice (s 51ZI Child Protection Act). If a parent ends the agreement, Child Safety will need to determine:
- if investigation and assessment needs to continue
- if satisfied the child is a child in need of protection and a child protection order is appropriate and desirable for the child’s protection, the matter will be referred to the Director of Child Protection Litigation.
The care agreement will end automatically if a child protection order is made granting custody or guardianship of the child to Child Safety or to someone else (s 51ZI Child Protection Act).