Child protection guideline changes

Child protection guideline changes

Significant amendments to Victoria’s child protection legislation will change the way child protection matters are handled by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Children’s Court. These changes came into effect on 1 March 2016.

Almost every party who is legally represented in Children’s Court Family Division (Child Protection) proceedings in Victoria is legally aided through a grant of legal assistance.

We need to adjust our child protection funding guidelines to respond to the changing child protection landscape to make sure the availability of legal assistance to children and families is not reduced.

Summary of changes

The guideline changes provide, as much as possible within the revised legislative framework:

  • more intensive efforts earlier in court proceedings to ensure families receive the support and services they need to help with reunification
  • internal administrative reviews of Department of Health and Human Services decisions that have an impact on reunification and external Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal reviews, to ensure support is being provided for families to reunify within two years
  • applications to revoke a protection order where a child’s out-of-home care placement has broken down or changed.

The new state family law guidelines came into effect on 1 March 2016.

Consultation and outcomes

In November 2015 we released a consultation paper outlining six proposals which we believed were needed to substitute the current child protection legal aid service to ensure clients continue to receive the same level of representation once the amendments take effect.

Find out more about the consultation process and read the submissions.

Stakeholder feedback informed the development of revised state family guidelines which were considered and approved by the Victoria Legal Aid Board.

Read more about each proposal, including feedback, actions and next steps: