A new client referral process to support high-quality and consistent child protection legal services

A new client referral process to support high-quality and consistent child protection legal services

Friday, 24 May 2019

We are introducing a new, fairer and more transparent referral process to help more people across the state access consistent child protection legal services.

The new process means VLA will lead and manage referrals of clients to lawyers, reflecting the current good practice in many parts of the state.

Our Child Protection Legal Aid Services Review identified strong practitioner support for VLA to do this.

’To give clients choice and continuity of representation, we will continue to support referrals to practitioners with an existing relationship with a client and, where possible, children will be referred to practitioners on both the child protection and youth crime panels.’ 

Executive Director of Family Youth and Children’s Law, Nicole Rich 

‘Aboriginal clients will also be given the first choice of being referred to an Aboriginal community controlled legal service if one is available.’

Information for practitioners

To support this new process we are progressively rolling out, region by region, a new information technology (IT) platform, to ensure we can keep consistent records of child protection referrals across Victoria.

When the new platform is operating, practitioners will be given a unique reference number to enter on the client’s ATLAS record when applying for a grant of legal assistance for child protection matters. 

We are also updating VLA’s practice standards to reflect the new referral process. Practitioners will need to certify the source of a child protection client referral when applying for a new grant, but the ATLAS process will be very easy to use with one additional step required to log the client referral source.

Child Protection Duty Lawyer Manual

We have developed a manual to support the implementation of the new referral and intake process and the Child Protection Duty Lawyer Guidelines, which were introduced in March 2019.

The manual includes:

  • information on the new referral process and IT platform
  • clarification of the roles and responsibilities of lawyers and VLA administrative staff providing child protection duty lawyer services
  • new referral pathways, including for Aboriginal clients to be referred to Aboriginal Legal Services if preferred.

Download the Child Protection Duty Lawyer Manual.

More information

For more information about the new referral process and the Child Protection Duty Lawyer Manual contact Aurore Delcourt, Project Coordinator, Child Protection Transformation at aurore.delcourt@vla.vic.gov.au.

Read more about our Child Protection Legal Aid Services Review.

Download our Child Protection Duty Lawyer Guidelines.

Watch a Q&A session about the Child Protection Duty Lawyer Guidelines.

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