We have checklists, practical tips and handy hints which may be useful references for lawyers practising in the Family Division of the Children’s Court.
Child Protection Duty Lawyer Guidelines
Child Protection Duty Lawyer Guidelines must be applied by all Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) child protection lawyers, community legal centres and private practitioners delivering child protection duty lawyer services at Children’s Court (Family Division) locations across Victoria.
The guidelines set out:
- the different types of services to be delivered by the child protection duty lawyer service
- the eligibility criteria for the child protection duty service.
The guidelines are available on the Duty lawyers in the Children's Court Family Division (child protection) page. They were developed as part of the Child Protection Transformation program. For more information about the process that led to this, see Child Protection Legal Aid Services Review.
For children to understand and participate in child protection proceedings, they need high-quality legal services tailored to their individual needs. This guide has been developed to help lawyers acting for children, either on a direct instructions or best interests basis, to carry out their role confidently and effectively. This guide draws on the insights and experience of child protection lawyers, as well as young people with experience of the child protection system.
Read the accessible Representing children in child protection proceedings: a guide for direct instructions and best interests lawyers (accessible version) (docx, 898 KB).
- Children's Court Family Division – guide to assessing capacity and taking instructions from children (docx, 186.63 KB)
Handy hints for assessing the capacity of children aged ten or higher and to advise and take direct instructions from those children – particularly those
- Please also see the Good practice guide for meeting children via technology on the COVID-19 practice changes page to assist with considering if it’s appropriate to speak with young people using technology like video calls during these difficult times. It is to be read in conjunction with the other guides.
- Children's Court Family Division adult/parent capacity checklist (doc, 220 KB)
Handy hints in checklist form for assessing the capacity of adults to give direct instructions, particularly parents with mental health or intellectual disability issues, in the Family Division of the Children's Court.
- Children’s Court Family Division capacity checklist (doc, 174.51 KB)
Handy hints in checklist form for assessing the capacity of children aged ten or higher to give direct instructions in the Family Division of the Children's Court. This document has been updated to take into account the 2013 amendments to the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005.
- Children's Court Family Division – taking instructions from young children (doc, 173.53 KB)
Handy hints in checklist form about the information to be given to, and the instructions to be taken from, children capable of giving direct instructions in the Family Division of the Children's Court.
- Aboriginal Child Placement Principle in child protection – checklist (docx, 145.89 KB)
Handy hints in checklist form for tracking whether the child protection system is appropriately managing cases involving Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children.
Precedents in Microsoft Word file format, including different versions of client letters to children, young people and adults, are available to child protection private practitioner panel lawyers by email. If you would like access to these documents, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional legal education
We have videos and associated materials which may be accessed by child protection private practitioner panel lawyers with recent topics including:
- The Aboriginal Child Placement Principle by France Prasad, Managing Lawyer VACCA
- Child protection basics by VLA Child Protection Managing Lawyer Jenny Anderson and Deputy Managing Lawyer Anna Gibson
- IAO submissions contests by Matthew Strong, VLA In-house Counsel, Family and Children
- Preparing and evidence IAO or final contest by Eric Myles, VLA In-house Counsel, Family and Children
- Grounds for applications in the Family Division of the Children’s Court by Eric Myles
- Orders/Dispositions in the Family Division of the Children’s Court by Eric Myles.
For a full list of available topics or to access the videos and materials email: email@example.com
Read more about Child protection case planning and reviews.
See also Payments and records management for private practitioner duty lawyers in the Family Division of the Children’s Court.
- Children’s Court of Victoria research
- Child Family Community Australia
- Child Family Community Australia (including webinars)
- Commission for Children and Young
- DHHS Child Protection (now DFFH but still labelled as DHHS)
- Victorian Aboriginal Child Care
Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.
We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au
Reviewed 21 October 2022