The Department of Child Protection (DCP) is the government agency which is responsible for protecting children in the State of Western Australia.
Where parties have been contacted by the DCP in respect of their children, legal advice should be immediately obtained regarding the matter.
Will DCP take my child away?
In most circumstances DCP will work closely with the parents in order to resolve any issue about what the problem is and what needs to happen to solve the problems.
The DCP have power to remove children from their parents or carers in circumstances where it is considered that the child is at risk. The limited circumstances under which DCP can take a child away include:
- When they have a warrant; or
- If DCP believe that the child is in immediate and substantial risk.
The DCP are required to bring an Application before the Children’s Court in relation to the removal within specified time periods. Relatives may also consider seeking to become parties to a case of this nature, to offer their home as a placement option in circumstances where the child cannot return home.
If DCP have taken your child, with or without a warrant, they are required to make a protection application to the Children’s Court within the next 2 working days.
What will happen in Court?
If DCP has made a protection application, they are required to give to the parents, and anyone else who may have significant and direct interest in your child’s life, a copy of the application. Once this has been done, the Court will generally list the matter within the next 3 working days.
The Children’s Court will be responsible for making the final decision about whether or not your child will require protection, along with whether the child should be placed in the care of DCP.
If you have been served with a application, you should seek legal advice immediately.