Sharing information is a key part of ensuring that vulnerable children are protected and supported.

Some professionals from particular entities prescribed under section 159M of the Child Protection Act 1999 may share information with support services, including Family and Child Connect, without the family’s consent.

This short video uses animation to provide an introduction to information sharing under the Child Protection Act. This video was produced by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

Transcript

Sharing information is a key part of ensuring that vulnerable children are protected and supported. All community members and professionals can and should offer support and resources to a family and share information about a family for a referral to a support service with the family’s consent.

Some professionals from particular entities prescribed under section 159M of the Child Protection Act 1999 may share information with support services, including Family and Child Connect, without the family’s consent. This is so that help and support can be offered to the family before their problems escalate. It can only be done when the professional holds concerns that do not meet the threshold for a report to Child Safety, but they consider that the child is likely to become a child in need of protection if no preventive support is given.

Jim is a Principal. He has concerns that do not meet the threshold for a report to Child Safety, and considers that the child is likely to become in need of protection if no preventative support is given. With amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999, he is allowed to share relevant information with support services without the family’s consent so that help and support can be offered to the family before their problems escalate. Sharing information in these cases takes precedence over a parent’s right to confidentiality or privacy because the safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child is paramount.

It is important to note that information about an unborn child can only be shared with the consent of the pregnant woman in all circumstances. Jackie is a regional intake services officer. She has received concerns about the safety of a pregnant women and her unborn child once born that do not require statutory intervention. Even though she is a professional from a particular prescribed entity, she cannot share information about the unborn child with a support service without the mother’s consent.

When information is shared with a support service without consent, the support service may make contact with the family to discuss their needs and offer them support. The family must give consent for any further information sharing to occur after this point. Joshua works for a Family and Child Connect service. A professional from a particular prescribed entity has referred a family to the service without their consent. He makes contact with the family to discuss their needs and offer them support. Before any further information sharing can occur to connect the family with the right services, he needs to get the family’s consent.

Professionals or other people who hold concerns about a child or family but are not from a particular prescribed entity are not authorised to share information without family consent. These individuals should continue to discuss their concerns with the family and encourage them to provide their consent for a referral or provide information and resources to the family so that they can seek support themselves when they are ready. James is a family support worker. He has concerns about a family, but he cannot get consent to share their information with another support service. He provides resources to the family so they can seek support when they are ready and continues to discuss his concerns with the family and encourages them to provide consent for a referral.

Information sharing, a key part of ensuring that vulnerable children are protected and supported.

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