Frequently Asked Questions – Child Protection – Part 1
Q) A caseworker has asked to meet with me to discuss my children. Am I allowed to have someone present?
A) Yes. Most caseworkers when they meet with you will have at least one other person present. This may be a colleague or a team leader or even a Manager.
Caseworkers are encouraged as part of their Signs of Safety Training to encourage parents to have support people present who can assist them in understanding what is being asked of them, what the concerns are and what steps they need to take during this challenging time.
Q) The caseworker refuses to meet with me unless I meet them without any support person- is this allowed?
A) The caseworker may request this. This does not mean you have to agree. In fact, you can ask for clarification from the caseworker about why they will not allow you to have a support person present.
Q) The caseworker has attended at my child’s school to meet with my child without my knowledge is this allowed?
A) Yes- if a caseworker has concerns about your child and needs to do an investigation they can arrange to meet with your child without you present. However, when arranging these meetings, the caseworker should be cognizant of your child’s interests and should arrange if possible for any interview to take place were the child is not embarrassed in front of peers unnecessarily or upset.
Q) The caseworker appears to be taking notes when s/he meets with me- why?
A) When the caseworker meets with you they will take notes- these notes form part of their file and are kept. They form the caseworkers record of their perception of what was discussed. You are rarely given the notes to review or check them for accuracy at the time. You can take your own notes of the meeting and provide them to the caseworker and ask that they are placed on their file.
However, if you send the caseworker an email or fax or leave a voicemail, this also forms part of their file. This communication may be used in court on a later date.
Q) Can I refuse to allow my child to be interviewed?
A) Yes- however you should consider this step carefully as a caseworker may consider that your child is in danger and apply to apprehend your child as they cannot confirm the child’s safety.