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  3. 10. General
  4. 10.3 Information sharing for service delivery coordination
  5. Key steps
  6. 3. Decide if stated information is needed

3. Decide if stated information is needed

Child Safety has a specific provision (Child Protection Act 1999, section 159N) to request stated information about a child, an unborn child or another person from the following entities:

  • the public guardian
  • a prescribed entity
  • a licensee - an entity licensed to provide placement services to children in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive
  • the person in charge of a student hostel.

Determine whether a section 159N request is needed

When making a section 159N request, the stated information must be information which Child Safety considers is relevant for the performance of a function or exercise of a power under the Child Protection Act 1999. The following steps will inform a decision in determining if information is required under section 159N:

  • Review relevant ICMS and SCAN team records to check if the information has previously been received. When seeking updated or additional information from the same entity, ensure the purpose for this subsequent request is clearly defined and described.
  • Ensure the information request is lawful and authorised under the Child Protection Act 1999:
    • identify the purpose or function under the Child Protection Act 1999 for which the information is needed
    • specify which sections of the Child Protection Act 1999 are relevant
    • establish how and why the information is needed to help undertake the particular purpose, or function
    • identify the link between the information and concerns for the child
    • confirm the entity is able to share information for this purpose
  • Ensure the request is targeted and specific and the information is directly relevant to the intended purpose, by:
    • detailing and defining what information is requested
    • clarifying whether the information needed is current or historical, including date ranges where possible
    • identifying the person the information is about and their relationship to the relevant child or unborn child
    • identifying the entity and holder of the information if known.

Senior team leaders are delegated to make requests under Child Protection Act 1999, section 159N.

It may be appropriate to request information under Section 159N when:

  • information is being used in an affidavit for a court proceeding and the accuracy of the information is paramount
  • an entity is reluctant to provide information due to the sensitivity of the information and a formal request is most appropriate to obtain this – this may include where there is an open homicide investigation
  • requesting specific information to complete the screening criteria to inform the departmental response at intake – refer to 1.5 Conduct a pre-notification check if required

Request criminal or domestic violence history from the Queensland Police Service

Queensland Police Service (QPS) may hold important information to help ensure a child’s safety and service delivery coordination. Child Safety may request stated information from QPS, however requests for a person’s criminal or domestic violence history are authorised by Child Protection Act 1999 section 95 (3).

Under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 95(3), a request to QPS for criminal and domestic violence history reports can be undertaken at any time a decision is being made in relation to a child when:

  • a parent or household member refuses to disclose their criminal or domestic violence history, and reliable information cannot be gathered from other sources
  • it is assessed that a parent or household member has not fully disclosed any history
  • it is alleged that a parent or household member has a history of offences against children, but the full history is not available.

A request to QPS may also be made for any criminal and domestic violence history about another adult against whom an allegation of significant harm or risk of significant harm has been made.

To complete a QPS criminal history check to inform an investigation and assessment refer to Chapter 2.6 Criminal and domestic violence checks

How to make a section 159N request

To request information under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 159N:

This form provides a standard approach for requesting stated information. It does not preclude entities sharing information verbally or via email with Child Safety. In these situations, record the information request and response accurately and clearly in ICMS.

When a request can be declined

Entities can only decline requests by Child Safety in limited circumstances, including when giving the information could reasonably be expected to result in one of the following:

  • prejudice the investigation of a contravention or possible contravention of a law in a particular case
  • prejudice an investigation under the Coroners Act 2003
  • enable the existence or identity of a confidential source of information, in relation to the enforcement or administration of a law, to be ascertained
  • endanger a person's life or physical safety
  • prejudice the effectiveness of a lawful method or procedure for preventing, detecting, investigating or dealing with a contravention or possible contravention of a law and
  • it would not be in the public interest to give the information.

A prescribed entity does not commit an offence by not complying with a request.

If the information has been requested for court purposes, inform your OCFOS lawyer and seek their advice about next steps.