Title: Accommodation of Children
Category: Offender Management
Implement Date: 3 December 2009
Application: Custodial Operations
Appendices and Forms
|2.||Application for accommodation of a child in a corrective services facility|
|3.1||Accommodation in secure facilities|
|3.2||Accommodation in Helena Jones Centre|
|4.||Determining best interests of a child|
|5.||Care of a child|
|5.1||Financial responsibility for a child|
|5.2||Safety and well-being of a child|
|5.4||Expression of milk|
|6.||Temporary absence of a child|
|8.||Breach of discipline|
|10.||Review of accommodation of a child in a facility|
|11.||Removal of a child from a facility|
To enable a female offender who gives birth during her period of imprisonment or who has custody of a child to maintain the mother and child relationship.
On admission to a facility a female offender must be informed that she may apply on the prescribed form, for her child to be accommodated with her. If the application is successful, the offender will have primary responsibility for the child's care and safety.
The chief executive or delegate must determine if a child is permitted to be accommodated with his/her female primary carer in custody. The general manager may consider the assessment of each application by a suitably qualified person (the assessing officer) nominated by the general manager of the facility. The best interests of the child are primary consideration in the determination of suitability of a child being accommodated in a corrective services facility. Contemporary considerations of the best interests of the child include parental capacity, assessed as-
If a female offender wishes to have her child accommodated with her, she must complete and submit administrative forms - Application and Assessment for Accommodation of a Child in a Corrective Services Facility; Information for Caregivers of Children Accommodated in a Corrective Services Facility, Options for Placement of a Child - Internal, and Options for Placement of a Child - External.
The assessing officer must interview the offender. If the assessing officer considers it is in the interest of the child to be urgently accommodated with the offender (eg. the offender is breastfeeding the child), the general manager must be notified immediately and the application processed as soon as practicable. The assessing officer's recommendation must accompany the offender's application, as per application form.
The offender whose child is to be accommodated with her, must complete and sign administrative form - Information for Caregivers of Children Accommodated in a Corrective Services Facility acknowledging her understanding and acceptance of the conditions imposed when her child is accommodated with her.
Refer Corrective Services Act 2006 (CSA) s. 29
A child may only be accommodated with a female offender in a secure facility if-
A child, who is not eligible to start primary school, may also be accommodated with a female offender in Helena Jones Centre if-
However, an offender may apply for a child who is eligible to start primary school to be accommodated with her in Helena Jones Centre for school holiday periods or weekends. This approval must only be granted if no other suitable person is available to take care of the child or at the request of the Department of Communities - Child Safety Services.
In deciding what is in the child's best interests, the chief executive or delegate may consider-
The chief executive or delegate will have reference to the above factors, in addition to the consideration of the centre's multi-disciplinary team.
Refer CSA ss. 29, 30; Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence).
The offender is responsible for costs associated with the care of a child accommodated with her, for example, nappies and baby goods, but not general food or drink.
Any Australian Government payment received by the offender because she is the child's primary caregiver must be made to the offender's trust account. Consent for expenditure from this payment must be given in the same manner as consent is given for expenditure of other monies in an offender's trust account. Refer CSA ss. 311, 314; procedure - Prisoner Monies. At all times, the offender must be encouraged to budget and expend appropriately, given the responsibility of being a primary caregiver. Reference must be made to the expenditure requirements within custody in comparison to the expenditure requirements in the community, and therefore, the encouragement of savings should be reinforced.
Refer Child Protection Act 1999, s. 22; procedure - Child Safety; administrative form - Record of Notification of Report to Department of Child Safety, appendix - Notification Process to Report Suspicion of Child Abuse/Neglect - Health Professionals and Corrective Services Staff
Corrective services officers must refer procedure - Child Safety (“Notifications to Department of Child Safety”); Clinical risk factors and indicators for sexual abuse (in-confidence); Clinical risk factors and indicators for physical abuse (in-confidence); Clinical risk factors and indicators for emotional abuse (in-confidence); Clinical risk factors and indicators for child abuse (in-confidence)
Health professionals employed by Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) and/or Queensland Health must report instances where there is reasonable suspicion of child abuse and neglect using administrative form - Report of a Reasonable Suspicion of Child Abuse and/or Neglect.
Refer procedure - Child Safety
Queensland Health, Offender Health Services provides primary health care to offenders who are incarcerated in a QCS facility. These services are structured to care for adult offenders, that is, offenders over the age of 17 years (refer Juvenile Justice Act 1992, s. 6, Schedule 4 “Child”). Female offenders who are mothers and that have a child or children with them in custody are provided with primary support.
Community agencies such as Community Child, Youth and Family Nurses are utilised to provide ongoing advice to mothers and monitor the child's growth and development while residing with their mother including immunisations.
A female offender who does not have her child accommodated with her but would like to continue breastfeeding her child, is referred to the health centre for assistance. Queensland Health, Offender Health Services will provide the necessary equipment and support for a female offender who needs to express breast milk for storage.
Queensland Health will-
The offender will be made aware at the time the breast pump is supplied to her, that it is her responsibility to maintain the hygiene and working order of the pump. If any equipment is damaged due to misuse/abuse, the offender will be required to pay Queensland Health, Offender Health Services for any repairs/replacement.
It is the offenders' responsibility to maintain the cleanliness of the breast pump and related equipment as instructed by Queensland Health, Offender Health Services.
If the offender does not comply with the requirement to maintain the cleanliness of the breast pump and related equipment, Queensland Health, Offender Health Services will first counsel and re-instruct the offender how to comply with the hygiene requirements necessary. If the offender persists in poor hygiene practices in relation to milk expression and storage, Queensland Health, Offender Health Services may stop the offender from expressing any further milk for the safety of the child, and notify Queensland Correctives Services that the offender is no longer approved to express milk.
It is the offender's responsibility to notify a Corrective Services Officer that she has completed expressing her milk. Further, it is the offender's responsibility to take the breast milk to the health centre for refrigeration/freezing as soon as possible after she has appropriately labelled the milk. A Corrective Services Officer is to facilitate the offender's visit to the health centre as soon as practicable.
Queensland Health, Offender Health Services will store offenders' breast milk for collection by a pre-approved nominated external carer of the child. The nominated external carer will be required to liaise with the health centre staff, to establish appropriate collection times that do not interfere with clinical service delivery. The offender is responsible for ensuring her approved nominated external carer safely transports the offender's breast milk in an appropriate storage device and in a timely manner. Offender Health Services and/or Queensland Corrective Services will not provide any equipment for transporting the breast milk and is not responsible for breast milk once it is received by the nominated external carer.
If a child has a minor illness and is able to be managed successfully by the mother with the support of Offender Health Services staff, this should be allowed to continue. If the child is unable to be managed by his/her mother, arrangements should be made to have the child's condition assessed, and a recommendation made to the chief executive or delegate relating to the level of care required for the child (eg. chicken pox can be managed in the community, however a dehydrated baby will require transfer by ambulance to hospital). Where a child is sick and available community care exists, the chief executive or delegate should consider hand out of the child.
An offender with a child accommodated with her in a corrective services facility, may request the general manager approve the child leave the facility for social and educational purposes. The offender must nominate a minimum of one external carer who will be responsible for the well-being of the child during such temporary periods of absence. Whilst subject to change, this should be nominated prior to the approval of the child's accommodation in custody.
A child may only be required to undergo either a general search or a scanning search before entering the facility or returning to the facility after a visit or absence.
A child accommodated with a female offender must not be submitted to a personal search or a search requiring the removal of clothing.
Refer CSA s. 32; procedure - Search - Prisoners and Corrective Services Facilities
If an offender who has a child accommodated with her in a corrective services facility commits a breach of discipline, any disciplinary action to be taken must consider the best interests of the child.
Separation of the child from the offender must not be used as a form of discipline and any loss of privileges by the offender must not have any unintended result for the child.
Refer CSA s. 31
An offender who has a child accommodated with her in a corrective services facility must accompany the child if the child is required to attend an outside medical facility.
Refer procedure - Escort of Offenders (in-confidence)
The chief executive or delegate may direct a review of the decision to accommodate a child in a corrective services facility to be undertaken at any time if there are concerns for the well-being of the child. The review must be coordinated by the assessing officer. The offender must be notified of the instigation of a review and must be kept fully informed throughout the process of the review.
When the chief executive or delegate has made a decision, the offender must be notified of the decision.
A child may be removed from an offender's care in a secure corrective services facility if-
In deciding what is in the child's best interests, consideration must be given to the child's age, sex, mental and physical health, and anything else considered relevant.
If practicable, a plan must be prepared for the separation of the offender and child-
The plan must consider-
In the event a female offender is unable to care for her child, for example due to illness, the general manager of the corrective services facility would ensure the child's care and safety needs are met while simultaneously taking steps to find a suitable alternative placement for the child.
Refer CSA s. 31; Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)