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Procedure Properties

Title: Management of Women and Children
Version: 01
Category: Custodial Operations - Standard Operating Procedure
Implement Date: 07 May 2013
Application: Custodial Operations
Availability: Public

Authority

Appendices and Forms

Associated Standard Operating Procedures

Operational Instructions

  • Operational Instruction - Expressing and Storage of Breastmilk

Intra-Agency Procedures

Offender Health Services Procedures

  • Sick children in Corrective Services facilities

Policies

  • Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)
  • Women's Framework

Ownership Statewide Operations

Review

Custodial Operations Standard Operating Procedure - Management of Women and Children


Performance Standard
Authority
1.Procedural Requirements
2.Definitions
3.Pregnant prisoners
4.Birth plan
5.Application for accommodation of a child in a corrective services facility
6.Eligibility criteria
7.Assessment process for a child to be accommodated in a corrective services facility
8.Approval of an application for a child to be accommodated in a corrective services facility
8.1Child care plans
8.2Parental support unit
8.3Duty of care
9.Non -approval of a child to be accommodated in a corrective services facility
10.Care of a child
10.1Financial responsibility for a child
10.2Safety and well-being of a child
11.Management of children's property
12.Health services
12.1Medicare cards
12.2Sick children
12.3Escorting mother and child to medical treatment
12.4Management of children's medication
12.5Approved over the counter medications
12.6Pharmacy purchases
13.Death of a child in custody
14.Expressing and storage of breastmilk
15.Temporary absence of a child
16.Searching
17.Breach of discipline
18.Escort requirements
19.Removing a child from a corrective services facility
19.1Unavailability of external carer
20.Review of accommodation of a child in a corrective services facility
21.Release planning for prisoners with children accommodated in custody

Performance Standard

A process is in place that provides opportunities for women prisoners to take responsibility for their daily lives, rebuild their future and the future of their families and children within a safe and secure environment. This is in accordance with -

Safety & Security - Our Principles

Refer - Safety and Security - Our Principles (in-confidence)

Chief Inspector Healthy Prisons 2007

Refer - Healthy Prisons Handbook

Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia

Refer- Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia Revised 2004

Authority

1. Procedural Requirements

The general manager of a facility that accommodates women prisoners must establish gender focused processes for the effective management of women and children accommodated in the corrective services facility.

2. Definitions

For the purposes of this standard operating procedure the following definitions apply -

General manager's nominee includes -

  1. deputy general manager;
  2. correctional manager.

    PART A - MANAGEMENT OF WOMEN PRISONERS

Environments and services must be established that maximise the potential for women prisoners to positively rebuild and reconstruct their lives, during and after imprisonment.

On admission to a corrective services facility a prisoner must be questioned in relation to parental status. This also includes reference as to whether the prisoner may be pregnant. She should be informed if appropriate that she may apply on the prescribed form, for her child to be accommodated with her. If the application is successful, the prisoner will have primary responsibility for the child's care and safety. Refer Part B - section 4 of this standard operating procedure.

3. Pregnant prisoners

Prisoners who identify as pregnant at the point of reception will be referred to Health Services staff. Prisoners must be advised that being pregnant does not automatically mean that their baby will be accommodated in custody.

Health care for pregnant prisoners is provided by Queensland Health. Services available for prisoners within the facility may include regular visits by midwives and organisation of routine and specialist medical appointments at the local Queensland Health Hospital. Child Health may also visit mothers and babies following the birth of a baby. Refer appendix Pregnancy Plan.

Pregnant prisoners will be provided the opportunity to participate in hospital antenatal appointments and maternity needs.

The general manager or nominee must ensure that a birth plan has been developed to facilitate the prepared response to the needs of the prisoner at the point that labour commences. Refer section 4 of this standard operating procedure and appendix Birth Plan.

The general manager of the facility must establish a process which ensures that all Governmental requirements and entitlements are completed by the prisoner, including -

  1. the Family Support Maternity Bonus Application;
  2. Application for Birth Registration;
  3. updating of Medicare records ;and
  4. any other relevant documentation.

Any medical elective procedure the mother might wish to pursue (e.g. circumcision) is the responsibility of the mother who must meet all financial costs including security related costs.

Where a newborn baby is not remaining with the mother in custody and the mother is breastfeeding the baby, the general manager or nominee will facilitate the organisation of individual arrangements for expressing, storage and hand-out of the breastmilk to an approved carer. Refer section 13 of this standard operating procedure.

4. Birth plan

The general manager or nominee must ensure that a birth plan is developed for a pregnant prisoner. The original copy of the birth plan is to be placed on the Offender File and a scanned copy attached to IOMS. Refer appendix Birth Plan.

PART B - MANAGEMENT AND ACCOMMODATION OF CHILDREN

A child may only be accommodated with a prisoner at the Brisbane Women's, Townsville Women's or Helana Jones Correctional Centres. The General Manager of the facility must ensure a parental support unit is established to support prisoner primary care givers to maintain or establish bonds and relationships with their children, refer section 8.2 of this standard operating procedure.

Refer CSA ss. 29-32; Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence).

For a child placement in a high security facility, the prisoner must be assessed as suitable for accommodation in a residential environment.

A prisoner accommodated at Helena Jones Centre may apply for a child who is eligible to start primary school to be accommodated with her 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 and Disability Services.

Where practicable, facilities and services should be of a best practice and /or community standards. Where practicable, environments should be “normalised” stimulating and allow for interaction with other children.

5. Application for accommodation of a child in a corrective services facility

A prisoner should be informed if appropriate that she may apply on the prescribed form, for her child to be accommodated with her. If a prisoner wishes to have her child accommodated with her, she must complete and submit administrative forms - Application for Accommodation of a Child in a Corrective Services facility; Options for Placement of a Child - Internal; and Options for Placement of a Child - External.

The General Manager of the facility must nominate an assessing officer who must interview the prisoner and provide relevant information on administrative form - Assessment for Accommodation of a Child in a Corrective Services Facility. All applications and subsequent assessments to have a child accommodated in a corrective services facility need to be considered by a multidisciplinary panel - the Accommodation of Children Panel.

Prisoners applying to have their child accommodated with them, 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 if her child is approved to be accommodated with her.

Refer Corrective Services Act 2006 (CSA) s. 29

6. Eligibility criteria

A child may only be approved to be accommodated with a prisoner where-

  1. the chief executive decides there is suitable accommodation in the facility for the child; and
  2. either -

    1. the child is not eligible to start primary school; or
    2. each of the following apply -

A. the child is eligible to start primary school;

B. the prisoner is in a community corrections centre;

C. the application is only for periods during school holidays or on weekends; and

  • the child is immunised in accordance with the recommendations of the department in which the Health Act 1937 is administered; and
  • the child is not subject to a court order requiring the child to live with someone else;and
  • for a child in care-the child protection chief executive has consented to the child being accommodated with the prisoner; and
  • the chief executive is satisfied it is in the child's best interests.Refer CSA s. 30(1)

    7. Assessment process for a child to be accommodated in a corrective services facility

    Once the assessing officer has completed administrative form - Assessment for Accommodation of a Child in a Corrective Services Facility, the Accommodation of Children Panel must be convened. If the assessing officer considers it is in the interest of the child to be urgently accommodated with the prisoner, the Accommodation of Children Panel must be convened as soon as practicable. The composition of the Accommodation of Children Panel should consist of -
    1. assessing officer;
    2. correctional manager
    3. correctional supervisor;
    4. intelligence officer;
    5. psychologist; and
    6. cultural liaison officer (where relevant).

    In consideration of whether the child should be accommodated in a corrective services facility, the best interests of the child is the primary consideration. This takes into consideration the child's best alternative long term living arrangements, regardless of the mother's wishes and capacity to care for the child. Contemporary considerations of the best interests of the child include parental capacity, assessed as -

    1. basic care capability;
    2. ensuring safety capability;
    3. emotional capability; and
    4. stability.

    In deciding what is in the child's best interests, the Accommodation of Children Panel must consider all relevant factors, including -

    1. the child's -

      1. age and sex; and
      2. cultural background; and
      3. mental and physical health;

    2. the emotional ties between the child and his or her parents;
    3. the child's established living pattern, including, for example, the pattern of the child's home, school, community and religious life;
    4. if the chief executive is satisfied the child is able to express a view, the child's wishes.

    Refer CSA s. 30(2)

    8. Approval of an application for a child to be accommodated in a corrective services facility

    The chief executive or authorised delegate may grant an application to have a child accommodated with a prisoner in a corrective services facility after reviewing the completed form refer - Assessment for Accommodation of a Child in a Corrective Services Facility, and determining that the child meets the eligibility criteria (outlined in section 6 of this standard operating procedure) and the placement is in the best interest of the child after considering the child's:

    1. age;
    2. sex;
    3. mental and physical health;
    4. emotional tie with his or her parents;
    5. established living pattern, including for example, the pattern of the child's home, school, community and religious life; and
    6. wishes (if the chief executive is satisfied the child is able to express a view)

    refer - CSA s. 30; Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence).

    8.1 Child care plans

    Where a prisoner is approved to have a child reside in the corrective services facility, a Child Care Plan must be developed by a correctional counsellor, or staff member nominated by the general manager of the facility, prior to the child entering the facility. Refer appendix - Child Care Plan.

    The Plan must include -

    1. any restrictions on contact with other prisoners;
    2. any special needs of the child (e.g. health issues);
    3. financial responsibilities of the mother;
    4. mothers obligations to participate in any programs or counselling to develop her parenting skills, including, but not limited to Playgroup;
    5. any restrictions on movement of the mother within the facility;
    6. any alternate carers (within the facility and external) who must be assessed by Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services;
    7. a schedule of visits for any parent/guardian in the community;
    8. any childcare arrangements required for the mother to attend education/vocational or programmatic activities;
    9. the view of Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services as to the long term placement of the child and any transitional arrangements needed (eg. access and overnight stays with proposed alternate carers in the community if available);
    10. any health issues requiring treatment outside the facility; and
    11. consideration for any cultural or religious needs

    The Child Care Plan must be reviewed within two weeks of the child's initial placement in a corrective services facility. Further reviews of the Child Care Plan must occur at a minimum of every three (3) months. A copy of the Child Care Plan is to be scanned and attached to IOMS.

    If the prisoner fails to adhere to the requirements of the Child Care Plan and has failed to engage with appropriate encouragement, the approval of the child's accommodation in a corrective services facility must be reviewed.

    At Helena Jones Centre, prisoners must have a copy of their Child Care Plan with the applicable rules integrated into the Plan.

    8.2 Parental support unit

    A parental support unit is specially designed for the purpose of accommodating children. The rules of a parental support unit must be displayed within the unit.

    A correctional counsellor or officer nominated by the general manager of the facility will provide advice, support and guidance for prisoners accommodated with their child in a parental support unit.

    Parental support units are built-for-purpose child accommodation areas, and mothers are responsible for ensuring the ongoing use and good order of child-safe infrastructure and products.

    8.3 Duty of care

    While a prisoner is permitted to have her child reside with her, she is expected to assume full responsibility for the child's care and safety while residing in a corrective services facility. Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) will continue to owe a duty of care to the child. This means that QCS will take all reasonable steps to minimise all foreseeable risks of harm that might occur to a child residing in, or visiting, a facility.

    9. Non -approval of a child to be accommodated in a corrective services facility

    In the event an application is not approved, the prisoner is to be informed in writing of the reasons for the decision.

    In order to ensure the connection between the mother and child is maintained, the prisoner is to be provided with information regarding the process for applying for Playgroup, refer - administrative form - Supported Playgroup Application and encouraged to attend visits and engage in facility based activities designed to maintain family connections.

    10. Care of a child

    10.1 Financial responsibility for a child

    The prisoner is responsible for costs associated with the care of a child accommodated with her, for example, nappies, baby goods and baby formula, but not general food or drink.

    Any Australian Government payment received by the prisoner because she is the child's primary caregiver must be made to the prisoner'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 prisoner 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.

    10.2 Safety and well-being of a child

    Refer procedure - Child Safety, section 4 Notifications to Child Safety Services; appendix Clinical risk factors and indicators for sexual abuse (in-confidence), Child Abuse, Physical Abuse and Emotional Abuse (in-confidence) and administrative form - Report of a Reasonable Suspicion of Child Abuse and/or Neglect.

    11. Management of children's property

    The chief executive may approve the amount of property which can be held by a prisoner who has a child in custody. Refer Corrective Services Regulations 2006, s. 45(2)(a) and appendix - Authorised Property - Child.

    Property no longer required by the child must be handed out of the facility. Refer standard operating procedure - Property of Prisoners.

    12. Health services

    Queensland Health provides primary health care to prisoners who are incarcerated. These services are structured to care for adult offenders, that is, prisoners over the age of 17 years. Refer Youth Justice Act 1992, s. 6 and Schedule 4 Child.

    Queensland Health do not provide health care to children accommodated in corrective services facilities with their mothers. However 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.

    12.1 Medicare cards

    Immediately upon reception it must be established that a child has a standard Medicare card or is included on the mothers Medicare card. For a child born to a female prisoner a Medicare card application must be completed for the child. The Medicare card/s must be stored in the prisoner's property and accessed as required.

    12.2 Sick children

    Queensland Health will treat a child only in relation to an emergency situation. Refer Offender Health Services procedure - Sick Children in Queensland Corrective Services Facilities - Care and Support (in-confidence).

    If a child has a minor illness and is able to be managed successfully by the mother, this should be allowed to continue. Mothers of children in custody are able to administer approved over-the-counter or prescribed medication (e.g. antibiotics) to their unwell children, in situations where the illness is not deemed to be acute in nature.

    If the child is unable to be managed by his/her mother, arrangements must be made to have the child's condition assessed, either by a visiting medical officer or by taking the child to a local medical officer and a recommendation made to the chief executive or authorised delegate relating to the level of care required for the child (e.g. chicken pox can be managed in the community, however a dehydrated baby will require transfer by ambulance to hospital). Where a sick child's care may be better managed in the community, and community care is available for the child, the chief executive or authorised delegate must consider removal of the child from a corrective services facility. Refer CSA s. 31; Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence).

    12.3 Escorting mother and child to medical treatment

    Staff will escort children and their mother to a relevant medical treatment centre to be seen by a medical practitioner when Queensland Health staff indicate this to be necessary and outside of the parameters of Queensland Health service delivery to children, refer Queensland Health procedure - Sick Children in Queensland Corrective Services Facilities - Care and Support (in-confidence).

    12.4 Management of children's medication

    The general manager of a facility must establish a process where mothers of children in custody are able to administer approved over-the-counter or prescribed medication (e.g. antibiotics) to their unwell children, in situations where the illness is not deemed to be acute in nature. This must include -

    1. medication is to be paid for by the mother, with QCS staff assisting her by procuring it;
    2. the medication is to be stored in a correctional supervisors office, and provided to the mother for administration to the child as required;
    3. a register of children's medication is maintained. Refer administrative form - Medication Register;
    4. the mother must return empty medication bottles to a corrective services officer who will dispose of the item appropriately and document this in the medication register.

    12.5 Approved over the counter medications

    The following are approved over the counter medications, recognising that the requirement for other medications must be preceded by the seeking of medical guidance for the child prior to the issue of medications -

    1. Panadol/nurofen;
    2. Bonjella;
    3. Wind drops; and
    4. Bepanthem.

    All medication must be strictly administered in accordance with labelling instructions.

    12.6 Pharmacy purchases

    The general manager of a facility must establish a process for the ordering, collection and payment of prescriptions at a pharmacy outlet in a timely manner.

    Medication and any measuring utensil will be stored in a correctional supervisors office and provided to the mother for administration to her child as required. Refer administrative form - Register of Medication Record of Medication Issued to a Mother for a Child.

    Staff will deliver prescriptions to be filled at an appropriate chemist outlet (on account or with cash from Petty Cash) and collect as soon as practicable.

    The value of the prescription will be debited from the prisoners Trust Account. A receipt for the medication must be delivered to the Prisoner Trust Accounts Clerk for reimbursement.

    13. Death of a child in custody

    Refer to standard operating procedure - Death in Custody.

    14. Expressing and storage of breastmilk

    A female prisoner who does not have her child accommodated with her but would like to continue breastfeeding her child, is required to purchase a breast pump in order to express milk. Refer appendix - Operational Instruction - Expressing and Storage of Breastmilk.

    15. Temporary absence of a child

    A prisoner with a child accommodated with her in a corrective services facility, may request that the general manager or nominee approve a child leave (from the centre) for social and educational purposes. The prisoner must nominate a minimum of two external carers 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. Refer administrative form - Temporary Leave Application.

    16. Searching

    A child may only be required to undergo either a general search or a scanning search before entering or returning to the corrective services facility after a visit or absence.

    A child accommodated with a female prisoner must not be submitted to a personal search or a search requiring the removal of clothing.

    Refer - CSA s. 32 and standard operating procedure - Search - Prisoners and Corrective Services Facilities.

    17. Breach of discipline

    If a prisoner 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 prisoner must not be used as a form of discipline and any loss of privileges by the prisoner must not have any unintended result for the child.

    Child residency should not be used as a part of the hierarchy of privileges and sanctions within the facility to manage the behaviour of the mother. However, continued misconduct of the mother may indicate a need to re-assess the accommodation of the child by the Accommodation of Children Panel.

    Refer - CSA s. 31

    18. Escort requirements

    A prisoner 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 in the event of an emergency. If the child has a scheduled medical appointment, this will be conducted by the external carer under a temporary absence of a child. Refer administrative form - Temporary Leave Application and standard operating procedure - Escort of Prisoners (in-confidence).

    19. Removing a child from a corrective services facility

    Where the mother's sentence extends beyond her child attaining four (4) years six months, the general manager or nominee must as part of the initial development of a Child Care Plan develop and implement a Separation Plan which details a process for the gradual re- integration of the child to the community.

    The Separation Plan must include -

    1. an appropriate transition program for the prisoner and child;
    2. the possibility of leave of absence for the prisoner to establish the child with the new primary caregiver and to maintain the relationship; and
    3. arrangements for extended external contacts for the child with the new primary caregiver and significant others to encourage the development and the maintenance of external relationships.

    The chief executive or authorised delegate may remove a child being accommodated

    with a prisoner in a corrective services facility if any of the following apply -

    1. a court orders that the child live with another person;
    2. the chief executive is satisfied it is in the child's best interests;
    3. the prisoner with whom the child is accommodated requests the removal;
    4. the child is not a child mentioned in section 30(1)(b)(ii) of the CSA and becomes eligible to start primary school, refer section 6 of this standard operating procedure;
    5. the prisoner with whom the child is accommodated is transferred to another corrective services facility and the chief executive or authorised delegate decides the accommodation at the other corrective services facility is not suitable for the child; and
    6. the chief executive or authorised delegate is satisfied it is in the interests of the
      1. good order and management of the facility.

      In deciding what is in the child's best interests, the chief executive or authorised delegate must consider each of the following -

      1. the child's-

        1. age and sex; and
        2. mental and physical health; and

      2. anything else the chief executive or authorised delegate considers relevant.

      In the event a mother is unable to care for her child, for example due to illness, the general manager or nominee must ensure the child's care and safety needs are met while simultaneously taking steps to find a suitable alternative placement for the child.

      Where conditions for eligibility are no longer being met, or the mother has requested the child be removed, and it has been determined the child should no longer be accommodated in the facility, a separation plan must be developed. Refer appendix - Separation Plan. At the time the plan is being developed, a corrective services officer must notify the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services of this intention.

      Refer - CSA s. 31 and Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)

      19.1 Unavailability of external carer

      If the general manager or nominee is unable to contact an approved alternate carer and the child must leave the prison for any reason, the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services must be contacted to arrange for placement in the community.

      20. Review of accommodation of a child in a corrective services facility

      The chief executive or authorised 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 prisoner 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 authorised delegate has made a decision, the prisoner must be notified of the decision.

      21. Release planning for prisoners with children accommodated in custody

      For prisoners with a child accommodated in custody, who is due for release must have a release plan developed. Refer appendix- Release Plan. Release planning should commence six months prior to anticipated release. A correctional counsellor or officer nominated by the general manager of the facility should develop the release plan in conjunction with a Transitions Coordinator (where available).

      The Release Plan must address all relevant factors, including -

      1. if the child is to reside with the mother on release;
      2. accommodation for mother and child - separately or jointly depending on the circumstance;
      3. if the mother and child are to be separated, the child should have a program of overnight and extended day visits to the proposed carer in the community;
      4. income support for mother;
      5. employment/vocational, counselling;
      6. child care options (e.g. day care)
      7. linking mother with a Child Health nurse in the area that she will reside.

      Prior to the prisoner being released, the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services is to be notified. In the event the prisoner is to be subject to community based supervision, the release plan should be provided to the relevant Probation and Parole office prior to the prisoner being released.

      Endorsed by



      KERRITH MCDERMOTT

      Acting Deputy Commissioner, Statewide Operations

      Approved





      MARLENE MORISON
      Commissioner





      Version History

      07/05/13 Version 01