Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women

Glossary of terms

Adoption

TermDetails
Adoption order Adoption order means an order made under the Adoption Act 2009 (PDF) by which the adoptive parents become the legal parents of the child.
Adoptive father/mother A person who has adopted a child under the Adoption Act 2009 (PDF).
Adopted person A person who has been adopted by someone else under the Adoption Act 2009 (PDF).
Birth father/mother A person who was a parent of an adopted person before the adoption including:
  • a biological parent of the adopted person
  • a person who was a parent of an adopted person under a previous adoption.
Hague adoption A Hague adoption means an adoption order made whereby a Queensland couple adopt a child from an overseas country which has ratified or acceded to the Hague Convention.
Hague Convention Hague convention means the Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, made at the Hague on 29 May 1993. The Convention came into effect in Australia on 1 December 1998.
Identifying information Identifying information is information that identifies a party to an adoption that can be given, upon application, to an adopted person or a birth parent (or relative of an adopted person or birth parent in some circumstances) under Part 11 of the Adoption Act 2009.
Intercountry adoption

Intercountry adoption means an adoption of a child under arrangements, between the chief executive, the department and the competent authority for another country, made while the child is a resident in the other country that is effected under the Adoption Act 2009:

  • after the child is brought to Queensland for the purpose of the adoption; or
  • under a law of the other country, after which the child is brought to Queensland.
Intercountry adoption application An intercountry adoption application means an expression of interest made by a couple to be assessed for their suitability to be adoptive parents for a child from overseas.
Intercountry adoption order An intercountry adoption order means an adoption order made in relation to a child from an overseas country that is effected under the Adoption Act 2009.
Non-Hague adoption A non-Hague adoption means an adoption order made whereby a Queensland couple adopt a child from an overseas country which has not ratified or acceded to the Hague Convention.
Non-identifying information Non-identifying information is information that does not identify a party to an adoption that can be disclosed, unless it would be an unreasonable breach of privacy to an adopted person, adoptive parent or a birth parent under section 314(6) of the Adoption Act 2009.
Queensland adoption application A Queensland adoption application is an expression of interest made by a couple to be assessed for their suitability to be adoptive parents for a child from Queensland, other than a person's step-child.
Queensland adoption order A Queensland adoption order is an adoption order made in relation to a child in Queensland, other than a person's step-child, that is effected under the Adoption Act 2009.
Relative of an adopted person/birth parent A relative of an adopted person or a birth parent is an adopted person's, or birth parent's, spouse, parent, sibling or child.
Special needs children's adoption application A special needs children's adoption application is an application lodged by a person to be assessed for suitability to adopt a child with specific needs made under the repealed Adoption of Children Act 1964 (Act repealed 1 February 2010).
Step-parent adoption application A step-parent adoption application is an application by a person to have his or her suitability to adopt his or her step-child assessed.
A step-parent adoption order Step-parent adoption order is an adoption order made in favour of a child's step-child parent that is effected under the Adoption Act 2009.

Child protection system

TermDetails
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle Enshrined in the Child Protection Act 1999 the principle includes the five elements of prevention, partnership, placement, participation and connection. The placement hierarchy in Section 83 guides the department in making a decision about where an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child or young person should live if they are placed in care. The order of priority is:
  • a member of the child or young person's family group
  • a member of the child or young person's community or language group
  • another Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who is familiar with the child or young person's community or language group
  • another Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person.

Where a child or young person cannot be placed in line with the principle, the department must work with the child's family and community to identify a carer who lives close to their family, or their community or language group.

Approved carer A person who has been approved by the department to provide family-based care for children subject to departmental intervention. This includes an approved foster carer, an approved kinship carer or a provisionally approved carer.  
Assessment order A short-term order that is granted by either a magistrate or the court, under the Child Protection Act 1999 , to allow a range of actions to occur as part of an investigation and assessment and/or ensure the immediate safety of a child.
See also: Temporary assessment order and Court assessment order.
Care agreement A care agreement is an agreement between the department and a parent to place their child or young person in a care placement for a short period of time.
Case plan A written plan for meeting a child's care and protection needs that:
  • is developed in a participative process between the department, the child, their family and other people significant to the child and family
  • records the goal and outcomes of ongoing intervention and identifies the agreed tasks that will occur to meet the goal and outcomes.
Chief Executive Unless otherwise specified, refers to the Director-General, Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women.
Child concern reports Reports that are recorded when information relating to a child protection concern does not reach the legislative threshold for a notification. A child safety officer may respond to a child concern report by providing information and advice, making a referral to an appropriate agency, or providing information to the police or another state authority.
Child health passport Records a child’s or young person’s health information and provides carers with the information they need to meet the child’s day-to-day health needs. A child health passport is required for a child in care subject to:
  • a child protection care agreement that has been extended beyond 30 days
  • a CAO that has been extended beyond 30 days
  • an interim order granting custody to the chief executive
  • a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive.
Child placement concern report A report that is recorded when there has been inadequate or poor quality care of a child in out-of-home care that fails to meet the Standards of Care detailed in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 122, but does not meet the threshold for a notification.
Child protection order An order made by the Childrens Court under the Child Protection Act 1999, when a child is considered in need of protection.
Court Assessment Order (CAO) Authorises actions during the investigation and assessment process when consent cannot be obtained because parents have refused or are unable to consent to the process.
CAOs can provide the authority to take a child into the custody of the chief executive, however, guardianship remains with the child's parents.
CAOs are granted for up to four weeks, however, the Child Protection Act 1999 allows for one extension of not more than four weeks.
Cultural support plan A written document that is a key part of the case planning process for every child from another culture, and in particular, for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child. The cultural support plan aims to keep children connected to their culture, families and communities regardless of their placement by:
  • helping to nurture and support the child to strengthen their cultural identity and connections
  • assisting with the child’s understanding of their community networks and cultural heritage
  • helping to increase the child’s knowledge and understanding of their place in their family, kinship and community structure
  • helping ensure that important cultural and family information is maintained.
Custody An order can grant custody to the chief executive or to a relative of the child.
In accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, a person who has or is granted custody of a child has the right and responsibility to attend to day-to-day matters only, including:
  • a child's daily care
  • making decisions about a child's daily care.
Directive order An order made under the Child Protection Act 1999 directing a parent:
  • to do or refrain from doing something directly related to the child's protection
  • not to have contact (direct or indirect) with the child, or to only have contact when a stated person or a person of a stated category is present.
Distinct children The number of individual children who are the subject of specified events during the period. Children are counted once only, regardless of the number of events they may experience within a period.
Emotional harm When the child's social, emotional, cognitive, or intellectual development is impaired or seriously threatened as a direct result of persistent parental behaviour/attitude toward the child. This includes significant emotional deprivation due to persistent coldness or rejection and hostility. Harm to the child may be cumulative and may be evidenced by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, self-harming behaviour, or aggressive behaviour towards others.
Finalised investigation and assessment An investigation is classified as finalised where it is completed and an assessment outcome recorded and approved. Outcomes include:
  • Substantiated
  • Unsubstantiated
  • Other - From 2015-16 this category has been renamed (previously named "no investigation and assessment outcome") to avoid misinterpretation.
  • No subject child
Finalised order A final order made by the court under the Child Protection Act 1999.
Foster carer A person approved by the department to provide care in their own home for children and young people who have experienced harm or are at risk of harm. This can be for short or long periods of time.
Guardianship A Child Protection Order can grant guardianship of the child to a relative of the child, another person, or the chief executive.
In accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, a person who has or is granted guardianship of a child has the powers, rights and responsibilities to attend to:
  • a child's daily care
  • making decisions that relate to day-to-day matters concerning the child's daily care
  • making decisions about the long-term care, welfare and development of the child in the same way a person has parental responsibility under the Family Law Act 1975.
Harm Any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child's physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing. Harm can be caused by physical, psychological or emotional abuse or neglect, or sexual abuse or exploitation. Harm can be caused by a single act, omission or circumstance; or a series or combination of acts, omissions or circumstances.
Harm report A harm report will be recorded for any child where the information gathered indicates that:
  • a child in care has experienced harm or it is suspected that they have experienced harm, and
  • the harm or suspected harm may have involved the actions or inactions of a carer, adult household member or the staff member of a care service, including failure to protect a child.
Harm report substantiation The outcome of a harm report investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has experienced harm and/or there is unacceptable risk of future harm.

Independent Entity

(Independent person)

A person chosen by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, young person, parent or their family to help the child or young person and their family's meaningful participation in decision making. While all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have a right to an Independent Entity, some families may chose not to have such a person facilitate their participation in the decision making process.
Intake Intake is the first phase of the child protection continuum, and is initiated when information or an allegation is received from a notifier about harm or risk of harm to a child, or when a request for departmental assistance is made.
Interim order On the adjournment of a proceeding for a court assessment or child protection order the Childrens Court has the power to make an interim order.
  • An interim order made on adjournment of a court assessment order may grant temporary custody to the chief executive, or the child's parents will retain custody.
  • An interim child protection order made on adjournment of a child protection order will grant custody to a family member or the chief executive.
Intervention with parental agreement (IPA) Following an assessment that a child is in need of protection and the parents are able and willing to work actively with Child Safety Services, an IPA case may be opened by the department.
Investigation and assessment (I&A) The process of investigating a notification of alleged harm or risk of harm. It involves an investigation of the alleged harm and an assessment of the child's protective and safety needs.
The outcome of an I&A may be either:
  • Substantiated
  • Unsubstantiated
  • Other - From 2015-16 this category has been renamed (previously named "no investigation and assessment outcome") to avoid misinterpretation.
  • No Subject Child - Where it is determined the child does not exist or is not a member of the household being investigated, and the case is closed.

NOTE: From September 2016 reporting, a new category 'No Subject Child' is being reported on. Prior to September 2016 reporting on this category was in 'Other'.

Investigation not yet finalised A notification where the investigation was still in progress, the investigation was completed but the outcome was not yet recorded on the central system, or the investigation was completed and entered on the central system but yet to be approved.
Kinship carer A person who is related to the child or a member of the child's community who is considered family or a close friend, who has been approved by the department to provide family-based care for the child. Kinship carers are approved for a specific child.
Living away from home The provision of care outside the home to children who are in need of protection or who require a safe placement while their protection and safety needs are assessed. Living away from home refers to children in care (foster care, approved kinship care, provisionally approved care and residential care services) and other locations such as hospitals, Queensland youth detention centres, independent living as at midnight on the reference day.
Long-term guardianship An order made under the Child Protection Act 1999 can grant long-term guardianship of the child to a suitable family member (other than a parent of the child), another suitable person nominated by the chief executive, or to the chief executive until the child’s 18th birthday.
Mandatory notifiers Under legislation there are groups of people and professionals who are required to report child protection concerns. These include:
  • medical practitioners and registered nurses
  • approved teachers
  • authorised officers or employees of the department
  • police officers with child protection responsibilities
  • a person performing a child advocate function under the Public Guardian Act 2014
  • early childhood education and care professionals, from 1 July 2017
  • employees of licensed residential facilities with respect to harm involving children in residential care.
Neglect When a child's basic needs of life are unmet by their parent to such an extent that a child's health and development are affected, causing harm, or likely to cause unacceptable risk of significant harm to a child.
Non-custodial order A child protection order where custody and guardianship of children remain with the parents. Non-custodial orders may take the form of a directive order or a supervision order.
No subject child (investigaiton and assessment) From September 2016 reporting period, this category includes investigations where it is determined the child does not exist or was found not to be a member of the household being investigated.
Notification Recorded by the department when information received indicates significant harm or risk of significant harm to a child, and a reasonable suspicion the child is in need of protection.
Ongoing intervention Ongoing intervention by the department is required when it has been determined that a child is in need of protection.
  • When ongoing intervention is required, a case plan is developed in conjunction with the child and their family.
  • Our department may intervene through the use of a child protection order, or may work with parental agreement (IPA).
  • The child may also be removed from their home to ensure their safety.
Other (investigation and assessment outcome)  A full investigation for a child was not possible for a variety of valid reasons, and the case was closed. For example, this may occur in circumstances where:
    • the family has relocated to another state or overseas, or
    • insufficient information is provided and the family cannot be located, despite all reasonable steps having been undertaken to identify the family and their location

 NOTE: From 2015-16, this category has been renamed (previously named “no investigation and assessment outcome”) to avoid misinterpretation.

Out-of-home care The provision of care outside the family home to children who are in need of protection or who require a safe placement while their protection and safety needs are assessed. In accordance with nationally agreed upon reporting definitions, data for out-of-home care refers to children placed with kin, other home-based carers or residential care services.
Physical harm When a child has suffered, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering, serious physical trauma or injury of a non-accidental nature, due to the abusive actions of their parent(s).
Provisionally approved carer A person who has been approved by the department to care for a particular child for a defined period of time. A provisionally approved carer must have made an application to be either an approved foster or kinship carer.
Protective order Includes children subject to an order (whether it is a court assessment order or child protection order). This data is provided for national reporting to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in accordance with nationally agreed reporting definitions.
Residential care services Non-family-based accommodation and support services funded by the department to provide placement and support for children. These residential services provide daily care and support for children from a house parent or rostered residential care workers model.
Resubstantiation Resubstantiation is measured by counting the number of children subject to a substantiation within a financial year who were subsequently the subject of a further substantiation within the following three or 12 months of the initial substantiation.
Section 99 of the Child Protection Act 1999 In circumstances where a child is subject to an order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive or custody to a member of the child’s family, section 99 of the Child Protection Act allows for the continuation of the order beyond its stated expiry date (provided the new application was made prior to the end of the existing order). The original order will continue until the application is decided (unless the Court orders an earlier end to the order).
Sexual abuse Any sexual activity or behaviour that is imposed on a child and results in physical or emotional harm. This includes the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, sexually explicit conduct or behaviour for the sexual gratification or profit of the person responsible.
It also includes circumstances where there is unacceptable risk that the child may be sexually abused.
Short-term custody An order made under the Child Protection Act 1999 granting custody rights and responsibilities to a kinship carer or to the chief executive (for a period of up to two years). Guardianship rights and responsibilities in relation to the child remain with the child's parents for the duration of the custody order.
Short-term guardianship An order made under the Child Protection Act 1999 granting guardianship rights and responsibilities to the chief executive in relation to the child (for a period of up to two years), including matters associated with the child's daily care. .
Standards of Care Review A standard of care review will be conducted in relation to a child in out-of-home care and placed with a carer or care service when:
  • concerns indicate that the care provided to the child may not have met the standards of care
  • the specific standards requiring review can be identified and there is no information that the child has experienced harm
  • there is no information that the child has experienced harm or is suspected to have experienced harm.
  • a review is required to determine if the standards are being met, and where not met, what actions are required to meet the standards and improve the level of care provided to the child.
Substantiated - child in need of protection The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered significant harm and/or there is unacceptable risk of significant harm and there is no parent able and willing to protect the child.
Substantiated — child not in need of protection The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered significant harm, but there is no unacceptable risk of significant harm as the child has a parent able and willing to protect them.
Supervision order A child protection order that requires the chief executive to supervise the child's protection in relation to the matters stated in the order.
Temporary Assessment Order (TAO) Authorises actions during the investigation and assessment process when parental consent cannot be obtained.
TAOs can provide the authority to take a child into the custody of the chief executive, however, guardianship remains with the child's parents.
TAOs can be granted for three business days or less, however, they can be extended until the end of the next business day.
Temporary Custody Order (TCO) A Temporary Custody Order (TCO) can be used to ensure the immediate safety of a child while a decision is made about the most appropriate action to meet the child’s ongoing protection (for example, applying for a child protection order).
TCOs may be applied for when a child is currently assessed as being in need of protection and is at unacceptable risk of immediate harm.
TCOs can be granted by a Children’s Court for three business days or less, however they can be extended until the end of the next business day if the magistrate is satisfied that the department intends to apply for a child protection order.
Transition to adulthood planning Transition to adulthood is the planning process that occurs as part of the ongoing case work and review process with a young person from the year they turn 15. This planning provides an opportunity for young people to identify their future goals and needs, and to work towards these goals with the support of Child Safety staff and significant people within the young person’s community. As of October 2018, the chief executive is responsible for supporting a young person who has been in care until the age of 25.
Transition Order A transition order can be made under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 65A, which continues the existing child protection order for a period of up to 28 days, to allow the child’s gradual transition from a care placement to their parents’ full-time care. A transition order cannot be extended. A transition order can be made when the court:
  • revokes a child protection order
  • decides an appeal against the making of the order in favour of a person other than the chief executive
  • refuses to extend the order or grant a further order before the order ends.
Unsubstantiated The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that there is no evidence that the child has experienced significant harm and there is no unacceptable risk of significant harm.

Family support system

TermDetails
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing services Provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait community-controlled organisations to provide support and responses that are culturally safe and responsive, reflect community and family strengths, local needs and aspirations, leadership and cultural knowledge to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families social, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing, and build their capacity to safely care for and protect their children.
Enquirer Anyone who contacts a Family and Child Connect service for advice and information, including parents, grandparents, other family members, young people, community members and professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers and police. Enquirers can call 13FAMILY (13 34 64) or use the on-line referral form to contact a Family and Child Connect.
Family and Child Connect A free service provided by community organisations that families, community members and professionals can access to get information, advice and/or referral to support services so that families experiencing vulnerability receive the support they need as early as possible and without the involvement of the statutory child protection system.
Intensive family support A consent-based program provided by community organisations that responds to families experiencing vulnerability with children and young people (unborn to under 18 years) who are at high risk of involvement in the statutory child protection system. Families may refer themselves or be referred to services directly from Child Safety, other government agencies and non-government organisations with the consent of the family, or from prescribed entities and the department’s Regional Intake Services without the families’ prior knowledge or consent
Mandatory reporters Approved teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers with child protection responsibilities, a person performing a child advocate function under the Public Guardian Act 2014, early childhood education and care professionals, Child Safety employees and employees of licensed care services may refer a child or a family directly to a service provider, including an intensive family support service.
Multiple and complex needs Multiple needs or challenges that may be long-standing and entrenched, or a single issue that is so complex that it impacts on many levels of family functioning often over years and sometimes generations. These issues require intensive support to develop sustainable strategies and skills for families to either overcome or effectively manage these challenges into the future. May include, but are not limited to issues such as: housing instability; mental health; drug and alcohol misuse; domestic and family violence; parenting challenges; unemployment; and financial stress.
Prescribed entity Means each of the following entities:
  • the chief executive
  • an authorised officer
  • a licensee
  • the public guardian
  • the chief executive of a department that is mainly responsible for any of the following matters:
    • adult corrective services
    • community services
    • disability services
    • education
    • housing services
    • public health
  • the chief executive officer of the Mater Misericordiae Health Services Brisbane Ltd (ACN 096 708 922)
  • a health service chief executive within the meaning of the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011
  • the police commissioner
  • the principal of a school that is accredited, or provisionally accredited, under the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001
  • the person in charge of a student hostel

the chief executive of another entity, that provides a service to children or families, prescribed under a regulation.

Referral from Family and Child Connect Occurs after the Family and Child Connect has engaged the family, assessed their needs and gained the family’s consent to be referred on for support.
Referral to intensive family support Families can self-refer.
Referrals must meet the following criteria:
  • there is a child or young person (unborn* to 18 years) and
  • the family has multiple and/or complex needs and
  • the family would benefit from access to intensive and specialist support services
  • without support the child, young person and family are at risk of entering or re-entering the statutory child protection system
  • the child is not currently in need of protection.

*Concerns about an unborn child cannot be referred without the pregnant woman’s consent.

Referral to secondary/targeted family support Families can self-refer.
Referrals must meet the following criteria:
  • there is a child or young person (unborn to 18 years)
  • the family would benefit from access to family support and/or a referral to a specialist support service
  • the child is not currently in need of protection

the family consents to the referral.

Secondary family support services Are aimed at averting crisis and/or the need for a tertiary response or in some cases supporting families to re-establish themselves following a tertiary or crisis intervention. These services, provided by community organisations, work collaboratively with families to provide needs assessment, case management, practical in-home support, individual and family counselling, and specialist services as required. This maximises the assistance to the family, as case management is provided with an integrated service system.
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