2. Investigation and assessment

Purpose

The investigation and assessment may be Child Safety's first face to face contact with a child who has been abused or neglected and who may need our intervention to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

As part of the investigation and assessment Child Safety will:

  • determine if the child is safe
  • investigate allegations of significant harm and significant risk of harm
  • undertake a holistic assessment of the child and family within their usual home environment
  • determine if the child is in need of protection
  • decide whether there are supports that Child Safety or other agencies can provide to the child and family.

Key steps

  1. Plan the investigation and assessment
  2. Engage the family and gather information
  3. Assess the notified concerns and the child's need for protection
  4. Finalise the investigation and assessment

What ifs - responding to specific investigation and assessment matters

Standards

  1. All investigation and assessments commenced within the response timeframe of the notification.
  2. Staff safety is prioritised in planning and conducting the investigation and assessment.
  3. The five elements of the Child Placement Principle are applied when an investigation and assessment is conducted in relation to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.
  4. All subject children are sighted and, where age and developmentally appropriate, interviewed during the investigation and assessment, except where 'contact with other professional' is used.
  5. Reasonable attempts are made to interview all alleged persons responsible during the investigation and assessment  to provide an opportunity to them to respond to allegations or concerns, where this does not interfere with criminal proceedings.
  6. A holistic assessment of the child’s need for protection is conducted, when significant harm or risk of significant harm is substantiated.
  7. All outcomes recorded clearly identify any unacceptable risk of future harm and a rationale for the assessment of the parents ability and willingness to protect the child.
  8. At least one parent is informed of the allegations and outcome of the investigation and assessment.
  9. Any suspected criminal offence in relation to alleged significant harm to a child is immediately reported to the QPS.

Practice skills (Key areas for reflection)

  • Have I given appropriate consideration to the child protection history of the child and family?
  • Have I considered and integrated all of the information gathered when making decisions?
  • What theories and research am I drawing on as part of my assessment?
  • Have I actively engaged with the child and family in a way that allows their meaningful participation in the process?
  • Have I sought the family’s consent to share their information whenever safe, possible and practical?
  • Have I appropriately applied the five elements of the Child Placement Principle in my work with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child and their family?
  • Have I appropriately applied the framework for practice?
  • How have my personal values and practice style impacted on my assessment and decision-making?
  • Was my use of power in conducting the investigation and assessment appropriate?
  • Is my assessment holistic, has it considered cumulative harm and is it focused on the child's safety, belonging and wellbeing?
  • Have I considered how the child’s or family’s strengths can be utilised to promote the protection of the child?
  • Have I considered what supports can be provided to this child and family and made referrals as appropriate?
  • Have I upheld the principles of procedural fairness and provided opportunity for a fair hearing to all alleged person/s responsible before a decision is made?

Authority