What ifs

1. What if an open investigation and assessment needs to be transferred?

An investigation and assessment will be transferred to the relevant CSSC when:

  • child protection concerns have been received and recorded by the RIS, CSAHSC or a CSSC in a different geographical area other than where the child and their family reside
  • a child and their family or carer relocate during the investigation and assessment, regardless of the reason.

Where a child lives across two households, transfer the investigation and assessment to the CSSC in the geographical area of the household where the significant harm or risk of significant harm is alleged to have occurred. When concerns exist across both households, record separate notifications and transfer the investigation and assessment events to the relevant CSSCs.

The transfer process will occur in a manner that prioritises the safety of the child and provides continuous and planned service delivery to the child and family.

When a notification has been received and recorded, the open investigation and assessment will be transferred to the pending allocation tray of the relevant CSSC within the following timeframes:

  • immediately -for a notification with a 24 hour response timeframe. In addition, telephone the CSSC senior team leader to inform them of the response required
  • within three days - for an investigation and assessment with a five day response
  • within five days - for an investigation and assessment with a ten day response.

For further information about intake procedures, refer to Chapter 1 Intake.

On receipt of the investigation and assessment event, the receiving CSSC will:

  • allocate the investigation and assessment
  • commence the investigation and assessment within the required timeframe
  • complete the investigation and assessment within the specified timeframe.

If a family leaves an area during an investigation and assessment, on an unplanned basis, the transferring CSSC retains case responsibility until the transfer process is completed. The transferring CSSC will:

  • attempt to locate the family
  • determine whether the investigation and assessment can be completed with the assistance of another CSSC, or, where the majority of the investigation and assessment tasks are still to be completed, transfer the investigation and assessment
  • determine the relevant CSSC, where a transfer is appropriate
  • immediately contact the senior team leader of the receiving CSSC to advise of the pending transfer and the tasks required to complete the investigation and assessment
  • ensure that all information gathered as part of the investigation and assessment by the transferring CSSC is electronically recorded in ICMS as soon as possible
  • reassign the investigation and assessment event in ICMS to the receiving CSSC, including outstanding 'event tasks' so that any partially completed forms are also transferred
  • promptly transfers any paper files to the receiving CSSC.

The receiving CSSC must:

  • accept responsibility for completing the investigation and assessment at the first point of contact by the originating CSSC
  • allocate the investigation and assessment immediately
  • ensure the subject children are sighted within the recorded response priority timeframe
  • ensure the subject children are sighted within one week, if the investigation and assessment has already commenced
  • complete a new safety assessment at first contact with the family
  • complete the investigation and assessment in accordance with relevant procedures.

It is the responsibility of CSSC managers to resolve any disagreement that may occur during the transfer process of investigation and assessment cases.

If the investigation and assessment is for a child or family who has moved to another jurisdiction, refer to Chapter 1, 1. What if the child protection concerns are about a child in another jurisdiction? and 14. What if assistance is required from another jurisdiction?

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Under the Child Protection Act 1999, sections 23-36, a TAO can be sought at any stage during an investigation and assessment, where a parent will not consent to actions considered essential for the completion of the investigation and assessment; there have been reasonable attempts made to obtain parental consent and the situation is urgent enough to warrant the actions by the CSSC for the next three days (as opposed to a CAO). The magistrate may decide the application for a TAO without notifying the child's parents of the application or hearing them on the application.

The definition of parent in relation to the use of a TAO, includes long-term guardians. Therefore, when considering a TAO for a child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, the long-term guardian has the same rights and obligations as a parent.

For more information about the provisions available under a TAO, refer to the practice resource Assessment orders (PDF, 27 KB).

OCFOS lawyers and senior advisors are authorised officers under the Child Protection Act, 1999, and may be the applicant for a TAO.

When CSSC staff have formed a view that an application for a TAO is necessary, they should immediately consult their OCFOS lawyer and seek their advice and agreement to proceed. This consultation should determine who will take responsibility for what tasks, including who will be the applicant for the matter.

Should there be disagreement between the OCFOS lawyer and the CSSC that cannot be resolved in a timely way, the matter should be escalated to the OCFOS senior legal officer if time permits.

Caution should be exercised in these circumstances as it will not be possible to proceed with a further application, such as an extension of a temporary assessment order or an application for a court assessment order, in the absence of agreement by OCFOS. Where OCFOS and the CSSC continue to hold divergent views, undertake an escalation process with support of the CSSC Manager and/or the Regional Director and Official Solicitor to attempt to resolve the issues and reduce the possible significant upheaval impact for the child and family.

Preparation and appearance

Where there is agreement to proceed with an application for a temporary assessment or temporary custody order, the OCFOS lawyer must settle the application and any supporting material and will liaise with the court or on call magistrate to have the matter heard. The OCFOS lawyer may also assist with drafting the application if required.

In most circumstances, the OCFOS lawyer will appear in court, or support the service centre staff to appear in person or by telephone during business hours.

The OCFOS lawyer will always seek confirmation in writing from the relevant CSO about whether the family have engaged a lawyer. If there is a lawyer involved, the OCFOS lawyer should attempt to contact them by telephone during business hours, clarify whether they represent the family and advise of the decision to make the application for a temporary assessment or custody order. If telephone contact is unsuccessful, or the application is being made after hours, an email should be forwarded to the lawyer. The OCFOS lawyer must advise the magistrate of the lawyer’s involvement.

To apply for a TAO:

  • complete a 'Form 1 - Application for a temporary assessment order' draft in ICMS. Alternatively, a Form 1 - word template document can be completed and a dummy Form 1 can be created in ICMS.
  • ensure the application articulates the nature of the child protection concerns (warranting immediate action), attempts made to get the consent of at least one of the parents (but preferably both) to the actions required and the rationale for seeking the specified provisions, for example, a medical examination or custody and what is to occur over the timeframe of the order
  • file the application via e-mail and make a time to appear before the magistrate, or if after hours, contact the magistrate to discuss the application for the TAO - where possible, create a draft Temporary Assessment Order (Form 3) and provide the Temporary Assessment Order (Form 3) for their consideration during the discussion. It is essential to double check all of the details in any draft order including the dates.

The application must advise the magistrate what actions were taken in relation to the child during any period of custody of the child under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 18. The magistrate must be satisfied that reasonable steps have been taken to obtain the consent of at least one of the child's parents to do the actions being sought under the order, or that it is not practicable to take steps to obtain the consent (Child Protection Act 1999, section 27(2)).

Note: The application cannot be made on the same grounds as a TAO application already considered or presented to another magistrate, where the TAO was refused. Also an application should not be made if there is an existing child protection order proceeding in a court. The appropriate action is to urgently list the matter in court before the magistrate dealing with the application and who knows the case.

When a TAO is granted by a magistrate:

  • finalise the 'Form 1 - Application for a temporary assessment order' in ICMS
  • record the order details in the 'Form 1 - Temporary assessment order outcome form' (TOF) in ICMS
  • obtain a copy of the Temporary Assessment Order (Form 3) from the magistrate provide a copy of the order to at least one of the child's parents
  • tell the child about the order
  • explain to the child and the parents the reasons for, and the effect of, taking the TAO
  • inform the parents about the right of appeal and because of the duration of the order, that if they wish to appeal, they must take immediate action to lodge the appeal
  • ensure that a child who has been placed in the custody of the chief executive, understands the reasons why they have been removed from the home and placed in out-of-home care.

When the child has a long-term guardian, make reasonable attempts to tell at least one of the parents about the reasons for and the effect of taking the TAO and the right of appeal, and serve them a copy of the order. If unable to advise the parents, document full details of these attempts (Child Protection Act, 1999, section 32).

Duration of the TAO

A TAO cannot remain in effect for longer than three business days, from midnight on the date it was decided, for example, a TAO decided on Tuesday will end on Friday. Public holidays are also not included in the three business days. It is essential that these considerations are reflected on the draft order provided to the magistrate when applying for the order. The provisions of a TAO cannot be exercised once the order has ended.

If the magistrate is satisfied that Child Safety intends to apply for a CAO or DCPL intend to apply for a child protection order, the TAO can be extended, once only, to the end of the next business day. This allows the application for another order to be lodged with the court during business hours. The application for another order must be lodged before the court closes on the day the TAO expires. Complete the application for the TAO extension in the same event in ICMS as the initial application.

Alternatively, a TAO which is granted for a period of either one or two days can be extended when a CAO or DCPL intend to apply for a child protection order is not being sought. In these circumstances the TAO can only be extended for a maximum or either two or one day, respectively (Child Protection Act 1999, section 34 (5).

Where an application for a CAO or CPO has been filed prior to the expiration of a TAO, under section 99 of the Child Protection Act 1999, a custody provision under this order will continue in force until the subsequent application is decided or the Childrens Court orders an earlier end.

Assessing safety prior to returning a child to the care of the parents

When a child has been placed in out-of-home care subject to a TAO granting custody to the Chief Executive, conduct an assessment of the child's safety prior to returning the child to the care of the parents. To assess the child's safety, consider all of the available information and complete the safety assessment in ICMS.

If the child is considered to be ‘unsafe’, determine the appropriate intervention that will ensure the child’s safety in consultation with the OCFOS lawyer and where applicable, OCFOS will lodge an application for a CAO or refer the matter to DCPL for a child protection order to be applied for, before the expiration of the TAO.

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Under the Child Protection Act 1999, sections 37-51, a CAO can be sought at any stage during an investigation and assessment, where a parent will not consent to actions considered essential for the completion of the investigation and assessment, or it is not practicable to obtain the parent's consent, and it has been determined that more than three business days will be necessary to complete the investigation and assessment.

This includes circumstances where initial contact has occurred, but consent for subsequent actions is refused by the parents.

The definition of parent in relation to the use of a CAO includes long-term guardians. Therefore, the long-term guardian has the same rights and obligations as a parent. Long-term guardians are listed as 'other respondent' in the application.

Given the greater opportunity to plan and consult in preparation for an application for a CAO, no application should be filed without consultation and ultimately agreement from the OCFOS lawyer and in most circumstances, the OCFOS lawyer should be the applicant for the order.

When considering a CAO application, the Childrens Court must consider the views of Child Safety when making decisions about contact between a child and their family for the time the child is in the custody of the chief executive. This includes:

  • whether any contact with the child should be supervised
  • the duration and frequency of the contact.

For more information about the provisions available under a CAO, refer to the practice resource Assessment orders (PDF, 27 KB).

To apply for a CAO:

  • complete the 'Form 5 - Application for a court assessment order' in ICMS. Alternatively, a Form 5 - word template document can be completed and a dummy Form 5 can be created in ICMS
  • clearly articulate the nature of the concerns, attempts made to get the consent of at least one of the parents to the actions required and the rationale for seeking specific provisions, for example, a medical examination or custody
  • complete the 'Independent entity' form on ICMS
  • lodge the application, including the above form, with the Childrens Court with the Childrens Court and seek a hearing date from the registry. Create a draft Court Assessment Order (Form 7) and provide this draft Court Assessment Order (Form 7) to the registry 
  • serve the documentation on the child's parents.

When the child has a long-term guardian, make reasonable attempts to also serve each of the parents and if they are represented, their lawyers. If it is not possible to serve the parents, document full details of these attempts (Child Protection Act 1999, section 41).

When a CAO is made:

  • complete in ICMS, either:
    • the 'Form 5 - Court outcome form (COF) - final order'
    • the 'Form 9 - Court outcome form (COF) - Adjournment order', if an adjournment is granted
  • obtain a copy of the Court Assessment Order (Form 7), from the Court
  • provide a copy of the order to the child and the child's parents
  • explain to the child and the parents the reasons for, and the effect of, taking the CAO
  • provide written notice to the child and the parents, explaining the terms and effect of the order, that the parties may appeal (within 28 days), and how to appeal
  • ensure that a child who has been placed in the custody of the Chief Executive, understands the reasons why they have been removed from the home and placed in care.

When the child has a long-term guardian, also provide a copy of the order to the parents and advise them of the terms and effect of the order, and the appeal rights. If it is not possible to advise the parents, document full details of these attempts (Child Protection Act, 1999, section 48).

It is essential that any CAO is linked to a TAO, for further information on recording a CAO application and outcomes in ICMS, refer to the resource ICMS - Child Protection - Linking court orders.

Duration of the CAO

A CAO cannot remain in effect for any longer than 28 days, from midnight on the date the application for the CAO was first brought before the Childrens Court. The provisions of a CAO cannot be exercised once the order has ended.

If an investigation and assessment cannot be completed in the 28 day period, a CAO can be extended, once only, to allow the investigation and assessment to be completed. The court can only extend a CAO if satisfied that it is in the child's best interests. The application for an extension of a CAO must be lodged and determined before the expiry of the original CAO, and can be for no more than 28 days. Complete the application for the CAO extension in the same event in ICMS as the initial application.

Before a decision is made to apply for an extension of a CAO, consultation with the OCFOS lawyer should occur and ultimately agreement from them for this course of action. Again, in most circumstances, the OCFOS lawyer should be the applicant for the order.

Additionally, before application is made to extend the CAO, depending on the child’s age and level of understanding, consult the child to obtain their views about arrangements for their care for the duration of the extension.

When a child is subject to a CAO and an application for a child protection order granting custody or guardianship will be made by DCPL, the application must be lodged before the CAO expires. In this circumstance, custody under the CAO will continue in force until the CPO application is decided or the Childrens Court orders an earlier end to the order.

Assessing safety prior to returning a child to the care of the parents

When a child has been placed in out-of-home care subject to a CAO granting custody to the chief executive, conduct an assessment of the child's safety prior to returning the child to the care of the parents. To assess the child's safety, consider all of the available information and complete the safety assessment.

If the child is considered to be ‘unsafe’, consult with the OCFOS lawyer to determine the appropriate ongoing intervention that is likely to ensure the child’s safety which may include the possible referral of the matter to DCPL. This consultation needs to occur approximately two weeks prior to the expiry of the CAO or CAO extension to allow sufficient time for the OCFOS lawyer to refer the matter to DCPL and for DCPL to make a decision as to whether to proceed with filing an application for a CPO and undertake any necessary action required.

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4. What if a joint investigation with the Queensland Police Service is required?

Child Safety has a legislative responsibility to immediately notify the QPS where it is reasonably believed that harm to a child may involve the commission of a criminal offence relating to the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2)). This applies whether or not Child Safety suspects the child is in need of protection (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14 (2) and (3)).

Where this occurs, in consultation with the QPS, determine whether there will be a joint investigation. A joint investigation allows each agency to meet their respective statutory responsibilities while addressing the protection needs of the child. It links the role of Child Safety to investigate and assess significant harm and risk of significant harm with the criminal investigation role of the police.

For further information about the roles and responsibilities of each agency, when conducting a joint investigation, refer to the practice resource Planning for and undertaking a joint investigation (PDF, 31 KB).

Refer the matter to the QPS

To refer a matter to the QPS, complete a Police referral, and provide this, along with a copy of the child concern report or notification, where relevant.

Any requests from QPS to release information about a notifier, to enable them to perform functions under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 186(2)(a) must be approved by the CSSC manager, RIS manager or CSAHSC manager.

Prior to approving the release of notifier details, the CSSC manager, RIS manager or CSAHSC manager must be certain that:

  • the request is in accordance with the relevant section in the Child Protection Act 1999, and its intent and
  • there is no other viable way for the person (QPS) to perform their functions under the Child Protection Act 1999, a child welfare law or interstate law without the release of notifier information and
  • alternative means of obtaining information that will enable the person to perform functions under the legislation have been considered - for example, a CSO recontacting the notifier to seek more detailed or additional information which can be provided to the person making the request.

When the release of notifier details is approved, only provide information to the extent necessary to enable the person to carry out their functions under the Child Protection Act 1999, child welfare law or interstate law.

Send the information to the QPS, in descending order, to the officer in charge of the nearest:

  • Child Safety and Sexual Crimes Group (in the Brisbane metropolitan area)
  • Child Protection and Investigation Unit (CPIU)
  • Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB)
  • police station.

Following the written referral, contact the QPS by phone, to determine whether a joint investigation is required, and where applicable, to commence joint planning.

Note: Where Child Safety becomes aware of alleged harm to a child that may involve the commission of a criminal offence relating to the child, immediately provide the referral to the QPS and confirm receipt via telephone. This will allow the best opportunity for ICARE interviews to be conducted within school hours if required. Refer to What if a child needs to be interviewed without parental consent - section 17

Ensure the regular exchange of information with QPS for the duration of the joint investigation, and where applicable, on an ongoing basis, for example, regarding criminal court proceedings and outcomes.

Undertake joint planning

When a joint investigation is required, prior to the commencement of the criminal investigation and investigation and assessment, contact the investigating police officers and plan the joint investigation.

Once planning is complete and prior to the commencement of the joint investigation:

  • seek verbal approval from the senior team leader for the agreed plan for the investigation and assessment
  • consult QPS prior to any major deviation from the agreed plan.

When the matter requires urgent attention and the QPS are unable to attend within the required response timeframe, notify the QPS of the decision to proceed and the reason for doing so. In this circumstance, prior to an investigation and assessment commencing, the senior team leader:

  • gives approval for the investigation and assessment to proceed
  • ensures the QPS has been notified of the decision to proceed in their absence
  • ensures that any action by Child Safety does not interfere with a QPS investigation into a criminal offence, if possible.

Ensure that the QPS is kept informed and updated during the investigation and assessment process.

Interview the child and record evidence

Where an interview with a child is conducted in accordance with the Evidence Act 1977, section 93A, the interview should, be undertaken by an officer (whether an authorised departmental officer or QPS) who is accredited in Interviewing Children and Recording Evidence (ICARE). ICARE interviews will also be conducted jointly with the QPS whenever possible. In such circumstances, the police officer and authorised officer will discuss all relevant material and the most appropriate and effective approach to conducting the interview, prior to the interviews being conducted.

In the absence of the QPS, follow existing investigation and assessment procedures for record keeping, but do not use video or audio equipment to record a child's interview - this includes ICARE trained authorised officers. File any written records made during the interview on the child's paper file. Copies of these interview notes may be provided to the QPS.

Where an interview of a child is being conducted by departmental officers only and the child begins disclosing incidents of harm relating to a criminal offence, and ceasing the interview would hinder the provision of information and safety of the child, continue the interview and contact the QPS immediately after the interview.

In this situation:

  • ensure that the child is supported and will feel safe to speak at a later time
  • gather sufficient information to be able to ensure the child's immediate safety and take any required action, including legal action, to ensure the child's safety (for example, use of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 18, or a TAO).

In this circumstance, provide all interview notes to the QPS. Departmental officers may also be required to provide a statement to the QPS regarding the disclosures made by the child during the interview. Subsequent interviews with the child are most likely to be led by the QPS, who will facilitate the recording of the interview. Departmental officers will document their participation in the interview in a case note in the relevant ICMS event.

Interview the alleged offender

Following a child's disclosure of harm, it is QPS policy and procedure that interviews involving possible offenders are to be conducted by police officers. In this circumstance, if there is to be a joint investigation, the QPS will decide who will conduct the interviews and when they will occur.

In some instances, where the alleged offender is a parent of the child, and where appropriate, an authorised officer may be permitted to observe the interview from a viewing room and take relevant notes. If the police conduct an interview without an authorised officer being present, or where an authorised officer has only observed an interview, an authorised officer will also interview both parents prior to finalising an investigation and assessment.

On occasion a police officer may decide that it is more appropriate or convenient for an interview to occur in a person's home or another location. Where such an interview is conducted by police with a parent or guardian, for example, conducted at the residential address of a parent, the interview may be conducted in the presence of the authorised officer.

In circumstances where the QPS are not able to attend interviews, Child Safety is still obliged to investigate and assess the safety and wellbeing needs of the child, without addressing the criminal matters with the parents.

Obtain information from the QPS

If an authorised officer requires a copy of the taped interview or information obtained during an interview, the CSSC manager will request the information from the QPS in writing, by completing the Section 159N information request. Where QPS approval has been granted, it may be possible for the video evidence to be viewed at the police station.

An audiotape provided to a departmental officer remains the property of the QPS and must not be released to a third party (but may be subject to disclosure during Childrens Court proceedings).

Any person that does not work for Child Safety, that requests access to the audiotape, will be referred to the QPS.

Refer the matter to a SCAN team

Officers of Child Safety and QPS may make a referral to a SCAN team when the case meets the mandatory referral criteria. Complete the ICM and SCAN team form 1 - Request for multi-agency meeting to action the referral.

A referral to a SCAN team does not constitute meeting the legal requirement for Child Safety to immediately notify the QPS of information under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2) and (3).

For further information about SCAN team referrals, refer to the Information Coordination Meetings (ICM) and the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Team System Manual.

Resolve differences of opinion

At times there will be differences of opinion between officers of Child Safety and the QPS, due to the different roles and legislative responsibilities and priorities. These differences are to be resolved as soon as possible after they arise and with the safety of children as the key priority.

Note: For further information about immediately notifying the QPS of possible criminal offences refer to Chapter 10.2 Statutory obligation to notify the Queensland Police Service of possible criminal offences and the practice resource Schedule of criminal offences (PDF, 84 KB).

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The Child Protection Act 1999, section 17, enables an authorised officer or police officer to have contact with a child at a school, or place where child care is provided, to investigate allegations, before the parents are told. Powers under this section should only be used if the officer reasonably believes that:

  • it is in the child's best interest that the officer has contact with the child, before the parents are told about the investigation and assessment
  • prior knowledge of the proposed contact with the child by the child's parents is likely to adversely affect the investigation and assessment.

When considering the use of section 17, the definition of parent includes long-term guardians. Therefore, the long-term guardian has the same rights and obligations as a parent.

Interview the child prior to parents

Interview the child prior to interviewing the parents when:

  • concerns relate to the commission of a criminal offence and a joint interview with the QPS requires the preservation of evidence from the child
  • the child may be placed at greater risk by interviewing the parents first
  • the concerns involve sexual contact between the child and a parent, and there is reason to believe that:
    • a parent will influence the child to withhold information or retract information that has already been given
    • the child would not receive support from a parent and is likely to be harmed or adversely influenced during the investigation and assessment process
    • the child has made a disclosure and more detailed information is required prior to interviewing the parents
    • the parents are unavailable and it would be inappropriate to delay the commencement of the investigation and assessment
    • a child self-refers.

Use of section 17 to have contact with a child

When it is considered necessary to have contact with a child, prior to the parents being told of the contact with the child and the reasons for the contact, the use of powers under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 17 is required.

Prior to exercising the use of powers:

  • consult a senior team leader
  • consider whether the QPS should be involved in the interview, depending on the nature of the concerns, and make a referral to the QPS, if applicable
  • notify the principal or person in charge of the school or place where the interview will be held, of the intention to exercise the power - contact with the child can only occur lawfully and with the permission of the person in charge of the facility.

If access is denied, the power cannot be exercised and other options for contact with the child must be considered.

When contacting the principal, or other person in charge, discuss:

  • the need to interview the child prior to the parents being made aware of the concerns, the general nature of the concerns, sufficient information to ensure an effective interview and the rationale for the decision
  • their obligation to maintain confidentiality under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 188, including ensuring adherence to confidentiality by other personnel and not informing parents of child protection concerns or that an interview has, or will, take place without their consent
  • the names and positions of interviewing officers.

In addition, negotiate the following matters with the principal, or person in charge:

  • an interview time that minimises interruption to the child's usual school routine and avoids or reduces feelings of embarrassment or distress that the child may experience by being interviewed at school
  • the conditions of the interview, including an appropriate venue and how the interview will be conducted
  • whether there will be a staff member present during the interview.

When discussing whether a staff member will be present, advise the principal or person in charge of the alleged nature of the concerns prior to the interview, and advise that the person may be called to give evidence as a result of their participation in the interview.

Note: If the interview is an ICARE interview with the QPS, the support person should not be the person the child initially made disclosures of harm to, as this person may be considered by the QPS as a witness for any subsequent criminal proceedings.

At the commencement of the interview, show identity cards to the principal or other person in charge and ensure that the child will be safe and supported during the interview process, by having a support person of their choice, from that location, present.

Implement actions following the use of section 17 powers

Immediately following the interview, advise the principal or person in charge of the actions that will be taken by Child Safety, of any immediate support needs the child has and that Child Safety will advise the parents of the contact with the child and the outcome.

As soon as practicable after the interview, tell at least one of the child's parents that the Child Protection Act 1999, section 17, was used to have contact with the child and the reasons for the contact. Make whatever effort is necessary to ensure that the parents are informed about the contact with the child prior to the child seeing their parents. It is the responsibility of Child Safety to inform parents of the contact with the child - do not place this responsibility on any other person.

In addition, advise the parents of your name, position and department, show them your identity card and commence interviews regarding the concerns. Undertake a safety assessment with the family to determine the safety of the child in the household.

When investigating concerns that relate to a child in the care of a long-term guardian, and the child is interviewed using powers under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 17, advise at least one of the long-term guardians. There is no requirement to advise the parents.

Record details of the contact with the child at the first reasonable opportunity in the 'Record of use of powers' in ICMS, regardless of whether an authorised officer or QPS officer has exercised the power.

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6. What if Child Safety is contacted about additional concerns for a child or an unborn child?

Additional notified concerns are recorded when all of the following apply:

  • there is already a notification that has not yet been approved or an open investigation and assessment event in ICMS for the child, unborn child or family
  • new child protection concerns are received from a notifier and require screening to determine the Child Safety's response
  • the new concerns do not meet the exceptions to recording additional notified concerns that are outlined in Chapter 1, 2.6 Decide the response.

Do not record an 'additional notified concerns' form in an intake event where a child concern report is recorded. Any new concerns should be recorded as a new intake event.

Whilst there is no limit to the number of additional concerns that may be recorded as part of one notification and investigation and assessment process, the ongoing receipt of additional notified concerns may indicate cumulative harm, or an escalating threat to safety, and this should be considered when planning the commencement of the investigation and assessment.

When additional notified concerns are received:

  • conduct a child protection history check
  • conduct a pre-notification check, if required
  • complete an 'additional notified concerns' form in the investigation and assessment event in ICMS, which includes a screening criteria and if required, response priority
  • submit the completed form to the senior team leader for consideration and approval
  • consider whether a subsequent safety assessment is required, due to any changes in circumstances for the family, and review any existing immediate safety plans to ensure the safety needs of the child are still being met
  • if the additional concerns meet the threshold for a notification, they must be responded to within the shortest response timeframe, which may be:
    • the response timeframe already recorded for the open investigation and assessment
    • the response timeframe relating to the new concerns.

The allocated CSO is responsible for investigating and assessing all information received about the family during the course of the investigation and assessment, until the investigation and assessment is finalised and approved in ICMS. This includes:

  • all concerns that have been recorded, both the original concerns and any additional notified concerns that have a notification response
  • any new child protection concerns that arise as part of the investigation and assessment process - which are to be assessed as part of the investigation and assessment and do not need to be recorded as additional notified concerns.

Where the investigation and assessment has commenced prior to a decision that additional concerns meet the threshold for a notification, the subject child must be sighted and interviewed to meet the new response timeframe and assess the additional concerns. At least one of the subject child’s parents should be advised of the new concerns so a current assessment of their capacity and willingness to protect the child can be completed. If the alleged person responsible for the new harm is not a parent and it is likely that they will be recorded as a ‘person responsible’ for harm to the child, provide the opportunity for this person to respond to the allegations made against them.

Where the additional concerns do not meet the threshold for a notification, there is no need to re-interview or re-sight the child, however, consider the information in the context of assessing and finalising the open investigation and assessment.

Where additional notified concerns are received and recorded and the information is to be transferred to another CSSC, the senior team leader is responsible for electronically approving the 'additional notified concerns' form in ICMS, prior to the transfer occurring.

Responding to concerns that have already been received

When a notifier contacts Child Safety with duplicate child protection concerns that have already been recorded as a notification, they may be recorded as additional notified concerns with a child concern report response. For further information, refer to Chapter 1, 11. What if duplicate child protection concerns are received that have previously been recorded?

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7. What if the investigation and assessment is for an unborn child?

The purpose of an investigation and assessment prior to the birth of a child is to assess the likelihood that an unborn child will need protection after birth and determine what help and support can be offered to the pregnant woman, and where relevant, her partner or the father of the unborn child. Refer to the Unborn Child Checklist for an overview of the specific steps required.

An investigation and assessment before the birth of a child is commenced when:

  • the pregnant women has been sighted and interviewed, or
  • new information that informs the assessment about the unborn child’s safety after birth is sought and received from a government or non-government agency (only to be used for a 5 or 10 day response priority timeframe).

Other than gathering information from a government or non-government agency, any further actions to investigate and assess concerns regarding an unborn child, require the consent of the pregnant woman and must not interfere with her rights and liberties.

Before having contact with the pregnant woman, the senior team leader will decide whether to:

  • delay contact with the pregnant women until after the child is born. Refer to Delay contact with the pregnant woman
  • proceed with the investigation and assessment. Refer to Investigate and assess the concerns.

If the senior team leader decides not to delay the investigation and assessment, seek the consent of the pregnant woman for the investigation and assessment to proceed. If she does consent, sight and interview the pregnant woman. If she does not consent, the investigation and assessment cannot be completed until after the child is born.

Do not continue with the investigation and assessment if the woman:

  • informs the authorised officers that she is no longer pregnant, due to a miscarriage or termination
  • the woman states that she was never pregnant and it appears from her physical presentation that she is not pregnant.

Seek confirmation that the woman is not pregnant from the woman's medical practitioner, if their details are known. This action does not require the woman's consent.

Delay contact with the pregnant woman 

The decision to delay contact with the pregnant woman until after the birth of a child will only occur when there is a high probability that, if alerted to the concerns, the pregnant woman would relocate to avoid intervention by Child Safety at the time of the birth, thus placing the newborn baby at increased risk of significant harm.

Information to inform the assessment about the likelihood of the woman relocating and the level of risk of harm to the newborn if this occurred, may be included in the notification or may be gathered from a government or non-government agency as part of the action to commence the investigation and assessment.

When contact with the pregnant woman has been delayed:

  • the senior team leader will record the rationale and date of the decision to delay contact with the pregnant woman in the investigation and assessment event in ICMS
  • record an 'unborn child alert' on the person records of the pregnant woman and the unborn child in ICMS
  • keep the investigation and assessment event open in ICMS until the child is born and the investigation and assessment is completed
  • complete and forward an HRA Form 1: Unborn child high risk alert: Request for immediate notification when pregnant woman presents for delivery to the hospital/s where the pregnant woman is likely to give birth, refer to Queensland Health – List of maternity hospitals and nominated positions (PDF, 220 KB), and/or forward a letter to the private or interstate hospital/s where the pregnant woman is likely to give birth, refer to practice resource Unborn children  
  • in exceptional circumstances only, where the pregnant woman is highly mobile and it is not possible to identify the hospitals where she is likely to give birth, send the ‘HRA Form 1’ to the group email address for public hospital child protection staff Statewide_HRA@health.qld.gov.au AND to the Mater Mothers' Hospital email address for High Risk Alerts CPLO@mater.org.au. To activate the email, the subject title must be ‘Statewide HRA’. This email address is monitored during business hours only. In rare situations where it is necessary to urgently alert all public hospitals to the ‘HRA Form 1’ outside business hours, complete and forward:
    • the form via facsimile to all hospitals - refer to Queensland Health - List of maternity hospitals and nominated positions
    • an email to CPLO@mater.org.au to alert them to the facsimile, and
    • a letter to the private or interstate hospital/s where the pregnant woman is likely to give birth - refer to the practice resource Unborn children
    • telephone the hospital/s to ensure that the form or letter has been received
    • attach the 'HRA Form 1' to the investigation and assessment event in ICMS
    • provide the CSAHSC with a Child Safety After Hours Service Centre: After hours referral form and all relevant information, including the 'HRA Form 1' or the letter
    • consider whether a SCAN team referral is warranted
  • contact the pregnant woman's medical practitioner (if known) to:
    • discuss the concerns identified
    • request that information be shared with relevant health professionals, such as the midwife or social work services
    • ask that the department be advised when the child is born.

In circumstances where, following the decision to delay an investigation and assessment, a subsequent decision is made to proceed on the basis of new information received about the family, the senior team leader is responsible for recording the rationale and date of the decision to proceed with the investigation and assessment before the child's birth in the 'Assessment and Outcome' form in ICMS.

If Child Safety is contacted about additional concerns for an unborn child, refer to 6. What if Child Safety is contacted about additional concerns for a child or an unborn child?

Investigate and assess the concerns

Where the pregnant woman gives consent for the investigation and assessment to proceed, continue to investigate and assess the likelihood that the child will be in need of protection after birth, including:

  • the level and type of risk to the child after the birth
  • the services that may assist the pregnant woman, and where relevant, her partner and/or the father of the unborn child, prior to the birth.

For an investigation in relation to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander unborn child, advise the pregnant woman of her right to have an independent person help facilitate her participation in the investigation and assessment, including the decision about whether the unborn child will be in need of protection after he or she is born.

If the pregnant woman agrees, arrange for an independent person to assist her participate in the decision-making. In addition, determine whether the pregnant woman agrees to:

  • the family’s participation in the investigation and assessment and
  • the involvement of an independent person for the family to participate.

Record whether an independent person helped facilitate the participation of the pregnant woman and the unborn child’s family in the investigation and assessment in the ‘Independent Entity’ form in ICMS.

The safety assessment and family risk evaluation are not completed for the investigation and assessment of an unborn child unless the child is born prior to the approval of the investigation and assessment.

Use the following to assist the assessment:

Investigate concerns about an unborn child and their siblings

When an unborn child and their siblings are all listed as subject children in a notification, investigate and assess the concerns specific to the unborn child, in addition to those relating to the siblings. If the pregnant woman does not consent to the investigation and assessment of the unborn child, clearly record that the woman did not consent in the investigation and assessment event in ICMS, and proceed with the investigation and assessment of the siblings.

While the investigation and assessment of the unborn child cannot proceed in this circumstance, information from the investigation and assessment of the siblings will inform future action and any planning by Child Safety in relation to the unborn child after birth.

If it becomes apparent during an investigation and assessment for a child, that the mother is pregnant, use professional judgement to make a decision about whether the unborn child will be recorded as a 'subject child' or an 'other child' in ICMS. Where the decision is to record the unborn child as a 'subject child':

  • investigate and assess the child protection concerns in relation to the unborn child after birth (where consent is given) and the concerns relating to the siblings
  • edit the approved notification to ensure the category is listed as 'unborn'.

Actions when unable to have contact with the pregnant woman

In circumstances where, prior to the child’s birth contact with the pregnant woman is not able to occur for client reasons:

  • make all reasonable efforts to locate the pregnant woman, where applicable, while the investigation and assessment remains open
  • record an 'unborn child alert' on the person records of the mother and the unborn child in ICMS
  • complete and forward an HRA Form 1: Unborn child high risk alert: Request for immediate notification when pregnant woman presents for delivery to the hospitals where the pregnant woman is likely to give birth, refer to ‘Queensland Health - List of maternity hospitals and nominated positions' (PDF, 220 KB), and/or forward a letter to the private or interstate hospital/s where the pregnant woman is likely to give birth, refer to the practice resource Unborn children
  • in exceptional circumstances only, where the pregnant woman is highly mobile and it is not possible to identify the hospitals where she is likely to give birth, send the ‘HRA Form 1’ to the group email address for public hospital child protection staff Statewide_HRA@health.qld.gov.au AND the Mater Mothers' Hospital email address for High Risk Alerts CPLO@mater.org.au. To activate the email, the subject title must be ‘Statewide HRA’. This email address is monitored during business hours only. In rare situations where it is necessary to alert all public hospitals to the ‘HRA Form 1’, urgently outside business hours, complete and forward the form via facsimile to all hospitals as well as an email to CPLO@mater.org.au to alert them to the facsimile
  • attach the 'HRA Form 1' to the investigation and assessment event in ICMS
  • provide the CSAHSC with a 'Child Safety After Hours Service Centre: After hours referral form' and all relevant information, including the 'HRA Form 1'
  • consider whether a SCAN team referral is warranted
  • record details of all actions taken in a case note in the investigation and assessment event
  • record a 'Member of a mobile family' alert on all relevant person records, where there is information to suggest the pregnant woman is highly mobile
  • contact the pregnant woman's medical practitioner (if known) to:
    • discuss the concerns identified
    • request that information be shared with relevant health professionals, such as the midwife or social work services
    • ask that Child Safety be advised of the birth of the child.

Keep the investigation and assessment event in ICMS open until either:

  • the child is born and the investigation and assessment is completed
  • two months have elapsed since the estimated date of delivery of the child and the woman has still not been located - in this circumstance:
    • complete a 'Record of actions - mobile family' form in the investigation and assessment event in ICMS
    • record a 'no investigation and assessment' outcome.

Record the investigation and assessment outcome

For an unborn child, one of the following outcomes may be recorded:

  • substantiated - child in need of protection
  • unsubstantiated - child not in need of protection
  • substantiated - ongoing intervention continues
  • unsubstantiated - ongoing intervention continues
  • no investigation and assessment outcome.

For further information refer to 3.2 Determine whether the child is in need of protection.

Take action after the birth of a child

Immediately following the birth of the child take one of the following actions, depending on the case circumstances:

  • where a decision was made to delay the investigation and assessment until after the child’s birth or the pregnant woman did not consent to the investigation and assessment - proceed the investigation and assessment
  • where there is an open support service case - determine how ongoing intervention will continue, either as intervention with parental agreement or an application for a child protection order. To inform decision making, a safety assessment will be completed to assess any immediate danger to the child
  • where an investigation and assessment completed prior to birth had a ‘substantiated - child in need of protection’ outcome and a support service case is not currently open, either:
    • consult with the OCFOS lawyer and commence the most appropriate type of ongoing intervention
    • record a notification when it is determined that an up-to-date risk assessment is required.

Take action when the newborn child is at immediate risk

In circumstances where a newborn child was assessed as being in need of protection prior to birth, and is at immediate risk of harm from the time of birth:

  • decide whether to record a notification to assess any new concerns
  • in consultation with the OCFOS lawyer determine the immediate action required to secure custody of the child by:
    • negotiating with the parents for the child to be placed under a care agreement
    • using powers under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 18
    • applying for a TAO or CAO, where further assessment is required
    • applying for a TCO, where no further assessment is required.
  • if no further assessment is required, consult with the OCFOS lawyer regarding the application for a TCO.

Where it is assessed that a newborn baby must be separated from the mother's care following the birth, refer to 2.6 Complete the safety assessment.

When negotiating with parents of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander newborn baby about the placement of the baby under a child protection care agreement, advise the parents of their right to have an independent person help facilitate their participation in the decision.

Arrange for the independent person to assist the parents in the decision-making, unless it is:

  • not practicable because an entity is not available or because the placement must be organised urgently
  • likely to have a significant adverse effect on the safety or emotional wellbeing of the child or another person
  • not in the child’s best interest.

Talk with the family about identifying family or kin who may be potential applicants to care for the child in the future or other placement options that comply with the placement element of the Child Placement Principles and additional requirements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 83.

For further information refer to 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children.

Complete an HRA form 3, if required

Complete and forward an HRA Form 3: Cessation of unborn child high risk alert to all relevant hospitals when, either:

  • an 'HRA Form 1' has previously been sent to multiple hospitals and, following the baby's birth, the remaining hospitals need to be notified of the cessation of the alert
  • the department has been informed that the pregnant woman has had a miscarriage or termination and the relevant hospital/s need to be notified of the cessation of the alert.

Note: In circumstances where a state-wide alert to Queensland Health’s maternity hospitals was required before the baby’s birth and the 'HRA Form 1' was sent to public hospital child protection staff via the email group Statewide_HRA@health.qld.gov.au, complete an ‘HRA Form 3’ and forward it to the email address when cessation of the alert is required.

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8. What if a child is at immediate risk of significant harm - use of section 16 or 18?

When undertaking an investigation and assessment, an authorised officer or police officer has the power to have contact with a child at immediate risk of significant harm (Child Protection Act 1999, section 16) or to take a child who is at immediate risk of significant harm into custody (Child Protection Act 1999, section 18).

These powers may be exercised with help and the use of force deemed reasonable in the circumstances. Prior to taking any action under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 16 or 18:

  • make considerable effort to engage parents and negotiate an appropriate solution
  • always consider contacting the QPS for assistance
  • consult and discuss the decision with a senior team leader
  • consult and discuss the decision with an OCFOS lawyer.

If, due to the nature of immediate risk to the child, the power is exercised prior to consulting the senior team leader or OCFOS lawyer, advise them as soon as possible following the use of the power. If an authorised officer is accompanied by the QPS, the QPS may use discretionary powers to enter and search, and remain on the premises.

For information about when the Child Protection Act 1999, section 16 and 18 can be exercised, refer to the practice resource Use of powers for a child at immediate risk - section 16 and 18 (PDF, 29 KB).

Note: Custody of a child under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 18, overrides any other child protection order granting custody or guardianship to someone other than the chief executive, made under the Child Protection Act 1999.

Use section 16 to have contact with a child at immediate risk

When exercising the use of powers under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 16, advise the parents of:

  • the purpose of the visit, the child protection concerns and any intended actions
  • your name, position and the name of Child Safety
  • your authority under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 16, to enter, search and remain in the premises or residence.

If an authorised officer damages property while exercising this power, provide a written notice of particulars of the damage to the owner or leave this notice at the property and retain a copy of the notice (Child Protection Act 1999, section 154).

In addition, during the investigation and assessment:

  • show your identity card (Child Protection Act 1999, section 153)
  • give the parents a final opportunity to allow contact with the child with their consent
  • sight, and where appropriate, interview the child
  • complete a safety assessment for the household with the parents, as soon as possible after the use of the power has been exercised, and include the actions taken under the use of powers
  • take other action as required, as part of the investigation and assessment.

Record details of the contact at the first reasonable opportunity in the 'Record of interview/use of powers' form in ICMS, regardless of whether an authorised officer or QPS officer has exercised the power.

Note: If after contact is made, the parents refuse to allow further contact with the child to complete the investigation and assessment, the authorised officer should consult with their OCFOS lawyer who can then seek to apply for the appropriate assessment order, refer to  2. What if a parent will not consent to actions required - use of a TAO? or 3. What if a parent will not consent to actions required - use of a CAO?

Use of section 18 to take a child at immediate risk into custody

When exercising the use of powers under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 18, take reasonable steps to advise at least one parent of:

  • your name, position and the name of Child Safety
  • the purpose of the visit and the concerns regarding the child
  • the authority under this power to enter, search and remain in the place until the child is located
  • the child having been taken into the chief executive's custody
  • the rationale for taking the child into the chief executive's custody, unless this would jeopardise the child's safety or a criminal investigation
  • the legal obligation for a TAO or a TCO application. Refer to practice resource Temporary custody order for more information about applying for a TCO.

Note: Where a child has a long-term guardian, the definition of parent includes long-term guardians with regards to the obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 20. Therefore, the long-term guardian has the same rights and obligations as a parent.

If an authorised officer damages property while exercising this power, provide a written notice of particulars of the damage to the owner or leave this notice at the property and retain a copy of the notice (Child Protection Act 1999, section 154).

In addition, during the investigation and assessment:

  • show your identity card (Child Protection Act 1999, section 153)
  • sight and if appropriate, interview the child
  • complete the safety assessment, with the parents if possible
  • remove the child - the authorised officer is not required to tell the parents with whom the child has been placed (Child Protection Act 1999, section 20)
  • tell the child about being taken into custody, including what this type of custody means, the reasons for the custody and the period of the custody (Child Protection Act 1999, section 195)
  • progress the investigation and assessment
  • discuss the case with the OCFOS lawyer who can then apply or assist in applying to a magistrate for a TAO or TCO as soon as possible, but within eight hours of taking the child into custody.

Record details of the contact at the first reasonable opportunity in the 'Record of interview/use of powers' in ICMS, regardless of whether an authorised officer or QPS officer has exercised the power.

Implement actions following the use of section 18 powers

Following the use of section 18 powers, during an investigation and assessment:

  • discuss the circumstances of the use of section 18 with the OCFOS lawyer who can then make application for a TAO or TCO as soon as practicable, but within eight hours after the power is exercised - custody to the chief executive ends either when the TAO or TCO is decided or eight hours after the power has been exercised, whichever is the earlier timeframe
  • serve at least one of the parents with a copy of the TAO or TCO, explain the terms and effects of the order and explain their right of appeal (Child Protection Act 1999, sections 32 and 51AK)
  • complete a subsequent safety assessment prior to any decision to return the child to the home.

Note: If it is determined that it is safe for a child to be returned to the custody of their parents, the TAO application must still be made, even when custody is no longer required prior to the order being made.

Where the child has a long-term guardian, serve at least one of the long-term guardians with a copy of the TAO or TCO, explain the terms and effects of the order and explain their right of appeal (Child Protection Act 1999, section 32). In addition, make reasonable attempts to tell at least one of the parents about the reasons for and the effect of taking the TAO or TCO and the right of appeal, and serve them a copy of the order. If unable to tell and serve the parents, document full details of these attempts (Child Protection Act, 1999, section 32 and section 51AK).

Facilitate a medical examination, where applicable

When a child is taken into custody under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 18, a medical examination or medical treatment may be arranged for the child, if it is urgent or reasonable in the circumstances. If the need is not urgent, the authorised officer must wait until a magistrate grants a TAO or TCO.

For further information about medical examinations, refer to 9. What if a child needs a medical examination?

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9. What if a child needs a medical examination?

A 'medical examination' is a physical, psychiatric, psychological or dental examination, assessment or procedure, and includes forensic examination and an examination or assessment carried out by a health practitioner, as defined in the Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 3.

When to consider a medical examination

As part of the investigation and assessment or when a child is subject to a TCO, a medical examination of the child, or a specialist assessment by a health worker professional may be considered necessary to ensure the child's immediate health and safety, or to inform the outcome of the investigation and assessment.

Wherever possible, speak with the child first about the incident, or the injuries they may have, to ensure that:

  • the child is able to speak in a more relaxed environment prior to any medical procedures, without the influence of the possibly intrusive examination
  • there is the opportunity to have the information from the interview corroborated, if the child subsequently speaks to the medical practitioner.

Consider whether a medical examination of the child is required in the following circumstances:

  • the child is reluctant to show an injury
  • the injury is in the genital area
  • the child's condition or injury may not be consistent with the explanation given by the parent
  • the child's developmental level or physical and intellectual skills are inconsistent with explanations given for the harm
  • the expertise of a medical practitioner is required to provide additional information, such as:
    • an assessment of the impact of long-term neglect on the child
    • a developmental assessment of the child
    • a diagnosis of a suspected disability.

When to undertake an urgent medical examination

Make arrangements for an immediate medical examination of any child, who:

  • appears ill, is in poor physical condition or is dehydrated
  • has an altered state of consciousness
  • has obvious serious physical injuries
  • is manifesting significant abnormalities of behaviour or ideation
  • has allegedly been sexually abused
  • is an infant who:
    • displays a lack of response to stimuli, alterations in breathing or temperature, poor feeding, irritability and lethargy
    • is alleged to have suffered significant trauma or 'shaking', especially a child under two years of age
    • has bruises.

In most circumstances a paediatrician with child protection experience is preferred for the undertaking of a medical examination.

In all cases, plan the medical examination and seek parental permission to have the child medically examined. In circumstances where the parents will not give their permission, the Child Protection Act 1999, section 97, enables a medical practitioner to carry out an examination or treatment without consent of the parents when:

  • a child at immediate risk has been taken into custody (Child Protection Act 1999, section 18)
  • a TAO, CAO or TCO authorises the examination or treatment.

In this situation the medical practitioner must:

  • not override the rights of the child in relation to the examination or treatment
  • only carry out treatment that is reasonable in the circumstances
  • provide a report about the examination or treatment to Child Safety, or to the QPS.

Inform the child

Consider the best way to inform the child and seek their views about the need for a medical examination. This may involve assisting the parent to explain the need for a medical examination to the child.

A child should not be forced to have a medical examination. The decision to proceed will depend on the age and 'Gillick' competency of the child and the need for immediate treatment, and will be made by the examining doctor. For information about 'Gillick' competency, refer to the Glossary of terms.

Determine the appropriate time for the examination

For urgent matters, arrange for an immediate medical examination. In other circumstances arrange the medical examination as soon as possible after sighting or interviewing the child, to allow timely medical examination and treatment. A medical examination following an alleged sexual assault must occur within 72 hours for the collection of evidence.

Ensure that there is sufficient planning with medical professionals, and where there is a joint investigation, the QPS, to co-ordinate interviews and medical examinations. Where the police are not involved, ensure that departmental interviews and medical examinations occur in the most appropriate order.

Attendance of the parents at the examination

Ensure that a parent or someone nominated by a parent always accompanies the child to the medical examination. It is important that a parent or nominated person attends the examination to provide relevant child and family medical history. The nominated person cannot be:

  • a Child Safety officer, even if nominated by the parent for this purpose
  • the parent or other person suspected of causing a serious injury to a child.

A parent's attendance at the child's medical examination cannot be prevented, unless Child Safety decides the parent's attendance at the examination would jeopardise a criminal investigation or expose the child to harm and either:

  • the child has been taken into custody under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 18
  • the child is subject to a TAO, CAO or TCO and is in the custody of the chief executive.

If a medical examination or treatment occurs by the use of statutory powers under the Child Protection Act 1999, still make every effort to encourage and assist the parents to attend the medical examination, unless this would jeopardise a criminal investigation or expose the child to harm.

A Child Safety officer may transport and accompany the child and parent or nominated person to the appointment, however, they cannot transport the child unaccompanied by the parent or their nominated person, unless there is a TAO, CAO or TCO in place.

Record the outcome of the medical examination

Record the details and outcome of the child's examination in ICMS and where a written report is also provided by the medical practitioner or specialist, file a copy on the child's file and attach the report to either, the investigation and assessment event or the ongoing intervention event in ICMS.

Any outcomes from medical examinations that occur as part of an investigation and assessment are to be incorporated into the subsequent health assessment. This will ensure the health assessment is adequately informed and will also avoid duplicating medical examinations or treatment. For further information refer to Chapter 5, 2.3 Develop a child health passport.

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10. What if a child needs to be placed under an assessment care agreement?

An assessment care agreement is an agreement, signed by the parents that allows a child to be placed with an approved carer during the investigation and assessment phase.

If the parents agree to an assessment care agreement, they retain all custody and guardianship rights and responsibilities during the period of the care agreement. However, by entering into an assessment care agreement, the parents agree to:

  • have the child placed with an approved carer, licensed care service or another entity by Child Safety
  • authorise Child Safety to act in all day-to-day matters including urgent medical attention
  • have contact with the child at such times and in such a manner as is mutually acceptable to themselves, the carer and Child Safety.

An assessment care agreement:

  • can only be for a maximum of 30 days
  • cannot be extended past 30 days
  • is only to be used where it is assessed that there are no safety concerns about the parents retaining custody and guardianship rights
  • can be entered into with one parent only, if it is impractical to gain the consent of the other parent or reasonable attempts have been made to do so
  • cannot be made with one parent only, if the other parent refuses to enter the agreement.

An assessment care agreement can be ended at any time by giving at least two days' notice to the other parties. A parent who was not a signatory to the agreement is able to end the agreement by providing at least two days' notice to the parties.

If an assessment care agreement is entered into with only one parent:

  • make reasonable attempts to give a copy of the agreement to the other parent, and obtain the other parent's consent, after the agreement has been entered into
  • record all attempts to contact and obtain consent from the other parent.

A child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person cannot be placed under an assessment care agreement.

For further information, refer to Chapter 5, 3. Decision-making for the child.

When a child needs to be placed during an investigation and assessment:

  • consult with the parents to obtain their consent, complete a Care agreement form and get them to sign the form, and attach in ICMS
  • obtain necessary information about the child, to provide to the child's carer, and commence the placement in accordance with the procedure Chapter 5, 1. Place a child in out-of-home care
  • safe, compatible placement options that comply with the child placement principle, if applicable, refer to practice resource The child placement principle (PDF, 78 KB)
  • ensure that appropriate decisions about the child's safety are made by the end of the 30 day period outlined above, even when a decision is not able to be made about whether the child is in need of protection
  • use the 30 days to undertake key investigation and assessment tasks, such as completing the safety assessment and family risk evaluation, interviewing relevant parties, information gathering and arranging medical assessments, if applicable.

It is generally not appropriate to supervise the child's contact with the parents during the assessment care agreement period, given the voluntary nature of the agreement. There may be occasions where it is assessed that the risk to the child during contact may be high, however, the parents have agreed to both the placement under the assessment care agreement and to supervised contact, and therefore an assessment order is not appropriate. In these cases, the contact will be supervised, and this contact may also provide an opportunity for observations of the interactions that will constitute part of the assessment of the parents' ability to meet the child's protection and care needs.

When a child subject to an assessment care agreement is subsequently assessed as being in need of protection, a decision may be made to continue the out-of-home care placement as part of ongoing intervention. Where this is to occur with the parents agreement, the assessment care agreement will end and a child protection care agreement needs to be negotiated with the parents, refer to Chapter 6, 3. Place a child using a child protection care agreement.

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11. What if a matter needs to be referred to the SCAN team?

When undertaking an investigation and assessment, it may be appropriate to make a referral to a SCAN team, where the coordination of multi-agency action or discussion is required to effectively assess and respond to the protection needs of the child or children. Referrals to the SCAN team can also be made by another core member agency representative when the case meets the mandatory referral criteria.

For further information, refer to the Information Coordination Meetings (ICM) and the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Team System Manual.

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12. What if a child and family cannot be located?

All reasonable steps must be taken to locate a family subject to a notification within the response priority timeframe. Where a family cannot be located, consider the following actions:

  • re-contact the notifier
  • check SCAN team records
  • contact service providers known to be proviging a service to the child or family
  • search telephone directories
  • contact the QPS for information and assistance
  • search electoral roll, refer to Australian Electoral Commission for more information
  • contact schools to request assistance
  • request assistance from Centrelink
  • request assistance from Medicare Australia
  • request assistance from the Child Support Agency.

Note: The Commonwealth and Child Safety have agreed procedures under the Information Sharing Protocol between the Commonwealth and Child Protection Agencies that allow Commonwealth agencies including Centrelink, Medicare Australia and the Child Support Agency to release a family's last known whereabouts to an authorised officer. Commonwealth agencies are only able to release information in specific circumstances. Requests are only to be made via Data Management Services after all other attempts to locate a family have been exhausted.

Note: Whilst Medicare and the Child Support Agency may have contact details for the family, in most instances, Centrelink will have the most accurate up-to-date details and would be the first agency to contact.

Each agency has a separate disclosure requirement and request form.

Centrelink may disclose relevant information if it is necessary to prevent, or lessen, a threat to the life, health or welfare of a person. To request the whereabouts of a family from Centrelink, complete the Centrelink request form and email the form to DMS_Centrelink@communities.qld.gov.au with a subject heading of 'Response Priority: Centrelink Request for (family name)'.

Medicare Australia may disclose relevant information where it is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious or imminent threat to the life or health of an individual. To request information from Medicare Australia, complete the Medicare Request Form and email the form to DMS_Medicare@communities.qld.gov.au with a subject heading of 'Response Priority. Medicare Request for (family name)'.

The Child Support Agency needs to form a reasonable belief that the information is necessary to prevent or reduce the threat to the life, health or welfare of a person, or a reasonable belief that the threat may afford evidence that an offence has or may be committed against a person and the information is communicated to prevent, investigate or prosecute the offence.

To request information, complete the CSA Request Form and email the form to DMS_CSA@communities.qld.gov.au with a subject heading of 'Response Priority. Child Support Agency Request for (family name)'.

For assistance with making a request, contact DMS. For specific information on what each agency can disclose please refer to the Information Sharing Protocol between the Commonwealth and Child Protection Agencies.

Record the outcome of attempts to locate a family

When it has not been possible to commence an investigation and assessment and the senior team leader is satisfied that all reasonable attempts have been made to locate the family, taking into account the seriousness of the concerns, the potential risk of harm and the age and vulnerability of the child:

  • record a 'member of a mobile family' alert in ICMS for each relevant person as soon as the decision is made that the family are mobile, or will be difficult to locate
  • document all actions taken to locate the child and family in the investigation and assessment, in the 'Record of actions - mobile family' form in ICMS, including:
    • attempts made to locate the family and conduct the investigation and assessment
    • the results of all actions taken
    • relevant information received from other parties about the family
    • decisions made, and the rationale for decisions
  • finalise the investigation and assessment within two months and record a 'no investigation and assessment outcome' for each subject child.

If there is a subsequent notification and the family has been located:

  • do not reopen the original investigation and assessment event
  • assess the previous concerns along with the current concerns, as part of the investigation and assessment
  • record the previous concerns and the appropriate outcomes in the current investigation and assessment event.

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13. What if parents refuse to allow contact with a child?

If during an investigation and assessment, a parent refuses entry to the home, or contact with the child:

  • make every attempt to gain the consent of the family to undertake the investigation and assessment
  • explain the legal obligation of Child Safety to investigate and assess the concerns under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14
  • emphasise the responsibility of Child Safety to sight the child and speak to the child and the parents, to assess the concerns
  • explain that the process provides an opportunity for the parents to respond to the concerns
  • acknowledge the parents reluctance and suggest alternatives such as the use of a support person for the parents, or, prior to leaving the premises, arrange an appointment at a later time if no immediate danger is identified for the child, either from the notification information or from observations made during contact with the parents.

If the parents continue to refuse contact, in consultation with the senior team leader and OCFOS lawyer, determine the appropriate powers or assessment order to be used to allow the investigation and assessment to be conducted, either:

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14. What if assistance is required from another jurisdiction?

Investigation and assessment - address known

When there is a notification for a child who currently resides in Queensland, but the parent or carer who is the alleged person responsible resides in another jurisdiction and the address is known, Child Safety may request assistance from the state, territory or New Zealand (jurisdiction) to complete an investigation and assessment.

To request assistance for the completion of an investigation and assessment:

  • complete a Request for interstate notification, including the current address in the other jurisdiction, and attach the current notification and any other relevant information that has been gathered
  • specify the tasks required of the other jurisdiction in order for the investigation and assessment to be completed
  • scan and email all relevant documentation to the Interstate Liaison Officer (ILO) at Court Services at ILO@communities.qld.gov.au.

The ILO will:

  • forward this documentation to the ILO in the jurisdiction where the child lives, for that jurisdiction to make a decision about whether they will assist with interviewing the identified parties as requested
  • follow up with the ILO in the other jurisdiction, to determine whether that jurisdiction is willing to conduct the interviews requested.

If the other jurisdiction agrees to assist, the ILO will obtain the report of the interviews with the nominated parties upon their completion.

If a family relocates to another jurisdiction prior or during the investigation and assessment, request an interstate notification, refer to the procedures in Chapter 1, 1. What if the child protection concerns are about a child in another jurisdiction? The other jurisdiction will respond to the concerns received in accordance with their legislative requirements and no further action is required in Queensland. The matter can then be closed in ICMS, noting that an interstate referral was made.

Investigation and assessment - address unknown

If the whereabouts of the family in another jurisdiction is unknown, request an interstate alert, refer to the procedures in Chapter 1, 1. What if the child protection concerns are about a child in another jurisdiction? If updated information is received about the family or the family's whereabouts, notify the ILO immediately.

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15. What if another jurisdiction requests assistance with an investigation and assessment?

When another state, territory or New Zealand (jurisdiction) requests assistance from Queensland to complete an investigation and assessment that is being conducted in that jurisdiction, the ILO will:

  • ensure the relevant documentation, including the current interstate or New Zealand address, history checks and notification information have been received
  • ensure that the other jurisdiction has specified the tasks required in order for the investigation and assessment to be completed
  • forward all relevant documentation to the relevant CSSC for actioning.

The receiving CSSC will:

  • allocate the matter
  • seek clarification, as necessary, with the requesting office in the other jurisdiction
  • complete the tasks as requested
  • forward a written report to the ILO for forwarding to the requesting office in the other jurisdiction.

Use professional judgment to decide whether or not, during the investigation and assessment, to ask direct questions relating to assessing and deciding the provision of placement information to parents. In circumstances where the removal of a child is likely to occur, gather information to inform decisions about the provision of placement information to parents. For further information refer to Chapter 5, 1.8 Assess the provision of placement information to parents and Chapter 5, 1.10 Provide placement information to parents.

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16. What if a young person is subject to youth justice intervention?

When an investigation and assessment is conducted in relation to a child who is also subject to youth justice intervention, contact the youth justice case worker to:

  • gather information to inform the assessment
  • verify information provided by the child or the parents during assessment interviews
  • provide relevant information, for the purpose of coordinating service delivery
  • advise of a child's placement in out-of-home care, if applicable.

A Youth Justice officer may act as a support person for the child during the interview or investigation and assessment process, when requested by the child or their family. If a request is made, contact the relevant Youth Justice to discuss the request and whether it is appropriate for a youth justice officer to participate in the process.

Any involvement by Youth Justice in the implementation or monitoring of a safety plan for a child, is to be negotiated by Child Safety with the Youth Justice case worker or their line manager.

When a child subject to Youth Justice is in the custody of the chief executive:

  • inform the Youth Justice case worker:
  • about who has custody and guardianship rights and responsibilities for the child
  • explain the implications for decision-making about custody and guardianship matters, refer to Chapter 5, 3. Decision-making for the child 
  • that an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young person has a right to have an independent person help facilitate the young person’s participation in significant decisions made by Child Safety, refer to 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • coordinate service delivery for the duration of the out-of-home care placement.

The involvement of Youth Justice Services in the SCAN team system would occur as an invited stakeholder, in accordance with Information Coordination Meetings (ICM) and the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Team System Manual.

When the investigation and assessment is completed and if Youth Justice remains involved with the child, contact the youth justice case worker and provide the following information:

  • the outcome of the investigation and assessment
  • the return of the child to the parents
  • the nature of ongoing intervention to be provided, if applicable.

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17. What if a family is subject to the Witness Protection Program?

At times, families who are subject to the Witness Protection Program through any one of the state or territory police services may reside in Queensland and be the subject of a notification. These families have a heightened need for confidentiality, due to the importance of protecting their identity, whereabouts and personal safety.

Witness protection in Queensland is administered by the Crime and Misconduct Commission, but is operationalised by the QPS Witness Protection Unit.

When it becomes known during an investigation and assessment that a family is subject to witness protection:

  • liaise with the QPS by contacting the Communications Room, QPS on telephone (07) 3360 6325 and request to speak with either of the officers identified below, to ensure the best response to these complex and sensitive matters:
    • the Officer in Charge, QPS Witness Protection Unit
    • the Operations Coordinator, QPS Witness Protection Unit
  • ensure Child Safety meets the legislative responsibility to investigate the child protection concerns that are received
  • consider whether sensitivity needs to be applied to the person profile or to an event. For further information, refer to Chapter 10.5 Recording sensitivity.

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18. What if animal welfare issues are identified?

The Memorandum of Understanding between The State of Queensland, through Department of Communities (Child Safety Services) and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Queensland 2012-2014 sets out principles and roles and responsibilities to support the provision of services to children who have been significantly harmed or are at risk of significant harm and protect the welfare of animals.

Schedule 2 - Guidelines for making a notification to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals outlines the specific circumstances in which departmental staff will provide information about the RSPCA to a family or contact the RSPCA directly with the family's consent. The confidentiality provisions of the Child Protection Act 1999 significantly limit the information that can be shared with the RSPCA.

During an investigation and assessment or ongoing intervention

If it becomes apparent that an animal has harmed a child or presents a risk to the safety or wellbeing of a child:

  • advocate and promote the RSPCA to the parents or carer
  • encourage the family to utilise the RSPCA as a support service to reduce the risks that the animal poses to the child, or consent to Child Safety contacting the RSPCA on behalf of the family.

Where a family does not takes steps to address animal welfare concerns that pose a safety risk to the child, contact the RSPCA to inform them of the animal welfare concerns. If requested, the RSPCA will recontact Child Safety and advise whether they have taken action.

When referring families to intensive family support services, such as RAI, seek the parents consent to include information about the animal welfare issues in the referral.

Where animal welfare issues are identified that are not related to child protection concerns:

  • provide information about the RSPCA to the family and encourage them to seek their support
  • do not provide information to the RSPCA without the family's consent.

Schedule 3 - Guidelines for emergency care and accommodation of animals outlines the RSPCA's commitment to providing temporary emergency care and accommodation for the animals of families who are involved with the department.

When issues are identified that prevent a family from providing care and accommodation to their animals:

  • provide the family with information about the RSPCA
  • encourage the family to utilise the RSPCA as a support service.

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19. What if information is received via an Integrated Justice Information Strategy automated email alert?

Information will be received by Child Safety as part of the Integrated Justice Information Strategy (IJIS). Data Management Services (DMS) receives this information and sends an automated email alert to the relevant CSSC or RIS management team group email. Information in the email will comprise of either:

  • an IJIS notification (Criminal court matter alert), notifying details of a subject child's first scheduled appearance in a criminal court proceeding
  • an IJIS Electronic transfer of court result (ETCR) alert, advising of the need to run an IJIS ETCR report in ICMS to access details of a criminal or domestic violence court result involving a subject child.

It is the responsibility of each RIS and CSSC management team to ensure group email accounts are current and monitored regularly.

Receipt of IJIS notifications (Criminal court matter alert)

Child Safety will receive notification about the first scheduled court appearance of a child who has been charged with a criminal offence via an IJIS notification (Criminal court matter alert) automated email. A court matter alert will only be received by Child Safety where a child is identified as a subject child in an open investigation and assessment or ongoing intervention case. The court matter alert email will be forwarded to either:

  • the RIS, when:
    • a notification has been recorded on a subject child and is awaiting approval in ICMS by the RIS senior team leader
    • the notification has been approved, however, the investigation and assessment has not been allocated to the pending allocation tray of receiving CSSC
  • the CSSC who is responsible for undertaking an investigation and assessment, or who has case management responsibility for a child subject to ongoing intervention.

When an IJIS notification (Criminal court matter alert) is received by a RIS, the RIS senior team leader will:

  • view the criminal court matter alert email
  • allocate the notification to the relevant CSSC senior team leader for investigation and assessment
  • forward the criminal court matter alert email to the CSSC undertaking the investigation and assessment.

When an IJIS notification (Criminal court matter alert) is received by a CSSC, the allocated CSO will:

  • read and assess the information to determine the appropriate response, including screening the information if relevant
  • record the information in the current ICMS event
  • print the alert for the client file
  • liaise with the relevant person as to attendance at court by Child Safety
  • liaise with Youth Justice staff if required.

Receipt of IJIS Electronic transfer of court result information

The IJIS Electronic transfer of court results (ETCR) delivers court results from all Queensland criminal and civil jurisdictions to the CSSC holding case management responsibility for a subject child. The subject child is identified as the 'primary person of interest', and information may also be received on 'secondary persons of interest', who may or may not have an existing person record in ICMS.

An ETCR will only be received by Child Safety if a child is matched in the court result as being subject to an open investigation and assessment or ongoing intervention case. Information will not be received on a child subject to a support service case.

DMS receives the ETCR client information and sends an automated email alert to the relevant RIS or CSSC management team. Details about the court matter are accessed via the running of an 'IJIS Electronic Court Results report' in ICMS.

When an ETCR report is received:

  • check the ETCR information against any previously recorded information and amend any errors in court dates, outcomes and persons named
  • gather further information from the relevant source, for example the QPS or OCFOS, where required
  • check whether the information is known and has previously been recorded in the event in ICMS, for example, the information records an adjournment of proceedings - if the information is already recorded in ICMS no further recording is required and the ETCR report will remain accessible in the ICMS reports tab
  • determine whether the information identifies new harm or risk of harm to the child and if so, undertake the relevant intake tasks
  • create a person record in ICMS for any child or adult previously unknown to Child Safety, who may have a significant relationship with the subject child and attach the ETCR report to the ICMS event.

For further information, refer to either Chapter 1. Intake, Chapter 4, 4.1 Actively implement the cae plan and the practice resource Receiving Integrated Justice Information Strategy email alert information.

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20. What if the investigation and assessment is to be completed using a differential pathway?

Differential pathways provide an alternative option for completing an investigation and assessment that is tailored to a family's individual circumstances. The two differential pathway options that may be used in exceptional circumstances are:

  • core assessment
  • contact with other professional.

The decision about whether to use either of the differential pathways to complete the investigation and assessment is made during the assessment phase.

Core assessment

The use of the core assessment differential pathway allows for the finalisation of an investigation and assessment without the completion of certain actions that may ordinarily be undertaken. These actions may include contact with the school or health professional, or interviews of other relatives or household members where it is determined that they would not provide additional relevant information.

The core assessment can only be used in exceptional circumstances when all of the core components of the investigation and assessment have been conducted, including sighting and interviewing all subject children, the parents and the alleged persons responsible, and sufficient information gathering has occurred to fully assess whether or not a child is in need of protection.

This pathway allows for the timely completion of an investigation and assessment, without compromising the safety of the child.

This option may not be used:

  • for a harm report
  • when the previous investigation and assessment was a core assessment.

When this option is used, record a clear rationale for why it is considered to be an appropriate response to the particular case, in the text of the 'Assessment and outcome' form in ICMS.

Contact with other professional

The contact with other professional option is used in exceptional circumstances, when a comprehensive assessment of harm and risk has been made, but sighting and interviewing one subject child remains an outstanding task. This differential pathway utilises other professionals to assist in speaking to a child and can be used to finalise and record an investigation and assessment outcome within the procedural timeframe, for matters that would otherwise result in one child having a 'No investigation and assessment outcome'.

This differential response option is used to finalise an investigation and assessment when it is assessed that the risk factors do not necessitate the CSO sighting or interviewing that child and it is appropriate to engage another professional to sight or speak to one subject child.

This option may be used for example:

  • when a child is admitted to hospital and it is appropriate for the hospital social worker to sight or speak to the child
  • where QPS has already interviewed the child in the absence of a CSO
  • when the child now resides in another area and the child has not been sighted and interviewed by the relevant CSSC
  • when it is appropriate for another professional, such as a guidance officer or CYMHS worker already engaged with the child to speak to the child.

Prior to using this option:

  • identify a professional who, given the child's individual circumstances, would be an appropriate person to approach and speak to the child
  • seek the parent's consent for the professional to speak to the child
  • contact and assess the suitability of the professional to speak to the child and gather information regarding the concerns
  • inform the professional that any information provided will assist an assessment of the child's need for protection
  • provide the professional with the following information:
    • the concerns being assessed
    • the confidentiality requirements of the Child Protection Act 1999
    • general information about how to gather relevant information from a child
    • the contact must occur in a lawful way (for example, not on school property without the school principal's consent).

It may still be necessary to formally interview the child depending on what information the other professional gathers from the child and whether it increases the assessed level of harm or risk to the child.

This option may not be used:

  • for the same child more than once within a 12 month period, or for two consecutive investigation and assessments
  • for allegations of sexual abuse or serious physical abuse
  • for children under school age or when there is only one subject child recorded, except in exceptional circumstances when the senior practitioner has reviewed the matter and assessed that it is appropriate to use of this option
  • for a harm report
  • for a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person.

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21. What if an Investigation and Assessment outcome is reviewed?

The outcome of an Investigation and assessment is a point in time decision based on the assessment of information known at the time by the investigating officer. Approval by a more senior officer, usually a senior team leader, gives the process a level of oversight. 

Where a review is subsequently undertaken on a finalised investigation and assessment and the reviewer determines the outcome was incorrect, it is generally not appropriate to delete the original outcome and record that which the reviewer has determined is correct – even if the reviewer ensures the original outcome and the subsequent decision making is documented.

It is appropriate to leave the outcome as originally recorded and in addition ensure that documentation is added to the file (and clearly linked to the original investigation and assessment  outcome) that outlines the following:

  • impetus for the review
  • subsequent review process, including whether it was a desk top review or included interviews with the original CSO and senior team leader
  • name and position of the reviewer
  • the revised investigation and assessment outcome that the reviewer has determined to be correct, including the rationale for the decision
  • the name and position of the person who has approved or provided oversight to the review process and the revised investigation and assessment outcome.

In exceptional circumstances, the review process may recommend information recorded within the investigation and assessment event be amended as it is factually incorrect and that the person responsible or investigation and assessment outcome be changed. The CSSC manager must provide their written approval for any changes made and ensure this is recorded within a case note in the event (see above for guidance on what to record). Examples when this may be considered include:

  • a person profile is incorrectly linked to an investigation and assessment as a parent and/or person responsible and the investigation and assessment outcome would inaccurately influence future assessments of risk and/or parental willingness and ability
  • a person assessed as responsible for harm to a child was not afforded the opportunity to respond to the alleged concerns and further review has determined that assessment to be incorrect.

How is the person seeking the review to be notified of the outcome of the review?

The person seeking the review should be advised from the outset that any review would not result in a change of outcome, only in additional information being included on the child’s file. Once the review has been finalised individuals should be advised that the review report has been completed and attached to the relevant part of the file to be read in context with the original Investigation and assessment outcome.

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