What ifs

1. What if a child requires a placement with another entity (82(1)(f))?

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(f), allows for a child to be placed in the care of another entity, other than an approved carer or licensed care service, only when that entity is the most appropriate for meeting the child's particular protection and care needs. This applies when a child in care is subject to one of the following:

  • a care agreement
  • an assessment order
  • a TCO
  • an interim order
  • a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive.

Refer to the practice resource Placements with another entity - 82(1)(f) (PDF, 208 KB) for details of placements with another entity and placements that fall outside of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(f), such as a disability or mental health facility.

Determine whether an 82(1)(f) placement is appropriate

Any placement under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82:

  • must comply with the statement of standards (Child Protection Act 1999, section 122)
  • can only be made in services where staff are required to undergo criminal history screening through the blue card process.

Prior to assessing the suitability of an 82(1)(f) placement:

Assess the suitability of the proposed 82(1)(f) placement

Because another entity's compliance with key provisions of the Child Protection Act 1999 is not monitored via a licensing arrangement or a carer approval process, a Child Safety officer will gather information to assess whether the care provided will be consistent with the statement of standards and that the entity understands their critical obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999. For example, request information from the entity about whether they are undergoing licensing or are regulated by a government agency. Refer to practice resource Meeting the statement of standards (PDF, 16 KB) in completing the assessment and provide the entity with a copy of the Standards of care (PDF, 40 KB).

The assessment will:

  • consider whether the care provided by the entity is subject to regulation by a government agency such as the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors (HSQF) or the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
  • determine whether the entity is willing to act in accordance with reasonable directions from Child Safety and work cooperatively to meet the goal and outcomes of the child's case plan
  • consider the length of the proposed placement and the child's age and development
  • consider whether the placement of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child can provide for the optimal retention of the child’s relationships with parents, siblings and other people of significance to the child under Aboriginal tradition or Island custom
  • ensure that:
    • the placement is able to facilitate family and cultural contact for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
    • the entity uses appropriate behaviour support strategies consistent with the statement of standards and Child Safety policies
    • the entity is aware of the requirements for reporting harm to Children in care to Child Safety
    • care will be provided by workers who pose no risk to the child's safety, have a current blue card, are able and willing to protect the child from harm and able to provide care that is consistent with the principles of the Child Protection Act 1999 (section 5)
    • the entity agrees to legislative confidentiality requirements (Child Protection Act 1999, sections 187 and 188)
    • the premises where the child is to be placed is safe and suitable for their needs
    • the placement will assist a child to gain positive life skills and a sense of well-being
    • appropriate strategies and interventions will be implemented for a child who has been sexually abused or has engaged in sexually abusive behaviour - if applicable refer to the practice resource Children with sexual abuse histories (PDF, 52 KB)
    • other people residing at the premises are an appropriate peer group, considering the child's age and gender.

Obtain approval for the placement

Following the assessment, seek approval for the placement from the team leader.

Where the placement is funded through child related costs, additional approval is required for the funding - refer to the Child related costs – Placement funding (PDF) policy and procedure (PDF).

Decide whether to  provide placement information to parents

Prior to placing the child:

Monitor and review the child's placement

Placements with another entity require an additional level of monitoring by the CSO with case responsibility to ensure that the standards of care are met.

The senior team leader is required to monitor the ongoing level of contact between the CSO and the child and regularly review that the placement continues to be the most appropriate for meeting the child's protection and care needs.

Monitor the quality of care provided to a child

Child Safety staff must inform staff members of another entity about the statement of standards and the required standards of care. Where there are any concerns about the quality of care provided to a child, refer to Chapter 9. Standards of care.

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2. What if I have concerns about the quality of care provided to a child?

Child Safety is responsible for monitoring care placements to ensure that the level of care provided by the carer is consistent with the statement of standards (Child Protection Act 1999, section 122), and for taking preventative action to resolve identified concerns before they escalate.

Regardless of the provisions within the case plan for contact with the child and the carer, ongoing assessment and monitoring of the care environment and the quality of care provided, is a vital component of case work with the child.

Where issues are identified, discuss the matter with a team leader or senior practitioner to determine the appropriate response. For further information about monitoring the standards of care being provided to a child, or whether a standard of care review or a harm report is to be recorded, refer to Chapter 9. Standards of care.

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3. What if a child is to be removed from a care placement?

A CSSC manager, regional director or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader may decide to remove a child from a placement:

  • if satisfied it is in the child’s best interests
  • in response to concerns about the standard or care being provided to a child, or harm to a child, including risk of harm
  • to ensure the child’s immediate safety and well-being. 

Removal may be considered to be in the child’s best interests when there is a serious issue for the child or carer, for example, an issue in relation to the standards of care being provided, a safety issue for the child or conflict between a child and carer. The purpose of responding to concerns about a child’s safety is to ensure continuity of the child’s relationship with the carer or care service and the stability of the child’s placement, as far as possible, unless it becomes apparent that the child is at immediate risk of harm or unacceptable risk of future harm in the care environment, and protective intervention would not adequately ensure the child’s safety and well-being in the care environment.

As far as practicable, the removal of the child is to occur in a way that is the least traumatic or disruptive for the child.

Where it will not jeopardise the immediate safety or well-being of the child, the CSSC manager will make this decision following consultation with the senior practitioner, having taking into consideration the views of:

  • the child, where age and developmentally appropriate
  • the carer or the coordinator or manager of the care service, if applicable
  • the foster and kinship care service or care service, if applicable.

If the child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive:

  • provide written notice of the decision to the child, having regard to their age and ability to understand, in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 90
  • discuss with the child the internal and external review options available to them
  • provide written notice of the decision to the child’s carer - Letter to carer - removal of a child (section 89).

Note: Under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 90 and 91, parents and staff members are not able to seek a review of this decision by QCAT.

Should a parent, a carer or staff member disagree with a decision by Child Safety to remove a child, inform them of the review mechanisms available - for further information about complaints, refer to the Child Safety Compliments and Complaints feedback website.

Moving a child in urgent circumstances

Where the child’s immediate safety and well-being necessitate their removal from the care environment prior to seeking the views of the above relevant persons, or where having regard to the views of relevant persons, the CSSC manager proceeds with the decision to remove a child:

  • record the decision and the rationale for the decision
  • explain the rationale for the decision to all persons affected by the decision
  • implement applicable information provision and administrative requirements, in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 90, and 4. Conclude a care placement.

For additional information on concluding a placement, refer to 4. Conclude a care placement.

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4. What if family contact needs to occur in a correctional facility?

In some circumstances, family contact visits for a child in care will need to take place in a correctional facility. These visits are referred to as a 'personal visit'. Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) requires that all 'personal visits' are booked in advance, regardless of whether the visit is one-off or a regular occurrence.

Contact with parents or other family members in correctional facilities may include visits, telephone calls, letters and video conferencing. In addition to the procedures informing decisions about family contact outlined in 2.6 Facilitate and monitor family contact and the practice resource Facilitating family contact (PDF, 44 KB), when deciding the frequency and type of contact to occur with parents or other family members in correctional facilities, consider the following:

  • the case plan goal
  • the child's age and development
  • the child's and parent or family member's views and wishes about if and how the contact should be conducted
  • the child's physical and emotional safety within the correctional facility
  • the quality of relationship with the parent or family member
  • retention of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child’s relationships with parents, siblings and other people of significance to the child under Aboriginal tradition or Island custom
  • the history of child protection concerns relating to the child and parent or family member
  • the nature of the charges against the parent or family member, and whether they relate to the child or other family members
  • the length of the parent or family member's sentence (if brief, it may be in the child's best interests to delay contact until the parent or family member's release)
  • the distance between the child's placement and the correctional facility, and the disruption that travel to and from visits may cause to the child
  • the parent or family member's access to telephone calls, and whether the child's need for family contact can be met by telephone contact.

The decision regarding the type and frequency of family contact will be regularly reviewed, giving ongoing consideration to the above, as well as:

  • the child's views about the quality of contact
  • the child's behaviour and interactions during contact
  • the carer or direct-care worker's observations of how the child behaves and before and after visits.

All decisions regarding the frequency and type of contact should be made in consultation with the respective correctional facility, taking into consideration the particular guidelines and protocols of the facility, and any conditions specific to the individual.

Corrective Services may not allow visits or telephone calls, depending on:

  • the level of security under which the family member has been placed
  • the family member's conduct at the correctional facility
  • the nature of the charges against the family member
  • the need to protect the family member from other inmates of the correctional facility (for example, if the family member has been charged with sexual assault of a minor).

It is the responsibility of Corrective Services to assess these factors, and the timely provision of relevant information by Child Safety will assist the correctional facility to make the decision.

Some correctional facilities will only allow 'non-contact' visits (that is, visits in which prisoners and visitors are separated by a glass barrier) until after a preliminary period in which the prisoner can be assessed and approved for 'contact' visits. The correctional facility may not allow children at 'non-contact' visits. When a parent or significant family member is placed in a correctional facility, contact the facility to enquire about protocols and guidelines for child visitors, as well as restrictions that may apply at the time of the proposed visit.

Due to the nature of charges against the family member, the court may rule that contact cannot occur between the child and family member, for example, if the child's parent has been charged with murder of the child's siblings. Contact the Department of Public Prosecutions to gather information about any such restrictions.

Where it is decided that family contact is appropriate, but contact visits are not permitted by the correctional facility, seek alternative means such as telephone calls and video conferencing.

Contact details for each correctional facility are available on the Corrective Services website.

To arrange a family contact visit at a correctional facility:

Once at the correctional facility:

  • each visitor will be advised of the conditions of entry to that facility, including standards of dress and searches - refer to the 'Visiting a prisoner' on the Department of Corrective Services - Safety and Security resources website for more information
  • the Child Safety staff member must show facility staff a current identification card, or provide identification as outlined in the 'Form 27', however - do not display the identification card during the visit
  • the Child Safety staff member will either accompany the child on the visit or take them to the reception area where a Corrective Services Officer will escort the child to the visits area, and collect them at the end of the visit from the reception area.

In addition:

  • it is an offence under the Corrective Services Act 2006 (PDF) for any person to obtain entry to a corrective service facility under a false identity or knowingly provide false information in a 'Form 27'
  • any visitor who breaches a condition of visitation or access or fails to comply with an order of the person in charge, or otherwise prejudices the security and good order of a corrective service facility, may be ordered to leave the facility - reasonable force may be used to remove the visitor from the facility if they fail to comply with an order to leave the facility (Corrective Services Act 2006).

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5. What if a child requires or has a bank account?

The process of opening and managing a bank account may apply to any child in care, but there are different requirements depending on the child's order.

Where the chief executive has guardianship of a child:

  • decisions about opening and managing the child's bank account must be made by the team leader, as the delegated officer
  • the account is to be in the child's name, rather than in joint names - if the bank policy requires a joint account, the team leader will be the other account holder
  • under no circumstances will a Child Safety officer open an account for a child solely in their own name
  • the senior team leader is to accompany the child to the local branch to open the bank account, and bank staff may assist with decisions about the child's capacity to open and manage an account in their own name.

For further information refer to the practice resource Bank accounts (PDF, 24 KB).

Where a child is subject to a custody order and the parents retain guardianship:

  • a parent must make decisions and provide consents in relation to opening and managing the child's bank account
  • the parent will be the co-signatory if a joint account is required due to the child's age or developmental ability
  • the CSO with case responsibility will discuss any concerns in relation to the manner in which the child's bank account is being managed, with the team leader.

Open an account where another person has guardianship

When a suitable person has been granted long-term guardianship of a child, they may make decisions about opening and managing bank accounts, taking into account the child's views.

Manage low level concerns about the child's ability to manage financial matters

When low level concerns exist in relation to a young person's ability to manage their financial matters, consider their needs and the services that may assist when planning for their transition from care.

Protect the child's financial rights and interests

If a child has significantly impaired decision-making, consult with the team leader, and take steps to protect the child's rights and interests in relation to managing their financial matters. This may be particularly relevant for a young person in receipt of a Disability Support Pension, or for those approaching 16 years of age who will become eligible to receive the Disability Support Pension.

When a young person who may be eligible to receive a Disability Support Pension, turns 16 years of age, contact Centrelink to advise that payment of the Disability Support Pension, if approved, can be made directly to the young person's bank account. Where a young person's decision-making is impaired consider a referral to the Public Trustee for management of funds once the young person has turned 16.

If the young person is over 17 years of age, and it is considered their financial interests need to be protected after leaving care, consult with the team leader about applying to have a guardian or administrator appointed by the Guardianship and Administration Tribunal. For further information, refer to 2.10 Plan and support the young person's transition from care to independence.

Record relevant details and file documentation

Record all relevant details and documentation in ICMS or on the child's file, especially guardianship decisions made and consents provided by the team leader, as the delegated officer.

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6. What if a child is employed in the entertainment industry?

In Queensland, the employment of children is governed by the Child Employment Act 2006 and the Child Employment Regulation 2006. Legislative regulations covering the employment of children in the entertainment industry:

  • limit the amount of work children can perform to 40 hours per week
  • outline education requirements for children working in the entertainment industry
  • clarify the role of parents and supervisors.

The legislation currently requires employers to inform parents of the existence of the guide and provide them with a copy if they request it, and to have a signed parenting consent form from the child's guardian, before employing the child.

The child's guardian is required to sign the parenting consent form. Where a child is in the guardianship of the chief executive, the CSSC manager is the delegated officer able to sign the parenting consent form.

Further information may be obtained from the Department of Justice and Attorney-General website.

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7. What if a child wishes to participate in a high or very high risk activity?

Where parents retain guardianship, they must provide consent for a child to participate in high or very high risk activities. When a child is in the guardianship of the chief executive, the consent of the team leader, as the delegated officer, is required.

Provide the child with information about the approval process and explain that a decision will be made, or obtained, in a timely way, so as not to prevent the child from undertaking the activity, should consent be given. Once a decision is made, inform the child of the outcome.

Gather information about the activity

To inform the decision about a child's participation in the activity, gather the following information:

  • the nature, qualifications and credentials of the organisation or individuals providing the activity
  • what protective strategies can be taken to minimise the level of risk including:
    • the level of adult supervision to be provided during the activity
    • the supply and enforced use of compulsory safety equipment, for example, whether a Type 1 PFD (personal flotation device) is available when participating in boating activities
    • the child's access to necessary safety equipment, for example, if the carer will support the child to have a mouthguard fitted
  • the potential hazards and risk level of the activity, as outlined below
  • the insurance provisions provided in the event of an accident.

Determine the level of risk

The risk associated with high and very high risk activities may be mitigated by the use of protective equipment, or participation under specific guidelines (age restriction, adult supervision, codes and regulations).

The Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit (QISU) website contains Injury Bulletins on a range of injury topics. These bulletins discuss risk factors that contribute to injuries, based on Queensland Hospital emergency department injury surveillance data, and relevant preventative strategies.

QISU staff can provide advice about protective strategies for children who intend to participate in activities, but require seven days minimum to respond to any request. They cannot calculate the relative risk of injury. Review the Injury Bulletins before making a request for information.

High risk and very high risk activities may be defined as activities where:

  • there is a high risk of injury to the child or other persons if the equipment or procedures associated with the activity are not used in the prescribed manner
  • there is a risk of severe injury to the child or other persons
  • there is a high likelihood, high probability or frequency, or a significant consequence or impact of an injury or event occurring
  • a high level of adult supervision of all aspects of the activity is required.

Activities that may be considered high or very high risk include but are not limited to white water rafting, rock climbing, abseiling and high ropes courses.

The participation of 16 and 17 year olds in such activities will be discussed directly with them with a view to increasing the young person's decision-making skills. Check the indemnity forms for activities, as some activities may allow consent by a young person aged 16 or 17 years.

Carers may provide consent for activities that are not assessed as being high or very high risk.

Gather information about the suitability of the activity for the child

Gather sufficient information to determine the suitability of the activity for the child, including the views of the child, parents and carer about the activity, and the suitability of the activity in relation to the child’s age, developmental level and experience.

Guardianship with the parents

Where parents retain guardianship of a child placed in care and consent has been sought through Child Safety for the child to participate in a high or very high risk activity:

  • contact both parents to advise of the request and to seek their consent
  • explain the nature of the activity and the hazards and risks for the child
  • provide the parents with a copy of any written information obtained from the organisation offering the activity.

Note: Where a child remains in the guardianship of parents, both parents must provide consent for these decisions unless all reasonable attempts to locate and consult with one parent have been unsuccessful.

If the parents provide consent for the child to participate in the activity:

  • ensure the parents sign the consent form provided by the organisation offering the activity
  • if a consent form has not been provided, provide each of the parents with a Guardian consent form for high risk and very high risk activities to sign
  • place a copy of the signed consent form on the child's file and attach a copy to the ongoing intervention event in ICMS
  • inform the child and the carer that the parents have given consent
  • provide the original signed consent form to the organisation offering the activity.

If consent is not given:

  • record each parent's decision on the consent form, place the form on the child's file and attach a copy to the ongoing intervention event in ICMS
  • inform the child and the carer that parents have not provided consent, and that the child's participation in the activity cannot proceed
  • inform the organisation offering the activity that the child does not have permission to participate in the activity.

Guardianship with the chief executive

To obtain team leader consent for the child's participation in the activity:

When a parent opposes the child's participation in the activity, their views must be taken into account, and the team leader may seek guidance regarding the decision from the CSSC manager. If the team leader or CSSC manager approves the activity, record the parents views and the rationale for the decision in a case note.

If participation in the activity is approved:

  • place the approved form on the child's file
  • inform the child, the carer and the child's parents of the approval
  • provide the organisation offering the activity with the signed letter advising of the decision by Child Safety.

If the activity is not approved by the senior team leader:

  • place a copy of the form on the child's file
  • inform the child, the carer and the parents of the decision not to provide consent
  • provide the organisation with the Child Safety consent form for high risk or very high risk activities signed by the senior team leader stating that the child does not have permission to participate in the activity.

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8. What if decisions about paediatric palliative care and end of life medical treatment are required?

Who can make palliative care and end of life decisions for a child?

Decisions about palliative care and end of life medical treatment for a child in care will be required in circumstances where:

  • the child has a life limiting illness, either long-term or acute, where death is likely or expected
  • the child’s life is threatened due to illness, trauma or injury as a result of an accident or self-harm
  • the child’s life is threatened due to illness, trauma or injury as a result of harm inflicted by another party.

End of life medical treatment decisions are to be informed by appropriate medical expertise, and undertaken in a timely way by a person with the legal authority to consent to such decisions, taking into consideration the views of the child and other relevant parties (carers, parents and CSOs). This will assist the relevant parties to make care and treatment decisions in the best interests of the child and alleviate the child’s pain and suffering.

A child’s guardian has the legal authority to provide consents for palliative care and end of life medical treatment, including the decision about what treatment will and will not occur in an acute situation. For a child in care, their guardian will be one of the following:

  • the parents, where the child is subject to a child protection care agreement or a child protection order granting custody to the chief executive
  • the child’s long-term guardian, where the child is subject to a long-term guardianship (to a suitable person) order
  • the chief executive, where the child is subject to a child protection order granting guardianship to the chief executive.

Support for the child

When a child receives a diagnosis about a life limiting illness, the CSO will ensure that the child receives the support that is appropriate to their age and circumstances. This support is to occur at the time of being advised of the diagnosis, and as required in coming to terms with the diagnosis throughout the illness. Support may include contact with significant people, or access to counselling or other services.

Paediatric palliative care

Paediatric palliative care refers to care given to a child who has a life limiting illness. Most of these diseases or conditions cannot be cured and therefore require the management of symptoms. The purpose of palliative care is to provide a child affected by a life limiting illness with:

  • an holistic and tailored approach through a team of health professionals coming together to meet the child’s medical, physical, emotional, spiritual, social and practical needs
  • support when it is most needed
  • an improved quality of life.

Each child receiving paediatric palliative care will have a treatment plan developed by medical professionals in conjunction with the child’s guardian. This information will be included in or attached to the child’s case plan. For further information refer to the Palliative Care Australia website.

When making decisions about palliative care:

  • discuss what is required to meet the child’s medical, physical, emotional, spiritual, social and practical needs
  • identify where palliative care can best be provided, such as at home, in a hospital or in a hospice. Many people choose to die at home, in a more natural environment (either the parents or carers home). Palliative care can occur in the home, despite the need for consistent care for the child, however, encourage the guardian to take and accept the advice of the doctors, as there are situations when the welfare of the child is best served by them remaining in hospital
  • identify the child’s needs and the assistance that could be offered by agencies to support the child’s in-home care (such as medication and care needs)
  • consider whether the completion of a ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’ by the hospital is required, if this has not already occurred – the ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’ replaces any previous ‘not for resuscitation’ order that may have been in place.

 End of life decision-making

Where the death of a child in care is likely or expected, early planning is essential and will include: 

  • the development of a treatment plan for the child by the doctors, in consultation with the child, parents, carers and Child Safety staff, where appropriate
  • completion of a ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’ that documents what treatment will and will not occur in an acute situation
  • decision-making about organ donation, if applicable
  • decision-making about contact by parents, family members, carers and staff with the child.

Having these conversations as early as possible with the relevant parties, will help minimise the stress and potential conflicts that can occur at this emotionally distressing time. For further information, refer to the practice resource Palliative care and end of life decision-making.

The child may also make these decisions, if assessed as being Gillick competent. Alternatively a child may be at an age and capacity to express their views and be willing and able to do so. In this circumstance, the child’s views are to be considered, in conjunction with the views of the child’s parents. For further information about the factors that will inform this decision-making, refer to the practice resource Palliative care and end of life decision-making. For further information about Gillick competency, refer to the information sheet Can young people under 18 make their own decisions?

While palliative care and end of life medical treatment decisions are the responsibility of the guardian, it is important that all relevant people are aware that a child protection order lapses at the death of the child, and decisions in relation to the funeral and other arrangements revert back to the parents. For further information, refer to 9. What if there is a death of a child in care?

For a child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, encourage discussion between the parents and the long-term guardian about the decision-making process and funeral and other arrangements as early as possible prior to the death of a child who has a life limiting illness. This will ensure everyone is clear about what will happen in relation to the funeral. Where there is disagreement about these arrangements, support the long-term guardian to negotiate some meaningful participation in the funeral ceremony. Early resolution of these matters will help the long-term guardian and assist Child Safety respond promptly with any assistance it has agreed to provide in relation to funeral arrangements.

For end-of-life decisions for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, arrange, with the consent of the child and family, for an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the decision-making process, refer to 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Treatment plans

The doctors treating a child in care, who has a serious or life limiting illness, will develop a treatment plan for the child. Ensure the child, parents, family members, carers and other significant people are included in the planning process, as relevant. Early consultation with the key people in the child’s life to develop the treatment plan will reduce the likelihood of conflict at a later time when decisions need to be made and people are coping with multiple emotions.

Where there is difficulty reaching agreement about the child’s medical treatment plan:

  • always resolve disputes between parties, including Child Safety, in favour of the best interests of the child, as informed by medical expertise
  • advise disputing parties to seek legal advice should they oppose, or be unwilling to consent to, a recommended medical treatment.

Similarly, should a guardian be insisting on medical treatment that is not recommended as being in the best interests of the child, advise any other interested party to seek legal advice. Where a child is subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, Child Safety staff may seek legal advice in relation to the guardian’s decision.

Paediatric acute resuscitation plans

A ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’ (PARP) is completed by medical staff where it is reasonably expected that a child may suffer an acute deterioration or critical event in the foreseeable future and resuscitation options may need to be considered. The PARP is to be completed as early as possible to avoid the need for decisions being made in a crisis. The PARP includes a resuscitation management plan that records the treatment that should and should not be provided. This ensures that all parties are clear about what will occur when end of life decisions need to be made. The plan is completed under the advice of medical practitioners and has four sections:

  • Clinical assessment - details the clinical assessment of the child’s condition
  • Resuscitation management plan - documents what treatments will and will not be provided in specific circumstances
  • Consenting details - details what the parents (guardians or decision-makers) and the child have consented to
  • Clinician authority - documents a senior medical practitioner or paediatrician’s involvement in any decision to withhold or withdraw medical treatment.

The ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’ may last up to 12 months, however, should a child’s circumstances change, a paediatrician or senior medical officer will determine whether a new ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’ is required.

Provide information about a child to the hospital

When a child in care is admitted to hospital with a life threatening medical condition, or their medical condition deteriorates such that their life is threatened, the CSO will provide relevant verbal information to hospital staff, and will follow this up with documentation as soon as possible. This includes:

  • details and a copy of the child protection order, if applicable
  • the effect of the order as to who has custody and guardianship of the child and who can legally provide consent for medical procedures and decisions about end of life medical treatment (unless the child is ‘Gillick competent’)
  • a copy of either the Letter re: Custody (Medical) or the Letter re: Custody and guardianship (Medical)
  • a copy of the current ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’, if applicable
  • the names and contact details for all persons relevant to the child, including the child’s guardian
  • the role of the CSAHSC, should the hospital require an after-hours decision or consent.

Regularly review and update the above documentation and provide it to the hospital and the carer, to ensure the information is accurate at all times.

Notify the QPS

Immediately notify the QPS (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2) and (3)) using the Police referral, where the child’s medical condition may be the result of harm that involved the commission of a criminal offence relating to the child.

Complete other reports

When a child is in care and their life is threatened as a result of an illness or trauma:

Contact the Coroner

Under the Coroner’s Act 2003, section 9, the death of a child under a child protection order is a reportable death in any circumstances, and therefore an investigative process by QPS applies. Where the child's medical condition is not offence related, but is of natural causes, and the child can be cared for at home, advise the guardian to have a discussion with treating doctors, who can make arrangements with the State Coroner about the involvement of the QPS at the time of death. The treating doctors can advise the State Coroner of the circumstances of the medical condition, of decisions made in relation to treatment and can obtain permission from the Registrar of the State Coroner to not involve the QPS. This will allow for the child to be moved sensitively to a funeral home after death, with appropriate ceremonies and funerals to occur without unnecessary forensic investigative involvement.

Where the chief executive is the guardian, the CSO will request for this to occur, or alternatively support the guardian to make this request, if appropriate.   

Provide information to the child, parents and carers

In circumstances where the child’s death is able to be predicted:

  • seek guidance from medical staff about the range of end of life decisions that need to be discussed with the relevant parties
  • facilitate discussions between the child, their parents where possible, the child’s carers and Child Safety, to consider the matters requiring discussion
  • seek advice around cultural protocols for sharing information for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child – for further information, refer to sad news sorry business (PDF)
  • seek the child’s views regarding proposed funeral arrangements, if the child is of an age and has the capacity to express their views and is willing and able to do so - this is to occur in conjunction with the child’s parents and in accordance with cultural or religious protocols and practices.

Where the child’s medical condition is unexpected or sudden, ensure the child, their parents and carers are provided with information about the care and treatment options recommended at the earliest possible time.

In addition:

  • advise the child, parents and the carers of their rights and responsibilities regarding decisions about end of life medical treatment and decisions following the death of the child
  • determine whether the child or the parents wish to discuss organ or tissue donation, and if so, refer them to the child’s medical practitioner for advice and information
  • provide advice about services that offer emotional and practical assistance and what help Child Safety can provide in relation to the child’s funeral arrangements - refer to 9. What if there is a death of a child in care?

Note: a child who has been assessed as being ‘Gillick competent’, may provide consent for organ or tissue donation prior to their death, or can register an 'intent to be an organ and tissue donor' with the Australian Organ Donor Register from the age of 16 years, and can only fully register from the age of 18. In this circumstance, the child can be a donor, however, only the parents can consent to this decision.

Respond to end of life matters - guardianship to the chief executive 

When a child is subject to a child protection order granting guardianship to the chief executive and decisions about end of life medical treatment are required, including what treatment will and will not occur in an acute situation, consent must be obtained from the Director-General, as the chief executive.

A number of steps are required to obtain information to enable the Director-General to make a decision, including:

  1. contact with relevant persons to seek their views about options
  2. convening a medical case conference to discuss the best options
  3. completing a Directior-General brief for approval, outlining issues relevant to the consent being recommended
  4. advising relevant parties of the option the Directior-General has consented to.

1. Contact with relevant persons

 Immediately upon the receipt of advice that a child is facing death due to illness or trauma:

  • inform the CSSC manager of the child’s medical condition
  • contact Legal Services and obtain legal advice about the situation
  • contact a local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander support agency or Child Safety staff member able to provide cultural advice to ensure that cultural protocols are observed in communicating the child’s circumstances to the family, of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
  • ensure all relevant parties are aware of the situation
  • determine whether the child’s current medical needs are being responded to appropriately.

2. Convene a medical case conference

  • request that a medical case conference be convened to develop or update the child’s medical treatment plan
  • arrange for the attendance of all relevant persons, including:
    • the Director-General or a delegated officer
    • the child (taking into account their age, ability to understand and their medical condition)
    • the treating medical practitioners
    • the parents and carers, unless circumstances make this inappropriate
    • the hospital’s social worker
    • the hospital’s Indigenous Liaison Officer, for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
    • an independent person to help facilitate the child and family’s participation in the decision-making process - refer to 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • assist the child and the parents to communicate their wishes, in order for cultural and religious protocols and practices to be taken into consideration and where required, arrange for an interpreter
  • fully explore options for the treatment and/or withholding of treatment, so that the child (if ‘Gillick competent’), or the delegated officer, can provide informed consent to the proposed medical treatment plan
  • request a letter of advice from the treating doctor, outlining the proposed treatment and recommended option
  • determine whether any further advice is required from Legal Services.

Obtaining agreement from all parties at the medical case conference can be difficult, given the highly emotive nature of the circumstances. Hospital social workers are skilled and experienced in assisting families to make such decisions and may already know the child and family. Having a hospital social worker facilitate the conference will assist the parties reach a mutual agreement about the best care plan for the child.

Note: If the child’s parents or other persons significant to the child reside in a remote location and are unable to travel, arrange a teleconference or video link to facilitate their participation in the medical case conference.

3. Prepare a Director-General brief for approval

To obtain consent to end of life medical treatment or the withholding of treatment:

  • complete a briefing note seeking the delegated officer’s decision
  • use the End of life decision-making guide to ensure all relevant information and attachments are included
  • attach the ‘Consent form - Operations and treatment’
  • attach the ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’, if required
  • forward to the Director-General to seek approval.

If approved, the Director-General will:

  • sign the ‘Consent form - Operations and treatment’
  • sign the ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’, if required.

4. Advise relevant parties

Following this the CSO will:

  • inform all relevant parties of the decision - taking into account cultural protocols for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, as outlined in sad news sorry business
  • provide the original, signed ‘Consent form - Operations and treatment’ to the hospital
  • return the signed original ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’ to the hospital
  • attach a copy of the signed ‘Consent form - Operations and treatment’ and ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’ in ICMS.

Respond to end of life matters after hours - guardianship to the chief executive

In circumstances where medical treatment decisions are required after hours, medical staff will contact the CSAHSC to facilitate contact with the delegated officer or a delegated officer, in order to:

  • discuss the child’s medical care needs  
  • obtain the required consents.

Where practicable, this discussion will occur at the hospital and should include the child, the parents and the carers, where the child has been placed with the carers for a significant period of time.

If the Director-General or a delegated officer is unable to attend the hospital in person, either the Director-General or the delegated officer will:

  • contact the child’s parents, carers and where possible, the child to discuss the treatment options
  • consider the child’s previously expressed views about their medical treatment, if contact with the child is not possible
  • sign the completed ‘Consent form - Operations and treatment’ and the ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’, if required provide the hospital with the signed form - Operations and treatment and the ‘Paediatric acute resuscitation plan’, if required
  • forward a copy of the signed forms to the CSSC for the child’s file.

Should the child’s condition dramatically change or deteriorate, it may be necessary to urgently obtain further consents for additional treatments, or to cease or withhold treatment. In these circumstances, reconvene a medical case conference to update the medical treatment plan and determine whether these end of life medical treatment decisions that have been consented to by either the child (if ‘Gillick competent’) or the delegated officer need to be amended. A hospital social worker, who is experienced in dealing with such matters and may already know the child and family, may reconvene the medical case conference.

The reconvened conference will occur either in person or by telephone and will include:

  • the Director-General or a delegated officer
  • the child (taking into account their age, ability to understand and their medical condition)
  • the parents
  • the carers
  • the treating medical practitioners. 

Where parents and carers are unable to participate in the medical case conference, ensure that all parties are informed of the medical treatment plan for the child and the consents provided by the delegated officer.

Respond to concerns about the decision-making of a guardian

In circumstances where it is assessed that the parent or long-term guardian is unable to make decisions in the best interests of the child due to issues of competence, availability, willingness or a causal relationship to the child’s illness or trauma, the CSSC manager will contact Legal Services and seek urgent legal advice about the most appropriate action relevant to the child’s circumstances.

There will be circumstances where QPS involvement will be required, for example, if a child is critically ill due to a parent causing them serious injuries. In these circumstances, the QPS may already be involved and a parent may have been charged with an offence of grievous bodily harm. In the event of the child’s death, the charges may be upgraded to manslaughter or murder. 

Provide support to parents, siblings and carers

In order to provide support to the family and carers, Child Safety will:

  • offer grief counselling and practical support to all persons affected by the imminent death of the child
  • offer support to carers, who may be required to spend lengthy periods of time at the hospital supporting the child through the final stage of their life. This support may include:
    • assistance with travel costs 
    • respite care for other children in the care placement 
    • arranging assistance with meals and other household tasks and activities 
  • offer assistance to siblings to visit their ill sibling and allow them the opportunity to talk through their feelings
  • consult with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Hospital Liaison Officers, health workers or Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander Health Services, for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander child, to ensure that cultural customs are understood and respected during this time
  • offer assistance with travel, meal costs and accommodation, to parents and other significant family members, especially where the parents do not reside in close proximity to the hospital.

Record case information

Record all details, actions, forms and decisions relevant to palliative care and end of life medical treatment in ICMS. Ensure all copies of official forms, consents and letters are attached to the relevant event in ICMS.

Record information and implement actions following the death of the child

Following the death of the child, there are additional requirements regarding the management of client records which must be adhered to - refer to Chapter 10.19, 1. Actions following the serious injury or death of a child. For further information, refer to 9. What if there is a death of a child in care? 

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 9. What if there is a death of a child in care?

The death of a child in Queensland, regardless of the cause and where the death occurred, is a reportable death under the Coroners Act 2003. The death of any child in care must be reported direct to the QPS by either:

  • Child Safety, if the child's death occurs within the carer's home or some other location including the parent's home, a licensed care service or another entity
  • the hospital, where the child's death occurs in hospital.

The QPS is responsible for advising the Coroner of the child's death. This includes circumstances where the death was natural, due to illness, acute or long-term, or unnatural, due to accident, suicide or homicide.

Upon the death of a child, the powers, duties and responsibilities imposed upon the chief executive or another person by the Child Protection Act 1999 cease, and revert back to the child's parents.

While parents may nominate another family member or significant other to act on their behalf in carrying out certain duties and obligations in respect of the child, only a parent can make decisions or undertake actions that require the legal consent or authority of the child's guardian, following the child's death.

In all matters relevant to the child's death and funeral arrangements, Child Safety officers will be respectful of, and sensitive to, the child's cultural and religious background. Parents should be assisted to communicate their wishes so that cultural and religious protocols and practices can be considered. This may require the engagement of an interpreter.

For information about funerals and memorial services, refer to the practice resource Funerals and memorial services (PDF, 26 KB).

Implement actions following the death of a child in care

Due to the sensitivities associated with the death of a child and the complexities that may arise due to parents assuming responsibility for decisions about the post death care of the child's body, it is the responsibility of the CSSC manager to:

  • decide the most appropriate Child Safety officer to implement the actions required following the death of a child
  • ensure the completion of all necessary actions.

Immediately upon the death of a child:

  • implement the procedures for critical incident reporting - refer to the Critical incident reporting policy
  • contact the a local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander support agency or Child Safety staff member able to provide cultural advice, to ensure protocols are observed in communicating the child’s death to the parents and family of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
  • make every effort to locate and inform both parents of the child's death, so they can assume responsibility for decision-making about the handling of the child's body and the funeral arrangements
  • ensure that parents and carers are aware of the requirements of the Coroners Act 2003 for reportable deaths
  • inform the parents that the Coroner may decide an autopsy or inquest is required to determine the cause of death and that where this occurs, it may cause a delay in the release of the child's body for the funeral
  • refer the parents to the Coroner's office, should they have any questions relevant to the Coroner's role in relation to the death
  • ensure that hospital staff report the death to the QPS if the child dies in a hospital or inform the QPS of the child's death
  • provide the QPS with:
    • contact details for the child's parents
    • contact details for the child's doctor
    • the child's most recent placement arrangements
    • confirmation that the child was in care
  • advise the QPS, medical staff and carers that responsibility for decisions relevant to the post death care of the child's body rests with the parents, subject to any direction by the Coroner that an autopsy is required
  • liaise with the QPS, parents and carers regarding the formal identification of the body, the attendance of a medical doctor for the purpose of issuing a death certificate certifying the cause of death and transporting the child's body to the mortuary
  • if the child is subject to current court proceedings, inform OCFOS of the child's death
  • if the child is subject to current tribunal proceedings, inform Court Services of the child’s death.

At an appropriate time, advise the parents and carers about the departmental requirements regarding child death case reviews - refer to Chapter 10.19 The review of child deaths.

Within one business day of being notified of the death of a child, notify the Office of the Public Guardian by email and call the relevant regional visiting manager, in line with the Data Exchange and Information Sharing Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and the Office of the Public Guardian (PDF).

In deciding whether an autopsy is warranted, the Coroner is required to consider the views of the parents, particularly with regard to cultural traditions or spiritual beliefs. In circumstances where the decision to proceed with an autopsy causes distress to the parents, Child Safety officers will ensure that parents have access to support services. Specialist coronial counsellors are contactable at the John Tonge Centre by telephone on (07) 3274 9200.

In circumstances where one parent cannot be located, the other parent may assume responsibility for decision-making.

When a parent is unable to attend to the formal identification of the child, because they have not maintained contact with the child, the carer or a Child Safety officer may be required to make the identification.

If parents are asked by hospital staff to consider organ or tissue donation, for either live transplant or other therapeutic, medical or scientific purposes, only the parents can make this decision, unless the child was assessed as being 'Gillick competent' and provided consent for such actions prior to their death.

Where parents are unable to be located, or unable or unwilling to make decisions regarding post death care and funeral arrangements, the CSSC manager will immediately contact OCFOS to discuss the requirements for an application to the Supreme Court of Queensland, for an order to attend to matters relevant to the child's circumstances.

At an appropriate time, advise the parents and carers about Child Safety requirements regarding child death case reviews - refer to Chapter 10.19 The review of child deaths.

Provide support and assistance

Following the death of a child:

  • ensure the parents are provided with information about, or access to, persons or services available to assist them in making relevant decisions and in dealing with their grief
  • provide support and assistance, including grief counselling, to the child's siblings and carers and their family members
  • encourage parents to allow carers to spend time with the deceased child, particularly where the death has occurred in a hospital
  • provide access to debriefing and support services for Child Safety officers who have been actively involved in providing services to the child at the time of the child's death.

Assist parents with the funeral arrangements

When the funeral is being arranged:

  • the Child Safety officer may assist parents with funeral arrangements, if requested
  • the wishes of the parents regarding the child’s funeral arrangements are to be respected and take precedence in all cases
  • siblings of the deceased child who are in care should be assisted to attend the funeral, provided it is in keeping with the wishes of parents
  • seek the views of parents regarding the attendance of Child Safety officers at the funeral.

Encourage parents to consider the involvement of carers in funeral arrangements

In circumstances where the child has been placed with the carers for a significant period of time, encourage the parents to consider and involve the child's carers and their family members in funeral arrangements. In all cases however, such involvement is at the parents discretion.

Carers in serious dispute with proposed funeral arrangements will be advised that they can make application to the Supreme Court of Queensland to adjudicate the matter.

If carers and significant others are unable to attend the child’s funeral, due to distance or the wishes of theparents, or parents’, a the Child Safety officer may arrange, or assist to arrange, a memorial service to enable carers, past and present, their family members and other significant people to pay their respects to the child. Where appropriate, advice regarding such arrangements will be provided to the parents.

Inform parents of available financial assistance

Advise the parents that financial assistance is available from Child Safety for the costs associated with the funeral of a child in care, including:

  • transporting the child's body from the place of death to where the funeral will be held
  • assistance with travel costs for family members, carers and their family members and other significant persons to attend the funeral, subject to the parents wishes.

Attend to the child's belongings and personal effects

The child's parents are responsible for decision-making regarding the handling of the child's belongings and personal effects. To facilitate this process, the Child Safety officer will:

  • seek the parents views regarding the handling of the child's belongings and personal effects, and inform the parents of any views expressed by the child before their death
  • contact the carer to make arrangements to transfer the child's belongings to the parents, unless otherwise advised by the parents
  • collect the child's belongings if they are in some other location, and provide them to the parents, unless otherwise advised by the parents.

Record case information

All details, decisions and actions relevant to the child's death and post-death care are to be recorded, and the relevant documentation placed on the child's file.

There are additional requirements regarding the management of client records following the death of a child which must be adhered to - refer to Chapter 10.19, 1. Implement actions following the death of a child.

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10. What if a child is also subject to youth justice intervention?

When a child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, and is also subject to youth justice intervention

  • Child Safety and Youth Justice Services work collaboratively to address the child's needs and support change to new behaviours
  • Child Safety maintains case management responsibility for the child's protective needs
  • Youth Justice Services maintains case management responsibility for maximising the child's successful completion of orders and transition to a life away from crime.
  • the CSO consults with the youth justice case worker about relevant persons to attend youth justice meetings, reviews, conferences and court proceedings
  • the CSO informs the youth justice case worker as to who has custody and guardianship rights and responsibilities for the child - refer to 3.1 Determine who may decide a custody or guardianship matter
  • Child Safety and Youth Justice Services coordinate service delivery for the duration of the care placement, including:
    • enabling the youth justice case worker's participation in the development or review of the child's case plan
    • obtaining information to inform the development or review of the child's case plan
    • providing information about the child to the youth justice case worker
    • attending relevant youth justice meetings, reviews and conferences and attending court proceedings
    • ensuring the needs of a child who has been sexually abused or has engaged in sexually abusive behaviour are met, if applicable, and clarifying responsibilities in this regard - refer to the practice resource Children with sexual abuse histories (PDF, 52 KB).

Information requested by a youth justice case worker that is necessary to the child's safety or well-being, or to coordinate service delivery will be provided in accordance with the confidentiality requirements of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 187 and 188.

Provide information to the youth justice case worker

Information to be provided to the child's youth justice case worker will include:

  • any interventions being undertaken with the young person that may impact on or inform youth justice service delivery
  • the child's placement details and case plans goals, for the duration of any youth justice intervention
  • the child's case plan, when the youth justice case worker participates in the development or review of the case plan, or has responsibility for implementation of case plan actions
  • the child's cultural support needs
  • the child's educaitonal support needs
  • periods of illness or hospitalisation preventing the child from complying with the conditions of their youth justice order or program
  • a critical incident report recorded in relation to the child or their family - for further information, refer to the Critical incident reporting policy
  • actions taken by the child that appear to be inconsistent with the requirements of their youth justice order or program
  • advice of the child's return home and case closure by the department.

If there is uncertainty about whether the information should be provided verbally or in writing, consult with the senior team leader. Any request that relates to a youth justice referral to the Griffith Youth Forensic Service is to be provided in writing, however, if time restrictions apply, the request can be provided verbally.

For further information about information sharing with Youth Justice Services refer to Chapter 10.3 Information sharing.

Participate in youth justice processes where the chief executive has custody or guardianship

Where the child protection order grants custody or guardianship to the chief executive, a Child Safety officer, as determined by the CSSC manager, is required to attend:

  • meetings that relate to the development and management of court orders or reports, for example pre-sentence reports
  • youth justice meetings, including all initial interviews and final reviews when a child is subject to conditional bail or has been remanded in custody
  • at least every second progress review for an intensive supervision order, conditional release order or conditional bail program
  • all youth justice court proceedings to provide information about the child, their placement and case plan.

Provide information to assist the court consider referral to a Supervised Bail Accommodation service

The CSO is to provide information to enable the court to consider a child's suitability to be referred to a Supervised Bail Accommodation Service if consideration is being given, or is likely to be given to, refusing bail and remanding a young person in detention because they lack supported, secure and stable accommodation. The court needs to be satisfied that a young person would not be an unacceptable risk if they reside at the Supervised Bail Accommodation service, before it refers a young person to a service.

For further information about eligibility requirements and locations of Supervised Bail Accommodation services, visit the Youth Justice Services website.

Participate in non-compliance meetings

Where possible and appropriate to the child's needs, Child Safety is also required to attend warning meetings undertaken by Youth Justice Services with respect to the child's non-compliance with a youth justice order or program.

Should the CSO or another Child Safety officer be unable to attend the required meeting:

  • provide relevant information to the youth justice case worker prior to the meeting
  • record the reason for non-attendance on the child's file and include details of other actions taken.
  • liaise with the Youth Justice case worker after the meeting in relation to outcomes and actions to be undertaken.

Where a child protection order grants custody to a family member, a Child Safety officer may attend youth justice meetings and court proceedings, if appropriate to the child's needs.

Decide the participation of parents and carers in youth justice processes

When the child is subject to a child protection order granting guardianship to the chief executive:

  • decide whether it is appropriate for the child's parents, carer, or both to attend relevant youth justice meetings and court proceedings
  • inform the youth justice case worker, parents and carer of the decision - the youth justice case worker is responsible for advising all relevant persons about when court proceedings are scheduled.

Implement actions when a child is held in watch-house custody

When informed by the QPS that a child is being held in watch-house custody:

  • advise the QPS to contact the child's youth justice case worker, or if it is after hours, the CSAHSC. The CSAHSC will record the information in ICMS for both Youth Justice Services and the relevant CSSCs and contact the on-call CSSC manager, if required.
  • negotiate a joint plan for visiting and phoning the child while in watch-house custody, with the youth justice case worker
  • work with youth justice to source appropriate accommodation for the young person, where issues of accommodation options impact on the granting of bail.

Implement actions when a child is subject to a detention order or remanded in custody

When a child enters a detention centre:

  • contact the detention centre case worker and provide information about the child, including:
    • the child's strengths and needs
    • the case plan, including the cultural support plan, education support plan, behaviour support plan senior education and training plan and the child health passport
    • the child's behaviour triggers, responses and strategies
    • who has guardianship of the child and the implications for decision-making and consents
    • issues likely to impact on the child's safety or well-being, or the safety of detention centre staff or residents
  • arrange an initial visit with the child.

While the child remains in the detention centre:

  • maintain regular contact with the child, in person (where geographically possible) and by phone
  • maintain contact with the child's carer and family
  • liaise with the detention centre case worker to monitor the child's progress
  • attend or participate in case planning and review processes
  • attend youth justice court proceedings
  • attend to any issues as requested by detention centre staff or the youth justice case worker
  • participate in planning for the child's transition from:
    • detention, if applicable
    • being a child in care, if applicable
  • support transition planning and processes, for example, finding suitable accommodation
  • ensure that the child is aware of the plan for their release from detention.

When a child exits a detention centre:

  • attend or participate in any final planning or review meeting
  • obtain relevant information about the child's educational and medical requirements
  • ensure that the child's basic needs are met in a timely way
  • consider whether the child's change in circumstances is such that a review of their case plan is required.

Obtain prior approval of costs to be met by Child Safety

If the services provided to a child and their family include both child protection and youth justice intervention, the respective managers will adopt a collaborative approach to sharing the costs.

The responsibility for costs is determined by:

  • whether the financial support is:
    • primarily related to administering youth justice orders or programs
    • specific to the case plan for addressing the young person's protection and care needs
  • who has custody or guardianship of the child.

Costs associated with the daily care of a child in a youth detention centre are met by the detention centre. Costs associated with the daily care of a child residing in a Supervised Bail Accommodation (SBA) service are met by the SBA service. Costs not associated with the daily care of the child are the responsibility of the child's guardian, whether the chief executive or the child's parents.

In the event that a dispute regarding financial responsibility cannot be resolved between Child Safety and Youth Justice Services after the best interests of the young person have been considered by both parties, the managers will refer the matter for a final decision to:

  • the regional director, Child Safety
  • the regional director, Youth Justice Services.

Where the child's living arrangement is, or is likely to be, a component of conditional bail or a youth justice order, program proposals and associated costs to be met by Child Safety will be discussed and documented by the CSO and the youth justice case worker. Nominated costs must be endorsed by the appropriate financial delegate, prior to any submission being made to a court by a youth justice case worker.

In these circumstances:

  • inform the youth justice case worker that written approval of the proposed costs is required from the financial delegate for Child Safety prior to any submission being made to a court
  • seek approval for the proposed costs from the financial delegate as soon as possible
  • once the financial delegate has made a decision, immediately advise the youth justice case worker of the outcome so that Youth Justice Services can complete the relevant court submission
  • comply with Child Safety requirements in relation to any placements funded through children related costs - refer to the Child related costs – Placement funding policy and procedure.

Following the child's next court appearance, continuations or extensions of existing programs and associated costs require renegotiation and re-approval by the delegated officer.

Note: On rare occasions where a court orders that accommodation arrangements are to be part of a condition of bail or a youth justice order, prior to the approval of proposed costs, the requirements of the order must be implemented until such time as the condition is otherwise ordered by the court as part of a sentence review.

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11. What if a child or parent has an infectious or communicable disease?

Where it becomes apparent or information is received that a parent has an infectious or communicable disease such as HIV or Hepatitis C, or engages in behaviour or actions that may result in the contraction of a disease:

  • record the information in the Child information form
  • consider any risk to the child or carers, and identify actions to mitigate the risk.

Follow infection control precautions, as outlined in resources below, during all contacts with the child and parents, for example, when supervising family contact visits or conducting home visits to parents, to ensure the ongoing health and safety of staff and the child.

Where it becomes apparent that a child has contracted an infectious or communicable disease, seek medical attention. All resulting information will be:

  • recorded or updated in the Child information form
  • discussed with the child, where age and developmentally appropriate
  • discussed with the child's parents
  • discussed with the child's carers, to allow them to respond to the child's health needs and implement any necessary safety precautions.

Where a health professional has assessed a young person is 'Gillick competent', the CSO will need to negotiate with the young person about the information will be shared with the parents and carers. For example, whether the young person would like a support person at the initial discussion and what strategies could be put in place to provide ongoing support to the young person, the parents and carers.

Where a medical practitioner confirms that a child has a sexually transmitted disease:

  • report the information using a Police referral where the information meets the requirement to inform the QPS according to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2) and (3)
  • assess and record the information in accordance with Intake procedures and determine if the information meets the threshold for recording a notification - refer to Chapter 1. Intake
  • and the young person is over 16 years and is in care and there are no concerns that the young person’s sexual activity indicates they have been the victim of a criminal offence, ensure the young person receives information regarding sexual and reproductive health.

Resources about infectious or communicable diseases and recommended safety precautions, are available from the following links:

Infection control processes must observe the principles of Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012. Complaints regarding breaches of the standard must be dealt with through the complaints procedure outlined in the department's privacy plan.

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12. What if another jurisdiction requests an assessment?

Another state, territory or New Zealand (jurisdiction) may contact Child Safety requesting that an assessment be conducted for the purpose of facilitating:

  • family contact or a holiday
  • a respite placement
  • a foster carer placement
  • a kinship carer placement
  • an assessment of parents for the purpose of reunification.

If the request relates to a non-relative carer assessment, refer to Chapter 10.18, 3.3 Request to locate a non-relative placement in Queensland. If the request relates to the assessment of parents, refer to Chapter 10.18, 3.4 Carer assessment requests from another jurisdiction.

Where the request relates to family contact, a holiday or respite, the interstate jurisdiction contacts the ILO, Court Services and provides the completed Request for Interstate Assessment - Holiday Placement form (or the requesting jurisdiction's equivalent form). The ILO will ensure that sufficient information has been provided in relation to the child's behaviour and medical issues, and will forward all relevant documentation, with an accompanying letter, including a summary of the case and the due timeframe, to the CSSC manager or the director of the PSU for allocation. The ILO will maintain contact with the CSSC to ensure completion of the request within the agreed timeframe.

In response to the assessment request:

  • conduct the assessment within the agreed timeframe or obtain CSSC manager approval to contract the assessment out to a private practitioner
  • liaise with the ILO or the requesting jurisdiction to clarify any issues
  • complete the assessment report and seek approval for the recommendation from the CSSC manager, senior team leader or the director of the PSU
  • fax the completed assessment report, signed by the CSSC manager, senior team leader or director of the PSU, to the ILO
  • post the original report to the ILO
  • file a copy of the report within the CSSC or PSU, as appropriate.

On receipt of the assessment report, the ILO will forward the report to the ILO in the requesting jurisdiction.

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13. What if a young person in care receives a youth allowance or earns a wage?

In circumstances where a young person in a foster or kinship care placement receives a Commonwealth benefit such as the Youth Allowance or Abstudy, or earns a wage:

  • the carer will receive the fortnightly caring allowance to cover the young person's day-to-day needs, including food, clothing, hobbies, school costs, medical bills, prescriptions and personal care items
  • the young person is not expected to contribute towards meeting the costs of their day-to-day needs.

A young person (aged between 15 and 17 years) placed in a supported living service, may be asked to co-contribute financially towards the costs of their day-to-day living needs. This arrangement should be identified in the service agreement between the service provider and Child Safety.

It is reasonable to expect that a young person would pay, or contribute to the expenses, for personal items and social and entertainment activities not covered by the fortnightly caring allowance or child related costs. This may include CDs, books, magazines or personal savings. For further information, refer to 5. What if a child requires or has a bank account?

In circumstances where there is a dispute between the parties about financial responsibilities, convene a meeting to discuss the relevant issues.

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14. What if a child is missing?

Purpose

To support Child Safety staff when responding to situations where a child in care is missing from where they live.

Definitions

  • A child is one who is placed in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive or with carers who have been granted long-term guardianship of the child under the Child Protection Act 1999.
  • A direct carer is an approved carer, long-term guardian or staff member in a care service.
  • A missing child is any child whose location is unknown and there are fears for the safety or concern for the welfare of that child.
  • An absent child is a child who is absent for a short period without permission, and where the child’s location is known or can be quickly established.
  • The term ‘frequently’ is defined as regularly, that is, frequently absent describes a child who exhibits a pattern of regularly leaving their placement without permission or not providing details of where they are going and how they can be contacted. Frequently missing describes a child whose location is regularly unknown and there are continuing fears for the safety and/or welfare of that child.
  • The term 'safety and support network' is used to reflect those people engaged in the provision of care and support to the child. This may include direct carer, care services, Child Safety, police, education, the parents, friends and family of the child.

When a child is abducted

If you know or reasonably suspect a child has been abducted, contact QPS immediately by calling 000. Once QPS have been advised please contact the care services, the CSSC or if after hours, the CSAHSC.

When a child is absent

In some circumstances, children absent themselves from where they should be for a short period and then return. They may be testing the boundaries, or have become side-tracked on their way home. The direct carer should make all reasonable attempts to locate the child and then will have to make a judgement about the seriousness of the situation and respond like any reasonable parent.

In most instances the child’s whereabouts are known or can be readily confirmed. It is important the child’s direct carer initiates actions that a reasonable parent would take, to quickly establish the child’s location and their safe return. This includes:

  • searching the house and the premises including the garage, grounds and surrounding area
  • asking friends or neighbours if they have seen the child
  • contacting the child’s school to determine if they have information about the child’s whereabouts
  • checking places where the child frequently attends, such as shops, parks, friends’ homes or other ‘special places’ they may go to
  • alerting the child’s friends and networks that you are looking for the child and seeking their assistance to find the child, where this is appropriate to do so
  • engaging with other members of the child’s 'safety and support network'.

It may also be appropriate to contact the child’s parents or family members and enquire if the child is in contact with them. It may be preferable for this action to be undertaken by the CSO.

If there is doubt about how to respond, the direct carer will contact their agency or the CSSC for advice.

An absence may be an early indicator that a child is missing. Therefore the child’s absence will need to be carefully monitored and escalated if the child becomes ‘missing’.

When a child is frequently absent from their placement, the CSO together with the child and their 'safety and support network' are to develop a safety and support plan (DOCX, 22 KB). Refer to the practice resource Safety and support plans - young people frequently absent or missing (PDF, 205 KB) Safety and support plans - young people frequently absent or missing (RTF, 50 KB).

When a child is missing

Regardless of the child protection order or care agreement the child is subject to, if a child in care is missing, immediate efforts are required to locate them.

As soon as possible after all reasonable attempts to find the child have failed, the child must be reported as missing to the QPS.

Responding quickly and appropriately when a child is missing is vital, even if the child has only been missing for a short period. It is important the child’s direct carer initiates action that any reasonable parent would take, to secure the safe and timely return of the child.

For information about the role and responsibilities of government and non-government agencies, refer to the Queensland Government Protocol for Joint Agency Response - When a Child in Care is missing (PDF, 199 KB).

Additional responsibilities of the CSO

When a child is missing, the CSO has the following additional responsibilities:

Responsibilities of the CSSC manager or CSAHSC manager

The CSSC manager or CSAHSC manager are responsible for providing guidance and support to staff, and ensuring all actions are completed in a timely manner as required by the Critical Incident policy:

  • a level one type critical incident (such as abduction of a child) requires immediate verbal advice to the regional director, and the completion of a critical incident report within four business hours of the staff member becoming aware of the incident
  • a level two type critical incident (such as a missing child) requires completion of a critical incident report form by 5pm of the next business day of the staff member becoming aware of the incident
  • liaising with the regional director regarding the level of information that is suitable for publication, including how the direct carers are to take into account the Child Protection Act 1999, section 189 and various privacy provisions.

Responsibilities of the regional director

The regional director is responsible for:

  • providing advice as soon as practical to the regional executive director of a level one type critical incident
  • exercising the statutory delegation to authorise the publication of information that will or is likely to identify a missing child as being subject to intervention under the Child Protection Act 1999, as appropriate
  • responding to requests for media statements, such as with ‘amber alerts’, and leading the development of a media strategy in consultation with QPS and the direct carer.

Responsibilities of the Office of the Public Guardian

The Office of the Public Guardian is also required to advise Child Safety that a child is missing, as soon as possible and within one business day of receiving advice about a missing child, in line with the Data Exchange and Information Sharing Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and the Office of the Public Guardian (PDF). Notification is to be provided to a Regional Intake Service or CSAHSC, unless the Office of the Public Guardian is aware that Child Safety has already been informed that the child is missing.

Making a missing person report

The police require a ‘missing person report’ be completed. This is done by attending the local police station in person. Irrespective of how long the direct carer has known the child, they are usually the best person to make the missing person report.

If there are extenuating circumstances that prevent the direct carer from going to the police station, they must contact the QPS to discuss an alternative process to facilitate lodging the missing person report.

QPS must be provided with as much relevant information as soon as possible to assist them in making a risk assessment and locating the missing child. The ‘Missing child checklist (DOC, 930 KB)’ must be completed to assist the QPS with the information they need. It does not replace the need to make a missing person report. 

Where information is not known it can be provided later, and should not delay taking immediate action. The checklist can be completed online or completed manually. It can be pre-populated and kept in a safe place, particularly where there have been previous incidents.

Where the checklist is completed by the direct carer, the CSO will review the information as soon as possible and identify what additional information they can provide directly to the QPS. This is likely to be after the direct carer has been in contact with the QPS. 

After making the official missing person report, the direct carer will obtain and record the following details:

  • the date and time the missing person report was made
  • the name of the police officer who received the missing person report
  • the QPRIME number, obtained from the QPS officer taking the information.

As soon as practical, the direct carer must provide these details to the CSSC, or if after-hours, to the CSAHSC as well as to their care service.

The CSO must then record these details in the ‘missing child’ alert in the child’s ICMS profile.

Using Our Child to help locate the missing child

Our Child is an information system that can be used by Child Safety and the QPS to assist in locating a child in care who has been reported to the QPS as a missing person.

The information in Our Child is the most recent information available from ICMS (which includes Child Safety and Youth Justice information) CRIS-YJ, Office of the Public Guardian’s Jigsaw system, Queensland Health client systems and the Department of Education information system OneSchool. If a child is not enrolled at a state school, Our Child will only show education related information from ICMS. The available information from One School includes:

  • profile information including the mobile and email addresses of the young person
  • relevant addresses and contact details, including family and placement details
  • placement start and end dates
  • school enrolments
  • school absences (over the past 90 days)
  • school suspensions
  • school communication (which shows an issue has been raised regarding this child within their school).

The available Youth Justice information from ICMS includes:

  • court orders
  • restorative justice events (from CRIS-YJ)
  • arrests
  • case contacts.

The available information from the Office of the Public Guardian includes details about the last community visit for the child including:

  • address
  • visit type
  • visit status
  • community visitor contact information.

The available information from Queensland Health comes from the following systems:

  • Client Directory (CD)
  • Enterprise Patients, Admissions, Discharges and Transfers (ePADT)
  • Clinical Data Repository (CDR)
  • Surgical Access Team Reporting systems (SATR).

The Queensland Health information relates to a child in care’s presentation to a Queensland Health hospital or medical facility in the previous 10 days.  The information will include:

  • name of the facility
  • address of the facility (based on the facilities location)
  • date and time of the presentation or appointment. 

Information about children subject to the following statutory interventions can be searched in Our Child if they are reported as missing to the QPS:

  • care agreements
  • temporary assessment orders, temporary custody orders and court assessment orders where custody is given to the Chief Executive
  • custody and guardianship orders (including those subject to interim custody or guardianship)
  • long term guardianship to other orders
  • interstate order and the child is residing in care in Queensland.

Records relating to children subject to a permanent care order will not be able to be accessed via Our Child.

When to use Our Child

Our Child will be accessed by QPS staff and Child Safety staff who are involved in locating a missing child, only after the child has been reported to the QPS as a missing person, and only to help locate the missing child and until the child is located. It cannot be used if a child is absent from placement but has not yet been reported as a missing person to the QPS.

Once a child has been reported to the QPS as missing, Our Child may be accessed by a range of staff within a CSSC or CSAHSC who are playing an active role in locating a missing child or in managing the critical incident. Our Child will assist staff gather key information to assist in establishing the child’s whereabouts, determine their safety and well-being and ascertain why they may have left the placement. The information contained in Our Child can be shared with care service staff and the child’s ‘safety and support network’ where it is relevant and safe to do so. For example, Our Child may identify that the child was suspended from school and this may be the cause of the child not wanting to return to the placement. The QPS may access Our Child to assist them to locate the child by utilising the list of relevant addresses.  

When Child Safety staff access Our Child they will be asked to enter a justification for access. The justification for access will include reference to the users role in searching for the missing child and the child’s name or ICMS ID, for example:

  • “Managing the search for John Smith 52345789W who has been reported to the QPS as missing” or
  • “Assisting in the search for John Smith 52345789W who has been reported to the QPS as missing”.

Use of Our Child does not replace the need to work closely with key agency staff in a collaborative way to best meet the needs of children who are reported as missing. For further information, refer to practice resource Our Child.

Sensitive Clients

Children who have sensitivity plans in ICMS can be viewed in Our Child by both Child Safety and QPS staff. A sensitivity flag will appear in Our Child to indicate to Child Safety staff that the child has a sensitivity plan in ICMS.

Monitoring Our Child

Information available in Our Child is subject to strict confidentiality provisions under Queensland legislation, and may only be accessed where it is relevant to a function that a staff member is performing under the Child Protection Act 1999. Use of Our Child will be monitored through regular audit logs, to ensure the system is used according to its intent which is only when a child is reported to the QPS as a missing person.

 Once the child is located, the use of Our Child for that child will cease.  

Providing a photograph of the missing child

The QPS may request a recent photograph of the missing child to assist their efforts to locate the child. The direct carer should where possible, provide a clear recent photograph of the missing child to the QPS.

In the event QPS need to release additional information with the photograph that will identify the missing child as being subject to any intervention under the Child Protection Act 1999, QPS must seek written authorisation from the chief executive, Child Safety. Regional directors and regional executive directors have the statutory delegations to provide written permission in these circumstances.

Publishing a photo to social media

A photo of the missing child can be published on social media by any member of the safety and support network or QPS, where the child is not identified as being subject to intervention under the Child Protection Act 1999. For example:

  • it is acceptable to publish a photo on Facebook to say "Johnny Smith a member of my son's football team is missing. Here is a photo of him" - as this does not or is not likely to identify him as a child in care, nor does it identify any other person.
  • it is not acceptable to post the same photo on Facebook with the commentary “Here is a photo of Johnny Smith, a foster child that I am caring for who is missing” - as this identifies him as a child in care.

Involving the mainstream media

The QPS makes the decision to release information to mainstream media (including newspapers, television and radio) to help locate the child, including the issuing of an ‘Amber Alert’.

An amber alert involves the urgent broadcast to the public to facilitate the recovery of an abducted child or high risk missing child. The QPS will tell Child Safety when they issue a media release by phoning CSAHSC, who will contact the relevant CSSC.

Every effort will then be made by the CSSC or if after hours, the CSAHSC, to locate the child’s parents or key family members and advise them the police will release a photograph of their missing child to the media.

While the child remains missing

During the time a child is missing it is important the child’s safety and support network continue to work together to regularly exchange information regarding the actions being taken to locate the child.

Additional responsibilities of the child safety officer

The CSO has the following additional responsibilities:

  • maintaining regular contact with the QPS to see if there is additional information that the CSO can provide
  • continuing to provide support to the carer and the QPS to identify places where the child frequently attends
  • maintaining contact with the child’s family, friends and networks, including previous carers, to establish if the child has been located and/or identify other possible locations where the child may have gone
  • taking other actions to locate the child, such as trying to make telephone contact, leaving messages on the child’s phone and through other social networking sites used by the child
  • cooperating with the QPS regarding media coverage, such as with ‘amber alerts,’ and providing this information to the regional director for their consideration and action
  • assisting the regional director in working with the QPS on a media strategy, which is likely to include consultation with the direct carer and where appropriate, the child's parents.

Refer to the Queensland Police Operational Procedures Manual chapter 12, for actions which the QPS may be undertaking during this time.

When the missing child is located

When a missing child is located or returns to where they live it is important the direct carer or CSO immediately advises the QPS. This can be done by contacting Policelink on 131 444 and providing the QPS reference number (QPRIME number) which was provided when the report was initially made to the QPS. All members of the safety and support network who were previously aware the child was missing are to be advised.

The CSO will also meet with the child following their return. This meeting may be undertaken jointly with QPS.

This should occur within 48 hours of the child being located and will include a focus on:

  • inviting discussion about any difficulties the child may have experienced including exploration of adverse experiences, either physical and psychological
  • identifying what if anything, the child was ‘running away’ from or ‘running to’
  • exploring for any concerns about their current living arrangement
  • helping the child to feel safe where they live.  

The CSO will also arrange a meeting with the child’s 'safety and support network' to discuss the reasons why the child went missing, and consider any actions to support the child’s safety and ongoing well-being and reduce the likelihood of the child from going missing in the future. When a child is frequently absent from their placement, the CSO together with the child and their safety and support network are to develop a Safety and support plan (DOCX, 22 KB).  

The ICMS ‘missing child’ alert will be closed, by entering an ‘end date’ for the alert.

When a child is frequently missing

If a child is frequently missing, the child’s safety and support network will identify strategies to reduce the likelihood of recurrence and the actions required when the child is missing. For further information refer to the resource - Safety and support networks and high intensity responses.

The CSO will partner with the child’s safety and support network and the child to review the placement agreement, safety and support plan and/or child’s case plan.

A missing child checklist can also be pre-populated with the required information and copies given to the child’s safety and support network.

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15. What if a child is sexually abused whilst in care?

The Response to children and young people sexually abused whilst placed in care (PDF, File not found) policy outlines Child Safety’s responsibility to provide a response to children who have been sexually abused whilst placed in care, irrespective of who is responsible for the sexual abuse.

The responsibility to provide a response includes, but is not limited to, situations where a child has experienced sexual abuse by:

  • a carer or member of the carer’s household
  • a staff member of a licensed care service or another entity
  • a parent or other family member during family contact
  • an adolescent or adult family friend
  • a teacher or sports coach.

When to provide a response to a child

In all circumstances where Child Safety staff become aware that a child has been sexually abused during the time they were placed in care, a response will be provided that includes:

  • acknowledgement of the abuse and resulting harm experienced by the child, which in certain circumstances may include a letter expressing regret 
  • a review of the child's case plan to meet the child's specific needs when they are subject to ongoing intervention
  • a referral to Legal Services
  • consideration of a referral for the child and their carer to relevant therapeutic support or medical services.

This response applies to a child:

  • in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive or subject to a care agreement and placed with an approved carer, a licensed care service or another entity, including respite arrangements
  • reunified with a parent and receiving ongoing intervention
  • subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person and placed in care under an assessment order, TCO or interim order
  • in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive under an adoption care agreement or following parental consent to adoption and placed with an approved carer, a licensed care service or another entity, prior to an interim adoption order being made.

A response must be provided to a child where he or she has alleged sexual abuse and there has been:

Additional information about responding to concerns regarding a child subject to ongoing intervention is located in Chapter 3, 2. What if new child protection concerns are received?

When a response in accordance with the policy is not required

The Response to children and young people sexually abused whilst placed in care (PDF, File not found) policy and procedures do not apply to a child who:

  • is in the custody of a relative under a short-term child protection order
  • is the biological child, step-child or adopted child of an approved carer or staff member, or
  • resides in the care environment but is not subject to statutory intervention.

In addition, the policy does not apply to adults who were former children in care who are seeking monetary compensation. Consistent with the 1999 Queensland Government response to the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions (Forde Inquiry), any claims for monetary compensation for past abuse and neglect in institutional and care need to proceed through ordinary legal processes.

Acknowledge the abuse and resulting harm experienced by the child

When it is established that a child has experienced sexual abuse while placed in care, provide information to the child either verbally or in writing, about the outcome of the investigation and assessment, the Standards of care – harm report or the criminal or civil proceedings.

When acknowledging the abuse and resulting harm with the child, take into account their age and maturity level and their cultural and linguistic background. Also acknowledge the emotional and psychological impact upon the child and the possible resulting behaviour. The practice paper Child sexual abuse provides additional guidance on responding to children who have experienced sexual abuse.

An expression of regret, in accordance with the Civil Liability Act 2003, is a written statement that expresses regret for the harm experienced by the child as a result of the sexual abuse. Expressions of regret will only be provided in response to legal proceedings where the terms of a settlement includes providing an expression of regret or apology to the plaintiff in those proceedings.

Review the child's case plan

Child Safety may review and revise the case plan of a child who has been sexually abused while in care and is subject to ongoing intervention in order to:

  • reflect and respond to any significant change to the child's needs, including their safety needs
  • include any actions necessary to respond to the impact of the sexual abuse, irrespective of who is responsible for the sexual abuse.

For more information on responding to a child's changed needs through their case plan review, refer to Chapter 4, 5. Review and revise a case plan.

Child Safety staff may review and revise a child's case plan where the child has been sexually abused and where he or she is subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person. For more information, refer to Chapter 4, 5.10 Long-term guardianship to a suitable person - case plan review.

Contact Legal Services on telephone 3405 6701 to facilitate access to independent legal advice for a child who has been sexually abused while placed in care. Legal Services will be responsible for:

  • providing legal advice to Child Safety staff when children in care have experienced sexual abuse
  • informing the child of their legal rights
  • facilitating access for the child to obtain independent legal advice to assist in pursuing legal remedy or compensation where appropriate
  • determining whether a child may be eligible, and should be referred to Victim Assist Queensland - Chapter 10.20 Victims of Crime and the role of Victim Assist Queensland provides information on the process to apply for assistance and support from Victim Assist Queensland, including making an application on behalf of a child who is a victim of crime
  • referring matters to the Public Trustee to brief solicitors from an appropriate law firm that will act on a ‘no win – no fee’ basis on behalf of the child where it appears that the State may owe an obligation.

Facilitate a referral for a child to an appropriate therapeutic service

A child may suffer emotional, psychological and physical harm as a result of sexual abuse. Child Safety staff will consult with the child, carer or parent regarding access to therapeutic services and where required, ensure that the child, carer and/or parent are referred to the most appropriate medical, therapeutic or behavioural support services to address their identified needs. Refer to the practice paper Child sexual abuse and the practice resource Children with sexual abuse histories (PDF, 52 KB) for guidance about the impact that sexual abuse may have on a child.

Response where a child is no longer subject to ongoing intervention

Although a child may no longer be subject to ongoing intervention, he or she still requires a response to the sexual abuse that occurred while in care and the resulting harm.

Child Safety also has a responsibility to provide a response to a child who is no longer subject to ongoing intervention when:

The region that receives information regarding the sexual abuse of a child when placed in care will be responsible for undertaking the following actions to ensure the child receives an appropriate response. In these circumstances refer the matter to a RIS to:

  • assess the information and determine a response - refer to Chapter 1. Intake
  • seek evidence that criminal or civil proceedings have commenced where the allegations relate to a person who is extra-familial, not a carer or licensed care service staff member
  • contact Legal Services on telephone 3405 6701 for advice on providing an appropriate legal response to the child, including informing the child of their legal rights, facilitating access to appropriate independent legal advice and determining whether the child may be eligible for and should be referred to Victim Assist Queensland
  • provide the child or their parent or guardian with resources or referrals to appropriate medical and therapeutic services
  • complete a brief to inform the regional director of the sexual abuse to the child and include:
    • any actions taken that support the implementation of the policy
    • any advice received from Legal Services
  • the letter of regret for signing, if this is required as part of a settlement of legal proceedings 
  • the letter of regret for signing, if this is required as part of a settlement of legal proceedings
  • record any action that supports the implementation of the policy in a case note and attach the approved regional director brief. If a letter of regret was provided, attach a copy of the letter to the relevant ICMS event.

Recording a notification is the appropriate response when the concerns meet the legislative threshold of harm or risk of harm and it is reasonably suspected that a child is in need of protection. A notification is an appropriate response, for example, where a child has disclosed they were sexually abused in the past by a family member while on family contact visits, and there are current concerns that the parent is not able and willing to protect the child from future harm. For more information on deciding how to respond to concerns, refer to Chapter 1, 2.6 Assess the information and decide the response.

Where historical concerns, for example over 12 months, relating to an approved carer or licensed care service staff member’s action or inactions are identified as having contributed to harm to a child, refer to Chapter 9, 5. What if the concerns received are historical?

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16. What if a child suffers significant detriment as a result of the actions or inactions of Child Safety?

Where it becomes apparent that a child who has been the subject of Child Safety decision making or intervention, has suffered harm or injury of a significant nature, leading to their permanent incapacity, and where this harm or injury or damage has been caused by the actions or inactions of Child Safety, then Child Safety has ongoing responsibilities to the child.

The Response to children who have experienced significant detriment caused by the actions or inactions of Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services policy outlines the nature of these responsibilities.

Who decides

In instances where the requirement for a case review is triggered, the Systems and Practice Case Review Committee will give consideration to whether the case meets the policy requirements. As part of this process the regional director will contribute to the decision and recommendations.

The decision-making, actions or inactions by Child Safety may have occurred in response to a report about a child or an unborn child (for example, a decision not to record a notification), during an investigation and assessment or during ongoing intervention to a child subject to:

  • a support service case
  • an intervention with parental agreement
  • a child protection order.

Record an ICMS alert

Following consultation with Legal Services, an alert, ‘Experienced detriment by department – policy 634’, is recorded in ICMS. The regional director will approve use of this alert.

Consult with the CSSC manager and senior team leader to discuss the most appropriate way of recording the information, including an appropriate review date.

Meet the child’s needs

For children who are subject to ongoing intervention by Child Safety, or subject to an order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person, consider the special obligations of Child Safety to the child as part of the case planning and review process, or the review of a support plan, depending on the child’s age and circumstances, as outlined in the policy.

The review and revised case plan will address appropriate medical, therapeutic and behaviour supports necessary to meet the child’s needs. Consultation with Legal Services will be required in order to:

  • give consideration to matters of redress and potential compensation
  • give consideration to an acknowledgement of the impacts upon the child
  • give consideration to providing an apology, as is contemplated by the Civil Liability Act 2003, or some form of expression of regret
  • arrange for the child’s access to independent legal advice
  • consider referring the child to other agencies, such as the Public Guardian, who may provide support to the child
  • provide information about the role and contact details for Victim Assist Queensland
  • provide information to relevant staff members about their potential involvement in criminal or civil proceedings.

For children who are not subject to any ongoing intervention, Child Safety maintains responsibility for providing assistance to the child and responding to new requests for support from the child or their guardian.

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17.What if a child needs a placement and the carer family are not immunised or are opposed to immunisations?

The Queensland Government supports the immunisation of children in line with the National Immunisation Program Schedule. Vaccines recommended on the schedule are funded for all Australian children in order to protect them against serious infectious diseases. Information on the schedule is located on the Immunise Australia Program, Department of Health website.

Queensland Health advises that a child who is not immunised is at significant increased risk of infection if placed with an unimmunised family. Additionally, any child that has not completed their 12 month primary immunisations is at significant increased risk of pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophylis Influenzae Bacteria (HIB) and Meningococcal C (Men C) if placed with an unimmunised family.

Family members and carers are a common source of infection for childhood diseases and immunisation should be considered. Recommended vaccinations for parents, carers, family members and adults working with infants and young children include Influenza, MMR (if non immune), pertussis (whooping cough) and varicella (chicken pox) (if non immune).

Adult whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine booster dose is recommended every 10 years. This vaccination is particularly important for people living with or caring for infants under six months old.

Due to the risks associated with placing a child with an unimmunised carer family, it is important to explore the immunisation status and views of a carer applicant family, including their willingness to continue to follow the immunisation schedule for a child placed in their care. A carer has no authority to prevent a child’s scheduled or medically recommended immunisations from occurring. If a carer is opposed to immunising their own children, under no circumstances can the carer decide to not immunise a child who is placed in their care as immunisation is a guardianship decision.

Although a carer’s immunisation status and views cannot be considered grounds for refusal of approval, these issues should be considered and documented as part of the carer assessment and foster carer agreement as they may impact placement matching and restrict the types of placements the carer will be able to provide. For example, placement of a new born with an unimmunised carer family will place the infant at significant increased risk and therefore should not be considered.

The table below details the risks to a child at various stages of the immunisation schedule should they be placed with an unimmunised carer family and considerations for placement matching of a child with an unimmunised carer family. For further information refer to the National Immunisation Program Schedule.

The table below details the risks to a child at various stages of the immunisation schedule should they be placed with an unimmunised carer family and considerations for placement matching of a child with an unimmunised carer family.

Immunisation stage and placement matching consideration

Immunisation stage ( age) of child in careRisk to child if placed with unimmunised carer familyPlacement matching considerations
Not immunised Significant increased risk of infection Placement of unimmunised child with unimmunised carer family is not recommended.
12 month primary immunisations not completed Significant increased risk of
  • pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Haemophilus Influenzae B (HiB)
  • Meningococcal C (Men C)
  • Invasive pneumococcal disease
  • MMR (low risk if no outbreak)

Placement of unimmunised child with unimmunised carer family is not recommended.

Immunised children between 12 months and two years Small increased risk of
  • HiB and
  • Men C
  • HiB risk up to 5 years
Placement of a child in this category with an unimmunised family should be determined on a case-by-case basis, giving consideration to the child’s health status and in consultation with advice from the child’s treating general practitioner.

Immunised children any age

Even if completely immunised there remains a risk of:

  • measles, mumps, rubella if placed with an unimmunised family if a community outbreak were to occur
  • Mild varicella (chicken pox) when in close household contact with chicken pox

Placement of a child in this category with an unimmunised family should be determined on a case-by-case basis, giving consideration to the child’s health status and in consultation with advice from the child’s treating general practitioner. 

 

 

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18. What if a child entering out of home care is being breastfed?

There is significant medical evidence which demonstrates that breastfeeding has both physical and psychological benefits for the child and the mother. A child may enter care at a time that breastfeeding is already established. Alternatively a mother may be commencing breastfeeding with a new born baby and wish to continue. Child Safety staff will promote and support breastfeeding for children placed in out of home care, as evidenced based best practice.

Engage with parents

Discuss with the mother and the father, their wishes regarding breastfeeding. Explore with them the logistics of making breastfeeding work, including the use of breast pumps and the hygienic carriage of breast milk. Identify other family members or friends, who might support the breastfeeding process. Encourage parents to discuss breastfeeding with the relevant medical personnel.

Consult with medical personnel

Consult with medical personnel caring for the child and mother regarding any consideration of health risks to the child or the mother should breastfeeding continue. Discuss with medical personnel the safe logistics of transporting breast milk, for feeding between contact visits.

Placement matching

Care services will require detailed information of a child’s breastfeeding needs, in order to determine the placement that is best equipped to support breastfeeding and the daily contact with the mother that will need to be maintained.

Case consultation

Planning for breastfeeding will require case consultation to determine the mother’s and/or child’s capacity to maintain breastfeeding, whilst in care. Where breastfeeding cannot be supported due to a range of safety or logistical issues, Child Safety staff will need to advise the mother and father of the decision and the reason for the decision.

Practice guide: Supporting mothers to breastfeed their children in care outlines the considerations that Child Safety officers need to undertake with regards to breastfeeding in care.

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19. What if I have a complaint about the NDIS or an NDIS service provider?

Until the NDIS National Quality and Safeguards Framework is in place in Queensland (from 1 July 2019), Queensland’s existing quality and safeguards apply to NDIS providers.

To make a complaint in relation to the NDIS, an NDIS provider or an NDIS partner, follow the complaints process as outlined on the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors website and ensure the complaint includes:

  • your contact details
  • details of the child's representative
  • the child's name
  • the child's NDIS plan number.

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20. What if the child's existing provider refuses to register with the NDIS?

Child Safety chooses agency management of all NDIS plans for children and young people for whom we are the Child’s Representative. If a child has an existing relationship with a non-NDIS registered provider and no suitable alternative NDIS-registered provider can be found, seek advice from the NDIS Interface Team or your regional director.

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21. What if a child with disability is subject to dual orders?

When a child with disability is subject to dual orders with Child Safety and Youth Justice, they should still have access to required disability supports from the NDIS if they are eligible.

For children who are NDIS participants and are in contact with the youth justice system and living in the community, the NDIS is responsible for providing:

  • coordination of NDIS supports in collaboration with the supports offered by the justice system, including for victims, witnesses and alleged offenders with disability
  • supports to address behaviours of concern (offence related causes) and reduce the risk of offending and reoffending, such as social, communication and self-regulation skills, where these are additional to the needs of the general population and are required due to the impact of the person’s impairments on their functional capacity and are additional to reasonable adjustment
  • reasonable and necessary supports in line with the usual NDIS planning process, which may include assistance with planning, decision-making, scheduling, communication, self-regulation and community living.

For children who are NDIS participants and in youth detention (including whether on remand or as a result of a sentence or other court order), the NDIS is responsible for providing the following supports when these are due to the impact of the child’s impairments on their functional capacity, and additional to reasonable adjustment:

  • coordination of NDIS supports with the supports offered by the justice, disability, education, health, community services and other systems (including Child Safety)
  • aids and equipment (excluding ‘fixed’ aids such as hoists or specialised beds)
  • allied health and other therapy directly related to a child’s disability, including for young people with disability who have complex challenging behaviours
  • disability-specific capacity and skills-building supports which relate to a young person’s person’s ability to live in the community post-release
  • supports to enable young people to successfully re-enter the community
  • training for staff in custodial settings where this relates to an individual participant’s disability needs.

These responsibilities are outlined in schedule I of the bilateral agreement Principles to Determine Responsibilities of the NDIS and other services (refer pages 21 and 25 for Youth Justice) (PDF), are also referenced in the NDIS Operational Guidelines on Planning , the NDIS Operational Guidelines on Planning – Appendix 1 and in legislation through the NDIS (Supports for Participants) Rules 2013.

For children on dual orders, follow the usual access, planning and plan implementation processes as outlined in 5.11 Respond to a child’s disability support needs. For children in detention, consider who else may need to be involved in the planning process and when the best time may be to schedule the planning meeting. Make contact with the senior child safety officer – youth justice liaison as early as possible in relation to NDIS access and support for the child as they may be best placed to gather eligibility evidence and attend the planning meetings with the NDIS. The senior child safety officer – youth justice liaison will also be able to ensure discussion and monitoring of NDIS supports is included in stakeholder meetings while the young person is on centre and assist with establishing NDIS supports for the child following their transition back into their community.

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