Glossary of terms

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Support Service
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Support Services (ATSIFSS) are community controlled prevention and early intervention services that provide family support services to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children and their families.

Aboriginal person
An Aboriginal person is a person of Aboriginal descent who identifies as Aboriginal and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives (Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, 1994).

Abusive action
An incident of abuse that results in harm to a child. Abusive action includes a parent's failure to protect a child from abuse caused by another person.

Adoption
Adoption is a legal process under the Adoption Act 2009 by which a child legally becomes a child of the adoptive parents and legally ceases to be a child of his or her existing parents.

Adoption care agreement
An adoption care agreement under the Adoption Act 2009, section 50, allows a child to be placed by the department in an out-of-home care placement with the parents consent while the parent is considering adoption for the child. While an adoption care agreement is in force, the chief executive has custody of the child and may place the child in care under the Child Protection Act 1999, chapter 2, part 6, division 4. A child may be placed subject to an adoption care agreement for a maximum period of one year and the parents retain guardianship rights and responsibilities.

Alert
An indicator or 'alert', recorded in ICMS, to identify that a significant event (for example, a suicide risk alert) is relevant to a child or family member.

Another entity
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.

Approved carer
Approved carers are persons in whose care a child has been placed by the chief executive, and include approved foster carers, approved kinship carers and provisionally approved carers.

Assessment
Assessment is the process of gathering, analysing and interpreting information to inform decision-making.

Assessment care agreement
An assessment care agreement allows a child to be placed in an out-of-home care placement by the department, with the parent/s consent, to ensure their safety during an investigation and assessment. An assessment care agreement is for a maximum of 30 days and the parents retain all custody and guardianship rights and responsibilities.

Assessment order
A short term order that is granted by either a magistrate or the court, under the Child Protection Act 1999, to allow a range of activities to occur to complete an investigation and assessment, when a parent has not given consent for these actions to occur (refer to Temporary assessment order and Court assessment order).

Authorised officer
A person appointed by the department under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 149.

Bail
The release of a defendant, from the custody of a police officer or by a Magistrate, who has been charged with an offence.

Blue card
The holding of a current 'positive prescribed notice' or blue card from the Public Safety Business Agency (PBSA) is a pre-condition of initial and ongoing approval as a foster or kinship carer for all approved carers and other adult household members. A blue card is issued following the conduct of a 'working with children check'. Refer to 'Working with children check'.

Care agreement
There are two types of care agreements which allow a child to be placed in an out-of-home care placement with the parents agreement. Refer to 'Assessment care agreement' and/or a 'Child protection care agreement'.

Case management
Refers to the overall responsibilities of the department when intervening in the life of a child and family. Case management is a way of working with children, families and other agencies to ensure that the services provided are coordinated, integrated and targeted to meet the needs and goals of children and their families.

Case note
A record of case-related information.

Case plan
A case plan for a child is a written plan for meeting the child's protection and care needs. It is developed in a participative process between the department, the child, their family and other people significant to the child and family. It records the goal and outcomes of ongoing intervention and identifies the agreed tasks that will occur to meet the goal and outcomes.

Case planning
Case planning is a participative process of planning strategies to address a child's protection and care needs and promote a child's well-being. It is made up of a cycle of assessment, planning, implementation and review.

Case plan review
A process of reviewing a case plan, based on an up-to-date assessment of the progress made toward the case plan goal and a reassessment of risk, safety, strengths and needs. The outcome of a case plan review is a completed review report and a new (revised) case plan.

Case responsibility
Case responsibility refers to the actions required by the allocated CSO for undertaking statutory intervention with a child and their family. Case responsibility can relate to the completion of an investigation and assessment or the ongoing intervention case management processes of assessment, planning, implementation and review, until case closure.

Case work
Case work refers to the day-to-day actions undertaken by the CSO with case responsibility and other relevant persons whop are undertaking statutory intervention with a child and their family.

Certificate of approval
The authority provided to an approved carer, once the chief executive has made the decision to grant a foster or kinship carer application, or provisionally approval of a carer.

Chief executive
Unless otherwise specified, refers to the Director-General of the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women.

Child
The Child Protection Act 1999, section 8, defines a child as an individual who is under 18 years of age. The term child is used throughout the practice manual to signify both a child and a young person.

Under the Youth Justice Act 1992, a child is:

  • a person who has not turned 17 years, or
  • after a day fixed under section 6 - a person who has not turned 18 years.

Child concern report
A child concern report is a record of child protection concerns received by the department that does not meet the threshold for a notification.

Child health passport
The child health passport is a folder containing the child's health information that the child's carer requires to be able to meet the day-to-day health needs of the child. Contents include the child information form, the health plan, a photocopy of the Medicare card, and information relating to specific health needs of the child. This folder is prepared by the CSSC and is provided to the carer. The passport moves with the child when the child moves placement and a copy of the passport is provided to the parent when the child returns home or to the young person when they exit care.

Child in need of protection
A child who has suffered harm, is suffering harm, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering from harm, and does not have a parent able and willing to protect the child from the harm (Child Protection Act 1999, section 10).

Child maintenance order
An order made by the Family Court of Australia about child support.

Child placement principle
The child placement principle is the general principle that an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child should be cared for within an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community. The Child Protection Act 1999, section 83 sets out the hierarchy of placement options for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people as:

  • a member of the child's family, or
  • a member of the child's community or language group, or
  • another Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander who is compatible with the child's community or language group, or
  • another Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander.

Child protection care agreement
A child protection care agreement allows a child who has been determined to be in need of protection to be placed by the department in an out-of-home care placement to ensure their safety. A child protection care agreement may be used during intervention with parental agreement or ongoing intervention with a directive or supervision order. The child protection care agreement gives custody of the child to the chief executive while the agreement is in force. It can be for an initial period of 30 days and can be extended more than once.

Child Protection Liaison Officer
The Child Protection Liaison Officer (CPLO) within each Queensland Health Service District is the Queensland Health contact person for departmental staff. The CPLO will be able to advise departmental staff about the model of care within their district and the health professionals within the local area who are able to conduct the health assessments and develop health plans. In their role they may be able to advise and facilitate appropriate referral processes but will act as the main liaison link for other health professionals within the health service district.

Child protection order
A child protection order is an order made by the Childrens Court under the Child Protection Act 1999, when a child is considered in need of protection.

Childrens Court
The Childrens Court is a specialist Magistrates Court that hears and makes decisions in relation to court assessment orders and child protection orders.

Child safety officer
A child safety officer (CSO) is an authorised officer under the Child Protection Act 1999, who is responsible for delivering statutory child protection services, such as investigating and assessing allegations of suspected child abuse and neglect, and intervening to ensure the safety and well-being of children subject to ongoing intervention, in accordance with legislation, policies and procedures.

Community based order
Under the Youth Justice Act 1992, a community based order means a probation order, community service order, intensive supervision order or conditional release order.

Community justice groups
Groups are funded through the Queensland Government and are usually comprised of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from within each community. Community justice groups are responsible for developing alcohol management plans. Once a group is established it will have the authority to:

  • make declarations about dry places within their community
  • provide recommendations to the government and to any Community Liquor Licence Board about canteen operations
  • make recommendations to the Minister administering the Liquor Act 1992 about declarations of restricted areas
  • implement local strategies to address justice issues in their community.

Community visitor program
An independent service provided by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) which monitors the safety and well-being of children placed in all forms of out-of-home care and advocates on behalf of the children in these placements.

Compatible placement
When placing an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, a compatible placement is one where it is assessed by the department and the recognised entity that the proposed Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander carer still maintains a culture connection to community and people, and there is a level of acceptance and approval for the placement from the community.

Contact order
An order made by the Family Court of Australia, under the Family Law Act 1975, regarding the contact between a child and another person or other persons.

Court assessment order
A court assessment order (CAO) is an order made under the Child Protection Act 1999, chapter 2, to authorise actions necessary as part of an investigation and assessment to assess whether a child is in need of protection, if:

  • the child's parents have not provided their consent for these actions or the parents consent cannot be obtained
  • it is considered that it will take more than three business days to complete the investigation and assessment.

Child Safety After Hours Service Centre
The Child Safety After Hours Service Centre (CSAHSC) is a 24 hour departmental service that provides after business hours responses to clients of the department, the community, other government departments and community agencies in response to child protection and youth justice matters.

Criminal offences relating to harm to a child - section 14(2) and (3)
Where it is reasonably believed that alleged harm to a child may have involved the commission of a criminal offence relating to the child, the details of the harm must immediately be provided to the QPS, regardless of the decision about the intake response.

Critical incident
A critical incident is any incident of sufficient criticality to require reporting to the Deputy Director-General via a 'critical incident report' form. Critical incidents may relate to:

  • children subject to departmental intervention
  • departmental staff and carers
  • matters where media attention has occurred or is possible.

Cultural support plan
The cultural support plan is a component of the case plan for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child or a child from another cultural community that is completed when a child is in need of protection, to ensure that they are provided with safe and protective family, community and cultural supports.

Cumulative harm
Harm to a child caused by a series or combination of acts, omissions or circumstances that may have a cumulative effect on the child’s safety and well-being. The acts, omissions or circumstances may apply at a particular point in time or over an extended period, as well as the same acts, omissions or circumstance being repeated over time.

Custody
In accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, a person who has or is granted custody of a child has the right and responsibility to attend to day-to-day matters only, including:

  • a child's daily care
  • making decisions about a child's daily care.

Custody order
A child protection order where custody of the child has been granted to a relative of the child or the chief executive of the department.

Departmental officer
A term used in this manual to refer to a range of roles within the department, where an employee undertakes statutory child protection services with children, families and carers. In some specific circumstances, it may also include departmental administrative staff.

Detention order
An order made under the Youth Justice Act 1992, on a child found guilty of a serious offence, requiring that a child be detained for a specified period of time, in a detention centre.

Directive order
An order made under the Child Protection Act 1999, directing a parent:

  • to do or refrain from doing something directly related to the child's protection, and/or
  • not to have contact (direct or indirect) with the child, or to only have contact when a stated person or a person of a stated category is present.

Dual orders
Refers to circumstances where a child is concurrently subject to a child protection order under the Child Protection Act 1999 and a youth justice order under the Youth Justice Act 1992.

Education support plan
An education support plan (ESP) is developed by the Department of Education, Training and Employment, in collaboration with the department to identify educational goals and targets, and strategies to achieve those targets, for all children subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive.

Emotional harm
When the child’s social, emotional, cognitive or intellectual development is impaired or at unacceptable risk of being impaired as a direct result of parental behaviour/attitude. This includes significant emotional deprivation due to persistent coldness, rejection or hostility. The harm to the child may have a cumulative effect and/or be observable in behaviours such as severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, indicators of inappropriate attachment or bonding, self-harming behaviour or aggressive behaviour towards others.

Family contact
What is meant by 'family' contact, differs for each child placed in out-of-home care, as determined by the range of persons and relationships considered of significance to the child. Family contact may include contact between the child and their siblings, parents, extended family, community members, persons of cultural or ethnic significance and other persons of significance in the child's life.

Family Court of Australia
The Family Court of Australia is a federal (Commonwealth) court established under the Family Law Act 1975, to deal with a range of matters arising out of relationship breakdowns, including divorce, property settlement and the care of children of a relationship.

Family group meeting
A meeting convened in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51, to:

  • provide family-based responses to children's protection and care needs
  • to ensure an inclusive process for planning and making decisions relating to children's wellbeing and protection and care needs.

Foster carer
Any individual, or two or more individuals approved by the department to care for a child subject to departmental intervention and an out-of-home care placement (irrespective of type of placement). A person living with another person on a genuine domestic basis may only be granted a certificate of approval jointly with their partner.

Foster carer agreement
An agreement negotiated between each foster carer and the department and/or foster and kinship care service, that sets out the terms, conditions and responsibilities of the relationship between the foster carer and the CSSC or foster and kinship care service.

Foster and kinship care service
A non-government licensed care service that may receive initial enquiries, conduct assessments of carer applicants and provide training, supervision and support for foster and/or kinship carer/s.

Genogram
A graphic representation, similar to a family tree that illustrates demographical, biological, and household information about family members.

Gillick competency
A term used in medical law to describe when a minor may be able to consent to his or her own medical treatment, despite a young age. The standard is based on a decision of the House of Lords in the case Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] 3 AII ER 402. The health professional decides if the child is able to provide consent for medical procedures based on the concept of 'Gillick competency'.

Guardianship
In accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, a person who has or is granted guardianship of a child has the powers, rights and responsibilities to attend to:

  • a child's daily care
  • make decisions that relate to day-to-day matters concerning the child's daily care
  • making decisions about the long-term care, wellbeing and development of the child in the same way a person has parental responsibility under the Family Law Act 1975.

Guardianship order
A child protection order where guardianship of the child has been granted to a relative of the child, another person, or the chief executive.

Harm
Any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child's physical, psychological or emotional well-being. Harm can be caused by physical, psychological or emotional abuse or neglect, or sexual abuse or exploitation. Harm can be caused by a single act, omission or circumstance; or a series or combination of acts, omissions or circumstances (Child Protection Act 1999, section 9). 

For a detrimental effect to be of a significant nature it must have more than a minor impact upon a child. It must be substantial, serious and demonstrable - that is, measurable and observable on the child’s body, in the child’s functioning or behaviour. A detrimental effect of a significant nature may also be indicated by the likelihood of the detrimental effect being long-term (more than transitory), or adversely affecting the child’s health or well-being to an extent which would be considered by the general public to be unacceptable.

Harm report
A harm report is recorded where the information gathered indicates that a child in out-of-home care has experienced harm or it is suspected that they have experienced harm, and the harm or suspected harm may have involved the actions or inactions of a carer, household member or the staff member of a licensed care service, including failure to protect a child.

Health assessment
A comprehensive health assessment undertaken by a health professional for a child in out-of-home care, which includes:

  • physical and developmental assessments
  • nutritional assessments
  • immunisation
  • psychosocial and behavioural issues
  • visual, dental and hearing screens
  • mental health screens.

Health care file
A physical client file that is registered in the departmental records management system and cross-referenced to the child's file and contains all health related information on a child in out-of-home-care (after January 2007) and a copy of the child health passport. The original child health passport will also be held on this file when the child is no longer in out-of-home care.

Health plan
A plan developed by the health professional following the health assessment and valid for 12 months. It comprises:

  • significant findings from the health assessment
  • a proposed health/treatment plan and whose responsibility it will be
  • recommended follow-up and timeframe
  • actions to be taken.

Health practitioner
A health practitioner is:

  • a nurse under the Nursing Act 1992, or
  • a person registered under any of the following Acts:
    • Dental Practitioners Registration Act 2001
    • Medical Practitioners Registration Act 2001
    • Occupational Therapists Registration Act 2001
    • Optometrists Registration Act 2001
    • Physiotherapists Registration Act 2001
    • Psychologists Registration Act 2001,or
    • Speech Pathologists Registration Act 2001,or
  • a person who is eligible for membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers (Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 3).

ICARE
A training program titled, Interviewing Children and Recording Evidence (ICARE), designed to ensure that interviews of children are undertaken in a way that minimises further trauma to the child and information obtained from children meets judicial and legislation requirements.

Informed consent
Informed consent is required for procedures a health professional may undertake as part of the health assessment, or as part of the follow up, for example, immunisation and pathology tests. Informed consent requires the decision-maker (the child if 'Gillick competent' or the child's guardian) to have information about the procedure and have the opportunity to discuss concerns with a health professional before providing consent/signing the consent form.

Intake
Intake is the first phase of the child protection continuum, and is initiated when information or an allegation is received from a notifier about harm or risk of harm to a child or unborn child, or when a request for departmental assistance is made.

Intake enquiry
An intake enquiry may be a request for information or relate to child well-being issues or child protection concerns, and is one type of departmental response to information received at the intake phase.

Interim order
On the adjournment of a proceeding for a court assessment or child protection order the Childrens Court has the power to make an interim order. An interim order made on adjournment of a court assessment order may grant temporary custody to the chief executive, or the child's parents will retain custody. An interim child protection order will grant custody to a family member or the chief executive.

Intervention with parental agreement
Refers to ongoing intervention with a child who is considered in need of protection, based on the agreement of a child's parent/s, to work with the department to meet a child's safety and protection needs.

Investigate allegations of harm
Where the chief executive becomes aware of alleged harm or alleged risk of harm (notified concerns) and reasonably suspects that a child is in need of protection, an authorised officer will investigate the allegation and assess the child’s need of protection, or take other action as considered appropriate (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(1)).

Investigation and assessment
Investigation and assessment is the second phase of the child protection continuum. An investigation and assessment is the departmental response to all notifications, and is the process of assessing the child’s need for protection, where there are allegations of harm or risk of harm to a child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14).

Kinship carer
A kinship carer is a person related to the child or a member of a child's community and considered family or a close friend who is approved by the department to provide an out-of-home care placement for the child. Kinship carers may be further categorised as:

  • grandparents
  • aunts/uncles
  • other relatives or close friend
  • for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, relative care may include another Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander who is a member of, or compatible with the child's community or language group.

Licensed care service
A service operated under a licence, in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, to provide care for children in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive.

Long-term guardian
A person other than the chief executive, who is granted long-term guardianship of the child under a child protection order.

Long-term guardianship order
An order made under the Child Protection Act 1999, granting long-term guardianship of the child to a suitable family member (other than a parent of the child), another suitable person nominated by the chief executive, or to the chief executive.

Malicious notifier
A person whose primary motive for contacting the department is ill will towards another person, and who is not motivated by the best interests of the child.

Medical examination
Comprises a physical, psychiatric, psychological or dental examination, assessment or procedure, and includes forensic examination and an examination or assessment normally carried out by a health practitioner (Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 3).

Minimum contact requirements
Refers to the frequency of contact required with a child and family during ongoing intervention and specifically outlines contact standards for both in-home and reunification cases. These contact standards outline the minimum number, type and location of contacts between the CSO, CSSO and other service providers, with the child and family.

Moving a child to a safe place
A child under 12 years can be taken to a safe place and cared for until the child’s parents or a family member can resume the care of the child. (Child Protection Act 1999, section 21)

Near (in relation to the child placement principle)
When placing and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, ‘near’ can mean geographical distance or it can mean family connection and cultural connection.

Neglect
The child's basic needs of life are unmet by their parent to such an extent that the child's health and development are affected, causing harm, or likely to cause an unacceptable risk of harm to the child.

Non-government organisation
A non-government organisation (NGO) is a not-for-profit community-managed organisation that receives government funding specifically for the purpose of providing community support services.

Non-custodial order
An order made under the Child Protection Act 1999, where custody and guardianship of the child remain with the parents.

Notification
Information received about a child who may be harmed or at risk of harm which requires an investigation and assessment response. A notification is also recorded on an unborn child when there is reasonable suspicion that they will be at risk of harm after they are born.

Notifier
A notifier is a person who informs the department about alleged harm or risk of harm to a child, or that an unborn child may be at risk of harm after he or she is born. A notifier may be a child, family member, carer, a member of the community, another professional or a person mandated by law to report child protection concerns. A person providing this information is a notifier under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 22(1)(a) and 186(1), irrespective of how the information is recorded or responded to by the department.

Ongoing intervention
Ongoing intervention is the third phase of the child protection continuum. It occurs when it is necessary for the department to provide support and assistance to the family to reduce risk to a child, or to the extent necessary to ensure that the child's protection and care needs are met. There are three types of ongoing intervention, including:

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

Other child
A term used in ICMS to indicate a child who is a relevant person to an event, but who is not the subject child of the event. At intake, the decision to record a child as an ‘other child’ is based on a professional assessment of the notified concerns, the child protection history, the ages and vulnerability of the child and the family context. If it is assessed during the investigation and assessment that an ‘other child’ has been harmed or is at risk of harm, an assessment of their protection and care needs is made. The status of the child is changed from ‘other child’ to ‘subject child’ in ICMS and an outcome recorded in the investigation and assessment.

Out-of-home care
Out-of-home care refers to placements of children, subject to statutory child protection intervention, using the authority of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1). Out-of-home care includes placements with:

  • a licensed care service
  • an approved or kinship carer
  • another entity.

Parent
Under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 11, a parent of a child is the child's mother, father or someone who has or exercises parental responsibility for the child. A parent of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child includes any person who under Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander tradition or custom is regarded as a parent of the child. This definition also includes long-term guardians.

Under the Youth Justice Act 1992 a parent is defined as:

  • a parent or guardian of a child, or
  • a person who has lawful custody of a child other than because of the child's detention for an offence or pending a proceeding for an offence, or
  • a person who has the day-to-day care and control of a child.

Parent able and willing
A parent who has both the ability and willingness to protect the child from harm (Child Protection Act 1999, section 10). A parent may be willing to protect a child, but not have the means or capacity to do so. For example, a parent with a diagnosed mental illness may express a willingness to protect their child, however, due to factors related to the mental illness, is not able to do so. Alternatively, a parent may have the means and capacity to protect a child, but may not do so. It is the role of the CSO to clearly assess the parents motivation and ability to protect the child. In circumstances where a child resides across two households, the ability and willingness of both parents to protect the child needs to be assessed.

Physical harm
A child has suffered or is at an unacceptable risk of suffering serious physical trauma or injury of a non-accidental nature, due to the actions of their parent.

Placement
When a child is 'placed' in an out-of-home care living arrangement due to intervention by the department.

Placement agreement
A written agreement between the department and the carers for a child in an out-of-home care placement, excluding placements with parental consent, which:

  • provides the relevant information known by the department about the child, and sufficient information to allow the carers to provide adequate care for the child and ensure the safety of a child, the carers and other members of the carer's household
  • records the agreed support and services to be provided to the carers.

Pre-notification check
An enquiry by a CSO to another professional, an external agency or an interstate or international child protection jurisdiction, to gather further information about allegations of harm to a child, to determine if the concerns meet the threshold for a notification. A pre-notification check cannot be conducted for an unborn child.

Pre-sentence report
Before it sentences a child found guilty of an offence, a court may order the chief executive, Department of Justice and Attorney-General, to give to the court a pre-sentence report concerning the child and containing specified information, assessments and reports relating to the child or the child's family or other matters.

Private arrangements
When the outcome of a safety assessment is ‘unsafe’ and the child needs to reside outside the home for a period of time due to the level of risk identified, the parents may agree to take protective action and arrange for the child to stay with a family member or friend. For a private arrangement, the parent, not the department, places the child with the person, and the person does not need to be approved as a carer.

It is a non-custody arrangement and will only be for a short period of time, generally two to three days, to allow parents time to take immediate actions required to address the safety issues identified.

Protective needs
A child’s protective needs are those which the child requires in order to be physically and emotionally safe in their home environment and would normally be the responsibility of the child’s parents. The phrase ‘protection and care’ emphasises that such needs arise from the occurrence of harm, or risk of harm from which a family would usually protect their child.

The child’s protection and care needs will be informed by the identification of any immediate harm indicators as part of the safety assessment, the family risk evaluation and any other information gathered as part of the investigation and assessment. At the completion of an investigation and assessment, the child’s protective needs should be able to be clearly articulated, and will be used to inform the case planning process where there is to be ongoing intervention with a child. The child’s protective needs must be addressed before the child can safely remain in the care of the parents, without departmental intervention.

Provisionally approved carer
A person who has been approved by the department to care for a particular child for a defined period of time. A provisionally approved carer must have made an application to be either an approved foster carer or kinship carer.

RecFind
RecFind is the department's records management system and registers hard copies of files with the file number, location, original author and file tracking history of open and closed files and files that are held in off-site storage.

Recognised entity
An entity (an individual or organisation) with whom the chief executive must consult about issues relating to the protection and care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Residence order
An order made under the Family Law Act 1975, by the Family Court of Australia, regarding 'the person or persons with whom a child is to live'.

Respite care
A service intended to provide time-limited support to enhance a carer's ability to continue in their role as a primary carer and to sustain the caring relationship. For children in out-of-home care, respite may include a placement (for the purpose of providing respite to the primary carer) or alternative respite options such as recreational camps.

Reviewable decision
In accordance with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2000, a decision that, under an Act (for the purpose of this manual, the Child Protection Act 1999), a person may apply to have reviewed by QCAT.

Risk assessment
The assessment of risk is a fundamental component of child protection work. It requires the analysis of information about the child, their family and the physical and social environment. Risk assessment involves a judgement about the likelihood of future harm, the vulnerability of the child and estimating the likely severity of any future incident of harm. The risk assessment helps assess the level of intervention required for those children who are considered to be at the highest risk.

Risk of harm
Risk of harm is the probability or likelihood of a child suffering physical, physiological or emotional harm in the future. To make this assessment, the presence of both risk factors and protective factors for the child must be considered and assessed. The outcome of the family risk evaluation is a key factor informing this assessment. Where there are significant risk factors identified, the CSO must assess whether any protective factors identified are able to adequately protect the child.

Safety assessment
The purpose of a safety assessment is to assess the child's immediate safety and determine what interventions are required to maintain their protection. A safety assessment will always occur at the commencement of an investigation and assessment and will be the focus of the first contact with the child and family. Subsequent safety assessments are completed whenever new information becomes available or circumstances change significantly and/or a threat to a child's safety is indicated, or prior to closure of an ongoing intervention case.

SCAN team system
The SCAN team system enables a co-ordinated multi-agency response to children where statutory intervention is required by facilitating:

  • the sharing of relevant information between members of the system
  • the planning and co-ordinating of actions to assess and respond to children's protection needs
  • an holistic and culturally responsive assessment of children's protection needs.

Service provider
A service provider is defined by the Child Protection Act 1999, as a 'prescribed entity' or another person providing a service to children or families. A prescribed entity is defined in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 159D, and includes (but is not exhaustive of) the chief executive of the department or an authorised officer.

Senior Education and Training Plan 
A Senior Education and Training Plan (SET plan) is a plan that is developed for a young person in year 10, to support their transition to senior school, training or work. The school or learning provider (for example, TAFE institute) coordinates the process of supporting each young person's SET Plan.

Sexual abuse
Any sexual activity or behaviour that is imposed on a child and results in physical or emotional harm. It includes the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, sexually explicit conduct or behaviour for the sexual gratification or profit of the person responsible. It also includes circumstances where there is an unacceptable risk that the child may be sexually abused.

Short-term custody order
An order made under the Child Protection Act 1999, where custody rights and responsibilities are granted to a kinship carer or to the chief executive (for a period of up to two years). Guardianship rights and responsibilities in relation to the child remain with the child's parents for the duration of the custody order.

Short-term guardianship order
An order made under the Child Protection Act 1999, where guardianship rights and responsibilities in relation to the child, including matters associated with the child's daily care, are granted to the chief executive (for a period of up to two years) - see definition of guardianship.

Specific issues order
An order made under the Family Law Act 1975, by the Family Court of Australia, regarding 'parental responsibility for making daily and long-term decisions about a child's care, wellbeing and development'.

Standard of care review
A standard of care review is recorded when information received in relation to a child and placed with a carer or care service indicates that the care provided to a child in out-of-home care may not have met the standards of care (Child Protection Act 1999, section 122), the specific standards requiring review can be identified and there is no information that the child has experienced harm.

Statement of standards
The Child Protection Act 199, section 122, prescribes the chief executive's responsibility to ensure that a child placed in the care of an approved foster carer, licensed care service or departmental care service is cared for in a way that meets the statement of standards. The term 'standards of care' also refers to the legislated statement of standards.

Statutory authority
Legislative mandate given by the relevant legislation (for the purpose of the department, the Child Protection Act 1999), to carry out actions in accordance with the legislation.

Structured Decision Making
Structured Decision Making (SDM™) or (SDM) is an assessment and decision-making model to assist the CSO and team leader in making critical decisions about the safety of children. SDM™ was developed by the Children's Research Centre, and aims to:

  • reduce subsequent harm to children
  • reduce the time to permanency arrangements for children in out-of-home care.

Subject child
A child under the age of 18 years where the notified concerns indicate that the child has been harmed or is at risk of harm and it is reasonably suspected that the child is in need of protection, or an unborn child, where it is suspected that he or she will be in need of protection after birth. Harm in this context refers to any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child’s physical, psychological or emotional well-being and includes the impact of cumulative harm on the child’s safety and well-being.

Subsequent health assessment
A subsequent health assessment is the process undertaken if the child has ongoing health issues, a health issue arises or the child has not had a health assessment for a significant period of time. The same process is used as for a health assessment (refer to ‘Health assessment’ and ‘Child health passport’).

Suicide risk alert
A suicide risk alert is recorded when it is assessed that a child is a high suicide risk. The child may be:

  • the subject of an intake enquiry, child concern report or notification, or
  • subject to departmental intervention (including support service, intervention with parental agreement, assessment order or child protection order).

A suicide risk alert in relation to a child subject to ongoing departmental intervention involves the development of an immediate and medium to long-term management strategy (including facilitating access to health services and programs) for addressing the child's physical health and emotional stability.

Supervision order
An order made under the Child Protection Act 1999, requiring the chief executive to supervise the child's protection in relation to the matters stated in the order.

Support person
A support person is a person who is known and trusted by the child, the parent, or the carer, and chosen by the child, parent or carer to support them during the investigation and assessment process. It is not appropriate for the alleged person responsible for harm to be the support person for the child or a parent.

Support service case
A type of ongoing intervention that can only be used when it is determined that a child is not in need of protection, based on an agreement by the parents, pregnant woman or young person to work with the department.

A support service case is the appropriate departmental response (ongoing intervention):

  • to work with a child and family to reduce the likelihood of future harm to a child
  • to work with a pregnant woman to reduce the likelihood of future harm to an unborn child
  • to provide ongoing support to a young person transitioning from care.

Team Leader
The term used within this manual when referring to the position of Senior Team Leader within Child Safety Services.

Temporary assessment order
A temporary assessment order (TAO) authorises actions during the investigation and assessment process when parental consent cannot be obtained. A TAO can provide the authority to take a child into the custody of the chief executive, however, guardianship rights and responsibilities remain with the child's parents. A TAO may also order specific actions relating to the assessment of a notification, for example, the conduct of a medical assessment in relation to a child. A TAO can only be granted for not more than three business days and can be extended by one business day.

Temporary custody order
A temporary custody order (TCO) authorises the actions necessary to secure the immediate safety of a child, pending a decision of what further action is necessary to meet the child’s protection and care needs. A TCO can provide the authority to take a child into the custody of the chief executive, however guardianship rights and responsibilities remain with the child’s parents. A TCO may also order specific provisions considered appropriate, for example, authorising a medical examination or directing contact. A TCO can only be granted for a period of three business days and can be extended by one business day if intending to apply for a child protection order.

Threshold for recording a notification
The threshold for recording a notification requires that there is an allegation of harm or risk of harm to a child, and a reasonable suspicion that the child is in need of protection (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14).

Torres Strait Islander
A Torres Strait Islander is a person of Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as a Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives (Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, 1994).

Transition from care
Transition to independence refers to a child's transition from being a child in care to becoming an independent young adult within the general community. The legislated Charter of Rights for a Child in Care (Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 1) specifies the child's right to receive appropriate help with the transition to independence.

Transition to independence   
Transition to independence refers to a child's transition from being a child in care to becoming an independent young adult within the general community. The legislated Charter of Rights for a Child in Care (Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 1) specifies the child's right to receive appropriate help with the transition to independence.

Transition order
A transition order can be made under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 65A, which continues the existing child protection order for a period of up to 28 days, to allow the child’s gradual transition from an out-of-home care placement to their parents full-time care. A transition order cannot be extended.

A transition order can be made when the court:

  • revokes a child protection order
  • decides an appeal against the making of the order in favour of a person other than the chief executive
  • refuses to extend the order or grant a further order before the order ends.

Transition plan
The transition plan outlines how the chief executive will provide support and gradually transition the child into the parents care, to minimise distress and disruption to the child. It also includes any other relevant matter, for example:

  • actions required to ensure the transition occurs within the period of the order

  • care and contact arrangements for the duration of the order.

Unacceptable risk of harm
Unacceptable risk of harm refers to situations where the risk identified is probable, not possible, and likely to occur in the near future, where there are insufficient protective factors to ensure the child's safety without intervention by the department. The harm must be likely or probable, not just possible and may be a single act or series or combination of acts, omissions or circumstances that have a cumulative effect on the child’s safety and well-being. There must be a reasonable belief that the parents behaviour, actions or verbal statements or threats will result in harm to the child. (Child Protection Act 1999, section 10)

The assessment of whether there is unacceptable risk of harm, must take into consideration:

  • the outcome of the family risk evaluation
  • whether observations made directly or indirectly support the findings of the family risk evaluation
  • any risk factors for the child that are not raised in the family risk evaluation, that place the child at risk of harm in the future
  • whether there is a parent able and willing to protect the child from harm.

Vexatious notifier
A person who repeatedly contacts the department with concerns about a child that are without grounds, and who is not motivated by the best interests of the child.

Working with children check
A detailed check of a person's national criminal history (including any charges, convictions or investigative information) and disciplinary information held on a person by certain professional organisations.

Youth justice case worker
A youth justice case worker refers to an officer of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (Youth Justice Services).

Youth justice order
An order made under the Youth Justice Act 1992, when a child is found guilty of an offence or offences. A youth justice order may be community-based or require that a child serve a specified period in detention.

Youth Justice Services
Youth Justice Services, Department of Justice and Attorney-General, are responsible for supervising young people involved in the Youth Justice system. Youth Justice staff work with young people and their family to address the factors that contribute to their offending behaviour and encourage young people to build positive connections with their community.

In addition to assisting young people to meet the statutory requirements of their court order, Youth Justice Services engage young people in a range of programs to address the diverse risks and needs present in their lives.

Individual Youth Justice Service Centres run many programs aimed at preventing young people from reoffending. These include programs to help young people build connections with their communities, learn about the consequences of their offending and increase their skills and confidence. Services are delivered through 16 Youth Justice Service Centres across the state.