CSPM February 2010 updates

Child Safety Practice Manual - CSPM_Feb2010

Released online on 15 February 2010.

CSPM_Feb2010 includes both amended content and new procedures. A summary of the new content and practice changes is outlined below.

Throughout the amended content:

  • references to the Childrens Services Tribunal have been amended to reflect the change to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
  • changes in reference to delegations have been made to reflect the changes from zones to regions
  • changes have been made to terminology where the regional director has delegations that were previously those of the zonal director.

Chapter 1: Intake

The following procedures have been amended:

  • 1.3 Conduct a pre-notification check if required: Amended to include information about the process for conducting urgent criminal or domestic violence history checks.
  • WI 3. What if Centrelink is the notifier? Amended to update the title of the Youth Protocol, which is the operational guidelines for Centrelink and Child Safety staff when a Centrelink employee is the notifier.

Chapter 2: Investigation and assessment

The following procedures have been amended:

  • 2.5 Consider other assessment issues: A new section to include information about when animal welfare issues or obvious or blatant breaches of pool fencing requirements are identified as part of an investigation and assessment.
  • 2.7 Gather information from other sources: Amended to include information about conducting criminal or domestic violence history checks, including urgent after hours requests.
  • 4.3 Inform the parents about the outcome of the investigation and assessment: this procedure has been amended to require the CSSC manager to sign any investigation and assessment outcome letter to parents, under the Child Protection Act 1997, section 15.
  • WI 18. What if animal welfare issues are identified? A new 'What if' in relation to the memorandum of understanding between Child Safety and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals, which sets out principles and roles and responsibility to support the provision of services to children, who have been harmed or at risk of harm and protect the welfare of animals.

Chapter 3: Ongoing intervention

This chapter has been amended to include:

  • an additional 'Practice skill' in relation to providing the recognised entity with an opportunity to participate in the decision-making process for significant decisions
  • additional references to the general procedure 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • information about recording of recognised entity participation in ICMS
  • additional guidance for recording the status of an approved carer in ICMS, who subsequently becomes the long-term guardian of a child.

Chapter 4: Case planning

The following procedures have been amended:

  • 1.1 Gather information about the child and family: Amended to include information about conducting criminal or domestic violence history checks on parents.
  • 1.2 Assess the child's strengths and needs: Hyperlinks have been added to Queensland Health fact sheets on 'Attachment' and 'Infant and Toddler Mental Health'.
  • 3.3 Record, endorse and distribute the case plan: Amendments to clarify who is responsible for recording a case plan in ICMS.
  • 4.1 Actively implement the case plan: A new section to include information about when animal welfare issues or obvious or blatant breaches of pool fencing requirements are identified during ongoing intervention.
  • WI 6. What if a reunification assessment is required when parents live in another jurisdiction? This procedure has been amended to refer staff to the updated process for undertaking non-urgent criminal and/or domestic violence history checks when considering reunification of a child subject to a Queensland child protection order, in another jurisdiction.

Chapter 5: Children in out-of-home care

An additional practice skill has been added, in relation to providing a recognised entity with the opportunity to participate in decision making about placements, and change of placements, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The following procedures have been amended:

  • 1.2 Gather information to inform placement matching: Amendments in relation to recording details of recognised entity participation in decision making in ICMS and links to the general procedure 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • 2.3 Develop a child health passport: Amendments to reflect:
    • the requirement for a dental assessment for all children subject to a child health passport, and the process to follow where this is required
    • the requirement to obtain the child's immunisation status through either Medicare Australia or Queensland Health Vaccination Information Vaccination Administration System
    • the need to exclude parental health history from the Child Information form - Part B, if not relevant to the child's medical needs.
  • 2.4 Ensure the development of an Education Support Plan: Amendments in relation to encouraging a child to attend the planning meeting where appropriate, ensuring their views are communicated (regardless of their attendance), providing the recognised entity with an opportunity to participate in the meeting and making reference to the appropriate child related cost policy for education support.
  • 2.9 Plan and support the young person's transition from care into adulthood: This procedure has been reviewed, is supported by a new practice resource, and reinforces the message that effective TFC planning requires:
    • the participation and involvement of the young person in the process
    • the involvement of foster and kinship carers
    • collaborative partnerships across government and non-government organisations
    • a flexible and gradual approach that is focused on the individual needs of each young person - not an event that is linked to the purchase of goods
    • a holistic case plan that incorporates all a young person's transition needs (there is no separate TFC plan)
    • the identification and consideration of key life areas that are developmentally specific for young people in care who are transitioning to adulthood, including content that demonstrates how these link to the Child Strengths and Needs Assessment
    • a dual focus of meeting the young person's immediate needs and developing their competencies.
  • 3.6 Make medical decisions, including dental: This procedure has been amended to:
    • include information on the management of smoking behaviour in children
    • clarify the delegation level for end of life decisions to the Director-General
    • clarify that DNA testing decisions are to be made on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with Court Services Unit
    • advise that, under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 97, a health professional may medically treat a child subject to a child protection order or child protection care agreement with custody only to the chief executive, in the absence of parental consent and outlines the process for providing the medical professional with a written letter of authority.
  • 3.11 Make travel decisions - intrastate and interstate: This procedure has been amended to include advice that whilst approved carers are not required in certain circumstances to inform Child Safety of intrastate travel with a child in the custody of the chief executive, it is expected as a courtesy.
  • 3.12 Make overseas travel decisions: This procedure has been amended to clarify the delegation level for overseas travel to the Director-General
  • WI 8. What if a decision about end of life medical treatment is required? This procedure has been amended to clarify that the 'not for resuscitation' decision is included as an end of life decision that can only be made by the Director-General when the child is in the guardianship of the chief executive, and in all circumstances where an 'end of life' decision is being contemplated, legal advice is to be sought from Legal Services.

Chapter 8: Regulation of care

The following procedures have been amended:

  • 2.2 Facilitate personal history checks: Amendments have been made to include information about how to record the failure of a carer applicant or household member to obtain a blue card, in ICMS.
  • 5.2 Lodgement of application for renewal: This procedure has been amended to include instructions for recording the 'APA form' lodgement date in ICMS
  • WI 1. What if the applicant requires provisional approval? Amended to include information about conducting urgent personal history checks, including after hours checks.
  • WI 10. What if a foster or kinship carer's certificate of approval requires suspension or cancellation, on blue card grounds? This procedure has been amended to include information about updating the carer's blue card details on their person record in ICMS, when their certificate of approval has been suspended or cancelled.

Chapter 10: General procedures

The following procedure has been amended:

  • 10.9 Providing adoption services: This procedure has been amended in line with the new Adoption legislation that commenced on 1 February 2010. The key changes include:
    • enhanced requirements to ensure parents make informed decisions about consenting to a child's adoption
    • safeguards to ensure an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child's culture is respected and adoption only proceeds if there is no better option available for the child's long-term stable care
    • requiring a child's views about a proposed adoption to be considered before an adoption order is made, having regard to the child's age and ability to understand
    • adoption orders being made by the Childrens Court
    • enabling an adoption plan to be negotiated to meet the individual needs of a child subject to a child protection order, where adoption is identified as the best option to secure a permanent placement for the child
    • allowing open adoption if all parties agree
    • changed eligibility criteria for couples wanting to adopt a child from Queensland or from overseas
    • changed eligibility criteria for step-parents wanting to adopt a step-child
    • allowing couples to submit an expression of interest in adopting a child at any time as the register will remain permanently open, rather than only for defined times
    • taking into account the domestic violence and traffic history, as well as criminal history, of couples wanting to adopt a child, or of an adult member of their household when deciding whether the couple would be suitable adoptive parents
    • enabling information to be released to, and about, a birth father who has acknowledged or can prove paternity, whether or not he consented or had his consent to an adoption dispensed with
    • providing all birth parents and adopted persons, regardless of when the adoption took place, equal access to identifying information while continuing to respect the wishes of those who do not want to be contacted.

There are two new procedures:

  • 10.19 Responding to self-harming behaviour: A new procedure outlining the process for CSSC staff to respond to children who demonstrate or have demonstrated self-harming behaviours.
  • 10.20 Responding to suicide risk behaviour: A new procedure outlining processes for CSSC staff to respond to children who demonstrate or have demonstrated any suicide risk behaviours.