Stage 1 updates (7 March 2005)

The Practice Standards Project was tasked with providing a practice framework consisting of an updated set of practices, procedures and standards, to be released in a number of stages in the Practice Manual commencing in March 2005.

Stage 1 of the practice manual covers the Intake and Investigation and assessment phases and is set out in the following 8 chapters:

  1. Intake
  2. Investigation and assessment
  3. Case management (No content included)
  4. Close (No content included)
  5. Use of powers
  6. Court
  7. SCAN System
  8. Medical examination

It also contains five practice papers

  1. Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  2. Interviewing
  3. Child sexual abuse
  4. How to locate parents
  5. Safe practice in child protection work

Stage 1 includes six major practice changes, four of which include modifications to CPIS to support the practice changes. The six practice changes are:

This aligns the threshold for a notification with the definition of harm in the Child Protection Act 1999 , that is, any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child's physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing.

The proposed change provides consistency with the Child Protection Act 1999 , section 14(1)(a), that requires the chief executive to have 'an authorised officer investigate the allegation and assess the child's needs'.

  • Recording a child concern report or a notification (1.15)

The existing priority ratings for notifications have been replaced with new response timeframes, as outlined below.

  • Priority Rating 1 - High to new Response Timeframe - within 24 hrs
  • Priority Rating 2 - Medium to new Response Timeframe - within 5 days
  • Priority Rating 3 - Low to new Response Timeframe - within 10 days

The new response timeframes are able to be entered in the Client Search Request, but may be modified later in the notification, if required. The relevant screens in CPIS have been amended to reflect the changes.

This change provides a timeframe for responding to all notifications, not just 'priority 1' notifications. It will also allow for enhanced reporting capabilities and bring practice into line with other jurisdictions in Australia.

  • Child concern reports (1.14)
  • Recording a child concern report or a notification (1.15)

The existing 'Intake' form on CPIS has been removed and replaced by the child concern report, which was developed to differentiate the response from Intake as a function.

General welfare issues about a child are recorded in a child concern reports.  Specifically, the child concern report deals with matters where any of the following are identified:

  • any detrimental effect, or risk of detrimental effect, to a child that is not of a significant nature and therefore does not reach the threshold for a child protection notification;
  • any risk of detrimental effect that is not of a significant nature to an unborn child after he or she is born; and
  • any harm or risk of harm to a child, or risk of harm to an unborn child after he or she is born, where the child or unborn child has a parent who is willing and able to protect them from the harm.

The child concern report introduces a new range of intake responses to accurately represent the appropriate referral and support tasks associated with a lower level of response during the intake process. These include:

  • Information and advice.
  • Referral to another agency.
  • Information to police or another state authority.
  • Moving a child to a safe place.

The relevant screens in CPIS have been amended to reflect the changes

  • Recording a child concern report or a notification (1.15)

All child concern reports must be documented on CPIS. This will provide accountability and traceability for all child protection concerns received. Recording the child concern reports on CPIS is important as this forms part of the child protection history about a child and family which may assist future decision-making.

  • Planning the investigation and assessment (2.2)

Every notification must have a recorded Investigation Plan in CPIS. The plan must be discussed with and approved by a team leader or line manager prior to the commencement of the process.

A written investigation plan provides a process for a worker to plan the sequence of their intervention with a family and determine what actions and resources are required to carry out the investigation and assessment. It also:

  • provides a transparent and accountable process of approved actions for an investigation and assessment;
  • ensures the investigation and assessment is child-focussed and holistic; and
  • helps ensure a child's safety is thoroughly investigated and assessed.

The Investigation Plan can be located within the CSR, notification or investigation and assessment document. The finalised version of the Investigation Plan would be included in the investigation and assessment document.