RAI services are prevention and early intervention services that provide intensive family support services to children and their families with the aim of preventing the need for a statutory child protection service. In addition, RAI services are able to use funds to purchase additional services to assist families. Where referrals are made to other organisations, RAI services will maintain case management of clients until the case management plan has been finalised.
A referral to a RAI service may be made by Child Safety, a guidance officer from the Department of Education, Training and Employment or a child health nurse from Queensland Health.
The objectives of RAI services are to:
- improve outcomes for vulnerable children and their families by supporting the development of a comprehensive prevention and early intervention service system
- reduce the number of re-notifications and minimise progression through the statutory child protection system
- reduce the number of statutory child protection investigations and assessments in Queensland and thereby increase the capacity of Child Safety to respond immediately to those children identified at highest risk
- assist in reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the statutory child protection system.
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Families can be referred to RAI services through two referral pathways, and the referral pathway will determine the priority for the take-up of referrals by RAI services:
- referrals from Child Safety - first priority
- direct referrals - second priority.
For information about direct referrals, refer to 1. What if the RAI referral is made by Queensland Health or the Department of Education, Training and Employment?
To make a referral to a RAI service, where there has been contact with the family and their consent has been obtained, all of the following criteria must be met:
- the child is 0-18 years of age
- the family has medium to high complex needs
- the family would benefit from access to intensive and specialist support services
- the child and family have had involvement with, or are at risk of progressing into, the statutory child protection system and have been previously subject to either:
- a recent notification where the investigation and assessment has determined that the child is not in need of protection
- an intervention with parental agreement case.
A child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person is eligible for referral to a RAI service, unless Child Safety is currently providing case work to the child in response to emergent issues within the guardianship care arrangement. For further information, refer to Chapter 3, 1. What if a suitable person has long-term guardianship?
With the exception of referrals to the Mackay RAI service, Child Safety may also consider making a referral to a RAI service when a child concern report has been recorded and there has been no contact with the family and their consent has not been obtained. In these cases, each of the the above criteria still apllies.
A referral cannot be made to RAI when:
- the matter relates to an unborn child and consent from the pregnant woman has not been obtained
- the family is the notifier and do not consent to the referral
- the suitable person, granted long-term guardianship does not provide consent for the referral.