Table of contents:
- 1.1 Consider the type of intervention required
- 1.2 Decide the type of intervention - child in need of protection
- 1.3 Decide the type of intervention - child not in need of protection
- 1.4 Involve the child and parents in decision-making
- 1.5 Implement case management responsibilities
- 1.6 Record case management information in ICMS
Following an investigation and assessment, a decision is made about whether to provide ongoing intervention. Ongoing intervention is required for any child in need of protection, whereas for a child not in need of protection or an unborn child assessed to be in need of protection after birth, ongoing intervention is offered to the family or pregnant woman.
For a young person in out-of-home care who has been subject to transition from care planning, ongoing intervention may be offered following their eighteenth birthday.
There are three types of ongoing intervention cases:
- a support service case
- intervention with parental agreement
- intervention with a child protection order.
Consider the following factors when deciding the type of ongoing intervention that will occur with, or be offered to, the child and family:
- whether the child is assessed as being in need of protection
- the assessed level of risk for the child, including the outcome of the most recent safety assessment and family risk evaluation - refer to the risk and protective factors outlined in the Practice guide: The assessment of harm and risk of harm
- what is required to meet the child's protection and care needs
- what is required to reduce the likelihood of future harm to the child
- whether the parents are able and willing to work with Child Safety to meet the child's protection and care needs
- the views of, and information provided by, the recognised entity for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.
In addition to the above factors:
- ensure that the child's safety needs are met whilst the decision is being made about the type of ongoing intervention, and if applicable, the type of child protection order required
- give preference to working with families without the use of a child protection order, where this will not jeopardise the child's safety and well-being.
The team leader is responsible for deciding the type of ongoing intervention required based on the above factors. The team leader makes this decision, in consultation with the CSO. Where the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the recognised entity must be informed about and given an opportunity to participate in the decision-making about the ongoing intervention type.
In circumstances where it is identified that the child is an unaccompanied humanitarian minor (UHM), contact the UHM program officer, Statewide Services, prior to deciding the type of ongoing intervention for the child. For further information, refer to Chapter 1,7. What if the child is an unaccompanied humanitarian minor? and the Practice guide: Unaccompanied humanitarian minor wards.
Support may continue to be provided to a child and their long-term guardian. For further information, refer to 1.What if a suitable person has long-term guardianship?
For further information on decision-making in relation to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child and working in partnership with the recognised entity, refer to Chapter 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the practice resource Working with the recognised entity .
If a child is assessed as being in need of protection, Child Safety must provide ongoing intervention to the child and family to ensure the child's protection and care needs are met, regardless of the outcome of the family risk evaluation. This intervention will occur as either:
- intervention with parental agreement
- intervention with a child protection order.
For both of these types of ongoing intervention, Child Safety is responsible for addressing the child's protection and care needs, and must develop a case plan to address these needs. For further information, refer to Chapter 4. Case planning.
These two types of ongoing intervention are outlined below, however, in rare circumstances a child may be subject to both intervention with parental agreement and a child protection order at the same time, for example, both intervention with parental agreement and a directive order.
Decide whether to provide intervention with parental agreement
Intervention with parental agreement enables Child Safety to provide support and assistance to a child in need of protection and their family, without the use of a court order. The parents must agree to work with Child Safety and they must be assessed as both able and willing to do so.
Intervention with parental agreement is generally of a short-term and intensive nature, and it must be safe for the child to remain at home. While the child will usually remain in the home for all, or most of, the intervention period, they may be placed in out-of-home care with the use of a child protection care agreement, if required. For further information refer to Chapter 6, 3.1 Place a child under a child protection care agreement. If the parents will not consent to ongoing intervention, a child protection order will be required.
To assess the appropriateness of intervention with parental agreement, consider the following factors:
- the level of risk - risk to the child must be the primary consideration. Take into account the risk level from the family risk evaluation, the vulnerability of the child, any unresolved immediate harm indicators identified in the safety assessment for the household and the child protection history for the child and family
- the child's view and wishes - these will be obtained depending on the child's age and ability to understand
- the parents acknowledgment of the concerns - assess the parents capacity to understand and acknowledge the child protection concerns. If the concerns are not understood or acknowledged, it is unlikely that the parents will comply with the case plan and court-based intervention may be a more appropriate response
- parental ability and willingness - the parents must:
- be both able and willing to work cooperatively with Child Safety to meet the protection and care needs of the child
- agree to participate in the development and implementation of a case plan to meet the protection and care needs of the child
- be assessed as likely to be able to meet the protection and care needs of the child when the intervention is completed.
Do not assume the parents agreement to this type of intervention will guarantee the child's safety. The parents may articulate a willingness to cooperate that is not evidenced in their actions or behaviour. The parents agreement may also be indicative of a desire to avoid more formal and intrusive court-based intervention, and can also be an indicator of increased risk. Treat any compliance or acceptance of intervention in the context of serious harm or risk of harm to a child, with caution.
For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, consult with the recognised entity to gather information about the child and their family, their ability and willingness to work with Child Safety and other culturally appropriate supports available to the family within their community.
Intervention with parental agreement is not appropriate when one or more of the following applies:
- there are serious risk factors associated with the parents ability to consent, such as current alcohol or substance misuse, intellectual disability or current psychiatric illness
- there are serious risk factors associated with the parents ability to adhere to the case plan, such as a high degree of mobility, an inability or unwillingness to work with Child Safety or a community organisation, or a demonstrated lack of engagement during previous Child Safety intervention
- the parents failure to adhere to the case plan would place the child at unacceptable risk of harm.
Decide whether to apply for a child protection order
An application for a child protection order can only be made if the protection and care needs of the child are unlikely to be met by a less intrusive intervention and the use of statutory authority is required to enable intervention by Child Safety. Use of intervention with a child protection order is appropriate when both of the following apply:
- the child is assessed as being in need of protection
- the protection and care needs of the child cannot be met by the use of intervention with parental agreement.
Court Services have developed a suite of resources to assist Child Safety Officers through the application process. These can be found on the Court Work Project page on Infonet.
The type of child protection order sought will depend on the level of intervention required, as outlined in 2. Decide the type of child protection order, if required.
When making a decision about a child protection order in relation to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, the recognised entity must be consulted prior to the decision being finalised and the application being lodged with the Children's Court. Record the views of the recognised entity and any information they have provided in the 'Recognised entity participation' form in ICMS.
When an out-of-home care placement is not required to secure the child's safety, consider the use of a directive or supervision child protection order. These orders are non-custodial orders and allow the child to remain in the home. If required, the court can make one or more child protection order concurrently, for example, a directive order may be granted at the same time as a supervision order to enable Child Safety to ensure that the directive order conditions are met (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61).
A child protection order granting custody or guardianship will be required when any of the following apply:
- the safety assessment for the child has an outcome of 'unsafe'
- the child's protection and care needs cannot adequately be met by the sole use of services external to Child Safety, or intervention with parental agreement
- removal from home is necessary to protect the child
- the use of a planned placement under a child protection care agreement is inappropriate
- the family is uncooperative and will not participate in any case plan that offers protection to the child
- a parent responsible for harm to the child has access to the child and is unwilling to participate in the case plan - when they fail to accept the fact that their actions were harmful to the child or placed them at unacceptable risk of harm.
Once a decision is made that an order is needed to meet the child's protection and care needs:
- decide the most appropriate child protection order - refer to 2. Decide the type of child protection order, if required
- complete an 'Form 10 - Application for a child protection order' in ICMS
- obtain additional information from other agencies or professionals that will support the application for a child protection order
- complete an affidavit to support the application for a child protection order - refer to 2.7 Complete an affidavit for a child protection order.
The only type of ongoing intervention that can occur when a child is not in need of protection, is by way of a support service case.
The purpose of a support service case is to reduce the likelihood of future harm to a child, or an unborn child, or to provide ongoing support to a young person following their eighteenth birthday, where applicable.
It involves providing, or helping provide, preventative and support services to strengthen and support families and young people in the following circumstances:
- a child who is assessed as not being in need of protection, but the level of risk in the family is assessed as 'high'
- an unborn child is assessed as being in need of protection following their birth
- a young person requires support following their eighteenth birthday to complete their transition to independence, where the young person was previously subject to:
- a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive - for further information, refer to Chapter 5, 2.9 Plan and support the young person's transition from care into adulthood.
- a child protection order where an approved carer was subsequently granted the long-term guardianship of the child.
Because a child subject to a support service case is not a child in need of protection, a case plan is not required. A support service case involves the development of a Support plan, and where possible, the use of other government agencies and funded services to provide support to the child and their family, the pregnant woman or young person.
With the exception of a young person who is transitioning from care, a support service case is generally for a short-term, that is less than 12 months. A support service case will not involve the provision of an out-of-home care placement for a child who is not in need of protection.
The child's parents, pregnant woman or young person must consent to work with Child Safety before a support service case can be opened.
For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, involve the recognised entity in the planning for a support service case. The recognised entity can provide important information about the child, the family, existing formal and informal supports within the community and compatible supports that will help to address the identified needs.
For more information on undertaking a support service cases, refer to Chapter 7. Support service cases.
Whenever a child is subject to ongoing intervention, to the extent possible:
- encourage the child to participate in decision-making relating to their own protection, based on their age and ability to understand
- keep the child informed about matters affecting them
- involve the child's parents in every stage of decision-making concerning their child.
In the following circumstances, it may not be possible for parents to actively participate in decision-making:
- when the parents involvement in decision-making poses a high-level risk to the child's emotional or physical safety
- when the parents may be unable to contribute to the decision-making process for the child, for example, due to intoxication or psychiatric illness.
In these situations, provide parents with full information about the matter being decided and the decision-making process.
Case management refers to the overall responsibilities of Child Safety when intervening with a child and family. Case management is a way of working with the child, family and other agencies to ensure that the services provided are coordinated, integrated and targeted to meet the goals of the case plan or 'support plan'.
When ongoing intervention is required, the case is allocated to an authorised officer, who becomes the CSO with case responsibility. It is the responsibility of this CSO to:
- provide a planned response to the child and family, the pregnant woman or young person
- meet all statutory requirements relevant to the intervention type
- provide the recognised entity with an opportunity to participate in all significant decisions about an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, or consult the recognised entity about all other decisions
- ensure that there is a case plan or 'support plan' developed for the child, which outlines strategies to meet their protection and care needs (including developmental needs) and assists the child to gain the skills and sense of well-being that will allow them to realise their potential and positively participate in the wider community
- ensure a cultural support plan is developed and implemented for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
- support the child in out-of-home care and monitor the quality of care provided to the child, if applicable
- proactively implement the case plan or 'support plan', focussing on achieving the goal and outcomes of the plans
- provide the child and family with information about matters affecting them and opportunities to participate in decision-making
- undertake the ongoing assessment and review of the case plan or 'support plan'
- close an ongoing intervention case when the child's protection and care needs have been resolved, or ongoing support is no longer required.
Long-term guardianship to a suitable person
Case management responsibility for a child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person differs to case management responsibilities for children subject to other types of ongoing intervention, in particular, there are different requirements for case work and case planning processes.
For further information, refer to 1. What if a suitable person has long-term guardianship?
Each time an ongoing intervention case is opened, or the case status of the child changes to another type of ongoing intervention, updated information is required in the case management tab, located on the person record in ICMS.
The team leader is responsible for completing the case management tab for each child with the following information:
- details of the allocated case worker for the child and the CSSC where they are located
- the start date of the case
- the start and end date of each new ongoing intervention type, if appropriate
- the start and end dates of the officer undertaking case management or case work tasks for the subject child.
In addition, record details of the participation of, or consultation with, a recognised entity in the 'Recognised entity participation form' in the ongoing intervention event in ICMS.
To avoid opening duplicate events in ICMS, when case management information is being recorded, a conditional message is displayed in the ongoing intervention section of the tab to advise whether one of the following applies:
- an open ongoing intervention event currently exists
- multiple open ongoing intervention events currently exist
- no open ongoing intervention event currently exists for the subject child.
The tab also includes information about case work tasks requested via the case transfer process - if applicable refer to 3. What if an ongoing intervention case needs to be transferred to another CSSC?