Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

Investigation and assessment

The purpose of an investigation and assessment is to:

  • investigate concerns received about harm and risk of harm
  • assess the child or young person's immediate safety
  • assess whether the child or young person has been harmed or is likely to be harmed in the future
  • assess if the child or young person is in need of protection
  • determine whether ongoing intervention is required to meet the protection and care needs of the child or young person.

This assessment will include:

  • seeing and talking to each child and young person in the family about the concerns
  • discussing the concerns received with the parents
  • if necessary, arranging a medical appointment for a child or young person.

When child safety officers have gathered all the necessary information they:

  • need to complete an investigation and assessment
  • a decision will be made to determine whether the child or young person is in need of protection
  • if further departmental contact is required.

Child safety officers have a legal responsibility to advise parents of the outcomes of their assessment.

For more information, see When Child Safety Officers visit your home.

Use of powers

When conducting an investigation and assessment the Child Protection Act 1999 allows a child safety officer or police officer to:

  • have contact with the child or young person who is at immediate risk of harm
  • have contact with the child or young person at a school or place where childcare is provided if required
  • take a child or young person who is at immediate risk into custody (if the officer reasonably believes the child or young person is at risk of harm and they are likely to suffer harm if they are not immediately taken into custody).

When a child or young person who is at immediate risk is taken into custody, the child safety officer may:

  • arrange for a medical examination or medical treatment for the child or young person, if it is reasonable in the circumstances
  • enter the premises or residence in which they reasonably believe the child or young person to be
  • search for the child or young person
  • remain within the premises for as long as they reasonably consider it necessary to find the child or young person.
  • Unborn children

    How Child Safety Services responds to reports of suspect harm to an unborn child.

  • Assessment orders

    How Child Safety Services utilises Temporary Assessment Orders and Court Assessment Orders.