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Standards of care

Child Safety has a responsibility to work collaboratively with the child’s safety and support network that includes the child’s carer and carer support worker, to ensure the child is safe from harm, and that appropriate actions are taken to resolve the identified concerns.


  • it is indicated that the standards of care may not have been met for a child
  • the child has experienced harm or it is suspected that they have experienced harm,

there are three levels of response regarding the standards of care:

  1. Continue monitoring the standards of care—Concerns are identified about the quality of care provided by the carer or care service that do not warrant a standards of care review or harm report response. This response requires proactive case work and support to address the issues to prevent them from continuing or escalating into a future standards of care review or harm report.
  2. Standards of care review —The concerns indicate that the care provided to the child may not have met the standards of care; the specific standards of care can be identified; there is no information that the child has experienced harm; and a review is required to determine if the standards are being met.
  3. Harm report—the information gathered indicates that a child has experienced harm or it is suspected that they have experienced harm AND the harm or suspected harm may have involved the actions or inactions of a carer, adult household member or the staff member of a care service, including failure to protect a child. (Refer to the definition of harm in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 9.)

Collaborative assessment and planning framework

With all responses, it is helpful to use the Collaborative Assessment and Planning Framework, which will enable a balanced and comprehensive assessment to be undertaken with carers.

The process of case ‘mapping’ involves the use of the collaborative assessment and planning framework to organise all the key information known about a child and carer household at any given time into key domains relevant to the goal of reviewing the standards of care. The collaborative assessment and planning framework utilises the four domains of inquiry to help organise the assessment. They are:

  1. What has happened/is happening within the family that worries us? (Harm and complicating factors)
  2. What is going well within the family? (Protection and belonging, and strengths and resources)
  3. Safety and wellbeing scale: On a scale of 0 to 10, how safe is it for the children in the care of the family at this point in time?
  4. What needs to happen for the children to be safe and well in the future? (Identifying future worries, collaborative goals and action steps by the carer and CSO to achieve these goals).

The use of the collaborative assessment and planning framework may help us to:

  • make informed decisions about care arrangements
  • support the carer in preventing a change of care arrangement
  • help the carer and child to have a successful care arrangement
  • organise information to inform an assessment when a harm report has been recorded.

Further reading

The Collaborative Assessment and Planning Framework provides a range of strengths-based questions.

Version history

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