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Decide the type of intervention—child in need of protection

Child Safety provides ongoing intervention to a child and family if the child is assessed as being in need of protection, regardless of the outcome of a family risk evaluation. The intervention will occur as either:

  • a support service case for a pregnant woman
  • intervention with parental agreement
  • intervention with a child protection order.

The types of child protection orders for ongoing intervention are:

  • a directive order
  • a supervision order
  • a short-term order granting custody to a member of the child’s family or the chief executive
  • a short-term order granting guardianship to the chief executive
  • a transition order
  • a long-term guardianship order—to a suitable member of the child’s family or to a suitable person or to the chief executive.
  • a permanent care order

Practice prompt

Consider a referral to a practice panel to assist in deciding the most appropriate type of ongoing intervention. Refer to Procedure 5 Refer the case to a practice panel.

Further reading

Provide a support service case to a pregnant woman

A support service case is the only type of ongoing intervention that can occur for an unborn child assessed to be in need of protection after birth. A support service case with a pregnant woman can only be opened with her consent. 

If a pregnant woman consents to a support service case, refer to Procedure 4 Develop and record a support plan with a pregnant woman.

Attention

Prior to the birth of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, arrange for an independent person to help facilitate the pregnant woman and the unborn child family’s participation in a support service case. The agreement of the pregnant woman is required before arranging an independent person to help facilitate her participation, or the participation of the child’s family, in the support service case.

Record in the Independent person form in ICMS whether an independent person helped facilitate the participation of a pregnant woman and an unborn child’s family during a support service case.

If a pregnant woman does not consent to a support service case, ongoing intervention cannot continue. If this occurs:

  • Make every effort, including sending a follow-up letter to:
    • alert the pregnant woman to the potential risks identified to her unborn child after birth
    • provide information to the pregnant woman about support services in the community to assist her and her family prior to the birth of her child. If the unborn child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, provide the pregnant woman with information about the Family Wellbeing Service and the Family Participation Program. If it has not already occurred, seek her agreement for the Family Participation Program to contact her to discuss how the service could support her in working with Child Safety.
  • Advise the pregnant woman that either a new notification or a child protection order may be required when the child is born. (Do not provide this information to the pregnant woman if it places the child at further risk after their birth.) 
  • Record an unborn child alert on the person records  of the mother and the unborn child—refer to Procedure 1 Information that requires an Integrated Client Management System alert.
  • Complete and forward:
  • in exceptional circumstances only, where the pregnant woman is highly mobile and it is not possible to identify the hospitals where she is likely to give birth:
    • complete an email the title Statewide HRA (to ensure the email is activated), attach the HRA Form 1 and send the email to both:
    • send a letter to the private or interstate hospital/s where the pregnant woman may be likely to give birth (see note below). 
  • Telephone the hospitals to confirm receipt of the HRA Form 1 or letter and attach the form and letter to the ongoing intervention event in ICMS.
  • Refer the matter to a SCAN team, if a multi-agency response is required.
  • Provide the CSAHSC with a  After Hours referral form  and all relevant information, including the HRA Form 1 and letter.
  • Record a Member of a mobile family alert on all relevant records, where there is information to suggest the pregnant woman is highly mobile.
  • contact the pregnant woman’s medical practitioner (if known) to:
    • discuss the concerns identified
    • request that information be shared with relevant health professionals, such as the midwife or hospital social work services
    • ask that Child Safety be advised when the child is born.

Note

The Queensland hospital email addresses are monitored during business hours only. In the rare situation where all public hospitals need to be urgently alerted to the HRA Form 1 outside business hours:

  • be aware that hospitals will not receive the emailed information until the next business day
  • consider whether to telephone each hospital (including the Mater Mothers’ Hospital and any private or interstate hospital) at which the pregnant woman may be likely to present. (For Queensland hospitals refer to the Queensland Health Unborn child high risk alert contact list.)   

If the pregnant woman presents for delivery at a hospital that has received the HRA Form 1, the hospital will send Child Safety the HRA Form 2―Unborn child high risk alert: notification that pregnant woman has presented for delivery.

Practice prompt

When the child is born, decide the most appropriate type of ongoing intervention or record a new notification if a current risk assessment is required.

Decide to provide intervention with parental agreement

Intervention with parental agreement allows Child Safety to provide support and help to a child in need of protection and their family, without a child protection order granting custody or guardianship.

Intervention with parental agreement is short-term and intensive in nature.

It can only be used if it is safe for a child to remain at home and the parents agree to work with Child Safety.

Note

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, talk with the parents and other family members to gather information about the family’s ability and willingness to work with Child Safety and to identify supports available in their family and community.

To assess if intervention with parental agreement is appropriate, consider:

  • the immediate safety of a child—the outcome of the safety assessment must be ‘safe’ or ‘safe with immediate safety plan’. If immediate harm indicators cannot be addressed in a safety plan, consider another type of intervention
  • the current risk and future risk level based on:
    • the family risk evaluation
    • the vulnerability of a child
    • any unresolved immediate harm indicators identified in a safety assessment for the household
    • the child protection history for the child and family
  • a child’s views and wishes, depending on their age and ability to understand
  • the parents’ capacity to understand and acknowledge the child protection concerns. Concerns that are not understood or acknowledged pose a significant risk to a child’s safety
  • the parents’ ability and willingness. At least one parent must:
    • be both able and willing to work with Child Safety to meet the safety, belonging and wellbeing 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 child’s need for safety, belonging and wellbeing when the intervention is completed.

Practice prompt

Do not accept at face value that a parent’s agreement to this type of intervention will ensure a child’s safety. The parent may communicate a willingness to work collaboratively with Child Safety, but that willingness may not be observed in their actions or behaviour.

A child’s safety and wellbeing are at significant risk if parents do not understand or acknowledge the child protection concerns and parents are less likely to comply with the case plan. In these circumstances, consider if a child protection order is more appropriate.

Intervention with parental agreement is not appropriate when one or more of the following apply:

  • If the parents withdraw their agreement to the intervention, the child will be at immediate risk.
  • There are serious risk factors linked with the parents’ ability to consent, such as current alcohol or substance misuse or intellectual disability.
  • There are serious risk factors linked with the parents’ ability to carry out safety planning or meet case plan goals, for example, the parents are highly mobile or unwilling to work with Child Safety or a family support service.
  • The parents’ not meeting case plan goals would place a child at unacceptable risk of harm.

For further information about providing intervention with parental agreement, refer to Procedure 4 Support a child at home.

Tip

A child can be subject to both intervention with parental agreement and a child protection order, for example, intervention with parental agreement and a directive order.

If the intervention with parental agreement is not meeting a child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs, consider which type of child protection order is required, including if a supervision or directive order will meet the child’s protection and care needs.

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