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Investigate and assess

Use this procedure to investigate and assess allegations that a child has been significantly harmed or is at risk of significant harm (or that an unborn child will be at risk of significant harm after birth); to assess a child’s need for protection and to record the outcome of the investigation and assessment. The procedure explains how to work with the child, their parents and community to identify supports that can be provided for the child and family.

Use this procedure to investigate and assess allegations that a child has been significantly harmed or is at risk of significant harm (or that an unborn child will be at risk of significant harm after birth) and to assess a child’s need for protection.

An investigation and assessment is the response provided by Child Safety to concerns received at intake and recorded as a notification.  Investigation and assessment involves a process of investigating whether the child has experienced, is experiencing, or is at risk of experiencing significant harm, assessing whether the child is in need of protection and recording the response.

Significant harm used throughout this procedure, refers to the definition of harm in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 9: ‘Harm, to a child, is any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child’s physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing’.

Child Safety has a statutory obligation to:

  • investigate allegations that:
    • a child has been significantly harmed or is at risk of significant harm 
      or
    • an unborn child will be at risk of significant harm after birth
  • assess a child’s need for protection or take other actions considered appropriate.

The investigation and assessment may be Child Safety’s first face-to-face contact with a child who has been abused or neglected and who may need intervention to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

The purpose of an investigation and assessment is to:

  • decide if a child is safe
  • investigate allegations of significant harm and risk of significant harm
  • assess the child and family in their usual home environment
  • assess and decide if the child is in need of protection
  • decide if an unborn child will need protection after birth
  • decide if there are supports that Child Safety or other agencies can provide to the child and family.

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