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Gather information from other sources

Gather information from other sources

Other people identified during the investigation and assessment may be potential sources of information that will contribute to a holistic assessment of the child’s need for protection. Consider gathering information from them.

When requesting information from another source, seek information that is relevant to assessing the child protection concerns.

Examples of other sources of information that may not have been known during the investigation and assessment planning include:

  • other family members or significant people
  • people identified by a child or family as able to provide information or cultural advice
  • school personnel
  • the family doctor, a child health nurse, or Child and Youth Mental Health Service
  • the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) regarding a child’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) access status, plan or supports
  • other professionals, or agency or support service staff who know the child or family.

 The Child Protection Act 1999 also provides authority for:

  • agencies to give a relevant child’s personal information to Child Safety during an investigation and assessment (section 159MB) 
  • Child Safety to request information from the Public Guardian, a prescribed entity, a licensee (an entity licensed to provide placement services to children in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive) or the person in charge of a student hostel. The request must be complied with (section 159N). 

When requesting information under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 159N, complete a Section 159N information request and forward it to the relevant agency. However, if information is to be requested from the NDIA or NDIS, obtain consent from the child’s parent to speak to the NDIA using the NDIS Consent for the NDIA to share your information form. If the parent does not consent, seek information from the NDIA using the Data Management NDIA Request Form.

Practice prompt

Consider the type of information being requested from an agency. For example, a child may have attended schools across multiple Department of Education regions, or Queensland Health may have more than one file for a child or family.

Information gathered from other sources is part of the investigation and assessment. It cannot be used to decide that an investigation and assessment is no longer required and the notification downgraded to a child concern report. (Refer to Procedure 5 Information sharing.)

Receive information under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012

During the investigation and assessment, relevant information may be received, as part of a request from a Queensland court, attached to a Report to the Court pursuant to section 55 Part A—Request form, under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 section 55

To respond to this information:

  • Assess whether the information contains child protection concerns.
  • Assess and record the information in line with usual intake processes. (Refer to Procedure 1 Receive and respond at intake.)

Receive information from the Integrated Justice Information Strategy

During an investigation and assessment, information relevant to the assessment of the child’s need for protection may be received from the Integrated Justice Information Strategy (IJIS).

Data Management Services will send an automated email alert to the relevant CSSC via the management team group email, containing either:

  • an IJIS notification (criminal court matter alert), notifying details of a subject child’s first scheduled appearance in a criminal court proceeding
  • an IJIS Electronic transfer of court result (ETCR) alert, advising of the need to run an IJIS ETCR report in ICMS to access details of a criminal or domestic violence court result involving a subject child.

Tip

The CSSC management team is responsible for making sure the group email account is up to date and regularly monitored.

Receive an Integrated Justice Information Strategy notification (Criminal court matter alert)

If a child is identified as a subject child in an open investigation and assessment, the court matter alert email will be forwarded to the CSSC responsible for the investigation and assessment.

If an IJIS notification (criminal court matter alert) is received by a CSSC, the allocated CSO will:

  • read and assess the information to decide the appropriate response, including deciding if the information reaches the threshold for a notification, if relevant
  • record the information in the current ICMS event
  • print the alert for the client file
  • liaise with the young person’s CSO about Child Safety attendance at court—if the young person is subject to ongoing intervention
  • liaise with youth justice staff if required.

Note

Data Management Services will send the court matter alert email to the RIS rather than the CSSC, if:

  • a notification recorded on the subject child is awaiting approval in ICMS by the RIS senior team leader
  • the notification has been approved, and the investigation and assessment has not been allocated to the pending allocation tray of the receiving CSSC.

(Refer to Procedure 1 Integrated Justice Information Strategy electronic transfer of court result information.)

Receive Integrated Justice Information Strategy Electronic transfer of court result information

The IJIS electronic transfer of court results (ETCR) delivers court results from all Queensland criminal and civil jurisdictions to the CSSC with responsibility for a subject child. The subject child is identified as the primary person of interest. Information may also be received about secondary persons of interest, who may not have an existing person record in ICMS.

Data Management Services receives an ETCR if a child is matched in the court result as being subject to an open investigation and assessment.

Details about the court matter are accessed by running an ‘IJIS Electronic Court Results report’ in ICMS.

After receiving an ETCR report:

  • Gather further information from relevant sources, such as the QPS or OCFOS, if required.
  • Make sure the information is recorded in ICMS, including court dates, outcomes and persons named. If the information is already recorded, check it is accurate and update as needed. The ETCR report will remain accessible in the ICMS reports tab.
  • Make sure each child or adult who has a significant relationship with the subject child has a person record in ICMS.
  • If the information indicates new harm or risk of harm to the child, record the information in line with usual intake and investigation and assessment processes.
  • Attach the ETCR report to the relevant event in ICMS.

Respond to additional notified concerns

Record additional notified concerns if all the following apply:

  • New concerns are received that require screening to decide the intake response.
  • The new concerns do not meet the exceptions to recording additional notified concerns outlined in Procedure 1 Decide if additional notified concerns is the appropriate response.
  • There is already a notification that has not yet been approved or an open investigation and assessment event in ICMS for the child or unborn child or family.

Do not record an Additional notified concerns form in an intake event where a child concern report is recorded. Any new concerns are to be recorded as a new intake event.

While there is no limit to the number of additional notified concerns that may be recorded as part of one notification and investigation and assessment process, the ongoing receipt of additional notified concerns may indicate cumulative harm or an escalating threat to safety. This should be considered when planning the commencement of the investigation and assessment.

If additional notified concerns are received:

  • Check the child protection history.
  • Conduct a pre-notification check (only if needed).
  • Complete an additional notified concerns form in the investigation and assessment event in ICMS, which includes the screening criteria and if required, response priority.
  • Submit the completed form to the senior team leader for approval.
  • Consider whether a subsequent safety assessment is required, due to any change in circumstances for the family, and review any existing immediate safety plans to ensure the safety needs of the child are still being met.
  • If the additional notified concerns meet the threshold for a notification, respond within the shortest response timeframe, which is either:
    • the response timeframe that already applies to the open investigation and assessment
    • the response timeframe relating to the new concerns.

The allocated CSO is responsible for investigating and assessing all information received about the family during the course of the investigation and assessment, until the investigation and assessment is finalised and approved in ICMS. This includes:

  • all concerns received—the original concerns and any additional notified concerns with a notification response
  • any new concerns that arise as part of the investigation and assessment process that do not need to be recorded as additional notified concerns and are to be assessed as part of the investigation and assessment.

If an investigation and assessment is commenced before a decision that additional notified concerns meet the threshold for a notification:

  • Sight and interview the subject child, to meet the new response timeframe and assess the additional notified concerns.
  • Advise at least one of the child’s parents of the new concerns so a current assessment of their capacity and willingness to protect the child can be completed.

If the alleged person responsible for the new harm is someone other than a parent and they are likely to be recorded as a person responsible for harm to the child, give them the opportunity to respond to the allegations made against them.

Note

If the additional notified concerns do not meet the threshold for a notification, there is no need to re-interview or re-sight the child; however, consider the information in the context of assessing and finalising the current investigation and assessment.

If additional notified concerns are recorded and the investigation and assessment is to be transferred to another CSSC, the senior team leader is responsible for approving the Additional notified concerns form in ICMS, before the transfer occurs.

Further reading

Respond to conerns that have already been received

If the information to be recorded as additional notified concerns duplicates concerns that have previously been recorded, record an Additional notified concerns form:

  • with a child concern report response
  • regardless of whether the concerns meet the threshold for a child concern report or notification. 

(Refer to Procedure 1 Record duplicate concerns.)

Check criminal and domestic violence history

Consider asking the QPS for criminal and domestic violence history under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 95(3) or Chapter 5A, part 4  if the information is relevant and required to complete the investigation and assessment. This includes information about:

  • a parent or household member who:
    • refuses to disclose their criminal or domestic violence history, and the information cannot be gathered from other sources
    • is alleged to have a history of offences against children, but the full history is not available
  • an allegation of harm or risk that has been made against another adult relevant to the investigation and assessment.

Note

Seek the CSSC manager’s approval for all requests made under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 95(3).

To obtain a person’s Queensland criminal and/or domestic violence history as part of an investigation and assessment:

  1. Check whether there is already a record of the person’s criminal and/or domestic violence history recently provided by the QPS−only make a new request if new information is likely to be available.
  2. Confirm with the senior team leader whether an urgent request or a request for interstate criminal and/or domestic violence history needs to be made via the Central Screening Unit.
  3. Use the QPS Self Service of Document Retrieval (SSoDR) portal.

The SSoDR portal allows staff with relevant delegations to search for the Queensland criminal and/or domestic violence history of an offender (not a victim) under the authority of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 95(3) or 159N, if the information is required to complete an investigation and assessment. The SSoDR portal is only to be used to access information about a person 18 years or over. 

A CSO will ask the CSSC manager or senior team leader to access the SSoDR portal. A CSAHSC CSO will access the portal themselves. Note: If there is insufficient identifying information to carry out a search in the SSoDR portal, such as not having the person’s full name or date of birth, seek these details from the local Child Protection Investigation Unit (CPIU). The request for this information is made under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 159MB.

Each time the SSoDR portal is accessed a case note type ‘Info received from QPS’ must be recorded in ICMS with the following details:

  • the date and time the portal was accessed
  • who accessed the portal
  • what section of the Child Protection Act 1999 the information is being sought under, including for section 95(3), the CSSC manager who approved the request
  • that the portal was accessed for the purpose of making an assessment about whether a child is in need of protection

and

  • what relevant information was retrieved. Note: if the retrieved information is not relevant to the investigation and assessment, do not record or print the information. In the case note record that ‘no relevant criminal or domestic violence history was available’.

For further information about what to record, refer to the record keeping section of the Self Service of Document Retrieval (SSoDR) Portal Operational Guidelines.

4. Make a non-urgent request via the Central Screening Unit.

To complete a non-urgent criminal and domestic violence history check:

The Central Screening Unit will email the QPS documents to the requesting CSSC manager and also send them by mail to the CSSC.

The Central Screening Unit cannot forward the request to the QPS if the mandatory fields are incomplete. Contact the local Child Protection and Investigation Unit (CPIU), to help find out any relevant information needed to complete the spreadsheet.

5. Make an urgent request via the Central Screening Unit.

Consider asking for an urgent criminal and domestic violence history check:  

  • to complete the initial safety assessment (Child Protection Act 1999, section 95(3))
  • to facilitate provisional approval of a carer applicant for an emergency care arrangement. (Refer to Procedure 6 Assess an applicant requiring provisional approval.)
  • if a written record of history is needed as evidence in an application for a CAO or TCO (Child Protection Act 1999, section 95(2)).

An urgent request or a request for interstate history under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 95(3) via the Central Screening Unit is only made if:

  • criminal and/or domestic violence history is required urgently

or

  • interstate criminal and/or domestic violence history is required. Note: The QPS will take longer to complete interstate checks.

To make either an urgent request or a request for interstate criminal and/or domestic violence history:

  • Seek approval from the CSSC manager.
  • Complete a QPS—Urgent S95 Request (Business Hours) form, and:
    • for an urgent request—explain the urgency is due to the need to make an assessment of whether a child is in need of protection
    • fill in all mandatory fields on the form. If information such as a person’s full name or aliases are not known, contact the local CPIU to obtain this information
  • Forward the form to the Central Screening Unit. Note: the QPS will not process requests sent directly to them from a CSSC.

The Central Screening Unit will:

  • check that all mandatory fields are completed on the form before forwarding it to the QPS
  • receive the results from the QPS and email them to the requesting CSO.

To record the results provided by the QPS, complete the following in ICMS an Info received from QPS case note and attach or reference the information received.

The Police Information Centre will process an urgent criminal or domestic violence history check if the rationale for urgency is one of the following:

6. Make an urgent after hours request via the CSAHSC.

If an investigation and assessment continues after business hours and urgent criminal and domestic violence history is needed to inform the assessment or a care arrangement for a child, the CSAHSC can carry out checks between 3:30pm and 8am, Monday to Friday.

To complete an urgent after-hours QPS criminal and domestic violence history: 

The CSAHSC will forward the request to the QPS and complete other tasks if agreed by negotiation with the CSSC.

7. Contact the local CPIU if, after obtaining information from the SSoDR portal, their advice is needed about whether further information about an individual or report is likely to be available and therefore, whether a Section 159N information request should be made. In particular this must occur when information from the SSoDR portal indicates:

  • an open Domestic Violence Report is ‘unfinalised’
    or
  • a finalised Domestic Violence Report has no information listed and the information in the report may be relevant to the investigation and assessment outcome.

The request for advice from the QPS about whether to make a Section 159N information request is made under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 159MB.

8. Make a Section 159N information requestonly if after retrieving information from the SSoDR portal or from information provided by a CPIU, it is known or suspected that the QPS may have further information about a particular individual or report. To make a Section 159N information request, seek the approval of the senior team leader or manager. In the request, record the date information was accessed from the SSoDR portal and the relevant QPS occurrence number. Refer to the Section 159N request for information user guide.

If an investigation and assessment continues after business hours and urgent criminal and domestic violence history is needed to inform the assessment or a care arrangement of a child, the CSAHSC can carry out checks between 3:30pm and 8am, Monday to Friday.

To complete an urgent after-hours QPS criminal and domestic violence history check:

The CSAHSC will forward the request to the QPS and complete other tasks if agreed by negotiation with the CSSC.

Request information from Medicare Australia

Medicare Australia can share information with child protection agencies when the agency has reasonable grounds for believing that disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a threat to life, health or welfare of a child.

Medicare Australia can share information such as:

  • records of any treating doctors and their location and history of visits to medical practitioners
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme records to, for example, assess parental prescription drug abuse
  • Medicare numbers
  • a history of Medicare access to, for example, assess medical neglect cases.

To request information from Medicare Australia:

Seek information about problematic alcohol and other drug use by a parent

Seek information from an Alcohol and Other Drugs Services professional to inform or clarify an assessment of a parent’s substance misuse or abuse, including:

  • general advice or knowledge about drug or alcohol issues
  • specific information about the potential impact of the drug misuse on the parent's ability to parent.

Further reading

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