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Inform the parents of the outcome

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 15(2), requires that, as soon as practicable after completing the investigation and assessment, an authorised officer must:

  • tell at least one of the child’s parents about the outcome of the investigation and assessment
  • if asked by the parent, provide the outcome of the investigation and assessment in writing.

Consider whether the information should be provided to both parents, especially when parents are residing separately.

To provide the information to the parent, either verbally or in writing:

  • Give sufficient information about the main child protection concerns in the notification, to ensure they understand the reasons for the Child Safety intervention, without identifying the notifier.
  • Tell them the investigation and assessment outcome and the rationale for the decisions made, including:
    • an explanation of terminology used
    • a rationale for any substantiated significant harm or risk of significant harm and any safety, belonging and wellbeing needs identified.
  • Outline the reasons and rationale for any decision to open an ongoing intervention case, to assist the parents to participate in further decision making, and strengthen their ability to meet the child’s needs in the future.

Discretionary compliance with section 15

Only provide information to the extent that is reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances, if:

  • someone may be charged with a criminal offence for the harm to the child, and compliance may jeopardise an investigation into the offence
  • compliance may expose the child to harm.

When considering the use of discretionary compliance:

  • Decide what is reasonable and appropriate in each particular circumstance.
  • Consult with the QPS if there is an ongoing criminal investigation before giving any information to the parents.
  • Use professional judgement, the outcome of the family risk evaluation and any relevant information about domestic and family violence issues to decide if providing information may expose the child to significant harm. (Refer to Inform the parents about the allegation of harm.)
  • Seek senior team leader approval for any decision not to provide the information.
  • Record the decision, rationale and approval process in the Information provision to parents form in ICMS.

Long term guardianship to a suitable person

If the child has a long-term guardian, an authorised officer must:

  • tell at least one of the long-term guardians about the outcome of the investigation and assessment
    and
  • make reasonable efforts to contact at least one of the child’s parents unless this is not considered to be in the child’s best interest, taking into account:
    • the nature and extent of the child’s connection with their parents
    • the evidence supporting the allegation
    • any other matter, for example, if a parent’s knowledge of this investigation and assessment will have a detrimental effect on the child and the stability of the living arrangements (Child Protection Act 1999, section 15(3)).

Record details of advice to parents and all attempts to advise the child’s parents of the allegations and the investigation and assessment outcome, in the ‘Information provision to parents’ form in ICMS (Child Protection Act 1999, section 15(5)).

Family Responsibilities Commission

Note

The Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) is a statutory body that aims to reduce welfare dependency in the North Queensland communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale, Mossman Gorge and Doomadgee. Further information, including contact details, is available at the Family Responsibilities Commission website.

All Child Safety staff are responsible under the Family Responsibilities Commission Act 2008 to give notice to the FRC when they become aware of alleged harm or alleged risk of harm to a child whose family resides in a welfare reform community.

A Notice About Child Safety and Welfare Matters must be emailed to the FRC within 5 days of an investigation and assessment outcome being approved, if the family has lived in one of the welfare reform communities for at least 3 months since 2008.

Before providing the notice, contact the FRC to confirm if it has already received a notice about the family. Record details of when the notice was sent or confirmation that a notice has already been sent in a case note in ICMS.

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