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Record the investigation and assessment

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This page was updated on 08 September 2020. To view changes, please see page updates

Tip

Recording the investigation and assessment is a vital step in the assessment of a child’s need for protection. The information recorded is critical for any ongoing or future contact with the child and family.

Record key information

Record all key information in the investigation and assessment event in ICMS, including:

  • the date, time and details of all contact with subject children, parents and other persons, including unsuccessful attempts
  • the Indigenous status, ethnicity and language of all subject children and other relevant persons
  • details of who conducted the interviews, including the names and positions of the CSO and second officer, police officer, Assessment and Service Connect (ASC) provider, or other person present during the interviews
  • any powers used under the authority of the Child Protection Act 1999, sections 16, 17 and 18
  • an ASC response form, if an ASC co-response occurred. Select only the known specialist services the ASC co-responder provided at the time of finalising the investigation and assessment
  • any action taken to refer a matter to the QPS under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2) and (3)
  • a summary of the significant information gathered from interviews and other sources, including information gathered from a government or non-government agency to commence the investigation and assessment (refer to the practice guide Commencing an investigation and assessment within 5 or 10 days)
  • responses to the notified concerns, including any relevant disclosures, admissions or denials by the subject child, other children, the parents, family members or other adults
  • information relevant to the assessment of the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs, including the immediate safety plan if one or more was developed
  • relevant observations about the child (presentation, demeanour and  developmental level), the parents (interaction with child and non-verbal cues) and the home environment
  • any action taken to assist with the assessment, such as medical examinations or photographs
  • the rationale for decisions made throughout the investigation and assessment, including whether there will be ongoing intervention with the family to meet the child’s protection needs or reduce the likelihood of future harm to the child
  • whether an independent person helped in decision making—complete an independent person form in ICMS for each of the following significant decisions made during an investigation and assessment for an Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander child:
    • safety planning decisions about how to keep a child safe
    • placement decisions where a child protection care agreement or a child protection order grants custody to the chief executive, where applicable
    • a child in need of protection decision
    • any other decision for which an independent person helped the child and family to participate
  • the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child placement form outlining care arrangement options that comply with the placement element of the child placement principle
  • whether information was provided to the family about Victim Assist Queensland services. (Refer to Respond if a person may have been a victim of violence.)
  • an outcome and rationale recorded for:
    • each subject child recorded in the notification
    • each additional subject child identified as being harmed or at risk of harm during the investigation and assessment
  • all relevant forms are completed in the Investigation and assessment event. 

Record the outcome

Once a decision about the child’s need for protection is made, the investigation and assessment outcome can be finalised.

The Record abuse and harm section includes the:

  • abusive action
  • person responsible for the abusive action 
  • resulting significant harm to the child.

The Record unacceptable risk of harm section includes the:

  • unacceptable risk of significant harm 
  • parent responsible for any future risk to the child.

If the outcome is unsubstantiated, do not select any abusive action, resulting harm or unacceptable risk types.

Practice prompt

Select only one (most serious) harm or risk of harm type for each child.

Record the abuse and harm

An incident of abuse which results in harm to a child is recorded as the abusive action. The abusive action includes:

  • acts of commission or omission
    and
  • failure to protect a child from abuse caused by another person.

The resulting harm is the impact experienced by the child.

If the child is assessed as having been significantly harmed, record the abuse and harm by selecting:

  • each abusive action type experienced by the child— see Figure 1 below
  • each resulting harm type experienced by the child— see Figure 1 below

Record the person responsible for each abusive action and the resulting harm type. More than one person can be responsible for the same harm type for a child.

Note

The substantiated harm may be different to the alleged harm in the notification.

Do not record a child who has self-harmed as a person responsible for that harm.

Practice prompt

If domestic and family violence is apparent, the assessment about who is responsible for the abusive action will focus on the perpetrator’s pattern of violent and coercive behaviour and the resulting harm, either direct or indirect, to the child.

Do not record the adult victim (often the mother) as being responsible for the abusive action of failure to protect. For further information about the best practice approach for domestic and family violence and the Safe and Together model, refer to the overview of the practice kit Domestic and family violence.

Figure 1. Record abuse and resulting harm

Record unacceptable risk

If the child is assessed as being at unacceptable risk of significant harm, with no parent able and willing to protect them from harm:

  • select each unacceptable risk of harm identified for the child—see Figure 2 below
  • select the parent responsible for each unacceptable risk of harm type recorded. More than one parent can be responsible for the same unacceptable risk of harm type for a child.

Note

The unacceptable risk of significant harm substantiated may be different to the type of risk of harm alleged in the notification.

Figure 2: Record unacceptable risk of harm 

Record the person responsible

To complete the Record abuse and resulting harm section in the Assessment and outcome form, record:

  • details of the assessed harm
  • the actual incident of abuse that occurred
  • the person responsible.

The person responsible is the person who is assessed as being responsible for the abusive act, which includes acts of commission or omission, and failure to protect. 

This may be:

  • the parent
  • another adult who lives in the home or has regular access to the child in the home
  • another child aged 10 years or over who lives in the home and is assessed as having the developmental ability or capacity to understand the consequences of their actions. This is not common, but may occur in some circumstances.

This information helps clarify what has happened to the child, and who is responsible, which will inform future risk assessments.

If someone else was responsible for the abusive action, select one of the following person responsible options in ICMS:

  • not applicable—child under 10 years, if the abusive act was committed by a child under 10 years of age
  • not applicable—other person, if the abusive act was committed by:
    • a child aged 10 years or over who does not have the developmental ability or capacity to understand the consequences of their actions
    • any person who does not live in the child’s home or does not have regular access to the child in the home
  • not able to be identified, if it is unclear who was responsible for the abusive action.

Tip

The person recorded as the person responsible for the abusive action should be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations during the investigation and assessment process, if it does not interfere with criminal proceedings and if it is possible. 

Do not record a subject child as a person responsible for abusive action towards another subject child in the same investigation and assessment event. If a child (aged 10 years or over) is recorded as a person responsible for abusive action towards another subject and there are child protection concerns for that child, make sure:

  • a separate notification is recorded for that child as the subject child
  • a separate investigation and assessment is carried out regarding that child’s need for protection.

Record the parent responsible

To complete the Record unacceptable risk of harm section in the Assessment and outcome form in ICMS, record:

  • the details of any assessed unacceptable risk of significant harm if there is no parent able and willing to protect the child from significant harm
  • the parent responsible for the future risk of significant harm.

Practice prompt

Only a parent, as defined in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 11, can be selected as being responsible for the future risk of significant harm—even if the risk relates to abuse caused by someone else.

Record a separate notification and carry out a separate investigation and assessment if, during the investigation and assessment, child protection concerns are identified for:

  • a subject child’s parent who is under 18 years of age
    or
  • a child of a subject child.

A child and their parent cannot both be subject children in the existing investigation and assessment.

Further reading

Refer to Procedure 1 Record subject child or other child for information about recording a separate notification in these circumstances.

Record the type of ongoing intervention planned

Tip

The ongoing intervention section in the Assessment and outcome form in ICMS documents the type of ongoing intervention planned when the investigation and assessment is completed.

For each child in need of protection, record one of the following types of ongoing intervention:

  • intervention with parental agreement
  • intervention with parental agreement with a directive child protection order, if the child is subject to both types of intervention
  • child protection order.

Record support service if:

  • a pregnant woman consents to ongoing intervention prior to her baby’s birth
  • a child is not in need of protection; the family’s final scored risk level in the family risk evaluation is high; and ongoing intervention is planned with the family’s consent.

For all other subject children, record no ongoing intervention planned.

Approve the investigation and assessment

The investigation and assessment must be approved within 100 days of the date of the notification by the senior team leader or:

  • the CSSC manager if the investigation and assessment is about a vexatious or malicious notifier with a no investigation and assessment outcome
  • another senior team leader or CSSC manager if the approving senior team leader carries out any important steps in the investigation and assessment.

Note

If the notified concerns were received from a Centrelink employee, in line with the Youth Protocol: An agreement concerning referral, assessment, case management and support for homeless and unsupported young people:

  • Telephone Centrelink within 48 hours of deciding the investigation and assessment outcome and advise them of the outcome and any proposed actions.
  • Complete the Advice to Centrelink form that was attached to the original written advice from Centrelink.
  • Send the form to the relevant Centrelink office.

Further reading

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