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Receive information from a notifier

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This page was updated on 07 September 2020. To view changes, please see page updates

Receive information from a notifier

  • Child Safety is responsible for receiving and responding to concerns that a parent is not able and willing to protect a child from significant harm.
  • The QPS is responsible for investigating all alleged criminal offences.
  • Anyone may inform Child Safety of child protection concerns. Information may be reported in person, by telephone or in writing.

If concerns come in writing, make a reasonable attempt to contact the person (the notifier) to gain all relevant information unless:

The RIS provides Child Safety’s intake function during business hours. Outside business hours, the CSAHSC provides a statewide intake service.

The CSO from a RIS or CSAHSC who receives the concerns will:

  • gather and assess the information
  • decide and record the response
  • seek the senior team leader’s approval of the response.

The RIS that receives concerns carries out all intake procedures and does not refer the notifier to another RIS or CSSC.

If a CSSC CSO receives concerns from a notifier about a child or unborn child, they will carry out all intake procedures if:

  • the person who presents at the CSSC is: 
    • vulnerable or distressed
    • a child or young person
    • an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
  • there are new concerns about a child or family (including a child in care) for whom the CSSC has an open case, including: 
    • an investigation and assessment
    • a support service case
    • intervention with parental agreement
    • a child protection order
  • the CSO receives the concerns while carrying out case work or an investigation and assessment in the community.

For all other matters, the CSSC CSO will do one of the following:

  • help a notifier who attends the CSSC to contact the RIS, providing them with privacy and support
  • forward all intake calls to the RIS, using warm telephone transfer where possible
  • forward all intake correspondence to the RIS by: 
    • scanning the correspondence 
    • emailing the RIS team mailbox
    • confirming receipt of information
    • filing the original documents at the CSSC.

Mandatory reports

The Child Protection Act 1999 requires certain professionals to make a report to Child Safety, if they reasonably suspect a child:

  • has suffered, is suffering, or is at an unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse
    and
  • may not have a parent able and willing to protect them.

Mandatory reporters are:

  • doctors
  • registered nurses
  • teachers
  • police officers with child protection responsibilities
  • people performing child advocate functions under the Public Guardian Act 2014
  • early childhood education and care professionals
  • authorised officers, Child Safety employees and departmental or licensed care service employees—if the reasonable suspicion is about a child placed in a departmental or licensed care service.

Mandatory reports are assessed in line with usual intake processes.

For further information about mandatory reports refer to the practice guide Notifiers and mandatory reporting.

Information about harm by a person who is not a member of the child's household

If a person allegedly responsible for harm or risk of harm to a child is not a member of the child’s household, Child Safety will investigate and assess when there is a reasonable suspicion that the child does not have a parent able and willing to protect them from the harm. The QPS is responsible for investigating all alleged criminal offences.

Attention

Household members include all persons who have significant in-home contact with a child, including those who have a familial or intimate relationship with any person in the home. The person does not have to permanently reside in the home to be considered a household member.

Note

Child sexual exploitation is the most common type of child sexual abuse by a person living outside the home. Young people may be targeted, groomed and gradually introduced into an abusive ‘relationship’ they think is normal. Marginalised young people who are sad, isolated, missing from home, using alcohol and other drugs, or experiencing mental health and behavioural issues, may be targeted by offenders.

Consider the following questions when deciding whether the information indicates a reasonable suspicion that a child does not have a parent able and willing to protect them:

  • Are one or both parents aware of the harm or risk of harm?
  • Is one parent capable of protecting the child?
  • How have the parents responded to the allegations? Have they refused to ensure the child’s safety?
  • How have the parents responded to the child? Do they:
    • believe the child
    • support the child  
    • reject or blame the child? 
  • Do the parents have an ongoing relationship with the alleged person responsible that affects their ability to act protectively?
  • Are the parents willing, but not able, to protect the child because of complicating factors such as:

Immediately report information to the QPS alleging harm to a child that may involve the commission of a criminal offence relating to the child. To do this, use the Police referral.

New child protection concerns

New child protection concerns refer to information about harm or risk of harm not previously known about a child who is already subject to:

  • ongoing intervention
    or
  • an open intake or investigation and assessment event in ICMS.

If the concerns are about a child subject to ongoing intervention:

  • take action to ensure the child’s immediate safety
     and
  • decide the appropriate response.

If concerns about a child in care are about the level of care being provided in their care arrangement, refer to Procedure 6 Respond to concerns about the child’s care arrangement.

If concerns are about a child in the care of their long-term or permanent guardian, refer to Information about a child with a long-term or permanent guardian.

Concerns received by the child’s child safety officer

If new concerns are received by the CSO with case responsibility, the CSO will:

  • refer to the screening criteria to decide if the concerns reach the threshold for a notification
  • consider contacting the RIS for: 
    • assistance in applying the screening criteria
    • advice about the response
  • consult with the senior team leader about the appropriate response
  • decide whether the concerns meet the threshold for a new notification.

When the concerns do not reach the threshold for a notification, the CSO with case responsibility will record the concerns in an OI—received concerns case note in ICMS. The case note will:

  • include the rationale for the concerns not reaching the threshold for a notification
  • include details of consultation with: 
    • the senior team leader
    • any other person who contributed to the decision
  • clearly document that the person providing the information is a notifier, so they are afforded protection in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 186
  • ensure that, when the concerns relate to siblings, the case note is a shared document and available in each child’s ongoing intervention event 
  • ensure the concerns are addressed with the family, as outlined below.

If the concerns do reach the threshold for a notification, the CSO with case responsibility will:

  • complete the notification in line with usual intake processes and timeframes
  • submit the notification to the supervising senior team leader for approval (Refer to Record a notification.)
  • consult and collaborate with the investigating CSO to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child throughout the investigation and assessment.
  • record the information as additional notified concerns, regardless of whether it meets the threshold for a notification, if there is an existing open event in ICMS with: 
    • a notification not yet approved
      or
    • an investigation and assessment not yet approved.

For further information refer to Procedure 2 Respond to additional notified concerns.

Concerns received by the Regional Intake Service or Child Safety After Hours Service Centre 

If new concerns are received by a RIS or CSAHSC, the CSO will:

  • immediately contact the CSSC CSO with case responsibility to gather information and help decide the response, if within business hours
  • record a notification where the concerns reach the threshold for a notification. (Refer to Record a notification.)

If the concerns do not reach the threshold for a notification, the RIS or CSAHSC CSO will:

  • record the concerns in a OI—received concerns  case note in ICMS and: 
    • include the rationale for the concerns not reaching the threshold for a notification
    • include details of consultation with:
      •  the senior team leader
        and
      •  any other person that contributed to the decision
    • clearly document that the person providing the information is a notifier and afforded protection in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 186
    • ensure that when concerns relate to siblings, the case note is a shared document that is available in each child’s ongoing intervention event
    • immediately notify the CSSC CSO and senior team leader with case responsibility to make them aware of the concerns.

Record the information as additional notified concerns, regardless of whether it meets the threshold for a notification if there is an existing open event in ICMS with:

  • a notification not yet approved
    or
  • an investigation and assessment not yet approved.

Notify the CSO with case responsibility that either a case note or additional notified concerns has been recorded.

For further information refer to Procedure 2 Respond to additional notified concerns.

Information about the quality of care provided to a child in care

If a CSO from a CSSC that does not have case responsibility for the child or carer receives concerns about the quality of care provided to a child, or about harm to a child in their care arrangement, respond in line with Procedure 6 Respond to concerns about the child’s care arrangement.

If a RIS CSO receives the concerns:

  • record a standards of care case note in the placement event in ICMS
  • telephone a senior team leader in the following CSSCs to advise of the concerns: 
    • the CSSC responsible for case management of the child
    • the CSSC responsible for the carer
    • the CSSC responsible for the geographical area in which the residential care service is located.

If a CSAHSC CSO receives the concerns, either:

  • record a standards of care case note in the placement event and telephone a senior team leader in the following CSSCs to advise of the concerns: 
    • the CSSC responsible for case management of the child
    • the CSSC responsible for the carer
    • the CSSC responsible for the geographical area in which the residential care service is located
      or
  • assess the concerns and decide the response, and:
    • telephone the senior team leader in the following CSSCs to advise of the concerns:
      • the CSSC responsible for case management of the child
      • the CSSC responsible for the carer
      • the CSSC responsible for the geographical area in which the residential care service is located 
    • transfer the standard of care review or harm report to the pending allocation tray of the CSSC responsible for the response.

The CSSC responsible for the response completes all other tasks and provides feedback to the notifier if relevant. (Refer to Procedure 6 Support and monitor care.)

If concerns about a child in care are about harm or risk of harm experienced in their family environment, for example, during family contact, refer to Procedure 5 Respond to child protection concerns related to family contact

Time sensitive

Advise the CSSCs of the information as soon as possible, as the CSSC responsible for the response must decide the response within 2 business days of the concerns being received.

Information that requires an Integrated Client Management System alert

Record an alert in ICMS, as soon as significant information relevant to an alert type is received or identified for a child, a child’s family or carer family.

The following alerts are recorded in ICMS:

  • Carer application refused
  • Carer certificate of authority cancelled/suspended
  • CCYPCG —Blue card declined (This alert refers to a decision to refuse a person’s Blue Card application. The decision was previously the responsibility of the CCYPCG and is now the responsibility of Blue Card Services. The name of the alert in ICMS has not yet been updated.)
  • Child death—result of harm
  • Child protection warrant
  • Child seriously injured—result of harm
  • Conflict based placement concern
  • Deceased—other (for example as a result of accidental death, disability or illness)
  • Experienced detriment by department—policy 634 
  • Harm report
  • History of parents taking children without authority
  • Member of a family—child death—result of harm (for example, member of a family where a child has died as a result of abuse)
  • Member of a family—child seriously injured—result of harm
  • Member of a mobile family
  • Missing child
  • Risk to staff
  • Self-harm risk
  • Serious health condition
  • Significant DFV threat
  • Suicide risk (A suicide risk alert is created within a suicide risk event in ICMS.  Refer to Procedure 5 Record a suicide risk alert.)
  • Unaccompanied humanitarian minor
  • Unborn child.

If information is received about a significant event that may require one or more alerts to be recorded for a child, a child’s family or carer family:

  • Consult the senior team leader to: 
    • assess the nature and significance of the information
    • determine the most appropriate way to record the information.
  • Contact other government or non-government agencies, if relevant and in line with intake procedures: 
    • including the QPS, Queensland Health and education authorities, if needed
    • to clarify or verify the information.
  • Record and maintain the information on the alert tab of the relevant person records in ICMS, including closing an alert if it is no longer relevant, (for example, when a mobile family is located).

For information about when to record an alert for a child at risk of suicide or self-harm refer to Procedure 5 Respond to suicidal behaviour or Procedure 5 Respond to self-harming behaviour.

For information about when to record a Significant DFV threat alert refer to Refer to Procedure 2 Record an alert for significant domestic and family violence

Information about a child’s death

If information is received about a child’s death:

  • gather sufficient information to decide the appropriate intake response
  • assess the safety of any other child in the home.

The CSAHSC is responsible for managing and recording all initial information received from the QPS about reportable deaths. If the QPS contacts a RIS with information about a reportable death, the RIS will transfer the call to the CSAHSC.

The CSAHSC will:

  • gather information about the circumstances of the child’s death
  • provide the QPS with any child protection history regarding the child and their family
  • assess whether there is a reasonable suspicion that any other child in the family is in need of protection
  • record the information in an intake event in ICMS
  • complete a Critical incident report. (Refer to the policy Critical Incident Reporting and the Critical Incident Report Management System—Guidelines for Users)
  • notify Systems and Practice Review of the death
  • request a child protection history check from Data Management Services, including interstate child protection history, if requested by the QPS
  • advise the relevant CSSC, as required.

If information that a child has died is received from a notifier other than the QPS, the RIS will:

  • take the action outlined above
  • report the death to the QPS if the child was a child in care
  • record the information and: 
    • identify the deceased child as an other child  not a subject child
    • add the date of death to the child’s profile.

To decide the intake response, gather information about:

  • the circumstances of the child’s death
  • whether there is a reasonable suspicion that any other child is in need of protection.

If child protection concerns are reported in relation to the deceased child’s sibling, any other child or unborn child within the household:

  • record the child as a subject child
  • record the child protection concerns in line with usual intake procedures.

Note

Child Safety has a responsibility to review its involvement with a child, if the child was known to Child Safety in the year prior to their death. Being known to Child Safety includes being subject to ongoing intervention, an open intake, notification, or investigation and assessment.

Time sensitive

In addition, Child Safety must advise the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) of the child's death as soon as possible, or within one business day, if the deceased child was, immediately prior to notification of their death, subject to ongoing intervention, an open intake, notification, or investigation and assessment.

Provide the information by emailing and telephoning the relevant regional visiting manager. (Refer to the OPG—Regional Visiting Manager contact details.)

Information about serious injury to a child

In line with the memorandum of understanding between Child Safety and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), the CSO must advise the OPG as soon as possible, or within one business day, if information is received about serious injury to a relevant child staying at a visitable location.  Provide the information by emailing and telephoning the relevant regional visiting manager. (Refer to the OPG—Regional Visiting Manager contact details.)

A relevant child is a child subject to any of the following interventions:

  • a temporary assessment order
  • a court assessment order
  • a temporary custody order
  • a care agreement
  • an intervention with parental agreement
  • a child protection order.  

A child staying in a visitable location includes a child in a care arrangement with a foster or kinship carer, a residential care facility, including supported independent living, a boarding home, mental health facility and detention facility.

Information about a child in another jurisdiction

Alert—address unknown

If concerns are received about a child who is residing at an unknown address interstate or in New Zealand (another jurisdiction), make every effort to locate the child and family in line with procedures under the Information Sharing Protocol between the Commonwealth and Child Protection Agencies. (Refer to Record an intake with no identifying information and Procedure 2 Take action if a child and family cannot be located.)

If an address remains unknown and:

  • the child and family are believed to be residing in another jurisdiction
    and
  • the information is to be forwarded to that jurisdiction for an appropriate response:

The alert will be sent electronically to the other jurisdiction by:

  • the interstate liaison team
    or
  • the CSAHSC staff (if the alert needs to be sent after hours).

Note

An alert can be instigated in more than one jurisdiction, if required.

Encourage the notifier to also contact the other jurisdiction directly:

  • ACT           1300 556 729
  • NSW         132111
  • NZ              00116499123820
  • NT              1800 700 250
  • SA               131478
  • TAS            1300 737 639
  • VIC            131278
  • WA             08 9223 1111

Notification of child protection concerns—address known

If child protection concerns are received for a child who is not living in Queensland, or Child Safety is intervening with a family and they move to a known address interstate or in New Zealand forward the information to the other jurisdiction for an appropriate response.

Notify the other jurisdiction by:

Encourage the notifier to also contact the other jurisdiction directly:

  • ACT          1300 556 729
  • NSW        132111
  • NZ             00116499123820
  • NT             1800 700 250
  • SA              131478
  • TAS           1300 737 639
  • VIC            131278
  • WA             08 9223 1111

Practice prompt

If a child who resides in another jurisdiction is currently in Queensland, for example, as an in-patient in a Queensland hospital for a period of time, contact the other jurisdiction and negotiate on a case-by-case basis, either for Child Safety to:

  • send the concerns to the other jurisdiction as outlined above and complete tasks on their behalf
    or
  • record a notification and commence the investigation and assessment of the child and family, particularly where the child will remain in Queensland for an extended period.

Information from another jurisdiction

Alerts

Another state, territory or New Zealand may contact Child Safety to request that an alert be raised in Queensland, if:

  • the child's whereabouts are not known
     and
  • the child or family is believed to be in Queensland.

The other jurisdiction will send the request electronically via DChS.interstatealert@csyw.qld.gov.au. The requests are processed by the interstate liaison team or CSAHSC staff.

The CSAHSC manager and senior team leader are responsible for ensuring the alerts are:

  • responded to in line with relevant policy and procedures
  • recorded in ICMS, if applicable.

Note

The interstate liaison team is not responsible for recording the information in ICMS.

(Refer to Information that requires an Integrated Client Management System alert.)

Notifications

If another jurisdiction receives concerns about a child living at a known address in Queensland, that jurisdiction will forward the concerns to the interstate liaison team.  The interstate liaison team will forward the information to the relevant RIS. 

The RIS CSO will:

Practice prompt

If a request for a child protection history from an overseas jurisdiction, other than New Zealand is required, complete a Request for overseas child protection history.

Note

Requests for interstate/NZ or overseas child protection history are not sent to the Queensland interstate liaison team.

Information from Centrelink

The Youth Protocol: An agreement concerning referral, assessment, case management and support for homeless and unsupported young people outlines the required actions of Centrelink and Child Safety, when a Centrelink employee notifies child protection concerns.

Under the youth protocol:

  • a Centrelink employee who has concerns about a child must: 
    • report the concerns by:
      • telephoning Child Safety
      • forwarding the Referral to State/Territory Welfare Authority form to Child Safety within 48 hours 
    • assist the child to attend the local CSSC, if necessary.
  • Child Safety must: 
    • tell the Centrelink employee within 48 hours of the child being referred:
      • of any action Child Safety intends to take
      • the rationale for the decision.

If the concerns do not reach the threshold for a notification, the CSO and Centrelink employee will jointly consider if other support can be provided to the child. For example, the child may be eligible for special benefit payments.

If the concerns do reach the threshold for a notification, the CSSC responsible for the investigation and assessment has an obligation to notify Centrelink of the investigation and assessment outcome and proposed actions. Refer to Procedure 2 Approve the investigation and assessment.

Information about fabricated or induced illness

Tip

Fabricated or induced illness, previously known as Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy, is a specific pattern of abuse where an individual fabricates or induces illness or injury in a person in their care.

In child protection matters, illness or injury may be fabricated or induced in a child by a parent, or someone in a parental role, who may:

  • fabricate signs and symptoms of an illness or past medical history
  • falsify hospital charts and records or tamper with specimens of bodily fluids
  • induce illness or injury by various means.

If a paediatrician from Queensland Health reports suspected harm or risk of harm resulting from fabricated or induced illness:

  •  gather information about: 
    • indicators that have triggered the current suspicions
    • pending and previous medical assessment or treatment
    • any immediate safety issues for the child
    • other agencies already involved with the matter, including the QPS 
  • inform the senior team leader of:
    • the details of the concerns
    • the suspicion that the harm may be the result of fabricated or induced illness
  • immediately provide the information to the QPS: 
    • using a Police referral, including relevant attachments in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2) and (3)
    • even if the notifier states that they have advised, or will advise, the QPS of the allegations
  • record the information provided to the QPS in the intake event in ICMS and complete the intake.

Urgent need for placement of a child with disability

Emergency or crisis situations for a child with disability may prompt a notifier to contact Child Safety seeking an urgent care arrangement for a child. These situations include:

  • a serious escalation in the child’s disability-related behaviours
  • the parent’s mental or physical health affecting their capacity to provide care
  • a critical need for services, equipment or equipment repair.

When a request is received, gather information from the notifier about:

To respond to a request for an urgent care arrangment of a child with disability:

  • Gather information and assess the concerns, and:  
    • explore with the parents, if they are the notifier, all available options for supporting the child and family within the community, including whether NDIS funding is available under core supports to purchase short-term accommodation for the child
    • complete a check of the child and family’s child protection history  
    • complete a pre-notification check (but only if needed). (Refer to Carry out a pre-notification check.)
  • Complete the intake form, including the screening criteria and: 
    • if none of the criteria is selected, record a child concern report in line with usual intake processes
    • if the only relevant criteria is the following criteria under Neglect— abandonment/relinquishment—Parent is unable and/or unwilling to provide ongoing care for a child with a diagnosed disability or other diagnosed mental health/medical condition and all alternative arrangements/placements for the child have been exhausted—select no criteria and record a child concern report outcome
      and:
      • select other in the child concern and responses section  
      • note that a referral to the CSYW Specialist Services is needed to assess whether the family may receive a disability support service  
    • if any of the criteria other than that mentioned above is selected, including the first three criteria under the heading Neglect—abandonment/relinquishment —record a notification in line with usual intake processes.
  • Forward the notification or child concern report to the senior team leader.

Note

A referral to CSYW Specialist Services is a last resort option, and is only to occur after all other support options have been explored.

If the RIS senior team leader agrees with the child concern report response and the referral to CSYW Specialist Services, they will:

  • keep the intake event open by not approving the child concern report in ICMS
  • record a case note in the intake event, documenting their approval of: 
    • the referral to CSYW Specialist Services
    • the child concern report response, pending advice from CSYW Specialist Services about the outcome of the referral and assessment
  • make sure attempts have been made to talk to the child’s NDIS support coordinator in line with the Tool Responding to requests for urgent placement for children with disability
  • make sure a Specialist services - Request for support is completed and emailed to SDSpecialistServices@csyw.qld.gov.au
  • receive advice from CSYW Specialist Services about the outcome of their assessment and finalise the intake response by: 
    • approving the child concern report if the regional director has approved that a disability support service case be opened. 
    • deciding if either a child concern report or notification is the appropriate response, if the regional director has not approved that a disability support service be opened.

If the child requires an immediate placement in a care arrangement, explore with the parents all available options for supporting the child and family within the community, including whether NDIS funding is available under core supports to purchase short-term accommodation for the child. If this is not possible:

Information about a child with a long-term or permanent guardian

If the information about a child with a long-term or permanent guardian involved an allegation of harm to a child that may have involved the commission of a criminal offence relating to the child:

  • immediately provide the information to the QPS (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2)), by:
    • completing and forwarding the Police referral to the QPS
    • attaching the referral to the intake event in ICMS.

Refer to Report information to the Queensland Police Service and the practice guide Schedule of criminal offences.

Long-term guardianship to a suitable person

If concerns are received about a child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, take the following actions, depending on the child’s specific circumstances.

If a child concern report is the appropriate response to the concerns:

  • record the child concern report in line with usual intake processes
  • advise the CSSC CSO with case responsibility and relevant senior team leader.

The CSSC CSO and senior team leader will decide whether to contact the long-term guardian to:

  • discuss the concerns
  • assess if additional supports may be required.

If a notification is the appropriate response, respond in line with usual intake processes.

If a child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, or their guardian, contacts a RIS requesting support, the RIS CSO will:

  • provide the child or guardian with contact details of the CSO with case responsibility
  • if possible, transfer the call to the CSSC
  • record a case note of the contact
  • email the details to the CSSC.

The CSO with case responsibility is responsible for responding in a timely manner.

Child subject to a permanent care order

If information is received about a child subject to a permanent care order, decide the response in line with usual intake processes. If it is decided that the appropriate response is for:

  • a notification to be recorded, the senior team leader will allocate the investigation and assessment in line with usual processes
  • a child concern report to be recorded, advise the senior team leader responsible for the open placement event in ICMS, within 24 hours of the intake response being decided
  • a case note to be recorded in the placement event in ICMS, advise the senior team leader responsible for the open placement event, within 24 hours of the decision to record the information in a case note.

Child no longer in the care of a long-term or permanent guardian

Long-term and permanent guardians are required to tell Child Safety if the child is:

  • likely to leave their care
  • no longer in their care.

If such information is received, refer to either Procedure 5 Respond when the child is no longer in the long-term guardian’s direct care or Procedure 5 Respond when a child is no longer in the permanent guardian’s direct care for the specific actions required of the CSO.

Information from the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Notification under the Family Law Act 1975

The Family Law Act 1975 requires the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia to notify Child Safety about allegations of:

  • child abuse
  • family violence  
  • risk of family violence.

These allegations are received at Data Management Services via email at DMS_FORM4@communities.qld.gov.au on:

  • a Notice of Risk filed in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (Family Law Act 1975, section 67Z)
    or
  • Form 4—Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence completed and filed by a party to the proceedings in the Family Court of Australia (Family Law Act 1975, section 67Z).

Data Management Services will forward the forms to the relevant RIS. The RIS will:

  • assess the information
  • decide the response in line with usual intake processes, including whether information has previously been received
  • complete the intake form in ICMS and record the informant (not the court) as a mandatory notifier 
  • inform the family law court of the intake response by: 

If the forms lack detailed information, the RIS CSO will contact the legal representative who filed the notice, as noted in Part I of the Form 4 or page 1 of the Notice of Risk, and:

  • request a copy of the material referred to in the Form 4 or Notice of Risk
  • obtain as much background information as possible, including: 
    • the status of family law court proceedings
    • any orders which may have been made
    • the Indigenous status of the child and family members.

In deciding if the information reaches the threshold for a notification, the RIS will consider that:

  • a parent who reported the concerns or appears to be protective may be willing but not able to protect the child from harm due to the provisions of an existing family law court order
  • a court may be going to decide who the child lives and communicates with—if so, when making the order, the court must consider how child protection and family violence issues are to be addressed   
  • the court will not assess the notified concerns
  • without an assessment by Child Safety, the court will be bound by the principle that shared family care is in the best interests of every child.

Notification made by a staff member of the family law court

Specified staff members of the family law court may notify Child Safety of abuse. A staff member may include:

  • the Independent Children’s Lawyer 
  • a family consultant
  • a family counsellor
  • a family dispute resolution practitioner
  • a judicial officer.

A staff member who initially provides information verbally, should confirm the concerns in writing as soon as practicable.

The RIS will assess and respond to the information from the staff member in line with usual intake processes. A written response to the court is not needed.

Information via an Integrated Justice Information Strategy email alert

Data Management Services will send an automated email alert to the relevant RIS 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 RIS management team is responsible for making sure the group email account is current and regularly monitored.

Integrated Justice Information Strategy notification (Criminal court matter alert)

The court matter alert email will be forwarded to the RIS, 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.

If a RIS receives the IJIS notification before the notification is finalised, the RIS senior team leader will:

  • view the criminal court matter alert email
  • allocate the notification to the relevant CSSC senior team leader for investigation and assessment
  • forward the criminal court matter alert email to the CSSC responsible for the investigation and assessment.

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, and information may also be received about secondary persons of interest, who may not have an existing person record in ICMS.

DMS receives an ETCR if a child is matched in the court result as being subject to an open investigation and assessment or ongoing intervention case (excluding support service cases).

DMS receives the ETCR client information and sends an automated email alert to the relevant management team.  A RIS will receive the email if the notification has been approved and the investigation and assessment has not been allocated to the pending allocation tray of the receiving CSSC. Details about the court matter are accessed via the running of an IJIS Electronic Court Results report in ICMS.

After receiving an ETCR report:

  • Check the information against existing court details in ICMS about court dates, outcomes and people named, and update ICMS as needed.
  • Gather further information from relevant sources, such as the QPS or OCFOS, if required.
  • Make sure the information is recorded in ICMS. 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.
  • 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.
  • Make sure a person record exists in ICMS for each child or adult who has a significant relationship with the subject child.
  • Attach the ETCR report to the relevant event in ICMS.

Information about a child who is an unaccompanied humanitarian minor

If concerns are received about a child and it is indicated that they may be an unaccompanied humanitarian minor (UHM), contact the UHM program officer, Adoption and Permanent Care Services before completing the screening criteria.

A UHM minor is a child:

  • under the age of 18 years
  • who is not an Australian citizen
  • who enters Australia without a parent
  • who has been granted a visa under Australia’s humanitarian program.

A UHM resides with a custodian or a close relative. Some UHMs are in the guardianship of the chief executive and are identified as UHM wards.

The following information may indicate that a child is a UHM:

  • they are a refugee, born in another country and entered Australia on humanitarian grounds
  • neither parent resides in Australia and the child is in the care of: 
    • a custodian
      or
    • a relative 
  • an ICMS alert identifies the child as a UHM
  • the child or family has contact with Mercy Community Services’ UHM program.

Further reading

Information about a reportable offender

If information is received that indicates a reportable offender may be posing a risk of harm to a child:

  • contact the Officer in Charge of the local CPIU
  • request information about: 
    • the nature and recency of the convictions
    • the risk to the subject child.

A reportable offender is defined in the Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Offender Prohibition Order) Act 2004, section 5, as:

  • a person who has a conviction recorded for a reportable offence, and
  • is sentenced to either: 
    • a detention order 
    • a supervised order.

The Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Offender Prohibition Order) Act 2004 requires particular offenders, who have been convicted of committing sexual or other serious offences against children to keep the QPS informed of their whereabouts, and other personal details, for a period of time:

  • to reduce the likelihood that they will re-offend
  • to assist in the investigation and prosecution of any future offences they may commit
  • and for other related purposes.

Reportable offenders must notify the QPS if they:

  • have unsupervised access to a child for 3 days or more within a 12 month period
    or
  • reside in a household for 3 days or more where a child resides.

The QPS is required to report the information to Child Safety if they decide that a reportable offender may pose a risk to a child:

  • with whom they reside
    or
  • with whom they have unsupervised contact.

Note

CSOs do not have the authority to disclose that a person is a reportable offender to another person. Information about criminal offences, charges or convictions of a person may be disclosed if in the best interests of a child.

Information about sexting

Sexting is the act of sending intimate images or sexually explicit text messages or emails, usually via mobile telephones and other communication technologies.

The distribution and possession of self-produced intimate images by children can have social, emotional and criminal implications for the child, including:

  • experiencing significant reputational and emotional harm due to the ease of images being circulated on the internet and social media
  • the committing of serious criminal offences by taking, possessing or sending child exploitation material.

Offences relating to child exploitation material and non-consensual sharing of intimate images are governed by the Queensland Criminal Code Act 1899.  It is a crime in Queensland to:

  • share an intimate image of someone without their consent, in a way that could reasonably cause distress to the other person
  • threaten to share an intimate image without the pictured person’s consent, even if the image does not exist, including: 
    • threats made to the person in the image  
    • threats to anyone else.  

Note

A child under 16 years cannot legally give consent to an intimate image of them being shared.

An intimate image is defined in the Criminal Code Act 1899. It may include a photograph or video of a person:

  • nude
  • with their genitals or backside showing (bare or covered by underwear)
  • with their bare breasts showing, if they are: 
    •  female
      or
    •  transgender
      or
    • intersex and identify as female
  • engaged in an intimate sexual activity not ordinarily done in public
  • that has been digitally altered, including: 
    • a person’s face digitally added to a pornographic or sexualised image
    • a nude or partially nude person with their genitals or breasts digitally covered (for example, with an emoji).

This is not a complete list.

The QPS is responsible for criminal investigations in relation to sexting if a young person has:

  • menaced
  • harassed
  • exercised force
  • coerced someone younger
  • otherwise acted without the consent of the other person.

This includes the deliberate on-sharing of indecent images or video to others without consent.

Complete a Police referral, in line with reporting obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2), and forward it to the QPS, if information is received that suggests:

  • a child or younger person has: 
    • been menaced, harassed
    • exercised force, coerced someone younger or otherwise acted without the consent of the other person 
  • an adult is sexting a child who is under 16 years.

If information received suggests that a child has self-produced and distributed indecent images of themselves:

  • a police referral does not need to be sent, even though this is a possible criminal offence
  • consult the senior team leader to discuss if any action is required.

Note

The following services can provide counselling and advice, including strategies for responding to sexting:

  • Kids Helpline (for young people under 25 years) on 1800 55 1800
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Further reading

Refer to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner for information about removing images.

Concerns about pool fencing

If concerns received are associated with pool fencing, report the information (regardless of the intake response):

  • to the relevant local authority responsible for assessing pool fencing compliance, providing only: 
    • the property address
    • the nature of the issue relating to the pool fence.

Do not provide the family’s name or other identifying details.

Information from a vexatious or malicious notifier

A vexatious notifier is a notifier who repeatedly contacts Child Safety with concerns about a child that are without grounds.

A malicious notifier is a notifier whose primary motive for reporting concerns is ill will towards another person.  This does not always mean the information they provide is false.

Consult the senior team leader if concerns are received from a notifier who:

  • appears to be acting in a vexatious or malicious manner
  • has previously provided false information that resulted in one or multiple notifications.

The safety, wellbeing and best interests of the child are not the motives for the actions of either type of notifier. Examples include situations where:

  • previous investigation and assessments have been unsubstantiated
  • the same notifier continues to report similar concerns.

Further reading

Request for information from a Queensland court under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 

A Queensland court may request information from Child Safety to assist in deciding certain matters being contested by a respondent under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012, section 55. The court makes the request using a Report to the Court pursuant to section 55 Part A—Request form. Information may be requested about any of the following:

  • a child
  • aggrieved person
  • respondent.

Child Safety must comply with the request in a timely manner, to help the court decide whether to:

  • name the child in the protection order being sought
     or
  • impose a condition relating to the child.

To respond to the request:

Information that requires a child to be moved to a safe place

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 21, provides the authority for an authorised officer or police officer to move a child, under the age of 12:

  • from a place
  • to be cared for until a parent or family member resumes care of the child.

To exercise this authority:

  • move the child
    or
  • make arrangements for another reliable person to move the child:
    • to a safe place
    • where they can remain until they return to the care of a parent or family member 
  • if necessary, obtain help that is reasonable in the circumstances to move the child to a safe place.

A safe place can be:

  • the home of a neighbour who knows the child and parents
  • the home of a relative or friend
  • the child’s family day care provider
  • a hospital
  • an approved foster placement
  • a CSSC
  • a police station.

A child must not be moved to a watch-house.

As soon as practicable after a child has been moved to a safe place, the CSO must:

  • take steps to advise at least one of the child’s parents or a family member of: 
    • the child’s whereabouts
    • their name, position and department, showing their identity card as required by the Child Protection Act 1999, section 153
  • explain their authority to move the child to a safe place under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 21
  • explain why the authority was used
  • record the use of the power in a safe place movement record in ICMS, including in situations where the power was exercised jointly with the QPS.

If a child for whom there are no child protection concerns is moved to a safe place, record the use of the power in a safe place movement record in ICMS. No further action is required. If a parent is unable to be located within a reasonable timeframe, consult the senior team leader, as further action may be required.

If there are child protection concerns received or identified while moving the child to a safe place, record and respond in line with usual intake processes.

Enquiry about becoming a carer

If a caller seeks information about becoming a foster carer, refer the caller to the Queensland foster carer recruitment line on 1300 550 877. This is a statewide service provided by Queensland Foster and Kinship Care.

Refer enquiries about becoming a kinship carer to the relevant CSSC.

Enquiry about adoption

If information is received or requested about adoption matters, including an adoption care agreement, refer to the Adoption Practice Manual.

If the child is part of an adoptive family, consider contacting Adoption and Permanent Services or Post Adoption Support Queensland.

Related forms, templates and resources

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