Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
Up-to-date information on how we are responding to COVID-19
Stay informed

Support service case

Content updates

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

A support service case is a type of intervention provided by Child Safety that involves providing, or helping to provide, prevention, early intervention and services to strengthen and support families, pregnant women and young people.

Use this to provide:

Time sensitive

Except for a young person transitioning to adulthood, a support service case is generally open for 12 months or less.

Support service case with a child and family

A support service case may be opened with a child and family when an investigation and assessment has determined that a child is not in need of protection, but the outcome of the family risk evaluation is high.

Open a support service case with a child and family

When deciding to open a support service case, meet with the parents to discuss:

  • the purpose of the support service case (which is to assist the parents to address the identified child protection concerns so that no further intervention by Child Safety is needed)
  • whether they consent to the support service case
  • how the intervention will happen and the need for regular contact and reviews of the support plan 
  • the expectation that the parents will actively work to address the identified concerns
  • the need for Child Safety to take appropriate action if the level of risk to a child increases during the period of intervention.

Respond when a child’s parents do not initially consent to a support service case

Where the outcome of the family risk evaluation is high and consent is not given to a support service case, consult with a senior team leader to re-consider whether a support service case is the appropriate intervention for the child and family. (Refer to Procedure 3 Decide ongoing intervention type.)

Where the decision to offer a support service case remains unchanged, record in ICMS:

  • the family's decision not to consent to a support service case
  • the discussion held with the senior team leader about the most appropriate intervention, including the outcome and rationale for the decision.

Practice prompt

If a family declines to participate in a support service case, with the family’s consent, consider a referral to:

Develop and record a support plan with a child and family

Develop a support plan in collaboration with the child and family. (A case plan is not required as the child is not in need of protection.) The purpose of the support plan is to identify and document the goals and actions needed to reduce the likelihood of future harm to the child.

Involve the family’s safety and support network in the development of the plan to strengthen it.

Attach the completed support plan to the ongoing intervention event in ICMS and provide a copy to the family and (with the family’s consent) to the safety and support network.

Implement a support plan with a child and family

To implement a support plan with a child and family:

  • Actively partner with them to achieve the support plan goals and actions within agreed timeframes.
  • Maintain regular face-to-face and telephone contact.
  • Support the family’s referral to and engagement with the identified support services.
  • Obtain information from the family and their safety and support network about their progress towards achieving the goals of the support plan.

Assess new information or any change in circumstances that indicates increased risks to a child’s safety according to intake processes. (Refer to Procedure 1 New child protection concerns. )

Review a support plan with a child and family

A support plan must be formally reviewed at least every 6 months, and more frequent reviews may be conducted, if required. The review is a collaborative process to assess whether the agreed actions have been taken and the intervention has achieved the goals of the child and family.

To review a support plan:

  • Meet with the child and family and the safety and support network involved in implementing the support plan to discuss the worries and what is working well.
  • Complete the family risk re-evaluation to assess the current level of risk to the child.
  • Assess whether the goals of the support plan have been achieved and if any future risk to the child has been reduced.

When the goals of the support plan have been met and the outcome of the family risk re-evaluation is low or moderate, close the support service case. (Refer to Close a support service case with a child and family.)

When the goals of the support plan are not yet complete and the outcome of the family risk re-evaluation remains high, seek the parents’ consent to continue the support service case. Develop a revised support plan aimed at reducing the likelihood of future harm to the child.

Practice prompt

If, after 12 months of intervention, the outcome of the family risk re-evaluation remains high, consider whether a support service case is still the most appropriate intervention to meet the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs.

Seek CSSC manager approval for the decision to keep a support service case open for longer than 12 months. Record the CSSC manager’s decision in a case note in ICMS.

Respond when a child’s parents withdraw consent following a period of intervention

If a parent withdraws their consent to the support service case after a period of intervention and the family risk re-evaluation remains high, seek their consent to continue the support service case and develop a revised support plan with goals to reduce the likelihood of future harm to the child.

If the parent declines to continue with the support service case:

  • Complete a review of the support plan with the family and safety and support network to identify:
    • the goals of the support plan that have been achieved
    • the goals of the support plan that were not achieved.
  • Clarify with the family and their safety and support network what agency and informal support will continue once Child Safety closes the case.
  • Talk with the family to offer referral to another agency, such as:
  • Document the review process and outcome, including any referral to another agency.
  • Complete a subsequent safety assessment and:
    • where there are no immediate harm indicators present within the household, seek approval to close the case, and record the decision and rationale in ICMS
    • where there are immediate harm indicators present within the household, consult with the senior team leader about the appropriate response. (Refer to Procedure 1 New child protection concerns.)

Once the senior team leader has approved the decision to close the support service case:

  • Inform the child (where appropriate), parents, and safety and support network of the decision to close the case.
    and
  • Close the case in ICMS by completing a Closure form.

Close a support service case with a child and family

It is appropriate to close a support service case with a child and family when the goals of the intervention have been achieved, the family risk re-evaluation is low or moderate, and there are no immediate harm indicators identified for the child.

Before closing a support service case:

  • Complete a review of the support plan with the family and safety and support network to identify if the goals of the support plan have been achieved
    and
    • if they have, proceed with case closure
    • if they haven’t, seek the parents’ consent to continue the support service case and develop a revised support plan with goals to reduce the likelihood of future harm to the child.
  • As part of the review process, complete a family risk re-evaluation 
    and
    • if the outcome is low or moderate, proceed with case closure
    • if the outcome is high, seek the parents’ consent to continue the support service case and develop a revised support plan to reduce the likelihood of future harm to the child.
  • Document the review process and outcome.
  • Clarify with the family and their safety and support network what agency and informal support will continue once Child Safety closes the case.

Before obtaining senior team leader approval to close the case, complete a subsequent safety assessment and:

  • Where there are no immediate harm indicators present within the household, seek approval to close the case and record the decision and rationale in ICMS.
  • Where there are immediate harm indicators present within the household, consult with the senior team leader about the appropriate response. (Refer to Procedure 1 New child protection concerns.)

Once the senior team leader has approved the decision to close the support service case:

  • Inform the child (where appropriate), parents, and safety and support network of the decision to close the case.
    and
  • Close the case in ICMS by completing a Closure form.

Support service case with a young person

A support service case can be opened with a young person when they require support after their eighteenth birthday and have previously been subject to either:

  • a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive
  • a child protection order, where an approved carer was subsequently granted the long-term guardianship of the child.

Open a support service case with a young person

When deciding to open a support service case, meet with the young person to discuss:

  • the purpose of the support service case (which is to support and assist them in their transition to adulthood until the identified goals of the support plan have been achieved)
  • whether they consent to the support service case
  • how the intervention will happen, including the need for regular contact and reviews of the support plan
  • the expectation that they will actively work to meet their support needs.

Develop and record a support plan with a young person

Develop a support plan with the young person. A case plan is not used as, after their eighteenth birthday, the young person is no longer a child in need of protection.

The support plan, developed in collaboration with the young person and their safety and support network, identifies outstanding goals from the young person’s transition to adulthood plan and identifies actions and supports to address those goals.

Note

The young person may have multiple and complex needs affecting their ability to engage with people and develop a support plan. (Refer to the practice kit Transition to adulthood for guidance regarding the best way to support the young person).

Practice prompt

Consider whether the young person would meet the criteria and benefit from a referral to Evolve. (Refer to Procedure 5 Decide if an Evolve referral is appropriate).

To meet the goals of the support plan, a young person is eligible for financial support from the relevant child-related cost policies. Negotiate anticipated costs with the CSSC manager before developing and finalising the support plan.

Attach the completed support plan to the ongoing intervention event in ICMS and provide a copy to the young person and, with the young person’s consent, their safety and support network. 

Implement the support plan with a young person

To implement a support plan with a young person:

  • Actively partner with them to achieve the support plan goals and actions within agreed timeframes.
  • Maintain regular face-to-face and telephone contact.
  • Support their referral to and engagement with the identified support services.
  • Obtain information from them and their safety and support network about their progress towards meeting the support plan goals.

A young person may stop participating in a support service case at any time during the intervention. If there are outstanding goals to be achieved for the young person, attempt to re-engage them and discuss the benefits of continued support. If the young person still withdraws their consent, refer to Close a support service case with a young person.

Review a support plan with a young person

A formal review of a support plan must occur with the young person every 6 months. However, each contact with a young person and their network offers an opportunity to review and assess their progress. For a formal review of a young person’s support plan:

  • Meet with the young person and their safety and support network to share information about progress towards the goals identified in the support plan.
  • Determine the identified goals in the support plan that have been achieved.
  • If all identified goals have been achieved and no further support needs have been identified, close the support service case.

Practice prompt

Use the tool Collaborative assessment and planning framework to structure your discussion for the review meeting with the young person. This will ensure that positive progress is noted and celebrated, any further worries are understood, and detailed actions to address them can be included in the next support plan. For further information refer to the Collaborative assessment and planning framework booklet.

Note

A family risk re-evaluation is not completed for the review of a support service case with a young person over the age of 18 years.

Close a support service case with a young person

It is appropriate to close a support service case with a young person when any of the following occurs:

  • The goals of the support plan have been achieved.
  • The CSSC manager decides the support service case will not continue.
  • The young person withdraws consent to the intervention.

Before closing a support service case:

  • Complete a review of the support plan with the young person and their safety and support network to identify if the goals of the support plan have been achieved
    and
    • if the goals have been achieved, proceed with closing the case
    • if the goals have not been achieved, seek the young person’s consent to continue the support service case and develop a revised support plan.
  • Document the review process and outcome.
  • Clarify with the young person and their safety and support network what formal and informal support will continue once Child Safety closes the case.

Note

A safety assessment is not completed before closing a support service case with a young person over the age of 18 years.

Once the senior team leader has approved the decision to close the support service case:

  • Inform the young person and their safety and support network of the decision to close the case
    and
  • Close the case in ICMS by completing the Closure form.

Support service case with a pregnant woman

A support service case can be opened with a pregnant woman when an investigation and assessment has determined that an unborn child will be in need of protection after birth.

The aim of providing support to the pregnant woman is to decrease the risk of harm to the unborn child after birth. Providing support as early as possible allows maximum time to address the child protection concerns before the baby’s birth.

When supporting a pregnant woman and deciding on any required intervention once a baby is born, it is crucial to understand risk factors and any protective factors that can mitigate the risk. For further guidance on risk of harm to infants, refer to the practice guide Assessing harm and risk of harm.

A child is at increased risk of abuse and neglect when they:

  • have pre-natal exposure to alcohol and other drugs
  • are from an unintended pregnancy
  • are premature or have a low birth weight
  • have a disability
  • have sleeping or feeding issues.

A child is also at increased risk of abuse and neglect when their parent:

  • uses alcohol or other drugs
  • has mental health concerns
  • is a victim of domestic and family violence
  • has their own childhood trauma
  • is young (under 20 years of age) or immature.

Babies are more vulnerable to harm as they are:

  • unable to protect themselves and are reliant on their parent to attend to their needs
  • are not able to communicate their needs
  • are unable to seek assistance
  • may be isolated from others who may act protectively.

Open a support service case with a pregnant woman

Attention

If a pregnant woman does not consent to a support service case regarding her unborn child or withdraws her consent at any time during the support service case, intervention cannot continue.

If a pregnant woman declines to participate in a support service case, but consents to a referral for support, consider a referral to:

When deciding to open a support service case, meet with the pregnant woman to discuss:

  • whether she consents to the support service case. (Provide the woman with the brochure Support service case - information for parents and pregnant woman.)
  • the purpose of the support service case (which is to assist the pregnant woman to address the identified child protection concerns so that no further intervention by Child Safety is required)
  • how the intervention will happen, including the need for regular reviews of the support plan
  • the expectation that the pregnant woman will actively work to address the identified concerns
  • the need for Child Safety to take appropriate action if the newborn baby is assessed as being unsafe.

Tip

If a pregnant woman indicates she is considering adoption for the child, contact Adoption and Permanent Care Services to ask them to provide advice and assistance to the pregnant woman.

If the unborn child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, discuss with the pregnant woman:

Note

Before making contact with the pregnant woman, some Family Participation Program services may require Child Safety to first:

  • gain consent from the pregnant woman for a referral to the Family Participation Program for family-led decision making

and

  • make the referral in the Family and Child Connect portal.

Check local arrangements for referral to the Family Participation Program before talking to the pregnant woman about a referral.

Develop and record a support plan with a pregnant woman

Develop a support plan in collaboration with the pregnant woman and, if she consents, with her partner and her safety and support network. Develop the support plan as early as possible to allow time before the birth to address the child protection concerns.

The plan will identify actions and interventions to reduce the risks to her unborn child after birth. It will also include any referrals to preventative and support services not currently involved with the pregnant woman.

Attach the completed support plan to the ongoing intervention event in ICMS. 

Practice prompt

When developing the support plan, consider providing the pregnant woman with information about safe infant care to reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI). Understanding safe sleeping practices is particularly important when there is problematic alcohol and other drug use. (Refer to Safe sleeping and www.rednose.com.au for information and resources.)

Develop and record a support plan with a pregnant woman whose unborn child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

Once arrangements have been made for an independent person (or the pregnant woman has declined the involvement of an independent person); and the pregnant woman has been given the opportunity to talk with the Family Participation Program about how they can support her in working with Child Safety (including facilitating family-led decision making to develop the support plan):

  • Provide the pregnant woman and the unborn child’s family with the opportunity to participate in support planning before the baby’s birth. Talk with the pregnant woman and the unborn child’s family about:
    • the unborn child’s family, community and culture, and how they can assist to address the identified child protection concerns and help prevent the need for further Child Safety involvement
    • which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support services to refer the pregnant woman to (such as a family wellbeing service)
    • how Child Safety can create a culturally safe space when working with the pregnant woman and the family.
  • Record whether an independent person helped facilitate the participation of the pregnant woman or the unborn child's family in support planning in the Independent person form in ICMS.
  • Record the outcome of discussions with the pregnant woman about referral  to the Family Participation Program and whether the Family Participation Program facilitated the development of the support plan, in a case discussion/decision case note with the description ‘FPP engagement’ in the ongoing intervention event in ICMS.

Implement the support plan with a pregnant woman

To implement the support plan with a pregnant woman:

  • Actively partner with her to achieve the support plan goals and actions within agreed timeframes.
  • Maintain regular face-to-face and telephone contact.
  • Support her referral to and engagement with the identified support services.
  • Obtain information from her and, with her consent, her safety and support network, about her progress towards the support plan goals.

Assess new information or a change in circumstances that indicates increased risk to the unborn child’s safety after birth, in line with usual intake processes. (Refer to Procedure 1 New child protection concerns. )

Practice prompt

A support service case cannot continue if a pregnant woman withdraws her consent or if the pregnant woman’s support needs are met before the child’s birth.

If a pregnant woman withdraws her consent and concerns remain for the unborn child after birth, refer to Make arrangements if the unborn child is in need of protection after birth and the practice guide Unborn child checklist.

Review a support plan with a pregnant woman

Time sensitive

Review the support plan at least once every 6 months and within the 4-week period prior to the estimated date of delivery. Review the plan with the pregnant woman and, with her consent, her safety and support network. The review will be used in assessing and making decisions about the unborn child’s protective needs after birth.

To review a support plan for a pregnant woman:

  • Share and obtain updated information regarding what’s working well, what the worries are, and what else needs to happen. Ensure this process occurs with: 
    • the pregnant woman
      and, if she agrees, with:
    • the family of the unborn child, if applicable
      and
    • the safety and support network involved in the implementation of the support plan.
  • Assess whether the goals of the support plan have been achieved and whether the likelihood of harm to the unborn child after birth has been reduced (so the child will not be a child in need of protection).

Practice prompt

Prescribed entities can share information to offer help and support to a pregnant woman under the Child Protection Act 1999 (the Act) Chapter 5A. For further information about who can share information and for what purpose, refer to the practice guide Unborn child notifications.

Note

A family risk re-evaluation is not completed for the review of a support service case with a pregnant woman.

Decide if intervention is required after the baby is born

Once a support plan with a pregnant woman has been reviewed within the 4-week period before the estimated date of delivery, a decision can be made about what type of intervention, if any, is required after the baby is born.

Tip

Use the practice guide Assessing harm and risk of harm to inform the assessment of whether the child is in need of protection.

If the support needs for the pregnant woman have been met, the goals of the support plan have been achieved and it is assessed that the unborn child is not likely to be in need of protection at birth, refer to Close a support service case for a pregnant woman.

If it is determined that the unborn child will be in need of protection from birth and therefore will require ongoing intervention, refer to Make arrangements if the unborn child is in need of protection after birth.

Note

There may be times when telling a pregnant woman about the planned intervention would place the unborn child at further risk after birth. For example, the pregnant woman may relocate to avoid intervention.

If there is a risk of this, the senior team leader is responsible for making the decision about whether to inform the pregnant woman of the planned intervention.

Record the decision and the rationale in a case note in the ongoing intervention event in ICMS.

Make arrangements if the unborn child is in need of protection after birth

The unborn child may still be in need of protection once born, regardless of whether the pregnant woman has continued to work with Child Safety via a support service case or has withdrawn her consent to intervention at any time during the case.

If a pregnant woman withdraws her consent to the support service case and the unborn child remains in need of protection:

  • Make all reasonable efforts, in person and in writing, to:
    • alert the pregnant woman to the potential risks identified for her unborn child after birth
    • provide information about support services in the community to assist her and her family before the child’s birth.
  • Advise the pregnant woman that either a new notification or a child protection order may be required when the child is born. (This information will not be provided to the pregnant woman if it is likely to place the unborn child at further risk after their birth.)

If a pregnant woman withdraws her consent to the support service case, or if she continues working with Child Safety via a support service case until the birth of her baby and the unborn child remains in need of protection after birth:

  • Record an unborn child alert on the person record of the mother and the unborn child. (Refer to Procedure 1 Information that requires an Integrated Client Management Systems alert.)
  • Complete and forward:
  • In exceptional circumstances only, where the pregnant woman is highly mobile and it is not possible to identify the hospitals where she is likely to give birth:
    • complete an email with the title Statewide HRA (to ensure the email is activated), attach the HRA Form 1 and send the email to both:
    • send a letter to the private or interstate hospital/s where the pregnant woman may be likely to give birth (see note below).
  • Telephone the hospitals to confirm receipt of the HRA Form 1 or letter and attach the form and letter to the ongoing intervention event in ICMS.
  • Provide the CSAHSC with a Child Safety After Hours Service Centre: After hours referral and all relevant information, including the HRA Form 1 and letter.
  • Refer the matter to a Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) team, if a multi-agency response is required. (Refer to Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Team System Manual.)
  • Record details of all actions taken in a case note in the ongoing intervention event.
  • Record a Member of a mobile family alert on all relevant person records, when there is information to suggest the pregnant woman is highly mobile.
  • Contact the pregnant woman's medical practitioner (if known) to:
    • discuss the concerns identified
    • request that information be shared with relevant health professionals, such as the midwife or hospital social work services
    • ask that Child Safety be advised when the child is born.
  • Recontact any services involved in the provision of support services to the pregnant woman during the support service case to inform them that the pregnant woman has withdrawn her consent to ongoing intervention.

Note

The Queensland hospital email addresses are monitored during business hours only. In the rare situation where all public hospitals need to be urgently alerted to the HRA Form 1 outside business hours:

  • be aware that hospitals will not receive the emailed information until the next business day
  • consider whether to telephone each hospital (including the Mater Mothers’ Hospital and any private or interstate hospital) at which the pregnant woman may be likely to present. (For Queensland hospitals refer to the Queensland Health Unborn child high risk alert Contact list.)

Tip

If the pregnant woman presents for delivery at a hospital that has received the HRA Form 1, the hospital will send Child Safety the HRA Form 2―unborn child high risk alert: notification that pregnant woman has presented for delivery.

Take action once the baby has been born

Tip

The birth of a child is an emotional time for a mother and her family. Always approach conversations about the baby’s needs with sensitivity and respect, acknowledging the mother’s and family’s experiences and journey so far.

If the pregnant woman has been working with Child Safety

If a pregnant woman has been working with Child Safety via a support service case and the assessment is that the child will be in need of protection once born:

When there are no immediate harm indicators present within the household, with the consent of the parents:

  • Proceed with intervention with parental agreement in the new ongoing intervention event in ICMS (Refer to Intervention with parental agreement.)
  • Start case planning for the child. 

Where there are immediate harm indicators present within the household, determine if an immediate safety plan can be completed to allow the child to remain in the home, and consult with the senior team leader about the appropriate response or intervention required.

Attention

If an immediate safety plan needs to be completed for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, ensure the family is given the opportunity to have an independent person facilitate their participation in the decision about how to keep the child safe. (Refer to Procedure 5 Make arrangements for an independent person.)

If immediate safety interventions cannot ensure a child’s immediate safety and a placement intervention is required, place a child using:

If the pregnant woman has not been working with Child Safety prior to the child’s birth

If the woman did not consent to, or withdrew her consent to, work with Child Safety via a support service case and the assessment is that the child will be in need of protection after birth:

  • Make contact with the pregnant woman as soon as possible after the birth on the basis that the previous assessment identified the unborn child would be in need of protection once born.
  • Determine if there are new concerns that have not previously been assessed
    and

Where there are no immediate harm indicators present within the household, with the consent of the parents:

  • Open an intervention with parental agreement case. (Refer to Intervention with parental agreement.)
  • Open a new ongoing intervention event in ICMS.
  • Start case planning for the child. 

If there are immediate harm indicators present within the household, determine if an immediate safety plan can be completed to allow the child to remain in the home, and consult  the senior team leader about the appropriate response or intervention required.

If immediate safety interventions cannot ensure a child’s immediate safety and a placement intervention is required, place the child using:

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, seek the parents agreement for the Family Participation Program to contact them to discuss how it may support the family in working with Child Safety. If the family agrees to being contacted, the Family Participation Program will seek their consent for referral and the CSO will complete the referral using the Family and Child Connect portal. (Refer to the tool Complete an online referral to the Family Participation Program).

Note

Before making contact with the family, some Family Participation Programs may require Child Safety to first speak to the family, gain their consent for referral and make the referral in the online portal.

Check local arrangements for referral to the Family Participation Program before talking to the family about a referral.

Close a support service case for a pregnant woman

It is appropriate to close a support service case with a pregnant woman (or a woman who has given birth) when:

  • the support needs of the pregnant woman have been met
  • the woman has given birth to a child, and a decision has been made about what, if any, further intervention is required
  • the woman withdraws consent for the ongoing intervention. If the unborn child is still in need of protection after birth, refer to Make arrangements if the unborn child is in need of protection after birth.

Note

A safety assessment is not completed as part of closing a support service case with a pregnant woman.

Before closing a support service case:

  • Complete a review of the support plan with the pregnant woman and, with her consent, with her safety and support network, to identify whether the goals of the support plan have been achieved
    and
    • if the goals have been achieved, proceed with steps for case closure
    • if the goals have not been achieved, seek the pregnant woman’s consent to continue the support service case and develop a revised support plan to reduce the likelihood of future harm to the unborn child.
  • Document the review process and outcome.
  • Clarify with the pregnant woman and with the safety and support network what agency and informal support will continue once Child Safety closes the case.

Following senior team leader approval of the decision to close the support service case:

  • Inform all parties of the decision to close the case, including the pregnant woman (and her safety and support network if applicable)
    and
  • Close the case in ICMS by completing the Closure form.

Related forms, templates and resources

Back to top

Version history

Back to top

Published on:

Last reviewed:

  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance Added CAP framework booklet
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Unborn child checklist updated
  • Date: 
    maintenance
  • Date: 
    Link updated
  • Date: 
    Link updated
  • Date: 
    Page created
  • Date: 
    Page created
  • Date: 
    Page created
  • Date: 
    Page created
  • Date: 
    Page created