Concluding intake - advice

This advice provides additional information regarding concluding the intake phase.

Document ID number 2022, version 2, 1 March 2016.

Introduction

See procedure Receiving, registering and classifying a report for tasks that must be undertaken.

The following covers the requirements associated with concluding the intake phase for:

  • intake via report
  • intake via conciliation counselling (irreconcilable differences)
  • intake via court report request.

Depending on the intake outcome decision a case will move either to the investigation and assessment phase or will be closed in the intake phase.

During the intake phase a report will have been received, an intake assessment will have been completed, follow up tasks undertaken and a decision regarding classification of the report will have been made.

Concluding the phase involves completing any outstanding casework actions and tasks and ensuring that appropriate communication has occurred.

Closure

A case will be closed at intake where following consultation with a team manager, a report has been classified as:

  • a child wellbeing report:
    • no further action required – provide advice and information to reporter only
    • child and family concerns – offer referral
    • significant concern for the wellbeing of a child – refer to Child and Family Information Referral and Support Teams (Child FIRST) or family services (specific conditions apply, see below)
  • insufficient information – no further action.

Where the report has been classified as significant concern for the wellbeing of a child and a referral has been made to Child FIRST, a family service or a service agency, the intake must remain open until the referral is accepted or other action is taken.

Re-reports regarding children known to child protection

Where child protection has received two consecutive reports in 12 months, neither of which have been investigated, irrespective of classification, any subsequent report received in that 12 month period must be investigated unless the area manager or their delegate reviews the case and assesses that an investigation is not warranted. See advice Re-reports.

Therapeutic treatment reports (TTR)

All TTRs must be investigated and cannot be closed at intake, regardless  of the source of the report. It is important that TTRs are moved promptly to investigation so there is no delay in the child accessing treatment and so that child protection and the Therapeutic Treatment Board can meet their obligations under the CYFA.

See procedure Allegations of sexually abusive behaviour (TTR) for tasks that must be undertaken.

Moving a case to investigation phase

Where a report has been classified as a protective intervention report the case will move to the investigation and assessment phase of the child protection process. Section 205(1) of the CYFA requires that a protective intervention report be investigated as soon as practicable after it is received in a way that will be in the best interests of the child, so this needs to occur in a timely manner as appropriate to the report.

Determining whether the investigation is urgent

Whether an investigation is urgent is a professional judgement decision made by the team manager when the final classification of an intake report is made, usually at phase outcome. It is a decision primarily based on the best interests of the child and the assessed level of risk of harm to the child. The outcome of this assessment will determine whether the protective intervention report is be classified and recorded in CRIS as ‘urgent’ or ‘non urgent’.

A report is classified as urgent where there is immediate and significant harm or risk of harm to the child including:

  • current serious injury or serious harm to the child and sufficient safety cannot be demonstrated in the immediate period
  • the need to sight forensic evidence such as injuries
  • medical neglect where medical attention has not been or is unlikely to be provided and where failure to provide that attention places the child at significant and immediate risk of harm
  • risk of serious injury or harm due to the environment in which the child is currently placed
  • recent threat to kill, or self harm or suicide risk requiring risk assessment
  • parental or caregiver characteristics such as mental health, violence or substance abuse which present a significant risk to the child and there are no mitigating factors to ensure safety in the immediate period
  • child or family are a flight risk
  • the child has made a disclosure of serious harm and is to return to the environment in which this harm has occurred or is likely to recur
  • abandonment or death or incapacity of parents and insufficient safety can be demonstrated in the immediate period.

Additionally, factors such as the age and development of the child, the parent or caregiver capacity and availability, alleged perpetrator access to the child, and any known pattern and history of the family should also be considered in determining whether the investigation is urgent.

There may be occasions in which the timing of the commencement of a concurrent police investigation may delay the commencement of a protective investigation and in circumstances where the child’s safety is assured a non urgent status may be applied.

The intake outcome assessment should always document the rationale and basis for determining either urgent or non urgent status.

Child protection measures responsiveness relating to the timeframe in which an investigation is commenced following the receipt of protective intervention report. Urgent investigations are to commence within two days (two day visit response) and non urgent within two weeks (14 day visit response).

The counting rules relating to urgent investigations state that where a report is received before 1pm, that day is deemed to be day one for the purposes of the commencement of the count. Where a report is received after 1pm, that day is day zero, with the next day being day one.

Compliance is calculated from the time of receipt of the report, not from the time of classification of the report so child protection practitioners and managers in intake are required to determine intake outcomes in a timely way.

A report cannot be classified as urgent where the report has been open in the intake phase for two days, and the timeframe for the commencement of an urgent investigation has already passed.

Other intake types

For information relating to concluding the intake phase for all other intake types (listed below) refer to the specific procedure listed below for tasks that must be undertaken:

Unborn child reports

Allegations of sexually abusive behaviour (TTR)

Section 38 consultation

Interstate requests

Hague Convention

SOS client contact

Intake to manage permanent care order

Considerations for good practice

The way in which any change in allocation or phase of work is managed can have a significant impact on how the client family and their network perceive and understand the child protection process with which they are involved. Clear and timely communication is a key to enhancing our capacity to serve the best interests of the child.

Additional information

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