Learning and development for child protection staff

This advice provides an overview of learning and development opportunities for child protection staff and links to detailed information on the Department of Health and Human Services intranet sites.

Document ID number 4501, version 5, 2 July 2018.


The Department of Health and Human Services Learning and Organisational Development provides a wide range of learning and development opportunities for departmental staff.

For child protection staff, there are specific courses and workshops to provide the skills required for practitioners to perform their roles effectively and build their career within the department.

Due to the complex and critical nature of child protection work some courses are essential, whilst others provide staff an opportunity to advance and refresh their skills and knowledge. There are a number of learning and development programs available for Child Protection including:

  • Class-room based learning programs
  • On-line eLearning programs
  • On-line resources
  • Workplace learning tasks.

This advice includes courses and programs most relevant to child protection practice. For more detailed information on all departmental learning and development opportunities see the department’s Learning and Development intranet site at https://intranet.dhhs.vic.gov.au/about-learning-and-development.

Class-room based learning programs

Essential courses

Beginning practice in Child Protection

This is a 17 day induction course for new child protection practitioners and those new to working in the Victorian child protection program. The course is conducted over four practice clinics providing foundational learning of the child protection program, including:

  • theoretical frameworks that guide child protection work
  • legal frameworks and statutory requirements, including the Children’s Court
  • engaging and working with children and families
  • assessing and responding to risk
  • using CRIS and other technologies.

CRIS for Child Protection

There are currently two 1 day courses offered which focus on the use of CRIS in Child Protection.

  • Case Practice which is a hands-on course where you will practise using the case practice component of CRIS using a case scenario to contextualise the learning. Including creating case plans, phases of intervention and how they relate to case practice, information, analysis and actions. 
  • Court which is a hands-on course where you will practice using the court component of CRIS using a case scenario to contextualise the learning. Including creating; primary and secondary applications, court events and court reports.

Planning for your safety

This is a one day course designed to help staff working with clients and families to prevent and manage occupational violence. 

Key learning areas include:

  • Strategic issues relating to occupational violence in the workplace
  • Important legal considerations and policy guidelines for staff dealing with occupational violence
  • Risk assessment principles and options for dealing with occupational violence
  • Best practice communication (de-escalation) techniques for everyone, including people displaying aggressive behaviour.

Development, attachment and trauma

This course is a three day course which covers how to integrate and apply child development, trauma, and attachment theories to the process of assessment and intervention.

You will gain insights into the importance of knowing the developmental and relational history of your clients to:

  • Inform how you work with clients
  • Make plans that are effective and relevant developmentally.

The course is presented by Berry Street's Take Two Practice Development Training Team.

Working with children and families affected by sexual abuse

This course must be completed before undertaking primary responsibility for a sexual abuse investigation. It provides child protection practitioners a thorough understanding of the dynamics underlying sexual abuse and sexual offending. It also aims to improve practitioner’s skills in effectively investigating and interviewing in such cases.

To undertake this course, practitioners must have more than 18 month’s experience in Child Protection.

Family Violence training

The 2015 Royal Commission into Family Violence recommended compulsory training and professional development for child protection practitioners about the nature and dynamics of family violence and the department’s practice guidelines dealing with family violence. From May 2018, the department will commence the roll out of this training across the state.

Who needs to attend this training?

Family violence training is compulsory for the whole child protection workforce. Training requirements have been tailored across the different stages of career from Beginning Practice through to practice leadership and management:


Beginning practice

Online introduction

Day 1 training

Day 2 training

Day 3 training

Train the trainer

Beginning practitioners






All child protection practitioners, and

FV partnership
Section 18 staff






Supervisors and managers, and additional as above







Practice leadership roles and FV Partnership







What does the training cover?

The key training topics across all of the modules are:

  • impact of family violence on children (child development, attachment and trauma) and hearing the child’s voice
  • perpetrator accountability and working directly with perpetrators
  • supporting and empowering affected parents
  • interdisciplinary practice and collaborating for better outcomes
  • guidance for supervisors of practitioners working with families where family violence is a risk factor
  • working with Aboriginal families
  • working with families from CALD communities
  • adolescent family violence
  • inter-related or co-occurring issues including child sexual abuse, mental health, disability and substance use.

For further information, refer to the Responding to Family Violence training for the child protection workforce fact sheet located on the Responding to family violence intranet page.

Leadership courses

Transition from practitioner to manager

The transitioning from practitioner to manager learning program is designed to target the transition of CPP4 to CPP5 roles. It is a two day face-to-face program, with workplace learning tasks to be completed by participants. The program also includes practice content that aims to support the practitioner’s transition to a leadership role. The course is designed for child protection and is delivered to:

  • advanced practitioner who are ready to move into a CPP5 role
  • advanced practitioners who act regularly in the role of a senior practitioner
  • newly acting senior practitioners.

Supervision and leadership

This course will give new child protection leaders the knowledge and skills needed to meet the demands of these challenging and rewarding roles.

New leaders will have the opportunity to join state-wide peers for an intensive time of reflection and skills development, where they can experiment with new ideas. Practitioners who have moved into a supervisory role need to complete this course within four months of starting these roles:

  • senior practitioners
  • team managers
  • practice leaders
  • deputy area operations managers
  • area operations managers/assistant directors.

Delivering results in Child Protection

This course covers effective management of child protection business, focusing on team management, risk management and business systems and processes. The course is designed for child protection:

  • senior practitioners
  • team managers
  • deputy area operations managers
  • area operations managers/assistant directors.

Forensic interviewing refresher

This course will teach you how to effectively and astutely interview children and young people where there are sexual abuse allegations. The approach uses a combination of questioning techniques, listening skills and analysis, ensuring that complex situations are well managed to gain a better understanding of the child's needs.

The course combines theory and practical learning methods. The course is designed for Child Protection:

  • senior practitioners
  • team managers
  • deputy area operations managers
  • area operations managers/assistant directors.

Other relevant classroom based courses for practitioners

  • Introduction to government
  • Building Aboriginal cultural competence
  • Mental health first aid
  • Working with CALD clients and communities
  • Alcohol and other drug misuse
  • Recognise and respond to family violence
  • Responding to quality of care concerns in out-of-home care
  • Working with adolescents who sexually offend
  • Contact for children in out-of-home care
  • Autism spectrum disorder workshop.
  • Applied suicide intervention skills training (ASIST)
  • Establishing a care team
  • NDIS - Child and Family System interface for managers and team leaders - training flyer (docx, 199.64 KB) .

Other relevant classroom based courses for leaders and managers

  • Managing performance
  • Managing teams
  • Managing change
  • Making the transition to manager
  • Managing safe workplaces
  • Managing conflict
  • Leading in ambiguity.

For detailed information on all available workshops and courses and how to register, visit the department’s intranet site at https://intranet.dhhs.vic.gov.au/working-at-dhhs/about-you/training.

eLearning Portal

The eLearning Portal is the on-line learning management system for the department. The portal provides practitioners with learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom setting in a more flexible and convenient way.

Modules available on the portal include:

Child Protection specific

  • Permanency for Children eLearning Tutorials
  • Focus on Infants
  • Urine Drug Screening and Interpretation
  • Child Protection Privacy eLearning module.

Department of Health and Human Services – general

  • Information Security Awareness
  • Information for our Managers
  • Introduction to the Victorian Justice System
  • Orientation to the department  
  • TRIM
  • Employment and consultation - Sexual Harassment Prevention Module
  • Your Health, Safety and Wellbeing
  • People Strategy 2020.

Practitioners can access the portal at https://imclearningcloud.com/pages/landingpage.jsf?client=dhhs

For more information on accessing and using the portal visit the department’s intranet page at https://intranet.dhhs.vic.gov.au/elearning-portal.

Good practice bulletin

This quarterly bulletin, produced by the Office of Professional Practice, has been designed to contribute to the continued development of a learning culture within child protection. Discussion prompts linked to case studies support reflective practice and a deeper examination of the application of the Best interests case practice model.

Practitioners can access the bulletin at http://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/good-practice-bulletin