Child protection practitioners have a specific statutory role that includes:
- providing advice and consultation to people who report concerns about children and young people
- assessing children and families where a child may be at risk of significant harm
- making applications to, and attending, the Children’s Court of Victoria
- engaging and working with children and families to promote safety, stability and development of the child, and to strengthen family capacity.
To ensure timely assessment of reports, practitioners may function in teams assigned specific tasks.
The teams and their functions are:
- receives reports of alleged child maltreatment
- attends intake case conference, where required
- conducts an initial risk assessment based on report details
- conducts follow-up phone calls with professionals to verify and gather information in relation to reports
- determines the classification of intakes
- refers cases, where applicable, to community service organisations.
Investigation and response
- directly investigates reports of alleged child maltreatment
- assesses likelihood of harm to child
- establishes whether abuse allegations are substantiated
- can work with a family for up to 90 days (or for an extended period where required and authorised) following reporting to make a more comprehensive assessment, develop a community plan or effect a referral to a community service organisation, where risk assignment is deferred
- determines if children's court action is required and initiates legal intervention. Meets court requirements, which may include writing reports and acting as an applicant in the children's court.
- initiates and supervises children's court protection orders
- continually assesses the ongoing risk to the child or young person by developing and implementing case plans, including stability plans based on the best interests case practice model
- meets court requirements, which may include writing reports, acting as an applicant in the children's court and giving evidence
- develops reunification plans and supervises access
- where required, assists to ensure that the child has a stable out-of-home care placement
- networks with community service organisations and provides some community education to the CSO sector
- negotiates the transfer of case management to community agencies.
Contracted case management
- monitors and reviews the implementation of case plans via quarterly reports and liaison visits to agencies
- provides consultancy to agencies, including education on the statutory processes and responsibilities
- maintains statutory responsibilities for all cases, for example, case planning, reviews, court applications and other legislated requirements.
Central Afters Hours Assessment and Bail Placement Services
Central Afters Hours Assessment and Bail Placement Services (CAHABPS) is a state-wide after hours service available to children and young people aged between 10 and 18 years. The service may be utilised voluntarily by any young person being considered for remand by police or where bail accommodation may be required.
CAHABPS provides a single point of contact for police in matters where police or a bail justice are considering remand of a young person outside business hours.
- undertake an assessment and provide advice regarding the young person’s suitability for bail placement. This includes ensuring the young person is aware of the CAHABPS service, and their rights and responsibilities should placement in the community be assessed as suitable.
- Provide support and information about the remand process and court proceedings
- assist with bail accommodation
- refer to additional youth and family support services.
Streetwork Outreach Service
- assertive outreach to young people in the Melbourne CBD
- assesses and provides advice on suitability for bail placement
- provides support and information about the remand process and court proceedings
- assists with bail accommodation.
Rural After Hours
Child Protection matters requiring an outreach in the rural areas are undertaken by Divisional Rural After Hours Service (RAHS) teams and outreach visits are activated, coordinated and supervised by CAHABPS.
RAHS practitioners are part time employees who are paid:
- a base salary for their rostered day time work (dependant on their classification and FTE)
- a standby/recall allowance for each time period they are rostered on standby regardless of whether they are recalled to duty
- additional hours for hours worked for outreach visits when recalled.
To find out more about the Victorian Child Protection Program, please visit: www.cpmanual.vic.gov.au.