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2.2.7 Consulting a Team Leader

Last Modified: 24-Mar-2022 Review Date: N/A

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation

Overview

Consulting with your, or a, team leader is a critical process throughout the lifetime of a case.  Your team leader is the first point of escalation in decision making that might impact the life of a case. 

Rules

​You must consult a team leader at any critical decision-making points or when you are unsure about your next step.

You should follow these steps when consulting a team leader:

  1. Come prepared - know the case you are going to discuss, bring any documents you think are essential.
  2. Have a suggested action plan - this can include a list of options.
  3. Document the consultation - if it isn't on Objective/Assist, it didn't happen. 

When an infant is at risk of significant harm and all attempts to support the infant to safely remain with the parents have been exhausted, you must consult with your district director to consider intervention action.

 

Information and Instructions

  • Overview
  • Overriding the Interaction Tool
  • Developing a case plan trajectory for a CSI
  • Unable to notify the parents
  • Unable to sight an infant or child
  • No consent for medical assessment
  • Suspected non-accidental injury
  • Parents unwilling to develop a safety plan
  • Breach of the safety plan
  • Ready to write your Child Safety Investigation outcome report
  • Considering referral to external services
  • Overview

    ​Consulting a team leader is a critical process throughout the lifetime of a case. The team leader is the first point of escalation in relation to decision making that might impact the life of a case.

    You must consult a team leader at any critical decision-making points or when you are unsure about your next step.

    Consultation can occur during regular case supervision or by separate appointment.

    Below are some points in a case where consulting a team leader should occur. Under each item you will find possible practice situations, possible actions you can take (where appropriate) prior to a consult, discussion ideas and possible next steps.

    If your consultation is in relation to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child or family think about including your Aboriginal Practice Leader in the consultation.

    If your consultation is in relation to a child or family with a culturally and linguistically diverse background think about consulting the Principal Policy and Planning Officer, Cultural Diversity for additional information about cultural and/or religious issues that should be considered in case or care planning, and/or consultation with a CaLD officer or a cultural advisor from the community.

     

    The following sections identify points in a case where you should consult a team leader.

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    Overriding the Interaction Tool

    ​You have completed the Interaction Tool but you do not agree with the recommended outcome. 

    Have you?

    Entered the correct values in the Interaction Tool, using the related Interaction Tool Practice Guidance.

    Gathered sufficient information from the referrer, parent or Department records.

    Discussion ideas

    What is your rationale for disagreeing with the recommendation by the tool?

    What is the evidence basis for your rationale?

    What are you worried will happen if you proceed with the recommendation by the tool?

    What will be the benefits of overriding the recommendation made by the tool?

    Possible next steps
    • Gather further information from the referrer, parent or Department records.
    • Proceed with the recommendation made by the Interaction Tool, recording the discussion with the team leader.
    • Override the recommendation made by the Interaction Tool, recording the discussion with the team leader.

     

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    Developing a case plan trajectory for a CSI

    You or your team have been allocated a Child Safety Investigation and need to review or develop a case plan trajectory. 

     

    Have you?

    Reviewed the most recent case plan update and any recent actions taken.

    Familiarised yourself with the current danger statements and safety goals.

    Developed draft danger statements and safety goals if they didn't exist already.

    Confirmed the priority of the CSI.

    Discussion ideas

    What are the Department's danger statements and safety goals? (One per abuse type)

    What investigative actions need to be taken in order to assess harm?

    What timeframe is acceptable for those actions to occur?

    Scale the case - where 0 is the danger statement and 10 is the safety goal where would you scale right now? Where do you think you would need to scale to close the case?

    When will you review the trajectory?

    Possible next steps
     
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    Unable to notify the parents

    ​You have made attempts to contact the parents and notify them of an investigation but have been unable to make meaningful contact. This might mean that you have been unable to contact them at all or that they have declined to engage with you when you have attempted to contact them.

    Have you?

    Tried to call the parents at least three times, on different days/times of day.

    Conducted an unannounced home visit.

    Sent a letter to the parents with an appointment time or requesting contact.

    Confirmed that the contact details you have are correct from the original referral/referrer.

    Tried to contact each parent individually.

    Confirm the location of the infant.

    Confirm who the primary carer is.

    Discussion ideas

    What were the reported concerns? How significant are the harm concerns?

    What is the Department's history with the family? Is there a reason they are trying to avoid us?

    What actions have we already taken to try and engage the parents?

    What response has the Department received (if any)?

    Who else have we tried to contact as part of the investigation?

    Possible next steps
    • Unannounced home visit.

    • Letter to parents.

    • Contact with other family members.

    • Contact with services involved with the family.

    • Consultation with a district director.

     

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    Unable to sight an infant or child

    You have made attempts to sight an infant or child but have been unable to do so. You may have initially been able to engage parents and notify them of the investigation, but you have been unable to engage them further.

    OR

    You believe that if the parents were to know in advance about you wanting to sight the infant or child that the investigation would likely be jeopardised.

    If the parents have denied you access due to not having the whooping cough vaccine please discuss fundign for this with your team leader and district director, as it can be made available on a case by case basis.

     

    Have you?

    Attempted to re-contact the parents and explained the importance of sighting the infant or child.

    Conducted an unannounced home visit.

    Sent a letter to the parents with an appointment time requesting they bring the infant or child along.

    Tried to contact each parent individually.

    Made contact with other family members or services that may have sighted the infant e.g. Child Health Nurse.

    Developed a rationale as to why the parents should not be notified in advance about your proposed access to the infant or child.

    Consulted with an Aboriginal Practice Leader or other professionals.

    Discussion ideas

    Attempted to re-contact the parents and explained the importance of sighting the infant or child.

    Conducted an unannounced home visit.

    Sent a letter to the parents with an appointment time requesting they bring the infant or child along.

    Tried to contact each parent individually.

    Made contact with other family members or services that may have sighted the infant e.g. Child Health Nurse.

    Developed a rationale as to why the parents should not be notified in advance about your proposed access to the infant or child.

    Consulted with an Aboriginal Practice Leader or other professionals.

    Possible next steps
    • Unannounced home visit.

    • Letter to parents.

    • Contact with other family members.

    • Contact with services involved with the family.

    • Sight the infant or child utilising Section 33 of the Act at either a school, hospital or place where a child care service is provided.

    • Consultation with a district director.

    • Intervention action. 

     

     

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    No consent for medical assessment

    You suspect an infant may have been harmed or has an injury. With parent's permission you have conducted a physical check of the infant and sighted significant bruising which the parents cannot explain.  You ask parents to attend Perth Children's Hospital (or a local medical service) with you to have the infant medically assessed, they have not given consent.

    You have moved to a private place away from the parents (e.g. out the front of the house or in the car).

    OR

    You suspect that a child has a non-accidental injury and the parents have declined to arrange a medical assessment or take the child to hospital.

    Have you?

    Identified the injury to the parents and allowed them an opportunity to explain the injury.

    Been clear with the parents about your concerns and the possible impact on the infant or child.

    Explained the medical assessment process.

    Notified the parents that you are consulting a team leader about your next steps.

    Consulted with an Aboriginal practice leader or other professionals.

    Discussion ideas

    What exactly did you observe about the infant or child that made you so concerned?

    How exactly did the parents respond to your concerns? What explanation did they provide?

    How were the parents engaging prior to the physical check of the infant or child?

    What history do we have with the family?

    Does the suspected injury you have sighted on the infant or child match the reported concerns?

    If the parents do not consent, what further actions might we take?

    Possible next steps
    • Return to the parents and make further attempts to explain the importance of the medical assessment and seek consent. 

    • Consultation with a district director.

    • Intervention action.

     

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    Suspected non-accidental injury

    You have received confirmation as a result of a medical assessment that an infant or child has a suspected non-accidental injury. It is alleged that one or both of the parents are responsible for inflicting the injury to the infant or child.

    Have you?

    Liaised with relevant services e.g. WA Police, Department of Health.

    Received detailed information about the harm to the infant and suspected cause.

    Ascertained the parent's explanation of the injury to the infant.

    Developed draft harm statements (where applicable), danger statements and safety goals.

    Consulted with an Aboriginal Practice Leader or other professionals.

    Discussion ideas

    What is our opinion of the medical assessment?

    What information do we have so far about the parent's explanation?

    What is our assessment of the parent's explanation and the injury to the infant?

    What information is missing so far?

    Can we identify any possible safety network members?

    Are our harm statements, danger statements and safety goals clear? Do they directly relate to the abuse types? Is there only one per abuse types?

    Are we able to interview the child? Do we have consent to do this? Do we need to consider using s.33 of the Act?

    Is there an immediate and substantial risk to the infant's wellbeing? Should we consider intervention action under s.37 of the Act?

    Possible next steps 
    • Meet with the parents to explain the Department's concerns, discuss the harm statements (where applicable), danger statements and safety goals and commence safety planning.

    • Interview the child.

    • Meet with the safety network and parents.

    • Reiterate the harm statements (where applicable), danger statements and safety goals so the family and their safety network can develop a safety plan. 

    • Consultation with a district director.

    • Intervention action.

     

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    Parents unwilling to develop a safety plan

    You have received information that one or both parents are unwilling to develop a safety plan.

    Have you?

    Confirmed what the parents have said about why they don't want a safety plan.

    Attempted to engage with the parents directly and confirmed they don't want to engage in safety planning. 

    Liaised with relevant services e.g. WA Police, Department of health.

    Developed draft harm statements (where applicable), danger statements and safety goals).

    Consulted with an Aboriginal Practice Leader or other professionals.

    Discussion ideas

    What were the reported concerns? How significant are the harm concerns?

    What is our history with the family?

    What information do we have so far about the parent's explanation?

    What is our assessment of the parent's explanation and the injury to the infant?

    What information is missing so far?

    Can we identify any possible safety network members?

    Are our harm statements, danger statements and safety goals clear? Do they directly relate to the abuse types? Is there only one per abuse types?

    Is there an immediate and substantial risk to the infant's wellbeing? Should we consider intervention action under s.37 of the Act?

    Do we have sufficient grounds? Has the infant, or is the infant likely to suffer, harm as a result of abuse (per s.28 of the Act) AND are the infant's parents not protecting the infant or unable to protect the infant from further harm?

    Possible next steps -top
    • Meet with the parents to explain the Department's concerns, discuss the harm statements (where applicable), danger statements and safety goals) and attempt safety planning.

    • Seek out a safety network for the infant and bring them to a meeting with the parents.

    • Reiterate the harm statements (where applicable), danger statements and safety goals so the family and their safety network can develop a safety plan. 

    • Consultation with a district director.

    • Intervention action.

       

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    Breach of the safety plan

    You have received information that the agreed safety plan has been breached. 

    Have you?

    Talked to the parents about their explanation of the breach.

    Talked to members of the safety network about the breach.

    Liaised with relevant services e.g. WA Police, Department of Health.

    Consulted with an Aboriginal Practice Leader or other professionals.

    Discussion ideas

    Was the safety plan actually breached or was it just tested? Did the parents and/or safety network respond as per the agreed safety plan or not?

    What is the significance of the breach? What does it tell us about the parents?

    What do the safety network members think about the breach?

    What consequences were built into the safety plan if it was breached?

    Will it be sufficient to review the safety plan? Do we need more members of the safety network?

    Are our harm statements, danger statements and safety goals clear? Did the family actually understand what was expected of them?

    Was our safety plan created by the family or did we act coercively to develop the safety plan?

    Is there an immediate and substantial risk to the infant's wellbeing? Should we consider intervention action under s.37 of the Act?

    Do we have sufficient grounds? Has the infant, or is the infant, likely to suffer harm as a result of abuse (per s.28 of the Act) AND are the infant's parents not protecting the infant or unable to protect the infant from further harm?

    Possible next steps -top
    • Meet with the parents and safety network to review the safety plan, safety network and explore what led to the breach.

    • Document the reviewed safety plan.

    • Seek out more members for the safety network.

    • Consultation with a district director.

    • Intervention action.

     

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    Ready to write your Child Safety Investigation outcome report

    You have completed sufficient actions within the Child Safety Investigation and believe that you can make a determination about whether or not the infant or child has experienced harm as a result of abuse, the parent's capacity to protect the infant or child and whether or not further action is required to safeguard the infant or child.

    Have you?

    Notified the parents of the investigation.

    Sighted and/or interviewed the infant and/or child.

    Given the parents and/or perpetrators the opportunity to respond to the concerns.

    Consulted with other people/services as required.

    Commenced immediate safety planning if required.

    Gathered credible evidence to form your analysis and decision.

    Discussion ideas

    What actions have you undertaken to collect evidence?

    How credible is the evidence that you have gathered?

    What did the child have to say?

    What have other people/services had to say about the abuse type and possible harm to the child?

    What do you think will be your recommendation in relation to whether or not the child has experienced harm?

    Does a team leader verbally agree with your recommendation?

    Possible next steps
    • Further actions to gather credible evidence, as recommended by a team leader.

    • A meeting to notify the parents and/or perpetrators of the likely outcome of your investigation.

    • Write your investigation outcome report and send to a team leader for approval via Assist.

     

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    Considering referral to external services

    You or the family have identified that there is an appropriate support service that may assist in addressing the concerns or the complicating factors affecting the family. 

    Have you?

    Researched the support service and confirmed it is appropriate for the needs of the parents, child or family?

    Discussed the referral with the parents or family and sought their agreement and consent?

    Established from the support service whether the Department has to remain involved in order for them to accept the referral?

    Established any waiting period that may exist to access the support service?

    Confirmed the referral process?

    Discussion ideas

    What is the Department's expectation of the support service? Can the support service fulfil our expectations?

    What role will the Department have with the family following the referral? What is the expected role of the Department?

    What is the waiting period for the support service? Does this affect our referral?

    What services can the Department offer?

    Do we expect the parents' behaviour to change as a result of the service? Do we need to see that change to close the case and have you told the parents this?

    Possible next steps -top
    • Further contact with support service.

    • Informal referral to support service - provision of information to the parents.

    • Formal referral to support service - referred by the Department.

    • Consultation with a district director.

     

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