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4.3 Individual Safety Plans

Last Modified: 10-Feb-2021 Review Date: 01-Jun-2019

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation


​​To provide guidance to residential care workers to develop Individual Safety Plans for children in their care.

Practice Requirements

  • ​​Residential care workers must complete Individual Safety Plans that identify and address risk for all children in their care. 
  • The Department’s duty of care to others requires that special consideration must be given when placing children who are a risk to others. 
  • If it is not possible to avoid placing a child who poses a risk to others in residential care, a safety plan must be put in place to protect others in the residence. 
  • The senior officer on duty must approve immediate and urgent safety plans. For all other individual safety plans approval must be sought from manager. 
  • All residential care workers must be familiar with the child’s Individual Safety Plans​.​


  • Introduction
  • Risk factors
  • Urgent placements - children who pose a risk to others
  • Introduction

    ​Whenever possible, placement of a child or young person into a residential care service should occur in a planned manner. In this process, a residential care safety plan should be completed for each child. The child’s safety plan should be developed in consultation with residential care workers. 

    If a child is admitted without a current safety plan, one must be developed immediately by the residential care service in consultation with the district office. Any risks identified as part of the assessment process must be considered in the context of the proposed placement and form the basis of developing a safety plan. The child must be encouraged and supported to participate in the development of the plan, where appropriate. 


    Risk factors

    ​Children considered a risk to others exhibit one or more of the following risk factors: 

    • ​violence towards caregivers, other adults or other children 
    • sexualised behaviours or a history of sexual assault against other children and adults 
    • self-harm and suicidal ideation and other mental health issues which may impact on behaviour 
    • a history of substance use 
    • fire lighting 
    • extensive property damage, and 
    • any other known safety issues or risks. 

    A safety plan should: 

    • ​be appropriate to the specific circumstances of the placement and the individual child 
    • identify the possible risks posed by the child and contain specific strategies to overcome these risks to self or others 
    • include strategies if the child wishes to attend a community activity or other residential activity (where appropriate) 
    • be accessible to all residential care workers, and 
    • include the child’s views. 

    When a change in placement occurs the district is responsible for providing all relevant parties with comprehensive information about the background of the case, and a copy of the case plan and safety plan before the transfer.


    Urgent placements - children who pose a risk to others

    ​In emergencies, when there is no other option but to place a child who poses a risk to others in residential care with other children, extreme caution must be used and a comprehensive safety plan developed to safeguard others in the home. 

    The safety plan must be approved by the Director Residential Care, or by the district director for other services. In contentious cases, the safety plan must be approval by the relevant Executive Director. 

    This plan must be reviewed immediately (or on the next working day). 

    It may not always be possible to avoid placing a child who poses a risk to other children in a residential group home, especially in urgent situations. However, children with a history of extreme violence or sexual assault should not be placed where there are younger children, children who have developmental delays, or children who are especially vulnerable for other reasons (such as previous abuse). 

    Residential care placements should be able to put more stringent safety plans in place than is possible in a foster care placement. This may include separation from other children and close supervision.


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