Last updated 3 August 2016
The Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) (Child Protection Act) provides that the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (Child Safety) also has the responsibility for ensuring that children and families receive the family support services that they need in order to decrease the likelihood of the children becoming in need of protection (s 159B(a) Child Protection Act).
Child Safety is responsible for ensuring that ways exist to coordinate the roles and responsibilities of service providers in promoting the protection of children, child protection services and family support services (s 159G(1)(a) Child Protection Act). The intention is to ensure that the agencies and service providers involved with children and families are coordinated and can share information to provide children with the opportunity to remain in a stable, functioning family environment without the need to enter the statutory child protection system before they can receive support. Non-statutory secondary services that can support at-risk families include:
- Family and Child Connect
- intensive family support services
- domestic and family violence support services
- specialist services and supports such as mental health services, drug and alcohol counselling and housing services.
Child Safety is able to request and exchange information with other agencies and service providers about a child’s protection or care needs to ensure the safety of the child, and a coordinated and responsive service delivery that meets the needs of the child and their family (ss 159A-H, 159M-R Child Protection Act). This includes the following agencies:
- The Public Guardian
- Corrective Services
- Community Services
- Disability Services
- Education Queensland including all schools
- Housing Services
- Queensland Health
- Queensland Police Service
- other service providers.
Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Assessment
When required, Child Safety can refer a child’s matter to the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) team, which operates throughout Queensland. Each SCAN team includes representatives who have knowledge and experience in child protection from the following agencies:
- Child Safety
- Queensland Health
- Department of Education
- a recognised entity when discussing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
- if needed, other service providers and professionals, for example the child’s counsellor.
The purpose of a SCAN team is to ensure that there is:
- timely sharing of information about the child and their family and other involved people between SCAN team members
- planning and coordination of actions to assess and respond to the child’s protection needs
- a holistic and culturally responsive assessment of the child’s protection needs.
The SCAN team will try to agree on recommendations to give Child Safety about assessing and responding to the protection needs of the child, and each agency involved will take action under the recommendations to ensure there is a coordinated response to the protection needs of the child. However, any continuing needs of the child are the responsibility of Child Safety (ss 159I-L Child Protection Act).