What we do

Child safety focusses on engaging with families earlier and, where appropriate, keeping children safely at home.

Concerns received by Child Safety

Concerns received by Child Safety (Intakes)

When a concern about a child's safety or wellbeing is received by Child Safety, an intake is recorded. An intake is the initial decision making point where the department determines its response to information received about children and unborn children.

Each day, Regional Intake Services receive information from a variety of sources including parents, neighbours, health sources, friends, relatives, police and school personnel with concerns for children and young people.

The department may respond to this information by:

  • recording an intake enquiry
  • recording a child concern report
  • recording a notification.

Intake enquiry

An intake enquiry is recorded when:

  • no harm or risk of harm to a child or unborn child is alleged, and no further action is required by Child Safety
  • harm or risk of harm to a child or unborn child is alleged and relates to extra-familial abuse, however a parent is assessed as able and willing to protect the child (matter referred to police)
  • the child is living in another jurisdiction, and the information will be given to that jurisdiction to decide the response.

Child concern report

A child concern report is recorded when the information received does not suggest a child is in need of protection, or an unborn child will be in need of protection after birth. A child safety officer may respond to a report by:

  • providing information and advice to the person reporting the concern
  • making a referral to another agency including a Family and Child Connect service, an Intensive Family Support service or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing service
  • providing any relevant information to the police where there is a possible criminal offence.

A child concern report may still indicate there is cause for concern though it does not suggest a child is currently in need of protection.

Services can be offered to assist the child and their family, including referral to prevention and early intervention services. Families are also encouraged and assisted to explore other areas of support, such as wider family and local community.

A child safety officer's role at intake includes offering referrals to build and strengthen a family's network to increase safety and support for children, young people and their families with the aim of preventing the need for future involvement in the child protection system.

Notification

A notification is recorded when child protection information received suggests a child may be in need of protection.

Children in need of protection are those who have suffered significant harm, are suffering significant harm, or are at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm and do not have a parent able and willing to protect them from the harm. Harm can be caused by physical, psychological or emotional abuse, or neglect or sexual abuse or exploitation.

If information received by the department indicates that an unborn child may be at risk of significant harm after they are born and they will not have a parent able and willing to protect them from harm, a notification will be recorded.

When a notification is recorded, the department must investigate and assess the concerns.

Concerns received by Child Safety

Source: Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs.

What is being counted

  1. Data is for the year ending the reference date (12 months of data).

  2. Age group: Based on the age of the child at the time the concerns were received.

  3. Intake: Intakes include notifications and child concern reports.  If an intake report relates to more than one child, a notification or child concern report is counted for each child. If a child was subject to more than one report during the reference period, a notification or child concern report is counted for each instance.

  4. Children subject to an intake: If a child was subject to more than one intake during the period, the child is counted only once.

  5. Child concern report: If a child concern report relates to more than one child, a report is counted for each child. If a child was subject to more than one report during the period, a child concern report is counted for each instance.

  6. Children subject to a child concern report: If a child was subject to more than one child concern report during the period, the child is counted only once.

  7. Notification: If a notification relates to more than one child, a report is counted for each child. If a child was subject to more than one report during the period, a notification is counted for each instance.

  8. Children subject to a notification: If a child was subject to more than one notification during the period, the child is counted only once.

  9. Non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander: Includes non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and children whose Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status is unknown or not stated.

Definition notes

  1. Intake: Intake refers to the process by which Child Safety receives and gathers information about harm or risk of harm to a child or an unborn child who may be at risk of harm after he or she is born, and determines the appropriate response to the information received. Intake processes are initiated when professionals, family members or members of the public contact Regional Intake Services or Child Safety Service Centres with concerns about a child. 

  2. Child concern report: A child concern report (CCR) is a record of child protection concerns received by the department that does not meet the threshold for a notification. A child safety officer may respond to a CCR by providing information and advice, making a referral to an appropriate agency, or providing information to the police or another state authority.

  3. Notification: A notification is recorded where there is a reasonable suspicion that a child is in need of protection, that is, a child has been significantly harmed, is being significantly harmed, or is at risk of significant harm, and does not have a parent able and willing to protect them.

  4. Intake source: The source of the concerns received.

  5. Mandatory reporters: Under legislation there are groups of people and professionals who are required to report child protection concerns. These include:

    - medical practitioners and registered nurses

    - approved teachers

    - authorised officers or employees of the department

    - police officers with child protection responsibilities

    - a person performing a child advocate function under the Public Guardian Act 2014

    - early childhood education and care professionals

    - employees of licensed residential facilities with respect to harm involving children in residential care.

Time series notes

Intakes

See below table notes for child concern reports and notifications.

Child concern reports

January 2018 – An additional Intensive Family Support service opened.

October 2017 – Eleven more Intensive Family Support services opened across nine catchments in Queensland. 

July 2017 – Amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999 commenced. From 1 July 2017, early childhood education and care professionals are required to report child safety concerns where there is a reasonable suspicion that the child has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering, significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse, and there is not a parent willing and able to protect the child from harm.

Notifications

July 2017 – Amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999 commenced. From 1 July 2017, early childhood education and care professionals are required to report child safety concerns where there is a reasonable suspicion that the child has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering, significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse, and there is not a parent willing and able to protect the child from harm.

 

Children in contact with Child Safety - Rate per 1,000

Source: Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs.

What is being counted

  1. Data is for the year ending the reference date (12 months of data).
  2. Children subject to an intake: If a child was subject to more than one intake during the period, the child is counted only once.
  3. Children subject to a notification: If a child was subject to more than one notification during the period, the child is counted only once.
  4. Rate per thousand: Refers to the number of children subject to an intake or notification divided by the population of children and young people aged 0-17 years of age. Population data is sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and is based on estimated resident population for Queenslanders aged 0-17 years, as at 30 June of the previous year.
  5. Non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander: Includes non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and children whose Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status is unknown or not stated.

Definition notes

  1. Intake: Intake refers to the process by which Child Safety receives and gathers information about harm or risk of harm to a child or an unborn child who may be at risk of harm after he or she is born, and determines the appropriate response to the information received. Intake processes are initiated when professionals, family members or members of the public contact Regional Intake Services or Child Safety Service Centres with concerns about a child. 

  2. Notification: A notification is recorded where there is a reasonable suspicion that a child is in need of protection, that is, a child has been significantly harmed, is being significantly harmed, or is at risk of significant harm, and does not have a parent able and willing to protect them.

Time series notes

From June 2019: Estimated resident population data for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young people in Queensland have been revised for all reference periods using rebased population estimates by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2016 Census based) sourced from the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office. The size, structure and components of these estimates supersede those previously published by the ABS (2011 Census based).