What we do

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

Completed investigations

Completed investigations

All notifications recorded by the department are required to be investigated and an assessment made as to whether the child needs protection. An investigation and assessment must be completed within 100 calendar days of the date of the notification.

A thorough investigation and assessment is critical in determining whether the child is need of protection. The child safety officer interviews the child, the child’s parents and gathers information from other individuals, such as family and those in the family’s support network, as well as other agencies.

Once a child safety officer has considered the information gathered and completed an assessment, a decision is made about whether the child is in need of protection. There are four possible outcomes of a finalised investigation and assessment:

  • substantiated – The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering future, significant harm.
  • unsubstantiated - There is no evidence that the child has suffered significant harm, is suffering significant harm, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm. In these instances, the family may be referred to a support service to help them address risk factors that may lead to possible harm in the future.
  • no subject child - It is determined the child does not exist or is not a member of the household being investigated, and the case was closed.
  • other - A full investigation for a child was not possible for a variety of valid reasons, and the case was closed. For example, this may occur in circumstances where:
    • the family has relocated to another state or overseas, or
    • insufficient information is provided, and the family cannot be located despite all reasonable steps having been undertaken to identify the family and their location.

Investigation and assessments by outcome

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. Counts notifications recorded during the reference period by the outcome of the investigation and assessment.
  3. Where a report relates to more than one child, a notification is counted for each child.
  4. Where a child is the subject of more than one report of alleged harm or risk of harm during the period, a notification is counted for each instance.
  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. Investigation and assessment: An investigation and assessment (I&A) is Child Safety's response to all notifications, and is the process of assessing a child’s need for protection, if there are allegations of harm or risk of harm to the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14 (1)).
  2. Finalised investigation and assessment: An investigation is classified as finalised where it is completed and an assessment outcome recorded on the central system.
  3. Substantiated: The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering future, significant harm.
  4. Unsubstantiated: There is no evidence that the child has suffered significant harm, is suffering significant harm, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm. In these instances, the family may be referred to a support service to help them address risk factors that may lead to possible harm in the future.
  5. Not a subject child: It is determined the child does not exist or is not a member of the household being investigated, and the case was closed.
  6. Other outcome: A full investigation for a child was not possible for a variety of valid reasons, and the case was closed. For example, this may occur in circumstances where the family has relocated to another state or overseas, or insufficient information is provided, and the family cannot be located, despite all reasonable steps having been undertaken to identify the family and their location.
  7. Investigation not yet finalised: A notification where the investigation was still in progress, the investigation was completed but the outcome was not yet recorded on the central system, or the investigation was completed and entered on the central system but yet to be approved.
  8. Response timeframe: Response priority is a Structured Decision Making (SDM) tool to guide the timeframe in which an investigation and assessment is to be commenced. 

Times series notes

From September 2019: Timeframes for completion of investigations and assessments were extended from 60 days to 100 days from when the notification is recorded. This extension better reflects family led decision making processes, particularly for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families; as well as increased safety planning and support now offered by Child Safety in the investigation and assessment processes.

Substantiated and unsubstantiated investigations completed within timeframe

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. Counts the number of investigation and assessments that that had an outcome of substantiated or unsubstantiated.
  3. Completed within timeframe: Counts investigation and assessments completed within 100 days. The time taken to complete the investigation and assessment is calculated as the number of days between the date the notification was received and the date the investigation and assessment outcome was approved.
  4. Not completed within timeframe: Counts investigation and assessments completed in over 100 days. The time taken to complete the investigation and assessment is calculated as the number of days between the date the notification was received and the date the investigation and assessment outcome was approved.
  5. Age group: Based the age of the child at the time the concerns were received.
  6. 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. Substantiated: The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering future, significant harm.

  2. Unsubstantiated: There is no evidence that the child has suffered significant harm, is suffering significant harm, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm. In these instances the family may be referred to a support service to help them address risk factors that may lead to possible harm in the future.

  3. Investigation and assessment: An investigation and assessment (I&A) is Child Safety's response to all notifications, and is the process of assessing a child’s need for protection, if there are allegations of harm or risk of harm to the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14 (1)).

  4. Completion timeframe: The prescribed timeframe for completing an investigation and assessment is 100 days. Completion of an investigation and assessment may take 100 days or longer for a variety of reasons. For example, the family may actively avoid contact with the department during the investigation, or the complexity of the family requires greater engagement with the family and increased time to complete the investigation.

Time series notes

From September 2019: Timeframes for completion of investigations and assessments were extended from 60 days to 100 days from when the notification is recorded. This extension better reflects family led decision making processes, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families; as well as increased safety planning and support now offered by Child Safety in the investigation and assessment processes.