Intake phase - advice

This advice provides additional information about the function and purpose of the intake phase.

Document ID number 2004, version 3, 12 April 2016.


See Intake for policies and procedures related to this phase, and for actions that must be taken.

The intake phase commences with a report and concludes when the report is transferred for investigation or closed with or without the provision of advice or referral.

Intake involves receiving reports and determining the appropriate response, providing advice to reporters, helping children and families access support services and where appropriate making referrals.

Intake receives the following reports under the CYFA:

  • report of significant concern about the wellbeing of a child (s. 28)
  • report of a child in need of protection (s. 183)
  • report about an unborn child (s. 29)
  • report of a child in need of therapeutic treatment (s. 185)
  • report or information that each permanent carer parent of a child subject to a permanent care order has died (s 325A) See advice - Intake to manage a permanent care order.

At intake, child protection also receives and records reports and requests for assessments from interstate and New Zealand child protection programs, overseas statutory authorities via Legal Services (Hague Convention), Centrelink regarding youth homelessness, the Family Law Courts regarding children in need of protection, and applications for conciliation counselling (s. 260, CYFA).

The role of the intake practitioner

The intake practitioner’s responsibilities include:

  • engaging the reporter
  • providing clear and accurate information regarding the child protection role and processes
  • gathering and clarifying information from the reporter regarding the nature and seriousness of their concerns
  • gathering information from the reporter about the child and family including whether the child is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Refer to Identifying Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children - for child protection practitioners (pdf, 68.5 KB) .
  • completing a search on the client information system to see if there have been previous reports about the child or siblings
  • conducting an initial assessment of risk and needs based on report details
  • opening an electronic (and if necessary paper) file to record in detail the report, consultations and assessment
  • contacting agencies, services and professionals who may be involved with the family where necessary to verify, corroborate or gather further information regarding the concerns identified in the report
  • consulting with ACSASS where the subject child is Aboriginal
  • attending or convening an intake case conference, where required or appropriate
  • classifying the report, in consultation with the team manager
  • advising reporters of the outcome of the report
  • completing the intake phase and
    • providing advice to the reporter as appropriate,
    • making referrals to Child FIRST or other relevant services as appropriate, where the case is to be closed,
    • closing the case where required.

During the intake phase the work of child protection includes:

  • information gathering
  • analysis
  • decision making
  • consultation
  • referral
  • casework
  • documentation.

Child protection and Child FIRST intake

While child protection receives and responds to reports regarding significant concerns for a child’s wellbeing or the wellbeing of an unborn child after that child’s birth, the CYFA also enables Child FIRST to receive and respond to referrals regarding significant concerns for a child’s wellbeing or the wellbeing of an unborn child after that child’s birth.

If Child FIRST receives a referral where it considers the child may be in need of protection it must report the matter to child protection.