Document ID number 2967, version 3, 20 November 2021

 

This matrix provides guidance to child protection practitioners for decision making following the receipt of a report.

Decision making will rely on analysis of the two components of judgement – consequence of harm, and probability of harm.

This matrix lists the possible combinations of the harm judgements applied to each of the two components, and the likely decision/s to be made about  substantiation, closure and protection application. The SAFER children framework contains a visual tool to support decision making in intake (figure 17, page 59) and in investigation, protective intervention, protection order and closure phases (figure 18, page 61)

Good practice is making decisions based on a variety of considerations including the professional judgement of practitioners, leaders and managers. This matrix provides as much guidance as possible (within a guided professional judgement model of risk assessment) to support consistency in decision making for children involved with child protection in Victoria.

Consequence, probability and decisions matrix

Information/Evidence

Consequence of harm

Probability of harm

 

Substantiation

Child/Family Circumstances

Decision

There is insufficient evidence of significant concerns for the safety, wellbeing and development of the child (including cumulative harm).

Insufficient evidence of harm

Unlikely

No

 

Provide information and advice as appropriate to the circumstances and close.

There is no evidence of significant concerns for the safety, wellbeing and development of the child (including cumulative harm), however, there is evidence of significant concerns for the wellbeing of the child.

 

 

Concerning 

Unlikely

Likely

Very likely

No

While parents are willing and able to take every reasonable decision and action necessary to protect the child from harm and promote their safety, wellbeing and development there is a significant concern for wellbeing requiring a referral to Child FIRST/Orange Door.

Refer to Child FIRST/Orange Door or to a service as appropriate to the circumstances.

There is evidence that the child has suffered significant harm to their safety, wellbeing and development (including cumulative harm).

Significant

Likely

Yes

Parents are now willing and able to take every reasonable decision and action necessary to protect the child from harm and promote their safety, wellbeing and development but require additional support.

Develop and endorse a case plan and refer to Child FIRST/Orange Door or to a service as appropriate to the circumstances and close.

There is evidence that the child has suffered significant harm to their safety, wellbeing and development (including cumulative harm)

Significant

Likely

Yes

There is not yet a sufficient basis to determine parental capacity and the future likelihood and consequences of harm; AND/OR

The parent(s) have demonstrated some capacity/willingness to ensure the child’s safety, wellbeing and development and it is assessed that further protective intervention may resolve protective concerns, without the need for court intervention.

Develop a case plan for the child and give the child and family the widest possible assistance to assess whether further statutory intervention is required to protect the child from harm and promote their safety, wellbeing and development in the future.

Past or current harm to the child cannot be confirmed, but there are clear indicators of significant risk to the child, based on substantiated harm to siblings, family and protective history and parent’s current presentation.

Significant 

Severe

Likely

Yes

The parent(s) have demonstrated some capacity or willingness to ensure the child’s safety, wellbeing and development, and it is assessed that further protective intervention may resolve protective concerns, without the need for court intervention.

Develop a case plan for the child and provide the widest possible assistance to the child and family and assess whether further statutory intervention is required to protect the child from harm, and promote their safety, wellbeing and development in the future.

There is evidence that the child has suffered significant harm to their safety, wellbeing and development (including cumulative harm)

Significant

Severe

 

Very likely

Yes

There is evidence that the child is at risk, or is likely to be at risk of future significant harm; AND

The parents have not or are unlikely to take every reasonable decision and action necessary to protect the child from harm.

Legal intervention should be considered. Develop a case plan for the child and include in the disposition report for the Court.

Past and current harm to the child cannot be confirmed, but there are clear indicators of significant risk to the child, based on substantiated harm to siblings, family and protective history and parent’s current presentation

Significant

Severe

Very likely

Yes

There is evidence that the child is likely to be at risk of future significant harm and the parents are unlikely to take every reasonable decision or action necessary to protect the child from harm.

Legal intervention should be considered. Develop a case plan for the child and include in the disposition report for the Court.

Practice Dictionary Definition

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