This document provides additional information regarding the requirements for accessing the Connect for Safety Child Protection search platform (Connect for Safety) when information has been received that indicates a child, young person or their family may have lived in another Australian Child Protection jurisdiction.

Document ID number 3074, version 1, 11 May 2022.

Introduction

See Connect for Safety Child Protection record search - procedure for tasks that must be undertaken.

Connect for Safety aligns with Strategy 3 of the Third Action Plan under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020 (National Framework) and recommendations 8.6, 8.7, 8.8 and 8.22 of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission), which calls on governments to establish more efficient ways to share information across jurisdictional borders to better protect Australia’s children.

The challenge of sharing Child Protection information in a timely manner across state and territory borders has been known for many years. Families and individuals with Child Protection histories are known to cross jurisdictional borders regularly, and Australia’s population is also highly mobile. In the absence of a solution that enables quick identification of where information may be held, both reported and investigated/assessed histories, safety decisions will continue to be made in isolation without the benefit of the whole picture. This may ultimately result in decisions that could compromise a child or family’s safety.

Child protection practitioners can search Connect for Safety when they believe that a child/ren, young person/s or family member/s may have lived in another jurisdiction and been subject to a Child Protection report.

Confidentiality

The information available on Connect for Safety is strictly confidential and must not be shared unless operationally necessary to do so.

Practitioners should not contact any persons identified in Connect for Safety unless the potential match, and related information, is verified to be true and correct by the relevant jurisdiction that holds that information, and this information is provided to you as part of the Interstate Liaison Officer (ILO) request for information.

 Child protection practitioners must not use the information obtained via the search on Connect for Safety to update or cleanse CRIS unless the matched information is verified with the other jurisdiction and is more accurate than information held in CRIS.

Connect for Safety Child Protection Search platform

Connect for Safety is a highly sophisticated search tool with the capacity to match data through ID searches or entering a combination of search field criteria. Matches can be made even when the information entered is poor, slightly incorrect or recorded differently elsewhere. Connect for Safety will also search on name variations such as spelling variations, common nicknames and listed aliases.

To ensure Connect for Safety provides child protection practitioners with the best opportunity to protect vulnerable children and young people from harm, jurisdictions provide comprehensive datasets within specific legislative and systems limitations.

The data in Connect for Safety is biographical except for indigenous status. No casework information is contained in the card results returned from a search in Connect for Safety.

The data from each jurisdiction goes back historically as far as possible to include all records where relevant Child Protection information may be held and includes records on people living or deceased.

Search results

The search result provides information such as the CRIS client ID, client name, alias names, DOB, Aboriginal status, address, phone number, and relationships.

Information about reporters and service providers are excluded from the data cohort unless they have an otherwise pre-existing relationship with a child or young person contained within the CRIS client file.

Further details about what information is provided by each jurisdiction is outlined on the Connect for Safety Welcome page. You can also view when each jurisdiction last uploaded its data at the bottom of this page.

Restricted cases

Clients and relationships whose records are restricted in a jurisdiction’s source system, including CRIS, will appear with the term RESTRICTED on the results returned.

When a record is listed as restricted, only the ‘primary name’ and ‘other name’ will appear on a person’s card. All other fields of information will be blank. Connect for Safety will still search on all the information known for that record and display the match confidence score and the matched-on criteria based on the details used in the search. Users will be able to identify the state that holds the information based on the Client ID in the record.

Privacy considerations when accessing Connect for Safety

Practitioners should not contact any persons identified in Connect for Safety unless the potential match, and related information, is verified to be true and correct by the relevant jurisdiction that holds that information, and this information is provided to you as part of the Interstate Liaison Officer (ILO) request for information.

Child protection practitioners must not use the information obtained via the search on Connect for Safety to update or cleanse CRIS unless the matched information is verified with the other jurisdiction and is more accurate than information held in CRIS.

Information and use of the platform are governed by:

  • Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
    • Note Part 4 of the PDP Act also creates an enforceable Protective Data Security Standards
  • Information Privacy Principles
  • Children Youth and Families Act 2005
  • Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005
  • Children Youth and Families Regulations 2017
  • Information Security

Routine auditing

The department may conduct routine auditing of department employees’ access to Connect for Safety in order to identify security risks, including unauthorised access, accessing inappropriate material, misuse, viruses and prohibited or otherwise inappropriate activity.  It is not necessary for the department to seek a user’s permission or otherwise further notify the user before such monitoring, auditing or reporting may occur.

Audit logs are kept on Connect for Safety and record who has undertaken a search and the details of the search made. Access to audit logs can be requested at any time by DFFH if DFFH suspects inappropriate access or misuse of information by a practitioner. Disciplinary action may follow. For additional information please see Breaches of privacy.

Case note recording

Connect for Safety is just one part of an overall risk assessment. Information gathered from the search is at a certain point in time and must not be relied upon as a single source for risk assessment. The outcome of the search (including where there was no match) must be recorded in a case note on CRIS.

The information obtained from the search, as well as any other information available to Child Protection is to formulate a risk assessment and record this in the case practice area of CRIS, in the ‘assessment’ tab.

Case note contents

Information in the case note must be titled clearly with the details and purpose of the search described in the document.

Case note recording example:

Case note title:                     Connect For Safety Child Protection records search outcome

Details:

Following the current report/new allegation relating to identified risks to a child’s safety and wellbeing a search was undertaken on Connect For Safety to identify if any other child protection jurisdiction in Australia held relevant records.

Information that may assist in the formation of a risk assessment.

OUTCOME OF SEARCH:

No match found OR

Match found in XXXX [identify state or territory where records found]

Request for information from XXXX [identify state or territory where records found] has been made through the Interstate Liaison process.

 

Risk assessment

The Connect for Safety search is just one part of an overall risk assessment. For further details see the SAFER children framework.

Connect for Safety and the risk assessment

In line with the SAFER children framework, information obtained from the Connect for Safety search in relation to child protection reports received in another state or territory, as well as any other information available to Child Protection informs the risk assessment.

Information is sought about:

  • the concern and any other information which would assist the receiving interstate department to assess the matter; and
  • whether the sending department considers it appropriate for the receiving interstate department to initiate Child Protection proceedings and transfer the proceedings back to the sending state (this is extremely rare).

Analysis occurs to determine how information obtained from the Interstate Request for information, as well as any other information, may change the risk assessment. This informs judgements about increases or reductions in safety, whether changes need to be made to the safety plan, whether consultation with others is required and guides worker safety considerations.  

Practice Dictionary Definition

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