High-risk youth

Follow this procedure when working with high-risk youth.

Document ID number 1602, version 2, 1 March 2016.


High-risk youth, generally aged 12–17 years but occasionally as young as 10 years, with multiple, complex difficulties need intensive, sustained support.

Risk may be episodic and in some cases life threatening.

Detailed assessment and thoughtful, trauma-informed case planning and intervention are essential to effective risk management and stabilisation of a young person.

Good practice is founded on multiservice collaboration and coordination, clinical consultation and relationship based engagement with the young person.

Assessment and case planning is sensitive to the possible effects of adverse early childhood experience, including exposure to trauma, on the young person’s cognitive development and behavioural responses.

For additional information see High-risk youth - advice.


Case practitioner tasks

Intake phase

  • Register and process the report according to usual procedure.
  • If the report involves a homeless young person without an effective guardian, classify the report as a protective intervention report and transfer to appropriate team, unless otherwise approved by the team manager.

Investigation, protective intervention and protection order phases

  • Undertake the investigation and assessment according to usual procedure.
  • If the report is substantiated, commence the case plan process and:
    • Liaise with youth justice and disability services if relevant.
    • Consider consultation with a practice leader or principal practitioner about assessment and possible interventions.
    • Consider crisis support and assistance (including accommodation, health and family counselling support).
    • Review the case history and develop a detailed chronology and genogram.
    • Identify and document the young person’s family and social networks and be clear about the strengths and risks.
    • Ensure a care team is established and meets regularly if the young person is in out-of-home care.
    • Refer to relevant specialist treatment services – alcohol and other drugs, mental health/neuropsychological or educational assessment.
    • Think about the young person’s general health, diet and development and seek advice.
  • Discuss the assessment with your supervisor and ensure the case plan and actions to implement it are aligned with the young person’s needs, vulnerability and risk factors.
  • Develop a safety plan specific to the young person’s behaviour, risk triggers and capacity:
    • Review client incident reports as a source of information about the young person’s behaviour patterns, triggers and risks.
    • Consider the strengths and risks of the young person’s social and family contacts and networks.
    • Identify the young person’s primary professional and social relationships and engage them in safety planning.
  • Review and update the safety plan regularly. The safety plan may be recorded in the actions table under crisis management. If there are significant decisions, review the case plan.
  • Consult your supervisor to determine whether the young person should be placed on the high risk schedule. See High-risk panels and schedules.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation.
  • Consider recommending to the chair of the high-risk panel that the young person be included on the high-risk schedule.

Team manager tasks

  • Endorse decision to classify a report about a young person who is homeless as a protective intervention report, unless investigation is not in the young person’s best interests. If a report about a homeless young person is not classified as a protective intervention report, record the rationale on CRIS.