Completing the investigation following the first visit

Follow this procedure when completing the investigation after the first visit.
Document ID number 1019, version 4, 20 November 2021.

After the first visit, the child protection practitioner continues to seek, share, sort and store information from the family and other sources to:

  • clarify and corroborate information gathered in the first visit (and from other sources)
  • inform the investigation outcome if no concerns have yet been substantiated
  • complete investigation of outstanding Essential Information Categories if some categories were substantiated at the first visit.

Practitioners seek, sort and store information across the seven essential information categories:

  • individual child
  • parent or caregiver
  • family, community and environment
  • strengths
  • protection and safety
  • harm
  • family violence.

Case practitioner tasks

  • Review the investigation plan and:
    • identify incomplete information and additional actions needed to complete investigation of all identified essential information categories
    • obtain supervisor approval of the updated investigation plan, including when this is occurring alongside actions to implement a case plan.
  • Undertake further contact with the child and parents as per the investigation plan.
  • Contact other people as per the investigation plan and:
    • provide your name and contact details (and where appropriate or requested those of your supervisor)
    • explain your role and that information requested is for the purpose of investigating a report and that information may be included in a report to the Children’s Court
    • explain child protection information sharing policy and responsibilities, and confidentiality, disclosure and privacy processes.

You cannot disclose the identity of anyone who provides information in confidence during an investigation except where the Children's Court or VCAT orders it, or with the person’s written consent.

Information provided during an investigation does not expose the information-giver to legal liability.

  • Clarify the relationship the person has with the child and family, including their last contact, and obtain relevant information.
  • Inform the person that information relating to child protection involvement is not to be disclosed, other than when required in the best interests of the child or otherwise permitted in law.
  • Unless already covered during the first visit, ask parents if there are any existing or past court orders that may have implications for the child. If the parents state that there are existing orders, ask to see these orders and, if possible, obtain a copy for the child’s file.
  • If the parents are unable or unwilling to provide a copy of the alleged order, endeavour to verify the existence and content of the order by:
    • In the case of a Family Court order, contact the Family Court registry to seek confirmation that the order has been made, and clarify the dates and terms of the orders and any outstanding matters.
    • In the case of an intervention order, contact the registry of the court that made the order to clarify the terms, its currency and date of expiration.
    • In the case of a bail order or conditions, contact the police informant to clarify details of the order or conditions.
    • In the case of a parole order or conditions, contact the parole officer to clarify details of the order or conditions.
  • Make sure that the investigation plan actions are complete.
  • Complete CRIS requirements and record of activity, decisions and rationales, this includes:
    • the essential information categories
    • the risk assessment
    • MARAM assessments, where required.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation.
  • Approve significant decisions affecting the conduct of the investigation.  
  • Approve amendments to the investigation plan.

Team manager tasks

  • Endorse key decisions including:
    • the risk assessment in CRIS
    • applications to the Children’s Court.