The Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services (the department) supports and invests in research to build an evidence base that informs best policy and practice to ensure Queensland's children, young people, and families are safe, thriving, and empowered in their culture and communities.

Research must be approved by the Director-General if it meets the definition of 'prescribed research' in section 189B of the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) (the Act).

The department's participation in commissioned and collaborative research is designed to ensure that:

  • research contributes to our goals, policy and priorities as described in the Child and Family Research Agenda (PDF, 974 KB) Child and Family Research Agenda (DOCX, 249 KB)
  • research is timely, relevant and managed in accordance with legal and administrative requirements
  • risk to clients, staff and stakeholder safety is minimised
  • the dignity of research participants is preserved
  • we optimise our return on investment in research
  • research meets community expectations and is conducted to high standards of ethical conduct and probity.

New – Annual Research Rounds and Grant Funding

From June 2023, the department will consider research applications for grant funding or in-kind support three times per year (dates may change as required):

Researchers are encouraged to apply for research grant funding and/or in-kind assistance such as providing access to data, clients and staff.

This approach aims to:

  • balance the need to maintain flexibility for researchers while ensuring administrative efficiency
  • ensure that funding and resources are allocated to high quality research that clearly demonstrates benefits to our stakeholders and directly aligns to the department's strategic objectives and Research Agenda

Approval process

Access to information, staff, and current or former clients of the department is subject to the Act. Researchers who propose to interview departmental employees (including service centre staff), children in the care of, or previously in the care of the department, their carers/families, or require access to data or information held by the department must submit an 'Application to conduct prescribed research (PDF, 1.1 MB) Application to conduct prescribed research (DOCX, 430 KB)'.

The application will be reviewed by the Research and Evaluation team who may contact researchers seeking further information or clarification. Relevant areas of the department, including Child Safety Service Centres, will be consulted internally. Researchers are requested not to approach service centres directly.

Final approval of all research is at the discretion of the Director-General. Further information including timeframes for this process can be found in the application form (link below).

Researchers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Child Safety Data (PDF, 601 KB) Child Safety Data (DOCX, 88 KB) overview, to assess whether datasets available from Child Safety are likely to meet their needs.

Research proposals are assessed on, but not restricted to, the following key attributes:

  • identified alignment of research objectives with departmental research priorities
  • feasibility of the research
  • quality of the proposed methodology
  • capacity of the researcher/s to complete research as proposed
  • demonstrated cultural safety and adherence to the principles of Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Governance
  • operational impost and burden to the department
  • risks for departmental clients and staff are identified and mitigated by researchers
  • requests for in-kind and financial support (departmental and other sources) are clearly articulated
  • research presents value for money
  • ethical, legal, privacy and confidentiality implications are identified by the researcher
  • ethical clearance proposed or obtained from the NHMRC through a registered Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC)
  • accompanying documents are included in proposal e.g. Consent forms, Participant information sheets, data collection instruments.

All research must conform to privacy provisions under the Information Privacy Act (Qld) 2009, the Privacy Act (Cth) 1988, and the ethical standards outlined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2023 | NHMRC. Decisions to approve or reject research proposals are also subject to the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld).

Research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and families are disproportionally represented in the child safety and family support system, and research projects will likely be particularly relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Researchers should refer to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledge Lens user guide and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respectful language guide, and demonstrate how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and experiences have been considered and responded to in project development and design. Research should also comply with the Guidelines for Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities (2018) More information can be found on page 2 of the 'Application to conduct prescribed research' (see hyperlink below).

How to submit a research application

If you would like to submit a research application, please complete the Application to conduct prescribed research (PDF, 1.1 MB) Application to conduct prescribed research (DOCX, 430 KB) and send to If you have a research enquiry or would like to discuss your research idea with us, please contact us at this same email address.

Researchers with enquiries or applications regarding Youth Justice research should contact the Youth Justice Research and Evaluation team at: