Roles and responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of staff at a child safety service centre contribute to the delivery of high quality child protection services to children, young people and their families.

Staff involved can include:

Child safety officer (CSO)

CSOs provide statutory child protection services to children and families by:

  • undertaking the roles of an authorised officer under the Child Protection Act 1999
  • delivering services in accordance with legislation, policy and practice guidelines within a strength-based, safety-oriented framework for practice - refer Child Safety Practice Manual (CSPM)
  • working jointly with approved carers, parents, the community, government and non-government service providers to meet the needs of children, young people and families who come into contact with the child protection system.

Service centre manager

Managers provide leadership and management by:

  • implementing quality business and practice systems and standards
  • ensuring child protection services comply with relevant:
    • legislation
    • delegations
    • policies
    • procedures
    • quality standards
  • establishing enduring productive partnerships with approved carers, parents, young people and children, the community and other government and non-government sectors
  • providing supervision, ongoing professional development and management of staff.

Child safety support officer

Child safety support officers (CSSO) including senior CSSOs, support the delivery of child protection services to children and families by:

  • providing culturally appropriate, practical prevention and early intervention support services to children and families to meet agreed case plan goals
  • supporting positive family connection, referrals and advocacy for services
  • providing high quality casework support and advice to assist in making decisions about the safety, belonging and wellbeing of children.

Family group meeting convenor

Family group meeting convenors make sure family group meeting processes are inclusive. They also make sure family-led decision making processes provide family-based responses to a child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs. They achieve this by:

  • planning and preparing participants for the family group meeting
  • facilitating the family group meeting
  • recording the case plan developed at the family group meeting.

Cultural practice advisors

Cultural practice advisors provide individualised and culturally appropriate casework support to children and families by:

  • facilitating positive family connection and reunification based on their knowledge of:
    • the community and cultural protocols
    • kinship care options
    • referring to and advocating for culturally specific services
    • supporting transition to adulthood  plans
  • providing high quality practice advice and direction to assist in making decisions about the safety needs of children
  • providing cultural leadership to support the delivery of well-planned and culturally appropriate support to children and families.

Senior practitioner

Supports and monitors the quality of our child protection services provided to children, young people and their families and the community by:

  • providing specialist knowledge of child protection practice approaches
  • mentoring and developing the practice skills and knowledge of child safety officers, child safety support officers, cultural practice advisors and senior team leaders
  • monitoring and facilitating the implementation of relevant legislation, delegations, policies, quality standards and the CSPM
  • managing the ongoing improvement of child protection practice
  • participating in, or conducting reviews of, complex or sensitive cases.

Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) team coordinator

SCAN team coordinators support collaborative information sharing and casework support by:

  • coordinating functions of the SCAN team to enable effective, professional discussion of referrals, reviews and recommendations according to a child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs
  • consulting and liaising with core members of the SCAN team and other invited government and non-government agencies about SCAN team processes
  • providing advice, consultancy and support to SCAN team members
  • developing and maintaining records and review systems consistent with statutory requirements and the administrative requirements of the SCAN team system
  • assisting in the development of practice standards, operational guidelines and review mechanisms to promote effective and efficient SCAN team system functioning.

Senior team leader

Senior team leaders provide leadership to and management of a team of professional and operational staff to make sure the delivery of child protection services is of a high quality. This includes:

  • undertaking the roles of an authorised officer under the Child Protection Act 1999
  • leading and supervising a team of CSOs in the delivery of services to children, their families and communities
  • providing professional supervision to staff involved in service delivery
  • making sure the services are delivered in line with legislation, delegations, policies, procedures and quality standards.

Office of the Child and Family Official Solicitor

The Office of the Child and Family Official Solicitor (OCFOS) provides child safety service centres with legal advice and representation for child protection matters that are in, or likely to be in court, including:

  • providing independent legal advice on current and arising cases
  • advising on evidence needed for child protection applications
  • preparing the referral and brief of evidence to the Director of Child Protection Litigation (DCPL)
  • drafting court documents such as affidavits
  • drafting and appearing for CSSCs in court assessments order and temporary assessment order applications
  • drafting and appearing for CSSCs on temporary custody order applications
  • providing advice on disclosure
  • preparing staff to give evidence in court
  • training on court and other legal topics.