Child Protection Assessment Report
Focus Statement: A family group meeting will be convened soon to develop a case plan for each of the children – You are new worker, the Team Leader has asked you to write an assessment report on the children.
Report Guidelines must include:
• Assessment Framework in Barker & Hodes (2008) The Child in Mind (Appendix 1) as a Guide.
• A Genogram. Refer to Queensland Child Safety Services resource at: http://www.communities.qld.gov.au/resources/childsafety/foster-care/fcagenogram.pdf
• Summary of Sampson case, highlighting your understanding of the family, in terms of structure, family dynamics,. (e.g., child, family, cultural identity).
• ‘Issues of concern’ you believe need to be addressed/explored further to ensure the safety of the children e.g., abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, attachment,developmental needs, best interest of the child
• draw on literature to justify your concerns.
You are to assume the role of a Child Safety Officer working in a Child Safety Service Centre in Brisbane, Queensland. In this role you are the Sampson children’s caseworker.
Sampson Family Composition: Chloe is 27, Indigenous woman who has 4 children.
Tess is the eldest at 11 years of age. Chloe had a brief relationship with Tess’s father when she was 15 years of age. Tess’s father has never had any contact with her and his whereabouts are unknown. Chloe had a relationship with Darryl (a non-Indigenous man) for 4 1/2 years. Tom (7 years) and James (6 years) are their children. Darryl has irregular contact with the boys when he visits town. Chloe also has a baby Anthony 4 month. She’s never identified who the father is. Chloe’s older sister lives in a town 2 hours away from her.
Current Situation: Child Safety Services is currently applying to the Children’s Court for a Child Protection Order for the four Sampson children. They have been living with an Indigenous Foster Carer for the last three weeks while they have been on a Court Assessment Order. This is only a temporary arrangement and Child Safety Services and the Recognised Entity are currently looking for more long-term placements for the children. Child Safety Services is seeking to hold a Family Group Meeting next week. Family law matters are pending due to parental disagreement about childcare arrangements. In addition both domestic violence and youth justice services are actively managing this case.
Family Background: Chloe was 16 years old when Tess was born. She didn’t feel able to cope with raising a baby and gave Tess to her elder sister until she was 6 years old. Tess returned to her mother’s care, although her sister has stated her reluctance to give up care of the child and has lodged an application with the Family law court, citing Chloe’s inability to properly protect Tess and her other children.Chloe was in a relationship with Darryl and had Tom (2 years) and James (10 months) when Tess was returned to her care. Darryl was supportive of Chloe and a responsible parent to Tess and his two boys. When Tess was 9 years old, Darryl’s younger brother, Jacob, who had recently become unemployed, came to live with the family. Jacob sexually abused Tess on several occasions when he was looking after the children. Tess eventually told her mother that Jacob was touching her Chloe was initially very angry and took Tess straight to the Police Station to report the abuse. Tess was interviewed but could provide little detail to the Child Protection Investigation Unit. Chloe contacted Darryl at work; he came down to the Police Station. He was shocked that Chloe would believe such a story and told Tess she was a liar. Tess wouldn’t speak with the Police any further and they had insufficient evidence to take the matter any further. Darryl did not believe Tess, but did ask his brother to move out of the house. Chloe was then unsure whether to believe Tess or not and started to minimise the abuse. Over the next 6 months, Darryl and Chloe continued to argue about what happened. At times the arguments involved violence against Chloe by Darryl. Darryl blamed Chloe and Tess for causing problems in his family. Darryl treated Tess with disdain/eventually blamed her when he decided to leave the family. The next few months Chloe began drinking and spent many nights at the pub with friends. Tess was left to look after her younger brothers. The house became unclean, the children’s school attendance declined and they ate irregularly. The family situation changed again when Chloe realised she was pregnant. Although she never identified who the father was, she did see her pregnancy as a chance to start again. She spent more time at home with the children and ensured the children ate appropriately and attended school. Chloe had health problems during the pregnancy, suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. Child Safety Services was notified of the family a couple of months after the baby was born, the Suspected Child Abuse & Neglect Team scheduled a meeting to discuss the concerns. The Education Department and Aboriginal Health were very concerned. Chloe had postnatal depression/had begun drinking again. The baby was failing to thrive. Tess and the boys were rarely at school and when they did come had no lunch with them. Tess explained her absences to her teacher saying she needed to help her mother with the baby. Tess has been reported drinking and recently been referred to youth justice for shop theft and assault on a police officer. Neighbours were concerned about the lack of supervision of the two boys as they were often playing in the street at nighttimes. When Aboriginal Health next visited the family they found Chloe to be intoxicated and wasn’t aware of where the baby was. The baby was in his cot sleeping, it’s nappy saturated with urine and an unclean empty bottle beside him. Tess was watching television. She had stayed at home to look after the baby and the two boys had gone to school late and without lunch. Child Safety Services was contacted and two Child Safety Officers and an Aboriginal Child Care Agency worker visited the home. Chloe was visibly distressed and threatening to kill herself if the Department took her baby. The AICCA worker took Chloe to the hospital and the four children were removed on a Temporary Assessment Order, placed with foster carers.
Chloe initially refused to communicate with Department of Child Safety, but in the last couple of weeks has had supervised contact with the children. Chloe is saying to the AICCA worker that she wants the children home and is prepared to do what she needs to, to get them back. Tess is a quiet, withdrawn girl. She is still being very loyal to her mother, but the foster carer is observing that she is obviously relieved not to be responsible for the other children, particularly the baby. Tess has also told the foster carer that she loved living with her Aunty and often dreams of going back. Several additional matters of shop theft have been referred to Youth Justice Services. Tom and James: Neither boy expresses much emotion, nor have they asked to see their mother/when they will be returning home. Tom and James have attended visits with their mother without comment but are often very quiet on their return. James has begun to wet the bed at night. Both boys are beginning to challenge the rules of the household and don’t like to be told what to do.
Anthony has had appointments with the paediatrician and has already put on weight and become more alert.
References to include also:
Tilbury, CO, Wilson, L & Tilbury, C, Good practice in child protection, FrenchsChild Protection Assessment ReportChild Protection Assessment Report Forest, Australia.
Parton, N, Lonne, B, Thomson, J & Harries, M, Reforming child protection, London, UK.
Barker, J & Hodes, D, The child in mind: a child protection handbook, 3rd ed, London, UK.
Queensland State Government’s child safety framework (see the Child Safety Practice Manual at: http://www.com