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Child and Family Safety Network - Regional and Country - Service Model



    This document provides an overview of the Child and Family Safety Network, and the context of where it sits within the Child and Family Support System. It articulates the scope of the network, key values and principles, objectives, and outcomes. It outlines the service delivery outputs and service elements, and the service flow is represented.

    This document should be read in conjunction with Child and Family Safety Network Partnership Protocol and the Terms of Reference. This Service Model does not replace any requirements set out in other contractual agreements.


    Child and Family Support System

    During 2018–2019 the SA Government undertook an extensive process of research and co-design aimed at drawing on evidence-informed knowledge and practice. This was combined with lived and professional experience, to design the Child and Family Support System (CFSS) to ensure that South Australia delivers the best possible outcomes for children and families. The remit of the CFSS is to work with families to support them to keep their children safe and well at home in family, community, and culture.

    CFSS has a focus on the following four priority population groups:

    • Young parents (where mothers are aged under 23 years and fathers aged under 25 years)
    • Families of infants deemed to be at high risk in their first 1,000 days
    • Aboriginal families with multiple and complex needs
    • Young people experiencing vulnerability and at risk of having children who may go on to enter the child protection system.

    The Department of Human Services has lead responsibility for implementing the CFSS, in which Safer Family Services plays a key part.

    Safer Family Services (SFS) provides help and support to children and their families at risk of harm, neglect, and/or domestic and family violence. SFS purposefully and assertively intervenes to disrupt the patterns of intergenerational trauma and increase the number of children able to be safely cared for in their homes, and to remain connected to culture and community. This is particularly relevant for children and families with multiple and complex needs.

    Child and Family Safety Network

    Child and Family Safety Network (CFSN) is a network which plays a critical role in the delivery of the CFSS. CFSN’s are made up of key agency partners from Government, Non-Government organisations (NGOs), and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), and work collaboratively as a mechanism to support partnership and multi-agency responses for the most at-risk children and families within South Australia. The CFSN’s are operationalised as a shared approach to managing risk and ensuring that children’s rights and safety are a sector-wide responsibility. This includes an emphasis on assertive engagement with the most vulnerable children and families in our communities, to improve the social, health, and wellbeing outcomes for infants, children, young people, and their families in South Australia.

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    Children are safe and well at home, in family, community, and culture.

    CFSN vision is achieved through:

    • building and supporting a family’s resources and strengths
    • connecting family’s to supports within their local regions that will enhance their development and strengthen the adult-child caregiving relationship
    • building a community of supports for the family, enabling children and their family to flourish in their own community and cultural environment
    • providing continued place-based and timely support through the local service system as needed.


    CFSNs recognise that the skills, resources, and knowledge required to respond appropriately to the complex issues related to the care and protection of infants, children, and young people are beyond the capacity of a single agency. CFSNs work in partnership and engage proactively with infants, children, young people, their families, and key agency partners, across South Australia, to support integrated responses to address the needs of infants, children, and young people, and their families. These partnerships form the basis for the successful operations of the CFSN.

    Key agency partners in this work may include:

    • Department of Human Service – Safer Family Services programs
    • Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs)
    • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs)
    • Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)
    • Department for Child Protection (DCP)
    • Department for Education (DfE)
    • SA Health
    • South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA)
    • SA Police (SAPOL).

    CFSN Guiding Values

    Child and Family Safety Networks (CFSN) adopt the following values to provide best practice and positive outcomes for children and families who are at risk of harm, neglect, and/or family violence.

    CFSN agency representatives demonstrate a common vision, that values and understands the scope of each individual organisation’s obligations and commitment to achieving successful outcomes, through:

    • treating family members with respect and courtesy
    • focusing on building the family’s strengths
    • promoting positive relationships and trust among services and families
    • taking an active and caring, whole-of-family approach to their situation
    • focusing on the children’s needs for safety and wellbeing.

    CFSN Guiding Principles

    CFSN agency representatives acknowledge that successful partnerships require a spirit of cooperation and commitment based on the following principles:

    • Understanding and respecting each agency partners’ core guiding principles.
    • Respect for each other and the strengths and contributions that all parties bring to the work.
    • A shared focus and approach to managing risk and ensuring that children’s rights and safety are a sector-wide responsibility.
    • A commitment to attending CFSN meetings to enhance service deliverables.
    • Communication that is clear, regular, timely, and relevant, underpins quality partnership.
    • Appropriate information sharing can contribute to keeping children safe.
    • Clarity around the roles and responsibilities supports improved outcomes.
    • Valuing the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
    • Self-determination and the values that underpin the right to one’s own economic, social, and cultural developments.
    • Valuing and celebrating diversity.
    • Perseverance in finding solutions to issues as they arise.
    • An emphasis on assertive engagement with the most vulnerable children and families in our community
    • Transparency about organisational agendas and future intentions.

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    CFSS Guiding Principles

    CFSNs play a critical role in supporting families to keep children safe and well at home and reduce the need for children to be removed from their families to ensure their safety.

    Safer Family Services (SFS) programs are guided by the principles outlined in the SFS Case Management Framework that works with the family, whilst keeping a Child-Centred approach. This is done through:

    • Proactive engagement
    • Strengths based approach
    • Logical processes
    • Partnership with children, families and partnering agencies
    • Systemic links to broaden referral pathways
    • Outcomes driven to achieve family’s goals
    • Culturally responsive in an inclusive approach that respect culture and see culture as a strength
    • Holistic processes to encompass all factors to the child and family’s safety and wellbeing
    • Dynamic to be open to change and responsive to needs as they arise.

    The CFSNs are made up of a spectrum of services that are able to respond to different degrees of complexity and the safety concerns for children and families. These services work directly with families to ensure their safety and wellbeing. CFSN services providers are governed by their own core principles informing service operation, which spans from community capacity building through to intensive case management.

    The Roadmap for reforming the Child and Family Support System 2021-2023 outlines key steps that the Department of Human Services is taking to improve early intervention services for children and families with complex needs. These steps are in line with the whole-of-government strategy, Safe and well: Supporting families and protecting children.

    The Aboriginal Co-Design Principles (PDF 312.7 KB) identified throughout the CFSS Co-Design Process undertaken in 2019, provides a solid platform that informs our work and approach when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. These principles include:

    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are front and centre.
    • Services are family focused.
    • Cultural strengths are reflected.
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s right to self-determination is reflected.
    • The truth of our shared histories, the hurts, the strengths, and the healing are acknowledged and reflected.

    Aboriginal Cultural Lens Approach

    The over representation of Aboriginal children and families in contact with the statutory child protection system is well documented. We see and acknowledge that Aboriginal people experience disproportionate levels of disadvantage and hardship, along with continued negative impacts from historical events and policies. It recognises the ongoing impact that colonisation, dispossession of land, and loss of culture has had on community. CFSNs are committed to developing an appropriate service response for Aboriginal children and families and sees culture as a protective factor.

    CFSNs are committed to working restoratively, building on the resilience and strengths of Aboriginal people, working with, listening to, hearing, and acknowledging cultural identity, and translating this into practice.

    Engaging with families with multiple and complex needs, in the best interest of infants, children and young people, often means working within an environment that is dominated by fear and anxiety, due to the power imbalances. Assertive engagement and relationship-based case management are the approaches used to deliver support. For Aboriginal children and families, to keep children safe and well, the support needs to be inclusive and approached in a culturally responsive way.

    In addition, by keeping children at the centre of our involvement, we will work collaboratively with adult focused services that value Aboriginal family-led decision-making and self-determination. This ensures that, when we are supporting adults in families, we are contributing to building a trauma responsive and healing system for everyone.

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    CFSN Model

    Network Description

    CFSNs are a multi-agency network that is based upon the common principles of information sharing, joint decision making, and coordinated responses that are culturally responsive to engage with children and their families. CFSNs will nominate a lead agency (through the meetings) who will accept referrals for children (pre-birth to 18 years) and their families who are experiencing multiple complex concerns resulting in very high-risk child protection concerns. CFSNs aim to identify and engage relevant agencies to provide support and enhance interaction with health, wellbeing, support, and education, to increase developmental outcomes, safety, and protection, where child protection risk factors exist.

    Network Objectives

    Safety of infants, children, young people, and their families is the business and core focus of the CFSN. This is achieved through working together for social cohesiveness in local communities, sharing information, allocating resources, and ultimately contributing to community wellbeing, in partnership.

    CFSN agency representatives understand the importance of inter-agency operations in order to provide local services for community enhancement, to strengthen ties to local communities, and to provide a well-informed basis for child protection.

    The aim of the CFSN meeting, is to identify and engage referral pathways for children and families where high risks has been identified and to support a multi-agency response to families, to prevent matters escalating to the point of further harm or child removal.

    CFSN meetings will:

    • work to facilitate the coordination of the most appropriate services and to support the engagement with families to commence at the earliest possible time
    • provide an opportunity for local agency partners to contribute to options, strategies and planning to ensure that interaction with the family can take place and support can be provided
    • identify a lead agency to provide a case management role to the presenting family, supported by other agency representatives, to strengthen child safety and wellbeing, family-led decision making and self-determination.

    It is the expectation that all CFSN agency representatives uphold their commitments outlined within this Service Model through:

    • where allocated, assertively engaging through relationship-based practice with children and families to provide high quality and appropriately tailored services, that attend to the safety, wellbeing, and improve health and developmental outcomes for the child (ren) and overall improved family functioning
    • connecting children and families to responsive services to meet their needs in a timely manner
    • reflecting cultural responsiveness in partnership approaches in all engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants, children, young people, and their families, including the principles of family-led decision making and self-determination
    • supporting Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) families in ways that acknowledges and recognise cultural specificity and practices
    • delivering services with openness, honesty, and transparency with families, and having difficult and challenging conversations about child protection risks
    • utilising the Information Sharing Guidelines to ensure that information is appropriately shared where there is a threat to the safety and wellbeing of children and families
    • complying with and utilising the Children & Young Person’s Safety Act (2017) and other relevant legislation where appropriate
    • a commitment to shared vision, risks, resources, and successes.

    Network Outcomes

    CFSN contribute to the outcomes of families whereby they are able to demonstrate an improvement in family functioning, due to the result of the service response formed by the CFSN agency partners. Achievements are measured through CFSN outcomes (highlighted below) and the state-wide response through the ‘CFSS Outcomes Hierarchy’, that provides a shared view of outcomes for all services in the CFSS reform and their efforts to ensure children are safe and well at home in family, community and culture.

    CFSN outcomes include:

    • Highly vulnerable families are stronger, capable, and more resilient – families are appropriately referred and engage with the support they need.
    • Improved life outcomes for vulnerable children – reduction of children in out of home care; and reduction in risk factors for vulnerable children.
    • Facilitated early supports, to prevent the need to more intensive responses – through sharing of relevant information between agencies; and agencies refer families to the most appropriate service.
    • More sustainable support services to vulnerable families – supporting agency partners needs through a Communities of Practice; support via a reflective learning practice; shared understanding of risk thresholds; ability to move resources to meet the peaks in demand, and supporting the progression of the CFSN as a multi-agency network.

    Agency Partner Outcomes include:

    • An integrated, multi-agency multi-disciplinary, service response to infants, children, young people, and their families.
    • Strong relationships between partnering agencies enabling self-reflection, enhancing and practicing cultural humility and respect, and building and developing cultural fitness and responsiveness.
    • Developing and maintaining partnerships with services that support the needs of the client group.
    • CFSN agency representatives bring their professional knowledge and practice wisdom and combine this with other agency representatives to provide best practice and the most holistic service to families.

    CFSS Outcomes Hierarchy:

    Child and Family Outcomes
    • Family Safety. Children and families:
      • obtain appropriate nutrition, housing, accommodation, and financial stability to support children and families to stay safe and well at home
      • are free from family violence, abuse and neglect, drugs and alcohol abuse, physical, sexual or emotional abuse and harsh parental discipline
      • are supported to address their disability and mental health needs
      • with Aboriginal parenting practices are valued and seen as a strength.
    • Well-being. Children and families:
      • are supported to address their emotional well-being and reduce parenting stress
      • have increased learning opportunities to create appropriate learning environments and connect to community support
      • are supported to enhance child development, child behaviours, child health and mental health.
    • Family functioning. Children and families:
      • improve their relationships and parenting capacity, and learn different ways of problem solving, communication patterns, behaviour management and parenting styles, to support family relationships.
    • Capability to influence decisions. Children and families:
      • are empowered to achieve personal capacity to affect change
      • develop self-efficacy, self-advocacy, and capacity to make decisions.
      • achieve self-determination.
    • Capability to achieve potential. Children and families:
      • develop insight into their strengths and resilience, to empower and encourage engagement with training, education, and employment, and develop personal skills.
    • Access to community supports. Children and families:
      • seek help and support when needed
      • engage with support services, and extended family supports.
    • Connection to culture. Children and families:
      • see strength in their cultural, linguistic diversity, and spiritual well-being.
      • participate in cultural activities
      • take time to connect and spend time on country
      • seek support from cultural groups
      • are supported to engage in a narrative in one’s own language.

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    Network Scope and Referral Criteria

    CFSN takes referrals for children (pre-birth to 18 years) and their families who are experiencing complex issues resulting in high risk child protection concerns.

    All referrals to the CFSN are made through the DHS CFSS Pathways Service email: DHS:SFS CFSS Pathways Service to flowchart blow).

    Incoming referrals must be children and families that meet the criteria for the CFSN and are of highest risk/most immediate concern from the referrer. (Note: This does not include families who require a DCP response).

    In scope

    • Children pre-birth to 18 years and their families experiencing high and very high child protection risk.
    • CFSS Priority Populations (as outlined above).
    • Children and families who require an interagency response (multi-agency, multi-disciplinary).
    • Children and families experiencing multiple complexities (Domestic Violence, Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol).
    • Children and families who do not have a mitigating plan in place.
    • Previous attempts to engage the family have been unsuccessful. No clear plan forward.
    • Transient families (homelessness).

    Out of scope

    • Infants and families whereby complexity and vulnerability exist in absence of child protection risks

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    Context of Delivery

    Network Outputs

    Service Domains

    CFSNs will deliver across the following service domains:

    • Multi-agency collaboration & partnerships.
    • Consultation, assessment, planning.
    • Nominating a lead agency.
    • Develop and support community connections and service accessibility to support at-risk children and families.
    • Information sharing.

    Service Elements

    CFSNs will operationalise with a dual purpose, having two parts to the meeting:

    • Part A - Communities of Practice; local sharing and allocation of resources.
    • Part B - Clinical case discussion, planning, and allocation to lead agency to provide case management of the highest risk families.

    CFSN Part A

    Part A of the CFSN meeting will provide the opportunity to agency partners and other local services a chance to share local information and showcase community programs, projects, and events, to assist CFSN agency representatives and practitioners to be informed of what is happening in their community, and to strengthen families’ knowledge.

    Part A of the CFSN meeting has a Community of Practice approach, where sharing common concerns and interests can be discussed to strengthening knowledge and build a skilled workforce.

    This will be achieved through:

    • introducing any new services, supports or opportunities within the region including current Child and Family Support System (CFSS) reform activities
    • discussing emerging issues or trends, and plans to address these themes e.g., spikes in family or domestic violence reporting, youth homelessness
    • local sharing and allocation of resources when required e.g. relief packages
    • capacity building and professional development
    • building relationship and awareness between agencies, demands and pressure points for services and their capacity to respond
    • increased communication and establishing a sound platform that could be accessed in time of crisis response to critical community events e.g. natural disasters
    • understanding what cultural business is happening in the region that service providers may need to be made aware of, e.g. sorry business, Elders attending to talk about community issues (as appropriate) etc.

    CFSN Part B

    Part B of the CFSN meeting will discuss relevant referrals to the network.

    The regional Safer Family Services Supervisor will lead the conversation in Part B of the CFSN meeting with the assistance of the CFSN Support Coordinator.

    Prepared referral documents will be presented to the CFSN agency representatives via the MS Teams platform (refer to Recording of Information), prior to meeting to ensure all relevant representatives can input information ready for discussion at the meeting.

    Part B of the meeting will:

    • provide a summary and share information based upon the currency and level of risk to the child/ren and family
    • identify and allocate a local agency for the children and their family
    • allocate actions to respond to the risk factors, and consider the level of vulnerability for the child/ren and their family
    • ensure that case discussion is culturally led and appropriate, prioritising the needs through planning and resource allocation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families
    • review mechanisms to promote family-led decision making and strengths-based approaches, such as consideration to cultural, Elder and kinship support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
    • ensure culturally informed responses for children and families of cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds
    • explore strengths or challenges of previous agency engagement.

    Roles of Agency Representatives

    Role of CFSN Representatives

    Each partner agency participating will identify one person as a representative for the CFSN meetings.  Meetings are attended only by staff relevant to the safety of the child or family. Keeping the meetings to essential staff will reduce unnecessary sharing of information. Local representatives are essential to this process.

    As the meetings are action based rather than information sharing only, those attending the meeting must have the authority within their agencies to prioritise the actions that arise and are able to make an immediate commitment of resources to ensure there is a rapid response to identified needs for families.

    CFSN agency representative will:

    • gather relevant and factual information from their agency on any referrals received prior to the meeting. This will ensure agency representatives are prepared and can contribute to case discussion and accept allocation of cases
    • respond to any actions in a timely manner
    • work collaboratively with other agency representatives
    • expect that all who attend will share relevant information and will abide by the Information Sharing Guidelines (ISG) and other legislative practices to ensure confidentiality and privacy.

    CFSN guests

    Where an agency representative is attending to provide information on their direct work with the family, and are not a key agency partner signed to the Partnership Protocol, they may attend the meeting as a guest and provide feedback and any necessary reports prior to the meeting to capture within actions. Guest representatives will be invited by the CFSN Support Coordinator to attend if their input is relevant to the referrals at that meeting e.g.: School Principal or Case Worker.

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    Role of the Chair

    The CFSN Chair will be assisted by the CFSN Support Coordinator who will ensure the purpose of the CFSN meetings are upheld.

    The chair is responsible for the direction of the meetings.

    The duties of the chair are to:

    • ensure confidentiality at meetings and remind agency representatives of the Confidentiality Agreement
    • facilitate meetings and ensure they are conducted within reasonable timeframes and adhere to the items on the agenda
    • lead case discussions during the meeting, ensuring discussion remains respectful and appropriate to address family’s needs
    • assist with identifying lead agency to provide case management and case coordination.

    Role of Safer Family Services Supervisor

    • Encourage network partners to discuss local knowledge and identify strategies that have worked, and what hasn’t worked for the family previously.
    • Ensure clinical and cultural discussions are simultaneously considered, involving Aboriginal staff where possible, and ensure a culturally inclusive practice response is provided for referred Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
    • Provide clinical oversite to ensure agreed actions are appropriate for the identified level of risk, and a plan is in place to sight the children.
    • Support network partners to create a collaborative response around the children and families.

    Role of the CFSN Support Coordinator

    • The CFSN Support Coordinator will coordinate the CFSN meetings in conjunction with the CFSN Chair to support the delivery of a child focused responses to high risk and very high-risk child protection concerns across the broader child protection system.
    • The CFSN Support Coordinator will provide the administrative service response in partnership with the chair and relevant CFSN agency representatives who are working with infants, children, young people, and their families.
    • The CFSN Support Coordinator will manage CFSN files and documentation, meeting agendas and minutes (actions), whilst maintaining high quality case notes and recording, and undertake regular case reviews and file audits, in accordance with guidelines, policies and practices.
    • The CFSN Support Coordinator will continue to maintain and develop skills and expertise in social work practices to contribute to case discussion at the CFSN meeting to assist CFSN Chairs and out of session conversations and follow-up, when required.

    Role of Lead Agency

    • The identified lead agency is required to sight and engage with children, to ensure safety and wellbeing, and to connect with the family.
    • It is expected that strategies will be developed to assertively engage through relationship-based practice with the families and work collaboratively with CFSN agency partners, when needed.
    • The lead agency will be responsible for case coordination and engaging other agency representatives to ensure collaborative engagement.
    • The lead agency will be responsible for organising case conferences with agency partners and families, to ensure family-led decision-making processes are utilised to mitigate risk.
    • The lead agency will provide updates to the CFSN meeting regarding the children and family’s safety, if or when required.

    Out of Session Matters

    Occasionally an emergency ‘out of session’ meeting may occur due to the urgency of the matter. In these instances, an out of session meeting will be called via MS Teams, requiring CFSN agency partners to contribute to the safeguarding practice. This will enhance:

    • an accurate assessment of risks and needs
    • ability to compile a broad range of information from a wide range of sources, that helps build a complete picture of the case in a timely manner
    • improved and timely identification of risks, to assist with earlier and appropriate responses, preventing the risks to escalate further.

    Out of session matters will follow regular CFSN processes, whereby a lead agency will be identified and responsible to respond to the matter, and case coordinate other agency representatives to ensure collaborative engagement.

    Role of Community Development Coordinator

    • The Community Development Coordinators (CDCs) will facilitate Part A of the CFSN meeting that will provide the opportunity for agency partners to showcase services and to be informed of what is happening in the community.
    • CDCs take an approach to building the capacity of local communities, through a ‘Communities of Practice’ to identify key interests and issues and build relationships through discussion of needs and gaps.
    • CDCs work collaboratively with local networks to present and exchange resources to pursue shared interests to upskill and build a skilled workforce. The aim is to improve an integrated service system through sharing of knowledge, experience, and resources.

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    Referral Processes

    Referrals come to CFSN via the CFSS Pathways Service from:

    • Current approved referrers include DCP, DfE, SA Health (birthing hospitals) and MAPS. These approved referrers will be reviewed as Safe and Well reform activities progress.

    Service Flow for CFSN Regional. There is a link to a plain text description on this page.

    Plain text description of the flowchart

    Referral/Allocation process within CFSN

    Allocation process. There is a link on this page to a plain text description.

    Plain text description of the flowchart

    Referral Back to CFSN

    Referral back into the CFSN network may occur, via the SFS Supervisor, at any point in the service delivery plan, if the CFSN agency representative is not able to engage the family.

    The CFSN can review the key actions and identify additional resources or actions to support the lead agency. All reviewed and amended actions will be recorded by the CFSN Support Coordinator on Connected Client Case Management System (C3MS) to ensure information updates are recorded. This may provide useful background for DCP should risk to the children and families continue to escalate, despite additional actions and efforts on behalf of the CFSN.

    If risks to children escalate to the point of extreme risk and imminent harm, or if harm has occurred, the usual reporting channels of raising a notification to the Child Abuse Report Line (CARL) and/ or contacting SAPOL must occur as a priority.

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    Data Collection and Recording

    Recording of Information

    The CFSN will conduct all business through MS Teams. Each CFSN location will have an allocated MS Teams channel that is locked down to each regional location, requiring each agency representative, proxy, and guest to acknowledge and agree to the Confidentiality Agreement. All updated communication from Part A and Part B of the meeting will be placed in this locked regional CFSN page that is encrypted end to end in designated folders.

    A record of information shared about families will be documented on the meeting agenda/minutes, CFSN data sheet, and on an individual Family Assessment form. The CFSN agenda/minutes will outline families discussed in specific dated meetings and who attended those meeting. All above documentation will be saved in MS Teams locked regional CFSN page, and the Family Assessment form will also be uploaded to the C3MS system. Documents are not for distribution beyond the CFSN.

    It is a requirement that storage of personal information is maintained securely as per the Information Privacy Principles (IPPS) Instructions (2017). All CFSN agency representatives and recipients of this document agree to maintain the confidentiality of the information contained within. Should the recipient identify a conflict of interest, this must be communicated to the author of the document in writing as soon as reasonably practicable.

    Information Protocol

    Information Security

    • An information classification assessment has been conducted by the CFSN for information governance. The criteria used of security classification of CFSN systems is based on the SA Governments Information Security Management Framework (ISMF).
    • The information sharing product produced by CFSN in the information summary of the CFSS Service Request Forms – CFSN, have been classified OFFICIAL: SENSITIVE and is considered as unclassified.
    • Internal management of the CFSS Family Assessment Forms – CFSN, are to be managed in accordance with the responsible agency’s security control procedures.

    Child and Young People Safety Act 2017

    • In accordance with Section 20 of the Child and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (“the Act”), Child and Family Safety Networks (CFSNs) have been formally recognised as delivering the function of Child and Family Assessment Referral Networks in the Child and Family Support System.
    • CFSNs have been established in accordance with Section 20(2) of the Act which states that a “Child and Family Assessment and Referral Network consists of such persons or bodies (whether State authorities or otherwise) as may be specified by the Minister”.
    • CFSNs recognition by the Minister and in accordance to Section 20(4) permits “The members of a Child and Family Assessment and Referral Network may, despite any other Act or law, collaborate with each other without restriction in the course of performing its functions”.

    Information Privacy Principles Instructions

    • Participating members of CFSN will comply with Government of South Australia Department of Premier and Cabinet Information Privacy Principles Instructions (IPPI). The IPPI exist to keep personal information safe from inappropriate collection, use or disclosure by State Government agencies.
    • 5(A) A contract for service, which will necessitate the disclosure of personal information to a contract service provider, must include conditions to ensure that these Principles are complied with as if the Contracted Service Provider were part of the agency and must include provisions that enable audit and verification of compliance with these obligations.

    Information Sharing Guidelines

    • Participating agencies of the CFSN will also operate under the Information Sharing Guidelines (ISG). The ISG provide a mechanism for information sharing to occur, to allow for the provision of services to discuss families or individuals, when it is believed a person is at risk of harm and adverse outcomes can be expected.
    • Cabinet has endorsed the ISG to apply at all Government agencies and relevant non-Government agencies.
    • The guideline summarises the legal and practical framework to be applied to information sharing practices.

    Requests for disclosure of CFSN information

    • Participating agencies may receive requests for information in respect of CFSN under the Freedom of Information Act 1991 (FOI Act), or by way of a court issues summons or order for discovery (or similar).
    • Those requests must be managed in accordance with the relevant participation agency’s policies and producers.

    Freedom of Information Act 1991

    • Under s12 of the FOI Act, a person has a “legally enforceable right to be given access to an agency's documents in accordance with the Act”.
    • Under s 4 (4) “An agency is to be taken to hold a document if the agency has an immediate right of access to the document”.
    • Documents generated in respect to CFSN will be stored in C3MS and MS Teams will be held by DHS for the purpose of FOI Act. Consultation between participating agencies of transfer of an application from the participating agency to DHS under the FOI Act, should be considered on a case-by-case accordance with the wording of the FOI application and the agency’s policies and procedures.
    • Participating agencies agree to notify other participating agencies of the existence of a FOI application in circumstances where the applicant has been assessed by CFSN as presenting an acceptable level of risk to the protection of child/ren.

    Subpoenas and orders for discovery

    • The Chief Executive of each participating agency must comply with subpoenas or orders for discovery in accordance with its policies and procedures. Participating agencies agree to notify other participating agencies, and in particular DHS of the existence of a subpoena or order for discovery that concerns CFSN information.

    Media and public information management

    • CFSN partners will not make media or other public statements about CFSN and its activities without the consent of DHS. DHS will need to comply with the relevant DHS media and information policies and procedures.
    • All media releases produced by CFSN will be badged with the Government of South Australia logo. Major media strategies will be coordinated with each agency’s Media Section (or equivalent). Before any public information about the CFSN developed by another agency is released, approval from the Manager of Communication and Media in DHS must first be sought.
    • Furthermore, key media staff form each agency will need to be consulted about any press releases, public information release or media activity before it occurs.

    Archiving arrangements

    Information archiving arrangements will comply with the IMSF and the State Records Act 1997.

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    Appendix A: Acronyms


    Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation


    Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation


    Child Abuse Report Line


    Culturally and Linguistically Diverse


    Safe Start (formerly CFARN)


    Child and Family Safety Network


    Child and Family Support System


    Child Protection Services


    Department for Child Protection


    Department for Education


    Department of Human Services


    Early Intervention Research Directorate


    Early Years Team


    High Risk Infant


    Multi-Agency Protection Service


    South Australia Police


    Safer Family Services

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    Appendix B: Glossary


    The term Aboriginal is respectfully used to refer to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout this document.

    Cultural capability

    Cultural capability is a preferred term over ‘cultural competence’. Cultural capability does not suggest a competence in a culture other than one’s own but rather sets a standard for the extent of one’s ability to work from a cultural lens, incorporating the active practices of cultural awareness, cultural fitness and cultural humility, while actively implementing anti-racist practices.

    Cultural fitness

    A practice of applying oneself to the daily exercise of self-reflection, personal engagement, and active learning as they relate to reconciliation, cultural safety, white privilege, and valuing diversity.

    Cultural humility

    The reflective practice of acknowledging that the client is the expert in their own lives. This is done through the awareness of one’s own values, beliefs and privilege while also being actively aware of other cultures historical realties such as legacies of violence, oppression, discrimination, and trauma. Those who practice cultural humility view their clients as capable and work to understand their worldview encouraging a self-based process of lifelong learning.

    Cultural Safety

    Aims to directly address the effects of colonialism by focusing on the level of cultural safety felt by an individual when interacting with practitioners. Both an individual’s identity and culture are considered, and cultural safety needs to be applied at both the individual, environmental and organisational level.

    Information Sharing Guidelines

    The Information Sharing Guidelines for Promoting Safety and Wellbeing (ISG) provide a mechanism for information sharing when it is believed a person is at risk of harm (from others or as a result of their own actions) and adverse outcomes can be expected unless appropriate services are provided.

    Intergenerational trauma

    A term commonly associated with traumas inflicted on members of the Stolen Generations that is then passed down to future generations.


    A practitioner is a worker who possess professional expertise, is skilled in the area of work and holds personal qualities that are suitable to the service delivery and clientele of the agency. The practitioner can undertake a variety of tasks within their duties, inclusive of undertaking information gathering, conducting comprehensive assessments, building relationships with families and support networks, developing robust case plans and working in.

    Refer State Authority

    Government departments and local councils are considered state authorities, as are any NGOs that receive funding from state or local government to provide services to young people and their families. If DCP determines that it is more appropriate for a state authority to respond to a child protection report, the report may be referred to that authority for a response. This must be done in agreement with the authority. Child protection notifications screened in as warranting an urgent (24hr) response cannot be referred.


    Refers to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to hold choice and decision-making powers that lead to the active determination of their own social, political, economic, and cultural interests.

    Transgenerational trauma

    Occurs when grief and loss from one generation is passed to future generations

    Warm referral

    A joint home visit between DCP and SFS practitioners within the context of SFS accepting a referral made by DCP to the SFS program area under the outcome of ‘Refer State Authority’ (under the Children and Young People [Safety] Act 2017 [SA])

    Warm transition

    Supporting a client to transition from SFS to another service provider by contacting an agency prior to the client. This can include the sharing of information between SFS, the client and the agency, a joint home visit(s) or meeting, to ensure that the agency has received all the information that they require in order to accept the referral and provide the client with the services they require.

    White privilege

    White privilege can be defined as the implicit societal advantages afforded to white people, characterised by racial inequality and injustice. The privileges of whiteness generally go unnoticed by those that benefit from this system. It is important to understand white privilege and identify these inherent advantages in order to reject them so that they do not continue to reinforce our present hierarchies.

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    Page last updated : 02 Sep 2022

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