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Copy of Risk Assessment Model for Child Protection in Ontario

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maihan hamid

on 10 November 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Risk Assessment Model for Child Protection in Ontario


Support the autonomy and integrity of the family as long as it is in the best interest of the child
Identifies additional services to help address other important child protection assessments
Required for all child protection cases including neglect
No prescribed format required
Completed prior to the Plan of Service but prior to Risk Assessment and Risk Analysis
Completed and approved by supervisor within 60 days after initial report

Difference Between Risk Assessment and Assessment of Other Child Protection Issues

Risk assessments focus on areas specifically related to the risk of future harm to the child
Assessment of other child protection issues focus on other general areas which are relevant to the child protection decisions

Child Protection Worker MUST:

Assessment of the capacity of the parents to provide for the child’s long term well-being and safety
Assessment of the developmental levels of the child
Assessment of the environment (observation)
Assessment of the family’s dynamics and relationship issues
Description of the family’s perspective of the problem
Description of child and family’s strength

Discussion Question
Why do you think it is important to complete this assessment in a child protection case?

Parent’s educational and employment history
Parent’s ethno-cultural orientation
Parent/child relationship
Parental expectation of child
Parent’s family background
Child physical, emotional, social and cognitive development
Family stressors

Other possible topics included in the Assessment of Other Protection Issue
Risk Assessment 7: Assessment of Other Child Protection Issues
Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Theory
Risk Assessment 8: Plan of Service


Process by which the child protection worker, the child, the family, and any collateral service provider identify short/long term solutions and strategies to reduce the risk of future harm and to promote the child’s best interests and well-being
Specific, measurable outcomes to reduce risk and promote well-being/safety
Completed after the Risk Assessment, Risk Analysis, Assessment of other child protection issues
Completed and approved by supervisor within 60 days of initial report


Include the child and the family
Be developed in consultation with the supervisor
Identify all collateral service providers (i.e. Medical)
Be based on Risk Assessment, Risk Analysis, Assessment of other child protection issues
Identify persons responsible and time frames for each outcome
Identify planned level of contact with caregiver, child protection worker
Identify dates for review of all outcomes
Be implemented!

Plan of Service MUST:
Purpose of the Risk Assessment Model
Risk Assessment # 4: Are Child Concerns Verified?
Key Purpose:

To determine whether or not the concerns are verified
As soon as possible, a CAS must within 30 days, complete the full protection of the investigation
The investigation requires the worker to
Gather information
Decide whether the information appears to be accurate or not accurate
If the are any other child protection concerns that are present
The Investigation:
The following steps are required for for all child protection investigations:
A telephone or personal interview with the person who reported the allegations of abuse and or the neglect
Or any others who have relevant information
Review of existing society records of any present or past contact involving:
The family
Alleged abuser
Review of any records of other CAS discovered through search of provincial data base for any other contact
Investigation continued ...
Contact with the Child Abuse Register (generally for abuse investigations only) to make sure if the alleged abuser has been registered in the past
Receive the details of the registration
obtain records from any child welfare authority that has previously registered the alleged abuser
Have face to face contact with children
interview the child (ren) using methods that works with the child's development stage and ability to communicate
Have an interview of the child's primary caregivers
Decisions made are to be respected to whether there are other potential child victims
e.g siblings, other children in the name, children in other families
Gathering of evidence from other professionals involved with child or family
e.g medical, law enforcement, legal education
Gather evidence from other witnesses/ persons
consider the need to seek a warrant/telewarrant
Investigations continued...
The Verification Process
Verifying a case involves a careful examination of all the information obtained during the investigation

A formal meeting or case conference with at least the child protection worker and the worker's

identification of verification criteria which indicate that the child was harmed OR was at risk of harm

identification of facts that refute the allegations of harm or risk of harm

an application of the appropriate test
Risk Assessment Tool
- Abuse/neglect of the caregiver

- Alcohol or drug use

- Caregiver's expectations of child

- Caregiver's acceptance of child

- Physical capacity to care for child

- Mental/Emotional/Intellectual capacity to care for

Case Risk Rating Guidelines
- High Risk
 Reflect situations which pose the most dangerous and highest likelihood of future abuse/neglect to a child

Most ratings are 3 or 4; or more than one of the 3 and/or 4

Casesexpected to remain open as protection cases to children’s aid society

- Moderatately High Risk
 Reflect situations where highly serious risk of future abuse/neglect to a child

Several 3 and 4 ratings; or more than one of the 3 and/or 4

Expected to remain open as protection cases to children’s aid society

- Intermediate Risk
 Significant risk of future abuse/neglect to a child

Likely several ratings are 2 or 3

Expected to remain open as protection cases to children’s aid society

- Moderately low risk
 Risk of future abuse/neglect is relatively low

Likely most risk elements are either 2 or below

Some cases may have child or family needs which may be met by child protection services

- No/low risk
 Risk of future abuse/neglect is low or insignificant

Most risk elements rated 0

Few cases likely to have family or child needs which are appropriate for child protection services to provide

Case Form, Checklist, Risk Assessment Completion Form
P. 63, 64-73, 74
Risk Assessment #6: Is the Child as Risk of Future Abuse or Neglect?
Standard (6): Risk of Future Abuse/Neglect
within the first 30 days after initial referral/report, or if a child is deemed in need of protection, the child protection worker needs to complete:
a risk assessment and risk analysis
a plan to address any immediate risk issues
Risk Decision Point
- 30 days after receipt of referral/report

There are 3 possible scenarios at the Risk Decision Point:
complete full protection investigation where child is in need of protection
complete full protection investigation where child is not in need of protection
uncompleted investigation
Protective Factors
- factors or processes that, in combination with the risk element, seem to modify, ameliorate, or alter the likelihood of future harm for the child
Three main categories:
individual characteristics
family characteristics
community characteristics
Individual Characteristics
factors that are innate or learned
birth order
health status
activity level
developmental milestones
interpersonal skills
cognitive skills
intellectual abilities
Family Characteristics
offer protective qualities and apply to entire family unit
family relational factors
parental factors
family size
socioeconomic status
extended family
Community Characteristics
individuals or institutions outside of the family unit
positive peer relationships
extended family in close proximity
reliance on informal network of family, friends, and community leaders for advice
Cross-Cultural Implications
active extended family
religious affiliation
strong racial identity
close attachment to ethnic community
dispositional attributes
personal attributes
supportive family milieu
external support system
Potential Errors
inadequate training re: child protection, risk assessment
over-reliance on mechanical tools
short circuiting - inadequate data, premature judgement
biased data
lack of consultation
Potential Errors cont.
over-confidence re: ability to predict future maltreatment
failure to consider strengths
failure to review cultural considerations
inappropriate and improper use of risk assessment instrument
improper care taken in making judgements
use of instrument at improper decision point
Risk Assessment #5 : Is the Child in need of protection?

a determination of whether there are reasonable and probable ground to believe that the child(ren) is (are) in need of protection is made;

determination and supporting reasons are documented by the child protection worker

if the determination is approved by a supervisor;

reasons should be documented and approved by the supervisor if:

a determination of the need for protection is delayed beyond 30 days

when the determination is delayed beyond 30 days, the child protection worker needs to make a determination as soon as possible, and no later than 60 days from receipt of the referral

as well as document a plan to complete the full protection investigation

The documentation shall include:
determination about the need of protection
rationale for the decision
reference to relevant risk factors
evidence of consideration of special needs
evidence of consideration for cultural factors
any need for consultation related to the specific case
Possible outcomes:
Original protection concerns are not verified and the child is not in need of protection

original protection concerns are not verified but the child is in need of protection
for other reasons

original protections are verified but the child is not currently in need of protection

original protection concerns are verified and the child is currently in need of protection
if determined that the child is currently in need of protection, current reason for
service provision should be documented using the Eligibility spectrum and the
standards and risk decisions that follow apply.
- The primary goal of The Risk Assessment Model: to provide a rational and structured approach to case practice. It is NOT meant to replace professional judgement.
- This is a provincial standard, and assessment models will differ outside of Ontario.
: allows them to evaluate staff and ensure they are taking the necessary steps in child protection.
: provides a guide for information gathering and analysis by organizing his/her thinking. It also acts as a foundation to develop strategies for the child's need for protection, re-building the family unit and resolving conflicts.
Each case is unique and needs to be treated as so.
The Assessment Model should be used to
the worker's judgement.
ie. to organize thoughts, ensure all proper steps are taken, and draw attention to important points to consider
Standards for Child Protection Cases
- The MCSS (Ministry of Community and Social Standards) Revised Standards for the Investigation of Child Abuse Cases was replaced by a new set of standards to include all child protection cases; not just abuse.
- The constant revision and implementation of new standards just shows how
child welfare is

- There are
important standard-related issues that need to be explained before we move on.
Responsibility for child protection decisions is shared by the worker and the supervisor.
Child protective services are one important part of a broader community of services, and should act collaboratively with them.
Societies are expected to have procedures in place to address the requirements of INTERNAL investigations.
The worker must understand and consider specific Aboriginal issues.
Risk Assessment #1: Does Case Meet Eligibility Requirements for Protective Services?
The Eligibility Spectrum
Determines whether a referral, report or information is worthy of investigation and protection, or if there is a need other forms of child welfare services.
Step 1:
Matching the described situation with the appropriate section
Step 2:
Select the type of scale, or specifically the kind of maltreatment or service involved.
Step 3:
Determine the severity of the situation or level of service involved
Within 24 hours the worker shall:
- Record the referral, report or information
- Document eligibility decision with supporting reasons
- Search the data system to determine if any society had been in contact with the child or their family, and if it is relevant to the child's need for protection
- Document whether a full investigation will be initiated
The Line of Intervention
- If the information is rated above the Intervention Line, an investigation must be initiated
- HOWEVER: When information is rated below the intervention line, a full investigation may still be initiated.
Complicating Issues
New Information for Cases Receiving Ongoing Protective Services:
Worker must decide whether or not to initiate a new full investigation. Using the Eligibility Spectrum can be an useful tool.

Changing Eligibility Ratings:
It cannot be changed until a decision has been reached as to whether or not the child is in need of protective services. If new information is received after the rating is complete but before the first face to face contact with the child, and it indicates no need for protection, the rating can be changed and the investigation discontinued.
Opening Cases Rated Below the Intervention Line:
Generally, no investigation is opened however it can be done. Supporting reasons must be documented.
Risk Decision 2: What Is the Response Time?
Risk Decision 9: Does the Case Continue to Meet Eligibility Requirements for Child Protection Service?
Requirements Supporting Standard:
Eligible: suitable, worthy of choice, desirable, qualified, meets requirements, etc.
Every 90 days from the initial Plan of Service, the child protection worker must document the current reason for service, the decision about whether or not the child and family remain eligible for protection services, and obtain supervisory approval of the decision.
In order to make a decision if the case fits the requirements, the child protection worker must consider:
Overall risk rating of the family.
Degree to which the child and family outcomes have been achieved.
Whether there is any child in the family who is still defined in Part III of the CFSA.
Whether the child currently resides within the society's territorial jurisdiction.
The level of danger faced by a child can be plotted on a continuum from none to life-threatening.

The time it takes to respond to referrals/reports/information should be proportionate to the level of danger faced by the child.

The decision regarding safety at this time is one of the most critical decisions.

- One must decide, often with limited information, whether a child requires an immediate response to prevent serious harm.
Requirements Supporting the Standard
Based upon the requirements, the child protection worker will choose the applicable reason for current service from the
Eligibility Spectrum
A) Response Time:
The Eligibility Spectrum must be used to determine whether referrals/reports/information fall into the category of "Extremely Severe" or "Moderately Severe".

- Extremely Severe cases must be seen within 12 hours.

- Moderately Severe cases must be seen within 7 days.
While the standard describes the minimum requirement, the child protection worker may be required to respond more quickly depending on case circumstances.
Three general criteria assist in determining appropriate response time:
1. Immediacy
2. Seriousness
3. Protection
Investigative Plan:
The worker must develop, in consultation with the supervisor, a plan for investigation.

This plan includes:
1. Assignment of case responsibility for the investigation.
2. Decisions about how best to proceed to assess the immediate safety of the child(ren).
3. Decisions about the appropriate investigative steps required.

Decisions about response time and rationale, and the plan for investigation, must be documented by the worker within 24 hours.
If the primary reason is above the Intervention Line, the case continues to meet the requirements for the child protection service.
If the reason does not fall above the line, it does not meet the requirements.
The investigation is not limited to the child who is the subject of the referral.

On the basis of the referral/report/information received, the child protection worker will often have reasonable and probable grounds to suspect that all of the children in the family may be in need of protection.

The worker must make every effort to see all the children, within the required response time, unless there are no reasonable or probable grounds to suspect that they may be in need of protection.
If a decision is made to keep a case open: (1) The case shall continue to be documented, and (2) ALL standards for Child Protection Cases apply.
If the case does not meet the requirements for child protection services, the case will be closed and/or reclassified as a non-protection case within 30 days.
Risk Decision 10: Have Assessments Changed?
The child protection worker must complete reviews of the Risk Assessment, Risk Analysis, assessment of other child protection issues, and Plan of Service at a minimum of 6 months after the initial P.o.S is completed.
All requirements set out in Standards 6, 7, and 8 apply to the above reviews.
Risk Decision 3: Is the Child Safe Now?
The key priority upon receipt of a child protection referral if the focus on the immediate safety of each child.
The focus of the Safety Assessment is time limited and deals with immediate safety issues until a more comprehensive assessment of risk and other child protection issues can be completed.
Requirements Supporting Standard
In all cases where the referral is scored above the intervention line on the Eligibility Spectrum, the child(ren) shall be seen and a Safety Assessment completed.
A Safety Assessment shall be completed for all children in the family in the context of each full protection investigation, including investigations initiated for a child already receiving service from the CAS.
In addition to face-to-face contact with the child, the child protection worker shall make every effort to interview the primary caregivers of the child, to inform the Safety Assessment.
A Safety Assessment form is to be completed within 24 hours of a child being seen.
The child protection worker completes the assessment form based on all the information gathered, including information related to 11 factors critical to this judgement and any other safety factors relevant to the particular case.
The 11 factors describe the conditions that are frequently associated with a child being in immediate danger of serious harm.
Regardless of the outcome of the safety assessment the child protection worker shall complete the full child protection investigation.
The child protection worker should always consider the cultural context of the child and family.
Where the child is a Native person, the worker should encourage the family to involve its band representative or appropriate community resource worker.
Medical Examination
Requirements Supporting Standards:
Reassessment of the Risk:
If the information suggests the possibility of injuries, a medical examination is required.
It is preferable that the child be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian. However when this is not possible the worker requires the parent's written consent.
When this is also unavailable, the child must be apprehended so that the medical exam can proceed.
The results of any examination shall be recorded in the case file.
Changes in individual functioning, family circumstances, or dynamics can result in an increase and/or decrease in risk to the child.
The worker must be alert to the changes impacting the child and the family. Some examples of changes include:
Caregiver Influence:
Changes regarding alcohol or drug abuse.
Physical and/or emotional capacity to care for a child.
Child Influence:
Changes in the child's development, or behaviour.
Change in the child's mental and physical health.
Family Influence:
Living environment has changed.
Loss of relationships or support systems.
Change in employment.
Income stability.
Who is living with the family?
Intervention Influence:
If the conclusion reached is that any child's immediate safety is compromised, it is the child protection worker's responsibility to identify, provide, facilitate or arrange for appropriate interventions that control those factors and ensure the child's safety while the full protection investigation and risk assessment proceed and are completed.
Immediate safety interventions are employed to protect the child and control the situation until more permanent changes can be made.
Examples: emergency shelter, police intervention, residential placement, etc.

Change in the relationship with the client and the worker, or other service providers.
Withdrawal from services.
Loss of motivation and co-operation towards services.
Plan of Service:
Each P.o.S following the first should reflect any changes noted in reassessments of risk and child protection issues.
Some goals may be achieved, others addressed in different ways, or objectives may be discontinued, and new ones formed.
It is essential that close monitoring of outcomes is identified to maintain that the focus of service remains to reduce the risk for the child.
Risk Decision 11: Should the Plan of Service be Modified?
Record Keeping:
Notes of any contact related to and/or between the child and family must be recorded by the child protection worker.
All summary recordings shall be signed and dated by the child protection worker and read, approved, signed, and dated by the child protection supervisor.
Contact includes all case decisions, and reviews related to the child and family who are recieving these services.
At times for casework reasons, the contact between a child worker and the family prior to case closure may be extended 30 days. In this event, the case will be reclassified as a non-protection case.
One must consider closing a child protection case when:
There are no longer any reasonable grounds to believe that the child is in need of protection.
All children will remain safe, risk of future abuse or neglect is not likely.
Increase of family strengths, and a more realistic viewpoint by the family.
Less dangerous combination of risk elements.
The review of the Plan of Service shows an acceptable outcome achievement for the most identified problems.
Five assessment categories (influences):
- Caregiver, Child, Family, Intervention, Abuse/Neglect

- Risk Elements derived from child welfare theory, research studies, and field experiences

- Each contain a scale of severity (0-4); (9) given when there is insufficient info for that risk

- Anchors: subcategories of the influences to help further provide a narrative description which defines the status or functioning of child, caregiver or family.
- choose anchor that most resembles risk element you are assessing (does not have to be exact)
- if more than one, not all parts need apply in that particular anchor
- partial descriptions from more than one anchor may reflect your particular case

When there is no applicable reason for any service(s), a protection case may be kept open under certain circumstances. Example: Issues related to past history.
Overall, if the case remains open, the case must be documented.
Caregiver Influence
Child Influence
- Child's Vulnerability

- Child's response to caregiver

- Child's behaviour

- Child's Mental health and development

- Child's physical health and development

Family Influence
- Family violence

- Ability to cope with stress

- Availability of Social Supports

- Living Conditions

- Family Identity and Interactions

Intervention Influence
- Caregiver's motivation

- Caregiver's cooperation with intervention

Abuse/Neglect Influence
- Access to child by perpetrator

- Intent and acknowledgment of responsibility

- Severity of abuse/neglect

- History of abuse/neglect committed by present caregivers
Beginning Risk Assessment Tool
The verification process should involve:
A CAS shall ensure that as soon as possible & within the 30 days after the referral/report/information is received:
Determining the verification of the harm or risk of harm
The child protection worker shall assess and consider the following:
the validity of any statement by a child who is the subject of the referral
validity of any statement of a child who is a witness
any statement made by the person who is alleged to have harmed the child or subjected the child to a risk of harm
any child made by the child's parents or other caregivers
any forensic, scientific, physical, medical evidence
personal observations of the witnesses
any opinion evidence from a qualified professional
past history or pattern of behavior
creditability of the referral source
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