Unit of competency details

CHCCHILD504B - Assess risk of harm to children and young people (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 25/Mar/2011

Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to CHCCHILD4A - Assess risk of harm to children and young peopleEquivalent outcome 24/Mar/2011
Is superseded by and equivalent to CHCCHILD504C - Assess risk of harm to children and young peopleISC upgrade changes to remove references to old OHS legislation and replace with references to new WHS legislation. No change to competency outcome. 06/May/2012

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 090501 Social Work  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 090501 Social Work  02/Feb/2009 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor


This unit describes the knowledge and skills required by designated workers who are responsible for assessing, investigating and responding to reports/notifications of risk of harm within a statutory organisation immediately following report/notification and throughout all phases of protective work

Application of the Unit


This unit applies to protective work within a statutory organisation immediately following report/notification and throughout all phases of child protection investigation

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Plan response to report/ notification through assessment/investigation

1.1 Develop assessment/investigation plan and establish timeframes with regard to assessed risks to child/young person at intake stage

1.2 Incorporate legislative requirements and relevant legal processes into assessment/investigation plan

1.3 Advise other workers about their role using established procedures  and protocols

1.4 Anticipate personal safety arrangements, negotiate with supervisor and incorporate into plan for contact with child/young person and/or family

1.5 Where agencies/professionals are known to be involved, consider visiting jointly in accordance with organisation policy and procedures

1.6 Access and analyse existing reports and other information  and document appropriately

1.7 Identify and monitor level of risk to worker and child/young person/family, and plan actions accordingly

1.8 Contact other agencies as per established protocols and guidelines

1.9 Facilitate rapid medical and other relevant assessments and treatment to ensure safety of child and/or young person where appropriate

1.10 Discuss strategies for protective behaviour with child and/or family members as appropriate

2. Undertake assessment

2.1 Demonstrate clear understanding and ability to articulate risk in a child protection context

2.2 Elicit information regarding alleged harm in an holistic context and based upon an endorsed model of risk assessment as appropriate

2.3 Include all relevant family members, significant others and service providers in the assessment

2.4 Identify secondary sources of information and contact as appropriate

2.5 Include previous history of notifications/reports in risk assessment

2.6 Analyse information with reference to issues of vulnerability, resilience and consequences, in accordance with an endorsed model or risk assessment as appropriate

2.7 Make a professional judgement of assessed levels of risk, harm and well being (including immediate risk) in accordance with an endorsed risk assessment model and discuss with supervisor

2.8 Make referrals to other organisations in accordance with organisation policy as appropriate

2.9 Implement and record policy and procedures as appropriate, based on established priority ratings

2.10 Seek views of parents/caregivers regarding the alleged concerns and incorporate into the assessment of risk

2.11 Facilitate processes for engaging children/young people and families in problem solving

2.12 Organise and oversee specialist assessments  as required

2.13 Observe  and review all aspects of the child/young person's development and behaviour and include in the assessment

2.14 Discuss strategies for protective behaviour with child and/or family members as appropriate

3. Undertake analysis and decision-making

3.1 Gather information in accordance with principles of natural justice

3.2 Demonstrate awareness of client's social/ economic/cultural context and the impact of their current situation and include in the assessment

3.3 Collect expert medical and other reports to contribute to analysis and decision-making processes

3.4 Ensure all decision-making and resultant action is in accordance with organisation policies, protocols and procedures, legal requirements and authority

3.5 Involve the child/young person and family in the decision-making processes as appropriate, and provide information through the process

3.6 Prepare recommendations consistent with the case plan, assessed risk/need and available resources

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge :

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include knowledge of:

  • Information collection and planning procedures
  • Demonstrated knowledge of statutory and organisation requirements
  • Organisation's risk of harm framework
  • Indicators and effects of abuse, types of abuse, children and young people who are particularly vulnerable
  • The range of legal services available to the client and protocols regarding notification of suspected abuse
  • Legal implications and responsibilities of statutory work
  • State and federal jurisdictions, including all courts within the jurisdictions.
  • Child protection policy and procedures including inter-agency protocols.
  • Legislation relevant to child protection including Family Court protocols and practice and policy guidelines including legal definitions of abuse.
  • Risk assessment, comprehensive psychosocial assessment and family assessment
  • Indicators of harm, types of harm, definitions and dynamics of harm.
  • Theories on vulnerability and resilience of children
  • The change process
  • Child development (cognitive, emotional, physical and social)
  • Workings of court, legal systems and legal processes
  • Legal implications of material collected through interviews
  • Family dynamics in different cultures
  • Recording and reporting systems
  • How to access interpreters for clients and their families who are from a non-English speaking background or who are hearing or speech impaired.
  • Use of child centred, family focused practice approaches

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

  • Identify goals of assessment and conduct assessment according to established criteria to meet identified goals
  • Draw on relevant models, policies, and procedures to identify appropriate interventions
  • Determine the level of risk using established criteria and recommend appropriate action
  • Interpret statutory mandates and balance statutory power, rights of the client and significant others
  • Establish rapport/working relationship with client
  • Demonstrate application of skills in:
  • identification of problems and issues
  • information collection and planning procedures
  • participative case planning
  • appropriate use of supervision and consultation
  • monitor the impact of own values and beliefs

In addition, the candidate must be able to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include the ability to:

  • Interpret policies, procedures, standards and statutory obligations
  • Use communication techniques such as; active listening, reflection, summarising, questions and statements, gaining agreement on actions and explaining outcomes
  • Use solution focused interviewing techniques to interview and engage children, young people and their families in communication exchange
  • Effectively and impartially collect and analyse information according to risk assessment frameworks or models
  • Articulate rationale for decision-making
  • Interpret legalese into language understood by client and significant others
  • Set boundaries for roles and actions
  • Demonstrate empathy and rapport building
  • Use age appropriate language and questioning techniques
  • Utilise conflict resolution skills
  • Manage grief and change processes
  • Engage and establish a professional relationship with children and young people
  • Monitor own level of stress and implement stress management strategies to demonstrate effective self management under stressful situations
  • Work appropriately with cross cultural issues and address issues of cultural significance
  • Prepare court reports, including effective use of relevant information technology in line with occupational health and safety (OHS) guidelines

continued  ...

Essential skills  (contd ):

  • Present factual, non-emotive information succinctly
  • Engage children, young people and their families in communication exchange
  • Use age/developmental appropriate language
  • Interview for the purposes of gathering information and analyse information gathered
  • Exercise professional judgement
  • Demonstrate effective and impartial collection and analysis of evidence capacity to make informed decision under pressure

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this unit of competency :

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • This unit of competence must be assessed in the workplace within a statutory child protection authority and under the normal range of workplace conditions and would need to include supervisor's reports and observations
  • Competence in this unit must be assessed over a period of time in order to ensure consistency of performance across contexts applicable to the work environment
  • Consistency in performance should consider the work environment, worker's role and responsibilities in the workplace
  • Evidence will be determined by selection from the Range Statement, justified in terms of work requirements, work roles and responsibilities and occupational specialisations

Access and equity considerations :

  • All workers in community services should be aware of access, equity and human rights issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Context of and specific resources for assessment :

  • This unit can be assessed independently, however holistic assessment practice with other community services units of competency is encouraged

Method of assessment :

Evidence for assessment of competence may be gathered by appropriate combination of the following:

  • Demonstration of competency within the working environment in assessing risk of harm in a statutory child protection environment
  • Assessment should be in the workplace, however, where there is not an opportunity to cover all aspects of the work environment the remainder should be assessed through realistic simulations, projects, previous relevant experience or oral questioning on 'what if?' scenarios
  • Observation of processes and procedures, oral and/or written questions on Essential knowledge and skills and consideration of required attitudes
  • Where performance is not directly observed and/or is required to be demonstrated over a period of time and/or in a number of locations, any evidence should be authenticated by colleagues, supervisors, clients or other appropriate persons
  • Review of any workplace documentation produced by the candidate related to assessment of risk of harm in a statutory child protection environment

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Reports and other information  may include :

  • Child/young person/family records
  • Health records
  • Other agency records
  • Agency files and records

Effective communication includes :

Exercising effective communication skills , including :

  • Identifying and evaluating what is occurring within an interaction in a non-judgemental way
  • Making decisions about appropriate words, behaviour, posture based on the age and developmental stage of the child or young person.
  • Using active listening
  • Using clarifying, summarising questions
  • Using open, non-leading questions
  • Putting together a response that is culturally appropriate
  • Expressing an individual perspective
  • Expressing own philosophy, ideology and background and exploring the impact of this on the communication
  • Exploring and unpacking problems
  • Reflective listening
  • Providing sufficient time to enable stories to be told
  • Providing summarising and reflective response in conflict situations

Non -verbal communication including :

  • Gestures
  • Posture
  • Facial expression
  • Use of space
  • Eye contact

Child -centred dialogue , including :

  • Appropriate use of language considering the age and developmental stage of the child/young person
  • Surroundings appropriate for a child
  • Child-directed communication

Questioning techniques may include :

  • Summarising
  • Re-phasing
  • Paraphrasing
  • Open and closed questions
  • Non-leading questioning
  • Cognitive interviewing
  • Free narrative

Observe refers to observation which include :

  • Behaviours
  • Interaction with others
  • Physical appearances
  • Emotional appearances
  • Representations thorough stories and art

Established procedures include those related to :

  • Mandatory reporting processes
  • Seeking medical assessments
  • Seeking evidence statements
  • Seeking accounts of incidents including dates, times, frequency of behaviour
  • Conducting interviews
  • Seeking first hand observation and statements
  • Taking and recording details of notifiers
  • Limits of statutory agency power and delegations
  • Role and rights of notifiers
  • Ways of identifying level of risk and determining appropriate priorities
  • Recording information
  • Privacy an confidentiality

Proof of evidence may result from :

  • Observation
  • Interviews
  • Research/articles
  • Case records
  • Medical reports
  • Reports from other specialist workers
  • Photographs

Recording techniques include :

  • Written
  • Verbal
  • Use of multi media
  • Completion of appropriate forms and documentation

Procedures for conducting interviews are defined by :

  • Legal obligation
  • Cultural considerations
  • Natural justice
  • The agency/organisation
  • The age and development of the child or young person

Specialist assessments include 

  • Forensic
  • Medical
  • Criminal
  • Psychosocial
  • Developmental

Responsibilities of workers may be outlined in the following regulations and guidelines :

  • Statements of regulatory bodies
  • Professional registration requirements
  • Legal precedents
  • Service standards
  • Mission statements, policies and philosophies of an organisation

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable

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