Unit of competency details

CHCFAM503B - Work with a child focused approach (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by CHCFAM002 - Work with a child-focused approachThis version was released in CHC Community Services Training Package release 3.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Significant changes to the elements and performance criteria New evidence requirements for assessment including volume and frequency requirements Significant change to knowledge evidence Merged CHCFAM503B/CHCFAM801B 07/Dec/2015
Supersedes and is equivalent to CHCFAM503A - Work with a child focused approachEquivalent outcome 24/Mar/2011

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 25/Mar/2011

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnUsage RecommendationRelease
CHC30708 - Certificate III in Children's ServicesCertificate III in Children's ServicesSuperseded
CHC51712 - Diploma of CounsellingDiploma of CounsellingSuperseded
CHC30712 - Certificate III in Children's ServicesCertificate III in Children's ServicesSuperseded
CHC51008 - Diploma of Children's Services (Outside school hours care)Diploma of Children's Services (Outside school hours care)Superseded1-2 
CHC51908 - Diploma of Relationship EducationDiploma of Relationship EducationSuperseded
CHC51108 - Diploma of Children's Contact Services WorkDiploma of Children's Contact Services WorkSuperseded1-2 
CHC42408 - Certificate IV in Relationship EducationCertificate IV in Relationship EducationSuperseded
CHC51812 - Diploma of Family Intake and Support WorkDiploma of Family Intake and Support WorkSuperseded
CHC51708 - Diploma of CounsellingDiploma of CounsellingSuperseded
CHC50213 - Diploma of School Age Education and CareDiploma of School Age Education and CareSuperseded1-3 
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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

Unit Descriptor 

This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to ensure that the role and needs of children and young people are considered by both practitioners and parents and that the interests of the child are paramount

Application of the Unit


A key tenet of the family law system and associated service provision is acting and promoting the best interests of the child

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. Support parents to maintain child focused approaches to planning and actions

1.1. Focus on children's issues  as a matter of priority

1.2 Ensure the child is centre of support and intervention plans

1.3 Engage parents using a range of communication techniques  to establish an understanding of required contact behaviour

1.4 Manage parents inappropriate attempts to exchange information 

1.5 Manage inter parental disputes  and assist parents to recognise the needs of children and young people are separate to that of their own emotional needs

1.6 Seek clarification and understanding of court orders  to determine legal parameters of any service provision or interventions

1.7 Reconcile competing ideas on the best interests of the child with the resident and non resident parent

2. Create and maintain child focused environment

2.1 Plan activities and  interactions with parents ensuring they are developmentally age appropriate  for the child

2.2 Provide resources for safe interactions  of child and parents

2.3 Provide service that ensures the child's needs and wants are central to the case activities

2.4 Engage the reluctant and non participative child

3. Evaluate and monitor  child focused practice

3.1 Provide guidance and direction to less experienced staff 

3.2 Review practices and policies to ensure child focused practices are implemented

3.3 Obtain feedback from parents and children of the service as part of the evaluation processes and methodologies 

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:

  • The stages of child development and relevance to work with vulnerable children
  • Attachment and family systems theories and how these are applied to working with vulnerable and traumatised children
  • Importance of peer relationships for vulnerable and isolated children
  • Principles of empowerment and application of these to the work practices
  • Indicators, effects and dynamics on family relationships and implications of:
  • family violence and abuse
  • substance use
  • mental illness
  • disability
  • Child's physical and emotional reactions to separation, conflict , violence, and trauma
  • Case management principles of assessment, planning, monitoring and review
  • Principles and practice standards for working within the child's best interests as stated in Family Law Act
  • Workers legal responsibilities and duty of care to children/young people and parents/carers when engaging in relationship supports and interventions.
  • Research and identify the parenting and family dynamics in different cultures. Where necessary seek appropriate cultural expertise to ensure practices are culturally appropriate
  • Child rights to protection, active right to participate, to choose course of action and make decision at their level of ability in any planning processes
  • Indicators of abuse, types of abuse, children who are particularly vulnerable and reporting systems in accordance with relevant state legislation
  • Range of service options for referral to relationship support and interventions services
  • Applications and relevance of concepts of parent alienation in separation and divorce
  • Effects of loss , grief and depression on children experiencing family conflict
  • Indicators and responses to child anxiety including childhood resilience

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

  • Respond to children and young people experiencing the following as a result of family conflict, parental separation and/or divorce:
  • grief/loss and depression
  • post traumatic stress disorder
  • domestic and family violence
  • sexual abuse and neglect
  • cross gender issues
  • Undertake case management, including assessment of child and family needs, analysing information gathered for the development, facilitation and monitoring of a client case plan within own level of responsibility
  • Undertake a needs assessment interview with children and/or young people to determine individual needs that will contribute to course of interventions and/or support within own level of responsibility
  • Bring parties back to the issues of impact on the children - reframe future
  • Use geno grams and socio grams to clarify complex family relationships
  • Engage children in assessment, within own level of responsibility, using:
  • age appropriate language and questioning techniques
  • non-verbal communication
  • empathy and rapport building
  • Observe and report on client situations, behaviours and interactions for the purpose of informing case management, support , interventions and where necessary reporting processes including those issues for risk management and client protection
  • Provide effective client referrals to other support services or as part of case management processes
  • Assist families to engage in communication exchanges that contribute to positive relationship building
  • Adhere to boundaries for roles and actions of both the client and the worker using accepted standards of the organisation and within the relevant legislative frameworks
  • Establish a professional relationship with children and parents

continued  ...

Essential skills  (contd ):

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:

  • Work autonomously for short periods of time
  • Apply and model communication skills including:
  • listening and understanding
  • speaking clearly and directly
  • writing to audience needs
  • negotiating responsively
  • empathising
  • persuading effectively
  • being appropriately assertive

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:
  • Communication methods for engaging and working with children
  • Understanding and applying to practice the concepts and intentions of Family Law Act - 'Best Interests of the Child'
  • Understanding and applying Child Development theories when engaging and working with children and families
  • Understanding and applying where necessary any mandated notification responsibilities
  • Application of confidentiality and conflict of interest policies to information obtained, recorded and maintained when working with clients
  • Ensuring child's rights to protection, active right to participate, to choose course of action and make decisions at their level of ability
  • Children's emotional and physical reactions to separation, conflict, violence and trauma.
  • Observation of workplace performance is essential for assessment of this unit
  • Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over a period of time in order to ensure consistency of performance across contexts applicable to the work environment

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 :

  • Competency must be demonstrated in a real work environment
  • In cases where the learner does not have the opportunity to cover all relevant aspects in the work environment, the remainder should be assessed through realistic simulations, projects, previous relevant experience or oral questioning on 'What if?' scenarios
  • Assessment of this unit of competence will usually include observation of processes and procedures, oral and/or written questioning 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 workplace settings, any evidence should be authenticated by colleagues, supervisors, clients or other appropriate persons

Method of assessment :

  • Observation in the workplace together with a possible combination of the following :
  • Written assignments/projects or questioning should be used to assess knowledge
  • Case study and scenario as a basis for discussion of issues and strategies to contribute to best practice.
  • The assessment environment should not disadvantage the candidate
  • Assessment practices should take into account any relevant language or cultural issues related to Aboriginality, gender or language barriers other than English
  • Where the candidate has a disability, reasonable adjustment may be applied during assessment
  • Language and literacy demands of the assessment task should not be higher than those of the work role

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.

Children's issues may include :

  • Type, frequency and length of contact with parents
  • Preference for recreational and social activities
  • Education and peer relations
  • Contact and relationship with significant others and/or extended family
  • Place of residence
  • Preferred communications styles with parents and significant others

Communication techniques may include :

  • Assertion
  • Active listening
  • Summarising
  • Paraphrasing
  • Non-verbal communication:
  • gestures
  • facial expression
  • posture and positioning
  • eye contact
  • Written information, pamphlets, reports, articles

Inappropriate attempts to exchange information may include :

  • Threatening staff and or other clients to disclose information
  • Providing documentation to staff that breaches confidentiality
  • Attempting to engage with staff to for the sole purpose of obtaining information about another party to the case
  • Attempting to use gifts and bribery to exchange information
  • Manipulating and coercing children to seek information from staff and others
  • Illegal attempts to access confidential files

Manage inter parental disputes may include :

  • Ensuring safety of vulnerable clients by ensuring confidentiality of either party, not having contact with parties directly in the same environment
  • Using assertiveness and negation skills to diffuse immediate conflict situations
  • Modelling appropriate cooperation and communication skills to parents in conflict
  • Reinforcing the organisations policy on rights and responsibilities of both clients and workers where necessary
  • Undertaking risk assessments for violence and abuse
  • Presenting the child's expressed wants and needs to ensure that parents refocus on the best interests of the child

Court orders may relate to 

  • Parental contact and residency
  • Child Protection
  • Domestic and family violence issues

Developmentally age appropriate activities means :

  • Plan activities that consider the developmental age and milestones of the child. Including chronological age, social, emotional and intellectual development. Activities will also provide for the specific needs of the individual child where disability, culture or health concerns are present.

Resources for safe interactions may include :

  • Child appropriate equipment and activities
  • Appropriate environment to engage with parents
  • Access to organisation policies and procedures
  • Recent and relevant research on:
  • marital conflict
  • separation and divorce
  • effective communication in marital conflict interventions
  • Access to court orders where relevant
  • Documented history of marital/post separation conflict

Provide guidance and direction to less experienced staff may include :

  • Establishing and participating in peer support systems in the organisation
  • Peer supervision arrangements
  • Case review processes
  • Mentoring or buddy arrangements
  • Shadowing more experienced staff members

Evaluation processes and methodologies may include :

  • Direct observation
  • Client interviews
  • Survey forms
  • Focus groups

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable