Vulnerable Infants

This page provides an overview of the Vulnerable Infants practice triggers. These practice triggers are used to support case work with children aged under five years.


Toddlers and babies are represented in statistics as the most significant group at risk of serious injury or death from abuse and/or neglect. Their inability to protect themselves from harm and their susceptibility to serious injury and death heightens the need to ensure our response to notifications for this group is appropriate.

Developmentally a child’s experience in these early years is also known to have long term consequences and effective early intervention will support more positive experiences and long term outcomes.

The Office of the Chief Social Worker has introduced a set of practice triggers to raise the profile of this vulnerable group and to enhance our assessment and response.  These triggers are to be used to guide decision making and to assist case planning. They are an enhancement to the practice frameworks and work in conjunction with the perspectives and principles.

Even though the use of the practice triggers is focused on supervisors and social workers, it is important that all staff working with these children consider the safety and wellbeing of this group given their vulnerability. It is also important that should any child present with bruising and/or injury we must turn our minds to and fully explore all explanations including opinions from professionals and must adhere to other relevant policy, for example the Child Protection Protocol.