4. Close an ongoing intervention case

4.1 Prepare for case closure

The decision to close a case is part of a planned process that occurs as part of the assessment, planning, implementation and review cycle. Planning for case closure is most effective when the implementation of the case plan or support plan is regularly monitored and reviewed with the child and family, and the child and family are kept informed about the timelines for closure of the case.

For a child in need of protection, the decision about case closure is made as part of the review of a case plan and is dependent on the progress made to meet the case plan goal and outcomes. Complete the review of the case plan in accordance with Chapter 4, 5. Review and revise the case plan.

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, the review of the case plan is a significant decision. Arrange for an independent person to help facilitate the child and family’s participation in the decision – Refer to Chapter 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

For a child who is not in need of protection, the decision about case closure is made as part of the review of a support plan. Complete the review of the support plan in accordance with Chapter 7. Support service cases.

When to close a case for a child in need of protection

To close a case for child, ensure that either:

  • the family have addressed the child protection concerns to the extent that the child is no longer in need of protection, based on:
    • completion of a risk assessment, with the risk level outcome being 'low' or 'moderate' for the family risk re-evaluation assessment
    • completion of a safety assessment in which no immediate harm indicators are present for the child
    • feedback from existing service providers that indicates they will continue to work with the child and family following the closure of the case by Child Safety, where applicable
    • the child protection order has expired or been revoked, where applicable
    • the child has transitioned from care, has turned 18 years and no longer requires support from Child Safety.

When a young person who is 18 years, has transitioned from care and requires ongoing support and assistance from Child Safety, this will occur through a support service case. The decision to provide a support service case is made prior to the young person reaching the age of 18 years. In this circumstance, the case management type will change to a support service case. Refer to Chapter 5, 2.9 Plan and support the young person's transition to adulthood.

For further details about closing an intervention with parental agreement, refer to Chapter 6, 4.1 End the intervention with parental agreement.

When to close a support service case

To close a support service case for a child who is not in need of protection, ensure that:

  • the completed family risk re-evaluation has an outcome of either a 'low' or 'moderate' risk
  • a safety assessment has been completed and there are no immediate harm indicators present for the child
  • feedback from existing service providers indicates they will continue to work with the child and family following the closure of the case by Child Safety, where applicable.

The decision to close a case must be approved by the senior team leader, following a review of the support plan.

Assess the impact of case closure on the child and family

During ongoing intervention with the child and the family, relationships are established that may have emotional significance for those involved. When relationships change or end there may be feelings of loss and anger. Make every effort to ensure that the case closure process is a positive experience for the child, family, carers and service providers, whenever possible.

Prepare to close the case

When case closure is being considered:

  • assess the demonstrated change, for the period subject to review, in the parents ability to meet the child’s need for safety, belonging and wellbeing
  • ensure consideration is given, where applicable, to preparing and supporting the child through the transition, for example, where the decision is made to reunify a child with parents
  • prepare the child and family, pregnant woman or young person for what will happen when the ongoing intervention by Child Safety ceases
  • inform all relevant people that Child Safety is to end the ongoing intervention with the child and family.

In cases where a child has been reunified with the family, the case will remain open for a period of time to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of the child. The period of time will vary according to the specific situation for each child.

In cases where a child has recently left a care placement, undertake relevant planning activities, as outlined in Chapter 5, 4. Conclude a care placement.

If the placement at home incorporates a different type of ongoing intervention, update the case management tab, located on the person record in ICMS - refer to 1.6 Record case management information in ICMS.

4.2 Complete actions to close a case

Actions to close a case for a child in need of protection

Following the preparation for case closure, take the following actions to close a case:

  • ensure that all relevant review documentation is recorded in ICMS, and clearly document the decision and the rationale to close the case
  • gain verbal approval by the senior team leader to close the case
  • meet with the child and family, pregnant woman or young person before closing the case, to discuss the factors outlined below, as applicable:
    • the abilities and strengths of the pregnant woman or young person, or within the family
    • the actions they have taken and the outcomes they have achieved
    • their goals and likely challenges
    • strategies the parents can use in the future to continue to meet the child's needs
    • their ability to make changes independently in their lives
    • continuing to access support available through their safety and support network
    • other services available to them
  • ensure all relevant people involved in the case have been prepared and are advised that the case closure will go ahead
  • update the case management tab located on the person record in ICMS - refer to 1.6 Record case management information in ICMS.