4. Case planning

Purpose

A case plan must be developed reviewed for each child in need of protection (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51A). Case planning is a participative process that involves a cycle of assessment, planning, implementation and review. Case plans provide the structure for ongoing intervention and guide what needs to occur to address the child's needs for safety, belonging and wellbeing . Case planning must also include provisions that address the child's developmental needs and assist them to gain the skills and sense of well-being that will allow them to realise their potential and positively participate in the wider community. Case plan reviews will occur in accordance with legislative requirements.

The case plan is a written document which provides a clear statement about why the child is in need of protection, provides key information about the child and records the roles and responsibilities of all participants in addressing the child’s protection and care needs during ongoing intervention. The case plan identifies the goals to achieve permanency for the child, the actions that need to be undertaken, timeframes and the people or services responsible for undertaking them. All activities, discussions and contact with the child and family will be guided by the case plan while it is in effect.

Key steps

  1. Assess and prepare to develop a case plan
  2. Plan for a family group meeting
  3. Develop the case plan
  4. Implement the case plan
  5. Review and revise the case plan

What ifs - responding to specific case planning matters

Standards

  1. All children and families are treated professionally and with respect.
  2. All children and families are given the opportunity to fully participate in decision-making.
  3. The right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to self-determination will be respected.
  4. Child Safety will arrange for an independent person to help the child and family participate in decision-making regarding significant decisions for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, unless exceptions apply.
  5. The five elements of the Child Placement Principle are applied to case planning for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.
  6. Relevant structured decision-making assessments are completed as part of the development and review of a case plan.
  7. Wherever possible, a family-led decision-making process will be used when a family group meeting is to be held regarding an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.
  8. The family group meeting is held within 30 days of the decision that a child is in need of protection, or within the timeframe set by the Court on an adjournment.
  9. The case plan provisions adequately meet the child’s protection and care needs and are specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, relevant and time-limited.
  10. A cultural support plan is developed for all children from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.
  11. Children and parents are visited in accordance with Child Safety contact requirements.
  12. Case plans are reviewed in accordance with legislative requirements.
  13. Where a child is subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, the child and guardian are contacted every twelve months to determine whether to review the case plan.
  14. The support needs of a child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, and their long-term guardian, are responded to in a timely manner.
  15. The right to a case plan review and access to a complaints framework for a child subject to a permanent care order will be responded to in accordance with legislative requirements.

Practice skills (Key areas for reflection)

  • Did I engage well with the child and family?
  • Did I enable the child to have a real opportunity to participate in the family group meeting and express their views?
  • Have I made certain the family understands concurrent planning and the child’s need for permanency that incorporates legal, relational and physical permanency?
  • Have I appropriately applied the five elements of the child placement principle in my work with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child and their family?
  • Have I ensured that the case plan is written in a way that can be understood by the child and family?
  • Did I give the child and parents an opportunity to actively participate in decision-making?
  • Did I arrange for an independent person for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, and record whether an independent person helped facilitate the child and family’s participation in the decision-making process?
  • Have I engaged appropriate service providers to work with the family?
  • Have I engaged in face-to-face contact with children and parents that is meaningful, purposeful and goal-directed?
  • Have I explained to the child and family the need for permanency for the child and how this informs the case planning process?
  • Have I actively engaged with the child, family and service providers to progress the case plans and actions?

Authority