3. Develop the case plan

This section applies to the development of all case plans, with the exception of the following two circumstances:

  • a case plan developed when the decision is made to apply for a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person - for further information, refer to 3.3 Develop a case plan - application for long-term guardianship to a suitable person
  • a case plan developed when the decision is made to apply for a permanent care order – for further information, refer to 3.4 Develop a case plan– application for a permanent care order. 

3.1 Convene a family group meeting

The format of the family group meeting will be based on the following considerations:

  • the wishes and views of the child and family about how they would like the meeting to be conducted
  • the need for the discussions and process to be collaborative and participatory
  • cultural advice from from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, their family and independent person, where applicable, and any members of the community to which the child belongs
  • cultural advice from a relevant agency or members of the community to whom the child belongs, for a child from a culturally or linguistically diverse background
  • safety concerns for the participants
  • whether separate meetings are required
  • the likely complexity of the issues.

Wherever possible, a family group meeting for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child will be held using a family-led decision making process. For further information, refer to Chapter 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Where a family group meeting is to be held for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child and an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander convenor is not available, wherever possible and appropriate, assign an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander staff member to assist the convenor to prepare for, and facilitate, the family group meeting.

Where a family group meeting is to be held for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, also ensure that there is an acknowledgement of the traditional land owners at the opening of the family group meeting. For information about welcome to country protocols, refer to the Family group meeting convenor handbook.

Separate family group meetings

Consider holding separate family group meetings to develop the case plan where there is:

  • an existing ‘significant DFV threat’ alert recorded in a person’s profile in ICMS
  • domestic and family violence within the child’s family exists
  • there is significant conflict between the parents.

In these circumstances ensure that the information recorded in the case plan does not jeopardise the safety of a child, parent or participant. Examples of information that could compromise safety include:

  • the location and address details of the victim and / or their extended family members
  • information that identifies the child’s school or the location of their other activities, for example, a sports club
  • photographs of children on family visits that may identify the location or area where a victim or child resides.

When it is assessed information may need to be withheld from the person who has perpetrated domestic and family violence, work closely with the senior team leader and where relevant, the OCFOS lawyer, to ensure the obligations to a parent or alleged person responsible under the legislation are met and that parents are provided all rights of review for such decisions. Refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 2 – Reviewable decisions and aggrieved persons and Chapter 5, 1.8 Assess the provision of placement information to parents. 

Key stages of the family group meeting

A family group meeting will be structured around addressing the child's protection and care needs, will be facilitated by the convenor and comprises five key stages.

  1. Beginning the meeting - welcome and introduction
  2. Providing information to the participants
  3. Reaching agreement
  4. Compiling and confirming the case plan
  5. Ending the family group meeting.

For further information about convening the family group meeting, refer to the Family group meeting convenor handbook.

Evidence from family group meetings and case plans in criminal proceedings

As part of the introduction, the convenor will advise participants that anything said or done at the family group meeting is inadmissible in a criminal proceeding before court (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51YA) unless either:

  • all persons participating in the family group meeting consent
  • there is a criminal proceeding for an offence committed during the family group meeting.

The convenor will also advise participants that, in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2) and (3), information in relation to any incidents of harm discussed at the meeting which may have involved the commission of a criminal offence relating to a child, must be provided to the QPS, with or without the consent of the participants. This applies whether or not Child Safety suspects the child is in need of protection (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14 (2) and (3)).

A disclaimer that can be read at the beginning of the family group meeting that outlines obligations of Child Safety in relation to providing information to the QPS is located in the Family group meeting convenor handbook.

3.2 Develop key items in the case plan

At the family group meeting the convenor will guide the discussion with the participants to formulate an agreed case plan which is comprehensive and addresses the child’s protection and care needs as well their need for permanency within designated timeframes. The case plan goals and actions need to be specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented and time-limited. For further information refer to Developing the goals and actions.

To assist participants at the family group meeting develop key items to be included in the case plan, provide for private family time, where the family come together in a private space to discuss and reach agreement about what they would like included in the case plan. For further information about the use of private family time or structured facilitation refer to the Family group meeting convenor handbook.

In completing the development of the case plan, the convenor may use the case plan format, as outlined below, to guide the discussion at the family group meeting. Each item should be worded to reflect the intent of the meeting, and must be able to be understood by all participants at the meeting.

Case planning must include non-negotiables that address the child’s safety, developmental needs and assist them to gain the skills and sense of wellbeing that will allow them to realise their potential and positively participate in the wider community. For an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child, ensure the five core elements of the child placement principle (prevention, partnership, placement, participation and connection) are incorporated in the development of the case plan.

1. Genogram

For each child, a genogram will help identify family members and and people that can be part of the child’s safety and support network, as well as potential options for supporting or caring for the child if required. Attach the genogram to the case plan and if the genogram has not been attached, record the reason that this has not occurred.

2. Record of meeting

Record details of each person who participated in the development of the case plan, including:

  • the names of each participant
  • the role of each participant in relationship to the child
  • how they participated.

Record information about whether an independent person helped facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in the development of the case plan, including the development and review of a cultural support plan for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child in the case plan Record this in the ‘Independent entity participation’ form in ICMS.

In addition record:

  • the date of the most recent family group meeting or the date the case plan was developed if no family group meeting was held
  • the purpose of the family group meeting, as one of the following:
    • Develop a case plan
    • Review a case plan
    • Court ordered develop/revise a case plan (s68(d)(i))
    • Court ordered for other wellbeing/protection and care needs (s68(d)(ii))
  • the location where the family group meeting was held
  • the name and role of the family group meeting convenor.

3. Summary of current assessment

Type of ongoing intervention

Record one of the following to identify the current ongoing intervention type for the child:

  • intervention with parental agreement
  • intervention with parental agreement and directive child protection order
  • child protection order.

Primary goal to achieve permanency

Within the case planning process, each child will require a primary permanency goal to be developed during the initial family group meeting. The primary goal identifies the direction for the intervention to best maintain or achieve permanency for the child, and can be one of the following:

  • Child to remain safely in the home: the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs can be met by the family with time-limited ongoing intervention from Child Safety.
  • Reunification: the child has been removed from the care of a parent, and the goal of the case plan is to reunify the child with the parents on a permanent basis. Reunification with the family is optimal for children when the family can provide, and sustain, safe and nurturing care for a child.
  • Other permanency option: the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs are best met by a long-term order, as it is not in the child’s best interests, not possible, or it is not safe for the child to return home on a permanent basis. Consider permanency options such as:
    • long-term guardianship to a suitable family member or another suitable person
    • permanent care order
    • Family court order
    • adoption order
    • other option, for example, a family has arranged a cultural adoption.
  • Children permanently residing with kin or in foster care may be provided with enhanced legal, physical and relational permanency through the use of guardianship orders. Placing a child with extended family members or significant people in their lives, for example, friends, is the preferred option for achieving permanency for children who cannot safely live at home. Children requiring a permanent care placement may also be provided with legal permanence through adoption.
  • Long-term out-of-home care: the child’s reunification with a parent is not possible or not in a child’s best interests, and an alternative long-term care arrangement is required. Long-term out-of-home care applies to children who are subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive.
  • Young person lives independently: if reunification with a parent is not possible, or not in the child’s best interests, an older child may transition to adulthood through independent living.

To assist with decision-making around permanency options and promote stability and continuity for children, refer to the practice paper Permanency planning (PDF).

Alternative goal to achieve permanency

Where the primary goal is reunification, an alternative permanency option must be recorded and pursued through concurrent planning processes, in the event that the timely return of the child to the care of their parents is not possible. One of the following options must be selected:

  • other permanency option, as listed above
  • long-term out-of-home care – long term guardianship to the chief executive
  • young person lives independently.

For children subject to a short-term order granting custody to the chief executive, an alternative permanency option of long-term care may require an application for a child protection order granting guardianship of a child to the chief executive or another suitable person, or a permanent care order, prior to the end of the two year period.

Concurrent planning

Concurrent planning is a process that supports the identification of a primary permanency goal and an alternative permanency option with a child and family. The aim of concurrent planning is to expedite permanency for a child and it requires actions to be developed and progressed for both goals, to be worked on simultaneously from the time a child comes into care, until a permanency decision is made.

It is crucial that the family group meeting convenor explains the requirement for concurrent planning to the child and the child’s family, and for all participants to have a clear and shared understanding of concurrent planning, the goals of the case plan and actions to work towards the goals. The shared focus is on the child’s safety, wellbeing and best interests of the child now and for the rest of the child’s life.

4. What are we worried has happened?

Harm Statements

This section of the case plan focuses on the past and outlines what Child Safety is worried about. Include information about the harm that led to Child Safety being involved, as well as harm related to past care environments or which might stem from the child’s own choices and actions. This includes consideration of:

  • times when a child has been significantly harmed as a result of an action or inaction of a parent
  • the past and current behaviours of the parents that are abusive
  • the context and circumstances when this behaviour happened
  • the harm or impact on the child

Record a separate harm statement for each harm type.

Complicating factors

This is an optional field to record any factors, issues, circumstances that currently exist and make it more difficult for the child to be safe. Consider the behaviour of parents or other circumstances or conditions that place the child at risk of future harm.

5. What's working well?

Strengths and resources

As part of developing the case plan, it is important to have an understanding of the positive things that are occurring and working well in the family. These are recorded as strengths and resources and include information about:

  • what is happening that has helped the parents care for the child
  • what is in place that helps the parents improve the safety, belonging and wellbeing of the child
  • what other resources the parents have that help them care safely for the children
  • the child’s own strengths and resources.

Protection and belonging

This section outlines what has occurred and is working well to create safety, belonging and wellbeing for the child. Record information about:

  • the actions of the parents, the safety and support network or Child Safety that have created safety, belonging and wellbeing for the child over time
  • what the parents have been able to do at times to keep the child safe from the harm and for how long
  • the strengths and protective actions that a child in long-term care has demonstrated in relation to their own safety, belonging and wellbeing.

6. Planning for safety, belonging and wellbeing

What needs to happen?

This section of the case plan focuses on the future and outlines what needs to happen to ensure the safety, belonging and wellbeing of the child. It includes worry statements, goal statements and the actions required to achieve the goals.

Worry statements

Worry statements outline what the child, the safety and support network and Child Safety are worried might happen in the future if nothing changes and what actions or inactions might cause this to happen and within what circumstances and addresses the possible impact on the child. Refer to the SDM assessments to inform the development of these statements.

Record a separate worry statement for each harm statement identified.

Primary goal statements

The primary goal statements outline what we are working to achieve for the child and what we want the future to look like. It outlines how we will see safety, belonging and wellbeing for the child. There may be more than one goal statement.

In developing goal statements consider:

  • what the child needs to experience, or have, to address the worries for the future
  • what needs to be demonstrated over time to ensure the child is safe, well and connected to family, community and culture
  • what we want to see the parents, family, safety and support network and Child Safety doing
  • how each goal relates to achieving or maintaining permanency for the child.

Ensure the goal statements:

  • addresses the key needs of the child and the three identified priority needs for the parents
  • state the changes in conditions and behaviours that need to occur in order to achieve the primary goal
  • respond to the reasons for Child Safety involvement
  • are forward looking, positive and behaviour-based
  • address the child’s need for relational, physical and legal permanency
  • are specific and results-oriented so that all participants are clear about what is expected.

Ensure there is a goal statement for each worry statement.

Actions for primary goal

This section outlines the key activities and actions that need to be taken to achieve the primary goal and address both the worry statement and priority needs identified in the strength and needs assessments.

Do not record contact arrangements as an action.

When developing the actions, consider the following:

  • how the actions contribute to best achieving (or maintaining) permanency
  • what action steps are required by the child's parents, Child Safety, the network, carers and others to achieve the case plan goal and ensure the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing
  • what the child needs to experience, or have, to address the future worries
  • what needs to be demonstrated over time to ensure the child is safe, well and connected to family, community and culture.
  • any person attending the family group meeting can be responsible for an action
  • a person who is not at the meeting can be given responsibility for an action if they have tentatively agreed to the action prior to the meeting and understand the worries
  • a proposed action can be recorded for a person who is not at the meeting and has not tentatively agreed to it prior to the meeting, however, a timeframe for their agreement to the action must be recorded.
  • actions are to be flexible enough to accommodate changes in people’s circumstances and where necessary, include strategies to address any potential problems.

For each action, record:

  • the frequency of the specified action
  • who will take the action
  • the date by which the action is to be completed or reviewed.

Where the substance testing of parents is considered a necessary and important part of the case plan for the child, based on the extent and nature of the parents substance misuse history and the level and nature of harm, or unacceptable risk, to the child, refer to Chapter 10.7 Undertake the substance testing of parents.

Alternative goal statements, if relevant

The alternative goal statements outline what we are working to achieve for the child and what we want the future to look like if the timely return of the child to the care of a parent is not possible. They outline how we will see safety, belonging and wellbeing for the child in an alternative permanency option. There may be more than one alternative goal statement.

Actions for alternative goals, if relevant

This section outlines what actions have to be taken to achieve the alternative permanency option, where the primary goal is reunification and an alternative permanacy option has been identified. Outline the actions required to achieve the alternative permanency option, including:

  • the specific actions required
  • the frequency of the specified actions
  • who will take the action
  • the date by which the action is to be completed or reviewed

7. Child wellbeing and belonging

This section outlines key information about the child, the child’s living arrangements and information about their education, culture and health. For young people over 18 years, it also records their transition to adulthood plan.

The information includes information in relation to:

  • the placement and living arrangements for the child, who the the child is living with, and if not with their parents, the name, relationship and address of the carers, unless it poses a safety risk to the child
  • where the child will attend school or childcare
  • where applicable, details of the education support plan or the arrangements to progress an education support plan for the child
  • whether the child requires a child health passport, and how the child’s medical and therapeutic needs are to be met (when not included as actions in the above part of the plan).

Child Health passport

A child health passport is required for a child who has been in care for more than 30 days and the child health passport process must be commenced (or recommenced) 30 days and no later than 60 days of the child enters care. For further information refer to Chapter 5, 2.4 Develop a child health passport.

Family, culture and community connection

Family contact arrangements must reflect the case plan goal, for example, where the goal is not reunification, the level of contact may be less than for cases where the goal is reunification. Arrangements must also be consistent with any order made by the Childrens Court under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(b), 67(1)(b) or 68(1)(c), limiting the child’s contact with the child’s family or directing how the contact should happen.

Use this section to outline arrangements for:

  • contact between the child, siblings and the child’s parents
  • contact between the child and other family members and significant persons
  • how the child will maintain his or her connections to parents, siblings, extended family and community members and people of cultural or ethnic significance
  • the agreed family contact schedule and all specific information about frequency, duration, where it will occur, who will attend and level of supervision in the ‘Family and Community’ section of the case plan - do not document contact arrangements and schedules in the case plan actions
  • record any directions made by the Childrens Court on granting an interim order about contact.

For further information about appropriate family contact arrangements, refer to Chapter 5, 2.5 Facilitate and monitor family contact.

Cultural support plan

The cultural support plan is a key part of the case planning process for every child from another cultural community. The cultural support plan:

  • helps nurture and support the child while strengthening their cultural identity and connections
  • assists with the child’s understanding of their community networks and cultural heritage
  • helps increase the child’s knowledge and understanding of their place in their family, kinship and community structure
  • helps ensure that important cultural and family information is documented for a child who is too young to contribute to their own cultural support plan.  

The cultural support plan aims to ensure the optimal retention of the child’s connection to their culture, parents, siblings, families and other people of significance in their communities or under Aboriginal tradition or Island custom. It is particularly important for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child:

  • given historical issues that have contributed to the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system
  • when the child is not placed with a person who is compatible with the child’s community or language group.

The cultural support plan is created as part of the development of the initial case plan for a child at a family group meeting.

Prepare for a cultural support plan

Work in partnership with the child, (when age and developmentally appropriate), their family and other significant persons to gather information to inform the cultural support plan, including:

  • strategies for maintaining the child’s and family’s relationships, culture and community
  • determining regular contact arrangements with people who will support the child to develop their cultural identity
  • who may be willing to undertake tasks or activities with the child
  • identifying any costs that may be required to action tasks or activities
  • determining what supports the carer may require to support the implementation of the plan
  • negotiating family contact arrangements that will safely maintain the child's cultural identity and community connections.

For further information about the cultural support needs of a child from another cultural community, refer to the practice paper Working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children

When completing the cultural support plan for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, record in ICMS the details of:

  • relevant cultural information about the child, their family, community, language, clan, island or cultural group and personal history
  • the name of clan/language group/ethnic group or cultural group/island the child belongs to – this is recorded in the ‘Indigenous community/Language group’ field within the Indigenous status section of the child’s Profile tab in ICMS
  • the name of the mob/community and/or island group, clan group, language group and skin group the child’s siblings, mother and father belong to
  • what activities the child will be involved in to support and preserve their sense of cultural identity and links:
  • what help the child will need to take part in these activities, who will support the child to attend these activities, and how often
  • how the child will be supported to develop and maintain a connection with their family, community, culture, traditions and language
  • the support the child's carer needs to develop and maintain the child's connection with their family, community, culture, traditions and language, particularly when the carers do not identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • the support and help the carers need to feel comfortable and confident in attending and participating in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or other cultural community events
  • record the names, relationship or organisation and contact details of people who have agreed to have contact with the child to support and develop their cultural identity.

For further information, refer to Chapter 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and the practice resource Developing a cultural support plan for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.

Children from other cultures

When completing the cultural support plan for a child from another culture, record:

  • relevant cultural information about the child, his or her family, community, language, clan, ethnic, island or cultural group and personal history
  • what activities the child will be involved in to support and preserve their sense of cultural identity and links:
  • what help the child will need to take part in these activities, who will support the child to attend these activities, and how often
  • how the child will be supported to develop and maintain a connection with their family, community, culture, traditions and language
  • record the names, relationship or organisation and contact details of people who have agreed to have contact with the child to support and develop their cultural identity.

When a child is not in care

When a child is subject to intervention with parental agreement, or a directive order or supervision order, the senior team leader may decide that it is not necessary to complete a comprehensive cultural support plan for the child and that it is appropriate to only record minimal information in the cultural support plan, or to state that the family will continue to meet the cultural needs of the child. This may occur when:

  • the family will generally be able to continue to meet the cultural needs of the child, as they did prior to Child Safety involvement
  • the family find it intrusive for Child Safety to complete a cultural support plan whilst the child is still in their care.

When a child is subject to a child protection care agreement

When a child is subject to a child protection care agreement, the senior team leader may decide that it is not necessary to complete a comprehensive cultural support plan for the child, after considering:

  • the length of time the child will remain in care
  • whether the child is placed with a kinship carer or culturally appropriate carer
  • how much contact the child is having with extended family
  • whether there is a specific identified cultural need.

If, in either of the two circumstances outlined above, the family request assistance with issues associated with their cultural identity and connectedness, work with them to develop a comprehensive cultural support plan, as outlined below.

Transition to adulthood

For a child aged 15 years or over, record a transition to adulthood plan as part of the case planning process and include the following information:

  • whether the young person requires a transition from care to adulthood plan
  • whether planning for the young person’s transition to adulthood occurred as part of this case plan, and if not, the rationale for why this has not occurred
  • whether the young person participated in the transition to adulthood planning, and if not the rationale for why they did not participate
  • what the young person’s views are in relation to transition to adulthood planning.

8. Case plan review

As a minimum, the case plan must be reviewed every six months, however, it may be appropriate to review the case more frequently, taking into account:

  • the child’s age, circumstances and developmental needs
  • any change that has a significant impact on the direction of the case plan, or where there are significant changes to the child’s needs or safety
  • the nature of the specific provisions, outcomes and actions of the case plan  
  • any specific challenges associated with achieving the case plan goals
  • the duration of the order (so that the shorter the order, the more frequent the case plan review) if a child protection order is in place.

Establish and record the decision about the agreed review date.

Where a child has a long-term guardian, the case plan can be reviewed every 12 months. For further information refer to 5.10 Long-term guardianship to a suitable person - case plan review.

9. Resources required for plan

Record any decisions made that will require approval by the financial delegate, including specific details of the service to be provided and any anticipated costs. Where approval has not been sought prior to the family group meeting, advise the participants that CSSC manager approval is required following the family group meeting and prior to the case plan being endorsed.

For more information on developing the key items in the case plan, refer to the Family group meeting convenor handbook.

3.3 Develop key items in the case plan - application for long-term guardianship to a suitable person

When a decision is made to make a referral to DCPL to apply for a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person, consider the following when completing the revised case plan:

  • that Child Safety will have contact with the child every 12 months (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VA(2))
  • that the proposed long-term guardian will allow this contact with the child to occur (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VA(3))
  • how the proposed long-term guardian will keep the child’s parents informed about where the child is living and give the child’s parents information about the child’s care (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(1)(a) and (b)), unless an exception has been made by the Childrens Court
  • how the plan addresses the elements of the Child Placement Principles, for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 5C)
  • that the child or the long-term guardian may contact Child Safety at any time in the future, to request support - refer to Chapter 3, 1. What if a suitable person has long-term guardianship?
  • that the proposed long-term guardian will notify Child Safety in writing should the child leave their direct care at any time in the future, including details of the child’s current whereabouts if known (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(A)(2)).

The revised case plan submitted to the Childrens Court upon the application for the order must incorporate all matters as outlined below:

The first section of the case plan includes:

  • the child’s details
  • the date of the case plan – this is the the dDate of the most recent family group meeting or the date the case plan was developed if no family group meeting was held
  • whether the child participated in the review of the case plan
  • whether the long-term guardian participated in the review of the case plan.

Case plan goal

In this section record:

  • the primary goal of the case plan to best achieve to best achieve (or maintain) permanency
  • the rationale for goal.

Support needs and actions

In this section record any identified support needs and actions:

  • describe the support needs of the child and how it will be met
  • the actions required to address the needs
  • who is responsible for the actions
  • the date for the actions to be completed or reviewed.

For further information refer to Chapter 3, 1. What if a suitable person has long-term guardianship?

Child information

When a child is subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, the long-term guardian will assume full responsibility for meeting the child’s identified educational, medical and therapeutic needs, unless included as an action in the case plan, as the child is no longer eligible for an education support plan or a child health passport.

Where there is a significant risk to the safety of the child or anyone else with whom the child is living, Child Safety will consult with OCFOS and request DCPL makes a submission, as part of the application to the Childrens Court, about necessary modifications to the provision of information about where and with whom the child is living (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(2)).

Record the the following information in the child information section:

  • education - relevant information about the child's schooling or child care arrangements
  • family and community - see below
  • child health - information in relation any health needs relating to the child
  • the cultural support plan, if appropriate - see below
  • planning for adulthood - Detail how the long-term guardian is assisting the young person to prepare for life as an independent adult.

Family and community

Family contact arrangements must be consistent with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(1), unless the Childrens Court, modifies the long-term guardians obligations in response to a submission by Child Safety (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(2)).

Outline the views of the child, the parents and the proposed long-term guardians regarding:

  • the proposed contact arrangements between the child and the child’s parents
  • arrangements for contact between the child, other family members and significant persons
  • any submissions to be made by Child Safety to the Childrens Court regarding the proposed long-term guardians ongoing requirement to provide family contact, where there is a significant risk to the safety of the child or anyone else with whom the child is living.

Cultural support plan

When developing a cultural support plan, record the following information:

  • whether the child is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • whether the child belongs to any other cultural community
  • the name of clan/language group/ethnic group or cultural group/island the child belongs to – this is recorded in the ‘Indigenous community/Language group’ field within the Indigenous status section of the child’s Profile tab in ICMS
  • the name of mob/community and/or island group, clan group, language group and skin group the child’s siblings, mother and father belong to
  • what activities the child will be involved in to support and preserve their sense of cultural identity and links:
    • what help the child will need to take part in these activities, who will support the child to attend these activities, and how often
    • how the child will be supported to develop and maintain a connection with their family, community, culture, traditions and language
  • the support the child's long-term guardian needs to develop and maintain the child's connection with their family, community, culture, traditions and language, particularly when the carers do not identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • the support and help the carers need to feel comfortable and confident in attending and participating in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or other cultural community events
  • the names, relationhship or organisationn and contact details of people who have agreed to have contact with the child to support and develop their cultural identity.

Case plan review

Record the date for next contact with the child and review request – this must be within 12 months

Resources required for plan

Document the approved financial supports, including specific details of the service to be provided and any anticipated costs, to be paid following the making of the long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, as recorded in the Assessment report - Long-term guardianship to a suitable person. For further information, refer to Chapter 3, 2.6 Apply for a long-term guardianship order.

The outcomes will only address the key needs of the child, and any previously identified priority needs for the parents, as the decision has been made to seek a long-term guardianship order. 

3.4    Develop key items in the case plan – permanent care order

When a decision is made to make a recommendation to DCPL to apply for a permanent care order, the revised case plan submitted to the Childrens Court upon the application for the order must incorporate all matters as outlined in the four areas below.

Child details

Record the following information about the child:

  • their name
  • their date of birth
  • their age
  • their sex
  • their indigenous status
  • their ethnicity.

Case plan details

Record the following information:

  • the date of case plan – the day it was developed
  • the current intervention for the child
  • the case plan goal as ‘permanent care order’ only
  • the names of the proposed permanent guardian or guardians.

Outcomes and actions

The case plan will record the legal obligations of the proposed guardian under the following sections of the Child Protection Act 1999, to:

  • ensure the charter of rights for a child in care is complied with (section 79A (1)(a))
  • help the child transition to adulthood (section 79A (1)(b))
  • preserve the child’s identity and connection to their culture of origin, to the extent it is the best interests of the child (section 79A (1)(c))
  • help maintain the relationship between the child and the child’s family and persons of significance and provide opportunities for ongoing family contact with them (section 79A (1)(d))
  • tell the parents where the child is living (section 80 (1)(a))
  • give them information about the child’s care (section 80 (1)(b))
  • provide opportunity for contact between the child and the child’s parents and appropriate members of the child’s family as often as is appropriate in the circumstances (section 80 (1)(c))
  • immediately inform Child Safety, in writing or via email, should the child be leaving their care in the near future (section 80A (2)(a))
  • immediately inform Child Safety, in writing or via email, should the child leave their care prior to turning 18 years of age and advise, if known, where the child is (section 80A (2)(b)).

The outcomes will only address the key needs of the child, and not any previously identified priority needs for the parents, as the decision has been made to seek a permanent care order.  

Child information

Protection and care needs

Outline how the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs will be met by the proposed permanent guardian and how they have demonstrated this to date.

Family and community

Outline how the guardian will preserve the child’s relationships with members of their family and what arrangements will be in place to ensure the child maintains contact with their family and persons of significance to them. Family contact arrangements must be consistent with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(1), unless the Childrens Court, modifies the guardians obligations in response to a submission by Child Safety (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(2)).

Outline the views of the child, the parents and the proposed permanent guardians regarding the proposed arrangements, as well as outlining any submissions to be made by Child Safety to the Childrens Court regarding the proposed permanent guardians ongoing requirement to provide family contact, where there is a significant risk to the safety of the child or anyone else with whom the child is living (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80(2)).

Cultural connection

Clearly detail how the proposed permanent guardian will preserve the child’s identity and connection to their community, culture and country. For information about responding to the child’s ongoing cultural support needs, refer to the practice resource Developing a cultural support plan for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.

Health and wellbeing

Outline how the guardian will support the child and respond to any identified health issues if a permanent care order is made, as the child will no longer be eligible for a child health passport, and the permanent guardian will assume full responsibility for meeting the child’s identified medical and therapeutic needs.

Education/training/employment

Outline how the guardian will support the child and respond to any identified education, training or employment needs if a permanent care order is made, as the child will no longer be eligible for an an education support plan, and the permanent guardian will assume full responsibility for meeting all of the child’s identified education, training and employment needs.

Planning for adulthood

For a child who is 15 years or older at the time of the making of the permanent care order, the case plan must include information about how the guardian will support the young person transition to adulthood.

Resources and financial matters

Permanent guardians will be entitled to the fortnightly caring allowance for the duration of the order. Outline how the guardian will support the child financially and determine whether there are any financial issues that will impact on the guardian’s ability to to accept full financial responsibility for the child, until the child becomes financially independent.

High and complex support needs allowance

Permanent guardians of a child may be eligible for the high or complex support needs allowance in exceptional circumstances for a time limited period (not exceeding six months) only where the review of the child’s case plan indicates that:

  • the child has emerging special needs or
  • the guardian requires assistance to establish a care environment for the child to meet the child’s ongoing needs.

If a permanent guardian requests a review of their child’s case plan, in order to request additional financial support, arrange a meeting to discuss the guardian’s request and to make an assessment of the child’s current support needs and the support options available for the child.

Where the financial assistance is approved, complete the High support needs allowance application form or the complex support needs for a child subject to a permanent care order. The process of assessing the provision of High or complex support needs allowance for a permanent guardian is the same as for any other carer or guardian, with the exception that the approval by CSSC manager cannot exceed six months.

Permanent guardians will only be eligible for child related costs reimbursement, in exceptional circumstances, where it is identified through the review of the child’s case plan and where the chief executive considers it necessary to ensure the wellbeing and best interests of a child on a permanent care order. ,. The CSSC Manager will approve these requests in accordance with the same criteria used to determine the payment of CRC to long-term guardianship order to a suitable person.  

3.5 Record, endorse and distribute the case plan

All case plans must be recorded in the approved form in ICMS. The person responsible for recording the case plan is:

  • the convenor, or
  • the CSO with case responsibility, if the convenor is a private convenor (including the Family Participation Program service for a family-led decision making process), or
  • the CSO with case responsibility, if the case plan is developed without a family group meeting being held.

A case plan must be endorsed by a senior team leader or senior practitioner within 10 business days of the family group meeting being held (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51Q. To endorse a case plan the senior team leader must be satisfied:

  • that it is consistent with the child's best interests throughout childhood and the rest of the child’s life, and that it is practicable
  • that it sufficiently provides for the child's safety or for any directions or orders made by the Childrens Court
  • that it addresses the critical areas of need
  • that it takes into account the long-term effect of case plan decisions on an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child’s identify and connection with family and community
  • that any significant resourcing impacts have been approved by the financial delegate
  • that it incorporates key items specific to a decision to apply for a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, if applicable - refer to 3.3 Develop key items in the case plan - application for long-term guardianship to a suitable person.

In circumstances where a case plan has not been endorsed within the required 10 business days, for reasons other than because the case plan is not suitable, it is not necessary to reconvene a family group meeting when a short period of time only has elapsed. In this circumstance, the senior team leader is responsible for endorsing the existing case plan in ICMS as soon as possible and recording the rationale for the delay.

Distribute the case plan

Once endorsed, provide a copy of the case plan to:

  • the child (where age and developmentally appropriate), or, explain the case plan to the child in a way that is appropriate to the child's age and ability to understand
  • the child's parents
  • anyone else affected by the plan, responsible for action in the plan or who the chief executive considers should receive a copy
  • any legal representative for the child or for the child's parents
  • the child's foster or kinship carer, or the licensed care service or long-term guardian who will be involved in implementing the case plan for the child
  • an elder and other respected person of the child's community who will play a role in supporting the implementation of the plan.

In most cases, everyone who attends the family group meeting should be given a copy of the case plan, except if an attendee will not be involved in the implementation of the case plan, for example this may include an independent person or support person.

Provide a case plan to the Childrens Court

The Childrens Court cannot grant a final child protection order unless it is satisfied that there is an endorsed case plan that responds to the child's assessed needs. When deciding whether a case plan is appropriate, it is not relevant whether or not all the people who participated in the development of the case plan agree with the plan (Child Protection Act 1999, section 59). Once the case plan and supporting material have been filed in court, file any subsequent review reports and revised case plans with the court, until such time as the court makes a final determination about the application for an order (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51X). For more information refer to 5. What if an application for a child protection order is filed with the Childrens Court without a case plan?

When a decision is made to vary the long-term guardianship order from a suitable person to the chief executive, undertake a case plan review as outlined in 5. Review and revise the case plan. The revised case plan will be submitted to the Childrens Court with the application for a variation of the order. For further information, refer to Chapter 3, 1. What if a suitable person has long-term guardianship?