4. Implement the case plan

4.1 Actively implement the case plan

The key activity and focus during ongoing intervention is to implement the case plan to achieve the case plan goal and outcomes.

During ongoing intervention, the allocated CSO is responsible for facilitating actions to implement the case plan and support and monitor progress toward the case plan goals and actions, with the support of the CSSO, senior team leader, other Child Safety staff and service providers. This requires the CSO to:

  • build positive relationships and engage with children, families and service providers
  • monitor whether the parents are undertaking their agreed responsibilities as recorded in the case plan, in order to meet the child's needs
  • undertake goal-directed visits with the child and parents in accordance with the minimum contact requirements - refer to 4.2 Implement contact requirements
  • regularly visit the carer and support the placement, if relevant
  • manage family contact for the child, including a clear plan for reviewing and increasing family contact over an appropriate timeframe, when the child is to be reunified with their family
  • interact in a culturally appropriate way with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities  and ensure that:
  • interact in a culturally appropriate way with other cultural groups or communities
  • facilitate and support the parent to progress the actions and outcomes assigned to them
  • complete the actions assigned to Child Safety in the case plan
  • ensure the case plan actions are coordinated
  • liaise with other service providers as required
  • undertake court-related tasks, if required
  • place the child in an care, if required, and support the child and carer for the duration of the placement
  • use professional judgement and all information gathered during implementation to regularly assess progress towards the case plan goal, and the appropriateness of the goal and actions
  • record information about all activities with the child, family and carer in ICMS.

Engage a service provider

A key aspect of achieving the case plan goal and outcomes is the provision of appropriate services to children and families, as outlined in the case plan. Ensure that where age and developmentally appropriate, the child is involved and kept informed of referrals involving them. Contact with service providers will generally have occurred prior to the development of the case plan, in accordance with 1.5 Explore service options

To initiate the case plan actions and engage a service provider:

  • complete a referral to the agency and provide information to the child, parents and if relevant, the carer, about how and when to access the service
  • confirm the cost of the service and organise the method of payment following approval from the financial delegate (this will have been sought prior to the case planning meeting)
  • develop a communication plan between the service and Child Safety.

Where the parents are self-referring, provide them with support to complete the referral process.

If a service nominated in the case plan is unable to accept a referral, record the information in a case note in ICMS, identify other possible services and discuss them with the child and the parent.

Coordinate service providers

When there are multiple services working with the child and parent, the CSO with case responsibility will:

  • coordinate and maintain regular communication with all services
  • ensure regular communication between the services and the family or carer and child, when age appropriate
  • monitor the services provided to ensure that they target and meet the needs of the child, parents or carer, to progress the case plan
  • include the staff of these services in the regular review of the case plan.

For further information, refer to Chapter 10.3 Information sharing

Monitor and record the progress of the case plan

As part of implementing the case plan, the CSO with case responsibility is responsible for monitoring the progress of the case plan through regular contact with the child, the parents, extended family members and service providers.

During these contacts, either face-to-face or indirect:

  • gather and assess information about the safety and well-being of the child, the completion of the case plan activities and the progress made towards the case plan goal by all parties
  • record all relevant information in case notes in ICMS as soon as possible - this includes:
    • details of contact with a child, parent, family, carer, service provider or other significant persons
    • a summary of key events and significant events that occur in the life of a child or family
    • any risks to a child's safety that are identified, and the strategies undertaken to ensure a child's safety
    • case discussions and decisions made, including the rationale for these decisions.

Record the information, which will be used during the review process to assess progress towards the case plan goal and outcome, in a factual and objective manner, and distinguish facts from opinion, assumptions and personal views.

Respond to harm or risk of harm

If, during the implementation of the case plan,  new child protection concerns are received about a child in relation to their parents, take immediate action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child and follow the procedure as outlined in Chapter 3, 2. What if new child protections concerns are received? When the concerns relate to a child in care, refer to Chapter 9. Standards of care.

When criminal court information about a child subject to ongoing intervention is received via an Integrated Justice Information Strategy (IJIS) notification (Criminal court matter alert) or about a criminal or civil court matter via an IJIS Electronic transfer of court result (ETCR) alert email, take the following actions, as appropriate:

  • view the information contained in the automated email or the ETCR report in ICMS
  • assess the information and record the appropriate response in ICMS
  • record any further action taken, where relevant where relevant, including the provision of information about the services offered by Victim Assist Queensland
  • complete a new safety assessment
  • consider the need to review the current case plan, including the type of ongoing intervention required to keep the child safe
  • review the appropriateness of the child's placement.

For further information, refer to Chapter 2, 19. What if information is received via an Integrated Justice Information Strategy automated email alert? and the practice resource Receiving Integrated Justice Information Strategy email alert information, also Chapter 10.20 Victims of crime and the role of Victim Assist Queensland.

Alerts

When information gathered during the implementation of the case plan indicates the need to record an alert in ICMS for a child or family member, refer to Chapter 1, 9. What if an alert needs to be recorded in ICMS?

4.2 Provide for family contact

Maintaining contact with children and parents is a key activity for Child Safety during ongoing intervention. Child Safety contact requirements outlined below apply to all children subject to:

  • intervention with parental agreement
  • intervention with:
    • a directive or supervision order
    • a short-term custody or guardianship order.

Child Safety contact requirements

The minimum number of contacts to be had each month with the child and their parents, by the CSO or other people who can contribute to case work with a child and family, is outlined below.

The minimum number of contacts required per month is initially determined by the outcome (risk level) identified in the family risk evaluation, completed as part of an investigation and assessment. It is subsequently determined by the outcome of either the family risk re-evaluation or the family reunification assessment.

Table 1 outlines the minimum contact requirements that apply for in-home cases for children subject to either:

  • intervention with parental agreement (including when the child is subject to a child protection care agreement)
  • a directive or supervision order.

Table 1: Minimum contact requirements for in-home cases

Risk levelParent and child contactsLocation
Low One face-to-face per month with parent and child

One support contact
Must be in parent's residence
Moderate Two face-to-face per month with parent and child

Two support contacts
One must be in parent's residence

High

Four face-to-face per month with parent and child
Four support contacts
Two must be in parent's residence

Table 2 outlines the minimum contact requirements by Child Safety that apply to any family subject to ongoing intervention, where at least one child is in care, with the goal of reunification.

Table 2: Minimum contact requirements for family reunification cases

Risk levelParent and child contacts

Low

  • one face-to-face per month with the parent
  • at least one face-to-face per month with each child
  • one support contact.

Moderate

  • two face-to-face per month with the parent
  • at least one face-to-face per month with each child
  • two support contacts.

High

  • three face-to-face per month with the parent
  • at least one face-to-face per month with each child
  • four support contacts.

Table 3 provides information and considerations to inform Child Safety's contact requirements.

Table 3: Additional Considerations

CSO Contacts

For in-home cases: For low and moderate risk cases, the CSO must make at least one of the required face-to-face contacts with each child and parent during the month. For high risk cases, the CSO must make at least two of the four face-to-face contacts during the course of a month with each child and parent.
For reunification cases: During the course of a month, the CSO must have face-to-face contact at least once with each child in the child's current living environment, and at least once with each parent in the parent's current living environment.

CSSO Contacts Contacts by CSSOs may supplement the required contacts, provided that the nature of the contact meets the definition for face-to-face contact.
Service Provider Contacts The CSO must always maintain at least one face-to-face contact per month with the parent(s). Contacts by a service provider may supplement the required contacts, in circumstances where that service provider is involved in the implementation of the case plan. Examples may include, but are not limited to, health services and counselling services.

Face-to-face Contact

Face-to-face contacts are intended to be meaningful, purposeful, and goal directed. Contacts with parents should focus on assessment of strengths, needs, and case plan progress. Contacts with children should be child focused, assessing each child's strengths and needs, views, and wellbeing. Always consider changes in family circumstances that may impact upon the child's safety. During face-to-face contact with a child, it is recommended that the CSO speak with the child alone, to provide them with an opportunity to express any concerns.

Support Contact

Personal or telephone contact with a person who has information about the child and/or the parents in circumstances where that person has a relevant contribution to the case plan. Examples may include, but are not limited to, educational personnel, health services, counselling services and Youth Justice Services.

Overrides

A discretionary override to these face-to-face and collateral contact guidelines is permitted based on unique case circumstances that are documented by the CSO and approved by the senior team leader.

Contact requirements following the review of a case plan

Where the family risk re-evaluation completed as part of the review of a case plan identifies a higher or lower risk level, the required level of contact will change accordingly.

If a child is reunified following the review of a case plan, the contact requirements for in home cases will apply, based on the most recent risk level in the family reunification assessment tool. Additional contact is necessary where an immediate safety plan is in place to maintain the child’s safe return to the family.

Determine whether to increase contact by Child Safety

Where relevant, use professional judgement to determine if more contact with a child and family is necessary. Following approval by a senior team leader, increase the level of contact, and record the decision and rationale in a case note in ICMS.

Other contact requirements

The contact requirement for children in care, where the case plan goal is not reunification, is for contact with the child by Child Safety, once a month.

For a child subject to a long term guardianship order to a suitable person, contact with the child and long-term guardian is required every 12 months. For further information, refer to Chapter 3, 1. What if a suitable person has long-term guardianship? There are no contact requirements with a child who is subject to a Permanent care order and resides with their permanent guardian.

4.3 Visit the child, parent and carer during ongoing intervention

Face-to-face contact is the key to building positive relationships with a child, their family and carer. It is important to plan and conduct contact visits with a clear purpose and an understanding of the planned outcome of each visit.

Face-to-face contact must:

  • be meaningful, purposeful and goal-directed
  • be culturally responsive and respectful
  • be child-focused and take into account the child's needs, views, well-being and safety
  • inform the assessment of the child and parents strengths and needs and progress toward the case plan goal and actions
  • ensure compliance with the statement of standards for children in care.

For additional guidance, refer to the practice paper Family contact for children and young people in out-of-home care

Arrange the contact

When arranging contact with the child, parent or carer:

  • negotiate an appropriate time and place for the visit
  • assess any personal safety issues and take necessary action to ensure safety for all participants
  • take into account relevant cultural considerations
  • engage an interpreter where the child or parent experiences communication barriers.

For further information about contact with the child and parents, refer to 4.2 Implement contact requirements

Face-to-face contact with a child

Face-to-face contact is to occur with all children irrespective of their age, to regularly assess their general development, safety, belonging and wellbeing. When age and developmentally appropriate:

  • talk with the child alone as part of the contact - this will allow you to:
    • actively listen to them and provide them with support
    • build trust and understanding in the relationship
    • seek their views and wishes about matters affecting them
    • discuss any personal issues or concerns the child may raise
    • discuss any risks to the child's safety
    • ensure they are receiving a level of care consistent with the statement of standards
  • seek their feedback on family contact with the parents, if applicable
  • discuss the progress of activities that are occurring as part of the case plan, including the cultural support plan, where relevant
  • keep them informed about significant events such as court proceedings or changes to family contact.

For additional information about engaging with children, refer to the practice resource Participation of children and young people in decision-making (PDF, 342 KB) and the Children and young people's participation strategy.

Face-to-face contact with a parent

When meeting with a parent:

  • determine whether the child's safety, protection and care needs are being met by the parents, if the child is living at home and review the safety and support plan if necessary
  • discuss the parent's achievements toward meeting the case plan goal and actions
  • obtain feedback about the parents involvement with service providers and whether it is addressing the identified parental needs
  • discuss any significant changes that have occurred in the parent's circumstances, that may impact on the child and the case plan goal, and options that could be undertaken to respond to the changes
  • discuss the progress of the family contact arrangements between the parents (and other significant people) and the child, to assess whether the arrangements are still appropriate and meeting the child's needs
  • inform the parents about significant events such as court proceedings or changes to family contact.

Contact with a carer

When meeting with the carer of a child in care:

  • provide support to the carer
  • monitor the activities detailed in the placement agreement - refer Chapter 5, 1.9 Complete a placement agreement
  • identify any issues in the care environment that may impact on the safety, belonging and wellbeing of the child
  • monitor the carer's responsibility as outlined in the case plan, and in the cultural support plan where relevant
  • identify issues that may impact on the progress of the case plan, for example, conflict with the child's parents, transport arrangements or finance.

At the end of each visit:

  • organise the next visit prior to leaving the contact
  • record relevant information in a case note in ICMS as soon as possible
  • take actions to address any issues identified, particularly with regard to the child's safety.

4.4 Regularly assess the progress of the case plan

Assessing the progress of the case plan will occur throughout the implementation stage. This occurs by analysing the information gathered through all aspects of case work with the child, family and carer, including:

  • all contact with the child, parents and carer
  • contact with, and feedback from, service providers
  • contact with family members, safety and support network members and other significant people
  • observations of family interactions and behaviours.

The process of regularly analysing the information, in consultation with the senior team leader, will assist the CSO with case responsibility to have an accurate awareness of the current situation for the child and family at the time of the case plan review.

For information about key questions to inform the assessment process, refer to the practice resource Assessing the progress of the case plan (PDF, 227 KB)