1. Provide intervention through a support service case

A support service case is one type of ongoing intervention and can only be opened when:

  • an investigation and assessment has determined that a child was not in need of protection, however, the outcome of the family risk evaluation was 'high'
  • an investigation and assessment has determined that an unborn child will be in need of protection after birth
  • a young person requires support following their eighteenth birthday, where the young person was previously subject to either:
    • a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive
    • a child protection order, where an approved carer was subsequently granted the long-term guardianship of the child.

For further information about decision-making regarding ongoing intervention refer to Chapter 2, 4.1 Determine whether there will be ongoing intervention and Chapter 3, 1. Decide the type of ongoing intervention.

A support service case involves providing, or helping provide, prevention, early intervention and support services to strengthen and support families, pregnant women and young people.

With the exception of a young person who is transitioning to adulthood, it is generally for less than 12 months duration, and will not involve the provision of an out-of-home care placement for a child who is not in need of protection.

Because a child subject to a support service case is not a child in need of protection, a case plan is not required, however, a support plan will be collaboratively developed with the family, pregnant  woman or young person.

Unborn children

In circumstances where, following an investigation and assessment, it is assessed that an unborn child will be in need of protection after birth, the purpose of ongoing intervention is to offer help and support to the pregnant woman and where relevant, her partner or the father of the unborn child, to increase their capacity to protect the child following birth.

Any intervention by Child Safety must not interfere with the pregnant woman's rights and liberties and can only occur with the consent of the pregnant woman.

Young person

Where transition to adulthood planning has been undertaken and there are outstanding case plan goals that have not been met, intervention by Child Safety past the young person's eighteenth birthday will occur by way of a support service case. A support service case may also be opened for a young person who was previously subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person (where the guardian was formerly an approved foster or kinship carer).

A young person subject to a support service case is eligible for some financial support to meet the requirements of the Support plan (DOC, 42 KB), in accordance with relevant child related cost policies. Such costs will be negotiated with the CSSC manager prior to the development and finalisation of the 'Support plan'.

1.1 Open a support service case

The child's parents, pregnant woman or young person must consent to work with Child Safety and agree to participate in the development and implementation of a Support plan (DOC, 42 KB) before a support service case can be opened.

If the child's parents do not consent to the support service case, consult the senior team leader to re-consider whether a support service case is the appropriate response. For further information, refer to 1. What if the child's parents will not consent, or withdraw consent, to ongoing intervention?

If the pregnant woman does not consent to a support service case, implement the necessary actions to facilitate an unborn child alert - refer to 2. What if a pregnant woman will not consent, or withdraws consent, to ongoing intervention?

As part of the decision to open a support service case, meet with the parents, pregnant woman or young person and discuss:

  • the aim of the support service case, either:
    • to assist the parents or pregnant woman to address the identified child protection concerns so that no further intervention by Child Safety is required
    • to support and assist the young person's transition to adulthood, until the identified goals of the support plan have been achieved
  • the process of undertaking intervention through a support service case and the need for regular reviews of the support plan
  • the right of a pregnant woman and the family of the unborn child to have an independent person help facilitate their participation in decision-making regarding a support plan, with the pregnant woman’s consent, prior to the birth of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, refer to chapter 10.1 - What if a matter involves an Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander unborn child?
  • the expectation that the parents, or the pregnant woman, will work actively to address the identified concerns
  • the need for Child Safety to take appropriate action:
    • should the level of risk to the child change during the period of intervention, to the extent that a child becomes a child in need of protection
    • should it be assessed there is unacceptable risk to a newborn baby.

1.2 Develop and record a support plan

Following the decision to open a support service case:

  • develop a 'Support plan' (DOC), in consultation with the child and family, pregnant woman or young person
  • record the 'support plan' and attach the plan to the 'Ongoing intervention' event in ICMS
  • actively engage the family or young person or pregnant woman and commence case work.

Ensure that the 'support plan' is able to be understood by all parties, and includes:

  • the goals for intervention
  • the actions required and who is responsible
  • timeframes for the completion of tasks
  • the factors relevant to each type of support service case, as outlined below.

Record information about whether an independent person helped facilitate the participation of the pregnant woman or the family of the unborn child in support planning, in the ‘Independent entity participation’ form in ICMS.

Child and family

Develop a 'Support plan' to determine the services required to strengthen and support the family to reduce the likelihood of future harm to the child. Planning will include agencies that will provide services to the family during the intervention period. If a parent has an intellectual disability, refer to the practice resource Supporting parents who have an intellectual disability (PDF, 33 KB) Supporting parents who have an intellectual disability (RTF, 24 KB).

Young Person

In some situations, when a young person has transitioned to adulthood, intervention by Child Safety will need to continue past the young person's eighteenth birthday to address significant needs for the young person in relation to housing, education or training, employment, social connectedness and necessary life skills. In this circumstance, develop a ‘Support plan’ in consultation with the young person that reflects the remaining goals that need to be completed from the young person’s transition to adulthood plan.

Pregnant woman

The 'Support plan' will focus on the protective needs the unborn child will have after birth, and interventions aimed at reducing the risks to the child. This involves providing, or helping provide, preventative and support services to the pregnant woman, and where relevant, her partner or the father of the unborn child. For a pregnant woman, consider including education and planning with the pregnant woman about safe infant care in the support plan, to reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy. For further information, refer to Child Health Information - Fact sheets on 'Sudden unexpected deaths in infancy' and 'Safe sleeping resources'.

In addition to developing the 'Support plan':

The key steps for responding to concerns for an unborn child are summarised in the Unborn Child Checklist.

If, during ongoing intervention, a pregnant woman indicates she is considering the child's adoption, contact Adoption Services to request the provision of advice and assistance to the pregnant woman. For further information, refer to Chapter 10.4 Providing adoption services.

The support service case will continue until the birth of the child, unless the pregnant woman withdraws consent to the intervention or the support needs of the woman are met prior to the birth of the child. If required, commence planning for intervention by Child Safety following the child's birth.

If the pregnant woman withdraws consent, or refuses to consent to further ongoing intervention following the review of a 'Support plan', implement the necessary actions, as outlined in 2. What if a pregnant woman will not consent, or withdraws consent, to ongoing intervention? and the Unborn Child Checklist.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander unborn child

For support planning prior to the birth of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, with the consent of the pregnant woman, provide the pregnant woman, and with her consent, the unborn child’s family with the opportunity to:

  • provide information about the child and their family, community and culture
  • inform decisions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support services to which the, pregnant woman can be referred, including a referral to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Support Service - refer to Chapter 10.16 Referral to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family support service

1.3 Implement the support plan

To support the child and family, pregnant woman or young person in the implementation of the 'Support plan':

  • actively work with them to achieve the support plan goals and actions, within agreed timeframes
  • maintain regular face-to-face and telephone contact
  • support the family's referral and engagment with the identified support services
  • obtain information from the young person, family, pregnant woman and relevant agencies about progress towards the support plan goals.

If during implementation, new information becomes available or a change in circumstances indicates a threat to a child's safety, but the threat does not reach the threshold for a notification, complete a safety assessment to review a child's safety and inform future appropriate action. For further information refer to Chapter 2, 2.6 Complete the safety assessment.

1.4 Record information during the intervention

For the duration of the support service case, record the following in ICMS:

  • case management screens for the child
  • case notes about all contact with the child and family, pregnant woman or young person
  • case notes outlining contact with, and the outcomes of intervention by, other services
  • the family risk re-evaluation, if applicable - refer to 2. Review a support service case
  • the safety assessment, if applicable - refer to 2. Review a support service case
  • information provided by the recognised entity about the child, pregnant woman or young person and his or her family, community and culture and culturally compatible support services
  • information about whether an independent person helped the pregnant woman or unborn child’s family participate in support planning for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child prior to birth, in the ‘Independent entity’ form in ICMS
  • any revised support plan
  • the rationale for closing a support service case.