8. Action plans

8.1 Develop an action plan for a carer

An action plan must be developed when the investigation and assessment outcome is:

  • Substantiated - standards not met
  • Unsubstantiated - standards not met

There are three exceptions to this requirement. No action plan is required where:

Where a carer’s certificate of approval is cancelled, surrendered or expires and therefore an action plan is not developed, the need to develop an action plan to address previous concerns will be considered in the future should the former carer reapply to become a carer.

Child Safety is responsible for the development of an action plan in relation to a carer. The CSSC will convene a meeting with the following parties, to collaboratively develop the action plan:

  • the carer
  • the foster and kinship care service supporting the carer
  • the CSO for the child
  • the child, where of an appropriate age and ability
  • a member of the PSU, where relevant.

The action plan will focus on what is required to ensure that the child is not harmed and that the standards of care are met in the future. The parties will agree on the specific actions, which may include:

  • reviewing the ongoing appropriateness of the placement to meet the child’s needs
  • reviewing the placement agreement and the case plan, including a review of the cultural support plan for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, to ensure that there is a shared understanding of the child’s needs and agreement on how they should be met
  • reviewing the foster carer agreement for an approved foster carer
  • responding to the child’s safety and support needs within the placement, particularly where the child presents with a history of challenging behaviours or multiple placements
  • the development of a behaviour support plan for the child by Child Safety, where required - refer to Chapter 5, 2.7 Facilitate positive behaviour support for the child
  • responding to any systemic issues identified that have contributed to the concerns, that can be addressed by Child Safety, the foster and kinship care service or the carer
  • providing more frequent contact between Child Safety and the child and carer
  • identifying the carer's specific support and training needs and how they will be met
  • identifying whether any of the following actions are required:

The review process and timeframe will also be determined at this meeting.

The CSSC manager is responsible for ensuring that the action plan developed is sufficient to address the identified concerns for the child.

Complete the ‘Harm report action plan’ in ICMS. Actions and tasks identified in the action plan will automatically appear as ‘Harm report follow up’ activities in the carer’s ‘Monitor and Support’ screen, once the action plan is approved by the CSSC manager.

The action plan will outline the responsibilities of the CSO, the carer and the foster and kinship care service. Ensure each person who is responsible for its implementation is provided with a copy of the approved plan, including the child, where age and developmentally appropriate.

8.2 Implement and monitor the action plan for a carer

All parties are responsible for undertaking the agreed actions and for monitoring and supporting the implementation of the action plan, to ensure the completion of follow-up activities within the designated timeframes. This includes:

  • Child Safety staff
  • foster and kinship care service staff
  • carers.

Child Safety staff will assist in this process by:

  • ensuring that the placement agreement is current and effective for meeting the child’s care and support needs
  • having regular contact with the child and the carer to ensure that the child’s needs are being met and the standards of care are being adhered to.

Record the implementation of the action plan and related activities in the relevant ‘Harm report follow up’ activities in the carer’s ‘Monitor and Support’ screen in ICMS. Where a particular issue and action requires further follow up and was not identified in the original Harm report action plan, record the details in a ‘Harm report follow up’ activity created in the carer’s ‘Monitor and Support’ screen in ICMS.

8.3 Develop an action plan for a care service

When the outcome of the standards of care review, or an investigation and assessment is ‘standards not met’, an action plan must be developed to address identified issues and ensure that the standards are met in the future. The development of the action plan is the responsibility of the care service, who will work in partnership with Child Safety to address the issues.

The action plan must include actions that are agreed to by all relevant parties and are able to be implemented within a timeframe no longer than three months. It is not appropriate to address broader licensing issues, or issues that require a long-term solution in an action plan.

The care service will develop the action plan, in consultation with:

  • any relevant staff members of the care service, as advised by the care service
  • the CSO with case responsibility for the subject child, the senior team leader or senior practitioner, if required
  • a member of the regional team with responsibility for funding and contract management
  • a member of the PSU, as required.

The focus of the action plan will be on how the care service and Child Safety can work together to ensure that the standards of care are met in the future, to ensure that the child’s needs are met in the placement and prevent further concerns from arising. The group will agree on actions, which may include:

  • reviewing the ongoing appropriateness of the placement to meet the child’s needs
  • reviewing the placement agreement and the case plan, including a review of the cultural support plan for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, to ensure there is a shared understanding of the child’s needs and agreement on how they should be met
  • the provision by the care service of additional training and supervision for a staff member
  • changes to care service’s policies, procedures or protocols, where they are not clear or not aligned to legislation or Child Safety policy
  • responding to the child’s safety and support needs within the placement, particularly where the child presents with a history of challenging behaviours or multiple placements
  • the development of a behaviour support plan for the child by Child Safety, where required - refer to Chapter 5, 2.7 Facilitate positive behaviour support for the child
  • responding to any systemic issues identified that have contributed to the concerns and can be addressed by Child Safety or the care service
  • more frequent contact between Child Safety and the child and care service
  • regular meetings between the department and the care service for a set period of time, to monitor the progress in implementing the action plan, the placement agreement and the case plan.

The review process and timeframe will also be determined at this meeting.

The senior team leader or CSSC manager is responsible for ensuring that the action plan developed is sufficient to address the identified concerns for the child.

Record the agreed actions

When the action plan developed by the care service has been finalised, attach a copy to either the:

  • ‘Standards of care’ event in ICMS for a standards of care review
  •  ‘Harm report – I&A’ event in ICMS for a harm report investigation and assessment.

Seek the approval of the senior team leader or CSSC manager for the action plan and ensure each person who is responsible for its implementation is provided with a copy of the approved plan, including the child, where age and developmentally appropriate.

8.4 Implement and monitor the action plan for a care service

All parties are responsible for undertaking the agreed actions and for monitoring and supporting the implementation of the action plan, to ensure the completion of follow-up activities within the designated timeframes. This includes:

  • Child Safety staff
  • care service staff
  • the regional team responsible for funding and contract management.

Child Safety staff will assist in this process by:

  • ensuring that the placement agreement is current and effective for meeting the child’s care and support needs
  • having regular contact with the child and the care service to ensure that the child’s needs are being met and the standards of care are being adhered to.

Record the details of any follow up information in a ‘SOC follow up’ document/communication created in the care service’s record in ICMS.

8.5 Review the action plan

The action plan must be reviewed within three months. Where the action plan relates to a carer, Child Safety is responsible for the review of the action plan. Where the action plan relates to a care service, the care service is responsible for reviewing the action plan.

The review meeting is to include all persons responsible for the implementation of the action plan.

Attach a copy of the minutes of the action plan review to a ‘Harm report action plan review’ document created in the carer’s ‘Monitor and Support’ screen in ICMS and add any relevant subject children. 

For a care service, the care service will provide Child Safety with a copy of the minutes of the review. Attach the copy of the minutes to a ‘SOC follow up’ document created in the care service’s record in ICMS and add any relevant subject children.

After three months, Child Safety must determine whether or not the issues have been adequately resolved.

For a carer, where identified concerns remain unresolved after three months, or where new standards of care concerns have been recorded within the three month period, the CSSC manager is required to consult with the director of the PSU and the foster and kinship care service, where applicable, to determine the most suitable action to be taken.

For a care service, where identified concerns remain unresolved after three months, or where new standards of care concerns have been recorded within the three month period, the CSSC manager is required to consult with the director of the PSU, the regional team responsible for funding and contract management and the care service to determine the most suitable action to be taken. At this time, consideration must be given to:

  • whether it is considered necessary that the care service take action in relation to the employment status of the staff member
  • the amendment, suspension or cancellation of the care service's license, in extreme circumstances.