See procedure Closing a case for tasks that must be undertaken.
Closure can occur from any phase of child protection involvement. This advice provides information and the practice requirements related to case closure following any of the preceding phases: intake, investigation, protective intervention and protection order.
While the decision to end child protection involvement will have been made in the previous phase and the actual concluding casework actions and tasks will have commenced in that phase (for example, reviewing the risk assessment and case plan and formulating a plan for closure, discussions with the child, family and agencies) closure itself is an active phase in which the range of casework actions and tasks undertaken are important to ensure that at the point of termination of child protection involvement:
- any agreed community plans and linkages are operational
- tasks specific to certain cohorts of children required prior to closure have been completed
- all decisions and endorsements recommending case closure are recorded in CRIS
- all practice requirements for contacting the child, family, reporters, other agencies and professionals are completed
- the final version of the child's case plan is completed
- essential information categories are updated with any new information and evidence
- a review is undertaken of all restrictions to either end this prior to closure or document a rationale for why its appropriate for the restriction to remain after the case has been closed
- all client records in CRIS are current and complete.
From the perspective of providing a succinct indication of a child protection history, the intake record with intake risk assessment and the case closure summary are critical.
In the intake phase the outcome of child protection involvement with a child and family is that a case is either closed or it is moved to initial investigation. If a decision has been made to close, all actions and tasks leading to case closure are completed in the intake phase. The intake risk assessment must be endorsed to allow a case to be formally closed in CRIS.
See Receiving, registering and classifying a report for tasks that must be undertaken.
In this phase, a decision to end child protection involvement is made after determining the consequence and probability of harm. Where protective concerns are not substantiated, provide information and advice as appropriate to the circumstances and refer to Child FIRST/The Orange Door as appropriate. The case is then moved to closure from the investigation phase, after the risk assessment is endorsed and the outcome of the investigation has been recorded.
See Decision on outcome of investigation for tasks that must be undertaken.
A case will proceed to closure phase from the protective intervention phase where:
- the review risk assessment determines the consequence and probability of harm have decreased to the point where closure is considered the best decision
- protective concerns were already being addressed by parents by the time the concerns were substantiated and the parents are willing and able to take every reasonable decision and action necessary to protect the child from harm
- protective concerns have been addressed through child protection intervention following substantiation
- the parents are willing and able to protect the children but require additional support and have been referred to Child FIRST/Orange Door as appropriate
- attempts to address protective concerns by agreement have had limited effect within the period available, and there is insufficient evidence to support a protection application
- following a protection application, the Children's Court has not found proven or the application is withdrawn.
In the protective intervention phase a case plan will be in place. The risk assessment, case plan and actions table should be reviewed within the protective intervention phase. The final version of the case plan may serve as a closure plan and will assist with completing the closure summary.
If a decision has been made to close the case with support services and programs in place, a case closure meeting will assist in clarifying roles and responsibilities of services after child protection involvement ceases, including confirming lead case management responsibility if required. This will also assure the family that support and monitoring will continue and make clear what actions need to be taken if circumstances change and risks increase.
See Protective intervention phase outcomes for tasks that must be undertaken.
A case will proceed to closure from protection order phase where:
- the Court makes an order that is not administered by child protection
- the child has relocated interstate and all transfer of legal responsibility tasks and functions have been finalised
- an order ends and no further order is made
- the child attains 18 years, marries, or dies
A case plan will be in place during protection order phase. The decision to close the case will be made in the context of a review of the risk assessment, case plan and actions table. The final version of the case plan may serve as a closure plan and will assist with completing the closure summary.
See Concluding the protection order phase – for tasks that must be undertaken.