Case plan preparation and review following the making of a protection order

Follow this procedure when preparing (including endorsing) or reviewing a case plan following the making of a protection order.
Document ID number 1801, version 5, 31 December 2021.

For detailed information on case planning processes, see Case planning - advice.

Section 168 CYFA requires the Secretary to prepare a case plan if a protective intervener is satisfied on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection (that is at substantiation) and, amongst other things, to ensure the case plan is consistent with any order made by the Children’s Court. All case plans must include a permanency objective (s. 167). If a protection order is subsequently made, the case plan and the protection order need to be aligned.

This procedure covers:

  • reviewing and preparing a new version of a case plan for a child after one of the following orders has been made:
    • family preservation order
    • family reunification order
    • care by Secretary order
    • long-term care order.
  • Preparing a case plan following the making of a therapeutic treatment (placement) order
  • Reviewing a case plan when required or when requested.

Case practitioner tasks

After a protection order has been made

Prior to a protection order being made, parents retain parental responsibility and Child Protection is not able to make parenting decisions concerning the child. When case planning by agreement decisions can only be included in the case plan with the agreement of parents.

Where an IAO is in place, decisions are made by a combination of the court, through the order and conditions, and Child Protection to the extent conferred by the court order or specifically in the CYFA, and parents (who retain parental responsibility).

Under a protection order this will depend on the nature of the order, whether it includes conditions, and whether parents retain full parental responsibility (FPO), or limited (FRO) or exclusive (CBSO or LTCO) parental responsibility is conferred on the Secretary.

At no stage does child protection have the authority to make plans or decisions for parents. The court may include conditions to be observed by parents on an order, and these are provided with a case plan. Parents may make decisions about how they will respond to the protective concerns identified by Child Protection, and a parent’s decision may be reflected in the case plan, with their agreement

  • Develop or revise a client contact statement setting out the level of contact to occur between child protection and the child. Generally, for an allocated case, fortnightly contact is a reasonable minimum. Include in the statement how direct contact will occur (when and through whom) if the case is not allocated or when an allocated practitioner is on leave. Record the client contact statement on CRIS. Review the client contact statement at least quarterly within supervision.
  • Prepare the actions table that is to accompany the case plan.
  • Submit case plan for endorsement.
  • Provide the parents and child with a copy of the endorsed case plan within 21 days of the substantiation date.

When practitioners provide formal documentation to families, such as case plans and court reports, they should draw attention to the client details and ask the family to check that the information is recorded correctly. This will provide regular opportunities for children and parents to check their information is accurate, including about Aboriginal identity and update records if Aboriginality is identified further into child protection involvement. It is possible that families who have not previously identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander may wish to at a later time and practitioners need to be sensitive and accepting of this.

  • As soon as a child is identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, ACSASS should be advised of the report and consulted on all significant decisions. The CYFA requires that an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander child's cultural plan aligns with their case plan.
  • Provide the child, the parents and anyone else affected by the case plan with a copy of the department’s internal review policy about their right to request a review of a decision and the process to do this.
  • Review the case plan to ensure it is consistent with the order or any conditions made by the Court.
  • Develop or arrange for the development of a cultural plan to be given to an Aboriginal child in out-of-home care and record the date given to the child in the case plan.
  • Update the actions table when required and provide the current version to the child and parents and to those included in the actions table.
  • Provide the parents and a child over 10 years with a copy of the endorsed case plan within 8 weeks of the order being made. Ensure a review date is recorded in the case plan.
  • Provide the child, the parents and anyone else affected by the case plan with a copy of the department’s internal review policy about their right to request a review of a decision and the process to do this.

Section 169 CYFA states that a case plan must include a date for review within 12 months of the date of the case plan. See Enacting a case plan.

  • Review the case plan not later than six weeks before the protection order expiry date, or annual anniversary date if the order is greater than 12 months.
  • Review the case plan when:
    • A child has been in out-of-home care for a cumulative period of 12 months if
      • They are under a family reunification order, or care by Secretary order; and
      • The permanency objective is family reunification
    • Whenever there is a significant change in circumstances for the child.
  • If a case planning meeting is required, where possible, arrange for a family-led decision making meeting to occur. See Family-led decision making model.
  • Complete CRIS requirements including court screen and record of activity, decisions and rationales.
  • What a review must include
    • A review of a case plan must include:
      • The progress being made to achieve the permanency objective in the case plan; and
      • In the case of an Aboriginal child in out of home care under an interim accommodation order, a protection order or therapeutic treatment (placement) order, the cultural support needs of the child (s. 169(3)).

Supervisor’s tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation.
  • Endorse the court report
  • Review any recommended significant decisions or other proposed changes to the case plan

Case planner (CPP5.2 or more senior officer) tasks

  • If the court makes an order that is inconsistent with the case plan, ensure a new version of the case plan is developed and endorsed.
  • Ensure that the preparation and review process is consistent with best interests and decision-making principles and that all significant decisions and processes are recorded on CRIS.
  • Endorse the review of the risk assessment and the case plan including the permanency objective and all significant decisions.
  • Endorse the review risk assessment.