See Case planning - advice for detailed guidance.
See Case planning without a protection order for detailed guidance
Case planning in child protection practice specifically relates to the process of planning with children and families following substantiation of child protection concerns.
Case planning involves the preparation, implementation and review of the child’s case plan when either working with the family by agreement (that is, without a court order) or under a court order.
Following substantiation and for the duration of child protection involvement, a client contact statement setting out the level of contact to occur between child protection and the child must be developed and recorded. The client contact statement must be reviewed at least quarterly within supervision.
A case plan is to be prepared for all children where protective concerns have been substantiated.
The case plan is a succinct, high level plan that is prepared for the child. Section 166 (2) of the CYFA provides that a case plan must contain all decisions made by the Secretary concerning the child that:
- The Secretary considers to be significant decisions, and
- Relate to the present and future care and wellbeing of the child, including placement of, and contact with, the child.
It sets out that a case plan for a child includes:
- Permanency objective, and
- In the case of an Aboriginal child in out-of-home care, planning for cultural support for the child.
When working with families by agreement, a case plan is to be prepared (including endorsement) and given to the child and parents, within 21 days of substantiation.
When a child protection order is granted by the Children’s Court, the case plan must be consistent with the type of order or conditions made by the Court. Pursuant to section 168(2)(b) of the CYFA, an endorsed version of the case plan must be prepared and given to the child and parents within eight weeks of the order being made.
The actions table will also need to be reviewed with those involved to reflect how the case plan is to be implemented. This is critical to ensure the case plan specifically and clearly works to address the risks to child.
The actions table, which accompanies but is not part of the case plan, assists with the formulation and enacting of the case plan so involvement is goal orientated and purposeful.
The child, parents, carers and relevant professionals are to be involved in the development of case plans.
- The case plan is to be reviewed when the child’s circumstances change. The new version of the case plan is provided to the child and parents when any change is made within 14 days of the change being endorsed. (section 168(2)(d) of the CYFA).
Under s. 169(1) of the CYFA a case plan must include a date for the review of the case plan not more than 12 months after the date that the case plan is made and once reviewed, not more than 12 months after the date of the review.
When working with families by agreement, a review of the case plan is required at the 90, 120 and 150 day mark if the case is still open.
When working with the family under a court order a review of the case plan is required 6 weeks prior to the order expiry date, and at least annually for orders greater than 12 months.
A meeting is not usually appropriate when case planning decisions are required in the context of managing day-to-day changes in children’s circumstances. However, these significant decisions still need to be reflected in an updated case plan. The case planner will also need to be satisfied that the decision making principles (ss, 11 and 12, CYFA) have been followed consistent with acting in the best interests of the child
If a case planning meeting is required, a family-led decision making meeting is the preferred meeting process, particularly at substantiation and for Aboriginal children on protection orders.
The review risk assessment and the case plan must be endorsed by a case planner.
If the child is in out-of-home care, the care team, including the carers, should be involved in the preparation of a revised plan.
If a child is placed through a CSO, that organisation is responsible for coordinating the review of goals and actions to support the day-to-day care of the child.