Enacting a case plan

Follow this procedure when implementing a case plan.
Document ID number 1802, version 5, 20 November 2021.

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

Working with the family, community and other professionals to enact the child’s case plan is essential to achieve the permanency objective for the child in a sustainable way. Maintaining the momentum of protective intervention to achieve change requires active monitoring of the case plan, actions table and any other plans that support a child and family.

Practice principles

Enacting a plan can be:

  • a formal process (for example, where a case plan has been developed and must be implemented)
  • an informal process (for example, where a practitioner has developed a home visit plan with dot points to prompt discussion during the visit).

Regardless of the type of plan, some key practice principles apply, outlined below.

Be child-centred

  • The child or young person is the client of child protection and must be kept at the centre of all casework, actions and decisions.
  • Client-centred work is grounded in the importance of rights, dignity, individual choice, empowerment and self-determination.

Be relationship-focused

  • The key to effective work is the quality of the connection between the worker and client in a relationship that is ‘the principle vehicle for change’ (Turnell & Edwards 1999).
  • In child protection, relationships must be built and maintained with a wide range of people, children, young people, parents, caregivers, community and agency partners.

Be strengths-based

  • A strengths-based approach maximises collaboration to enact a plan.
  • Finding, calling out and building on strengths within a family offers the greatest chance of achieving safety (remember, safety is strengths demonstrated as protection over time).

Case practitioner tasks

  • Read the current endorsed case plan and actions table and make sure you understand your role in implementing the endorsed decisions in the case plan. 
  • Ensure all professionals and services noted in the case plan are aware of and agree to their roles.
  • Follow up within the specified timeframes, including:
    • visiting or having other contact with the child as per the client contact statement, providing purposeful intervention
    • service referral and communication
    • placement-related actions
    • continuing assessment
    • upon receipt of significant new information, a risk assessment must occur. 

Following substantiation and for the duration of child protection involvement, it is expected that the child protection practitioner will routinely have direct contact with each child for whom they are responsible, and the frequency of this contact be recorded in the actions table of the child’s case plan. The frequency should take into account the following factors:

  • risk assessments

  • the child's permanency objective

  • the safety and stability of the placement

  • any additional oversight of the child by an external support service

  • additional support needs due to a change in circumstances.

Fortnightly contact with the child would generally be a reasonable minimum for an allocated case, and more, or less frequent contact should be discussed and agreed with your supervisor when the case plan is reviewed, or at least quarterly within supervision.

Where a case is not allocated or an allocated child protection practitioner is on leave it will be necessary for the team manager to determine how (when and by whom) regular dierct contact with the child will occur.

  • Consult your supervisor and alert them to significant concerns or critical incidents.
  • Monitor progress towards achieving the permanency objective.
  • Consider whether a family preservation or reunification funding package would assist – see Family preservation and reunification packages – guidelines for child protection.
  • Identify if the case plan needs to be reviewed due to changes to a significant decision, significant changes to the child’s circumstances or need to review the permanency objective.
  • Monitor the actions table to ensure that it contains all current areas of concern and update the areas of concern on CRIS if required.
  • Engage the child and family in any discussions about changes to the case plan and actions table. When visiting the child or their family, use the actions table to discuss progress, implementation issues or identify additional tasks and responsibilities.
  • Maintain contact with services and programs involved with the child and family to monitor progress and identify any issues in relation to service provision.
  • If there are multiple professionals and services  involved with the family, consider holding a case conference.
  • Register further reports received in CRIS and follows up as appropriate – see procedure New allegations.
  • Update essential information categories with significant new information.  
  • Ensure the cultural needs of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care are considered and addressed in relation to all significant decisions.
  • Engage the child or young person in discussions about the implementation, evaluation and review of the case plan in a manner appropriate to the child’s age and circumstances.
  • Schedule a review of the case plan not later than six weeks before the protection order expiry date or, when working with the family by agreement, a review is required at the 90, 120 and 150 day mark.
  • Prepare a new version of the case plan on CRIS when required and provide a copy of the case plan and other relevant documentation including updated actions table to the child (where age appropriate) and parents.

There can only be one current endorsed case plan in CRIS at any one time.  When a new version of the case plan is being prepared, CRIS will refer to this as a “draft”.  Case plans that have been endorsed will be listed in succession on CRIS with a version number. 

  • Complete CRIS requirements, including court screens, client and placement details and records of actions, decisions and rationales.

Supervisor tasks

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

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

  • Ensure that best interests principles and decision making principles are considered.
  • Endorse the case plan and any significant changes to it.
  • Endorse review risk assessment.