Closure tasks - advice

This advice provides additional information regarding the tasks associated with closing a case during any phase of protective involvement.

Document ID number 2060, version 3, 25 May 2017.

Introduction

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 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
  • 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
  • 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 and the case closure summary are critical.

Intake phase

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 only requirement for formally closing a case is the administrative task of closing the case in CRIS.

See Receiving, registering and classifying a report for tasks that must be undertaken.

Investigation phase

In this phase, a decision to end child protection involvement is made after determining whether significant harm to a child's safety and development has occurred. Where protective concerns are not substantiated, the case is moved to closure from the investigation phase, after the outcome of the investigation has been recorded.

See Decision on outcome of investigation for tasks that must be undertaken.

Protective intervention phase

A case will proceed to closure phase from the protective intervention phase where:

  • protective concerns were already being addressed by parents by the time the concerns were substantiated
  • protective concerns have been addressed through child protection intervention following substantiation
  • 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 case plan 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.

Protection order phase

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 case plan. 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.

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