Case planning for Aboriginal children

Follow this procedure when case planning for Aboriginal children.

Introduction

In addition to the best interests principles (s. 10 CYFA) and the decision-making principles (s. 11 CYFA), further specific principles for Aboriginal children are set out in ss. 12–14 of the CYFA.  These principles must be used to guide case planning for Aboriginal children.

Section 166 of the CYFA states the case plan must address the cultural support needs for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care, and must reflect and be consistent with those needs.  Also, a cultural plan is to be provided.

For additional information see Planning for Aboriginal children - advice.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

  • Involve ACSASS in the preparation of a case plan and unless the child or family objects invite ACSASS to participate in all formal decision-making processes, including Aboriginal family-led decision making meetings (AFLDM). If a child or the child’s family refuses the direct involvement of an ACSASS worker in a case plan meeting, continue to consult with ACSASS about case planning.
  • Offer families an AFLDM when Aboriginal children are subject to a protection order. The AFLDM will develop the case plan for the child and assist in developing the cultural plan for children living in out-of-home care. If the case plan is due for a review, or if there is a significant change in the child’s circumstances that warrant a review of the case plan offer an AFLDM process.
  • Consult ACSASS when considering contracting case management or case functions to a community service organisation (CSO). If case management is contracted to a CSO, advise the CSO of ACSASS’s role.
  • Consult with ACSASS when case planning decisions involve placement of an Aboriginal child. ACSASS will assist in identifying a placement for the child that complies with the Aboriginal child placement principle.
  • Regarding placement of an Aboriginal child in out-of-home care:
    • Ensure compliance with the Aboriginal child placement principle:
      • As a priority, wherever possible, the child must be placed within the Aboriginal extended family or relatives and where this is not possible other extended family or relatives.
      • If, after ACSASS consultation, placement with extended family or relatives is not feasible or possible, the child may be placed with –
        • an Aboriginal family from the local community and within close geographical proximity to the child's natural family 
        • an Aboriginal family from another Aboriginal community 
        • as a last resort, a non-Aboriginal family living in close proximity to the child's natural family.
      • Any non-Aboriginal placement must ensure the maintenance of the child's culture and identity through contact with the child's community. Ensure ACSASS is consulted.
    • If an Aboriginal child is in out-of-home care, arrange for a cultural plan to be provided to them.
    • If a child has parents from different Aboriginal communities, the order of placement set out in the Aboriginal child placement principle applies but consideration should also be given to the child’s own sense of belonging (s. 14 (2)).
    • If a child with parents from different Aboriginal communities is placed with one parent's family or community, arrangements must be made to ensure that the child has the opportunity for continuing contact with their other parent's family, community and culture (s. 14 (3)).
    • If a child has one Aboriginal parent and one non-Aboriginal parent, the child must be placed with the parent with whom it is in the best interests of the child to be placed (s. 14 (4)).
    • If an Aboriginal child is placed with a person who is not within an Aboriginal family or community, arrangements must be made to ensure that the child can continue to have contact with their Aboriginal family, community and culture. (s. 14 (5)).
  • Record details of the involvement of ACSASS and relevant members of the child’s Aboriginal community in case plan decisions and processes.
  • See Permanent care for Aboriginal children if planning for permanent care.
  • If a decision has been made to seek a permanent care order (PCO), liaise with the Adoption and Permanent Care Team (APCT) to organise a meeting with the VACCA permanent care program to discuss the development of a permanent care cultural assessment report and preparation of a cultural plan. Your team manager must write to the Chief Executive Officer of VACCA requesting a report.

Supervisor, team manager and case planner tasks

  • Ensure compliance with the Aboriginal child placement principle when considering placing an Aboriginal child in out-of-home care.
  • Ensure that the additional principles for placement of Aboriginal children (s. 14 CYFA) are considered.
  • If a case planning meeting recommends seeking PCO for an Aboriginal child, write to inform the Chief Executive Officer of VACCA of the recommendation and request that VACCA’s permanent care program provide a report, including a permanent care cultural assessment report, for the Court.
  • If VACCA’s permanent care program recommends the making of the order, child protection or the APCT should lodge the application for the PCO at the Children’s Court.
  • If VACCA’s permanent care program does not recommend the making of the order, convene a case planning meeting to explore the basis for this and how best to plan for the child’s permanency. Invite a representative of VACCA’s permanent care program to the meeting.
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