Case plan preparation and review

Follow this procedure when preparing (including endorsing) or reviewing a case plan.

Introduction

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

Section 168 CYFA requires the Secretary to prepare a case plan when a child is found to be in need of protection, that is at substantiation and 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 court order is subsequently made, the case plan and the court order need to be aligned.

This procedure covers:

  • preparing a case plan for a child following substantiation
  • 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.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

At substantiation

  • Record the substantiation decision in CRIS. CRIS will generate a blank case plan at this point.
  • Prepare the case plan.
    • Involve the child, parents, carers and professionals in developing the case plan.
    • Where the child is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, ensure this is accurately recorded so the correct case plan template generates in CRIS, and refer for an AFLDM meeting within 24 hours of substantiation.
    • Use informal meetings and discussions to discuss the case plan where sufficient.
    • If a case planning meeting is required, where possible, arrange for a family-led decision making meeting to occur. See Family-led decision making guidelines 2016 (pdf, 692.43 KB)
    • Convene a formal case plan meeting if required.

Formal case plan meetings are not necessarily needed to develop case plans. As far as possible, engage children and families in a conversation about the case plan and seek their input. The family-led decision making process can be very beneficial.  A formal, convened meeting may be appropriate when needing to harness wider family involvement, where agreement cannot be reached or at parent’s request.

  • 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.
  • Ensure the case plan includes a permanency objective.

Child protection does not 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 briefly 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.
  • If the matter is also before the Children's Court, consult with the Child Protection Litigation Office (CPLO) or your divisional legal representative, and notify the Court in writing that the child's Aboriginal identity has become known.
  • 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.
  • If the matter proceeds to court, include a copy of the case plan in the court report.
  • Review the case plan when required. When working with a family by agreement the case plan is to be reviewed at 90, 120 and 150 day mark if the case is still open.
  • 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 an IAO and
      • the permanency objective is family reunification
    • Whenever there is a significant change in circumstances for the child.
  • When endorsed, provide the new version of the case plan to the child and parents within 14 days of endorsement.

CRIS saves an endorsed version and any previous endorsed versions and allows you to develop a new version and save a draft version of the case plan.

After a final court order has been made

  • Review the case plan if the order or any condition is inconsistent with the current endorsed case plan; and
  • 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 Case plan implementation.

  • 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 guidelines 2016 (pdf, 692.43 KB)
  • Complete CRIS requirements including court screen and record of activity, decisions and rationales.

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 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 case plan including the permanency objective and all significant decisions.

While not mandatory, a case planning meeting is recommended when:

  • a first or different order is made
  • agreement between the family and the child protection practitioner cannot be reached regarding the overall plan  
  • there is a need to review the current case plan because it is no longer in the best interests of the child and agreement cannot be reached  
  • the child or family requests a meeting.

 

  • Endorse the case plan within six weeks of the date one of the above protection orders or therapeutic treatment (placement) order was made.
  • Provide an endorsed copy to the child and child’s parents/carers and relevant professionals within two weeks of the date it is endorsed.  
  • Ensure that the process is consistent with best interests and decision-making principles and that all significant decisions and processes are recorded on CRIS.
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