Care teams

Follow this procedure when establishing and participating in a care team for children in out-of-home care.

Introduction

A care team is required for every child in out-of-home care, except for permanent care and adoptive placements.

A care team is defined as the group of people who jointly care for a child while the child is in out-of-home care.

The CSO providing the placement or the kinship placement support is responsible for establishing and leading the care team.

Child protection is responsible for establishing and leading the care team if:

  • the placement is provided by the department
  • a kinship placement is not receiving either placement establishment support or case contracted support from a CSO.

See Care teams - advice for additional information.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

  • Actively participate in the care team for all children in court-ordered placements except for permanent care and adoption placements, or when case management is contracted to a CSO.
  • Support the CSO care managers and others involved in the day-to-day care of the child by ensuring:
    • all necessary statutory authorisations are obtained (including consent for health and education assessments and interventions)
    • information needed to provide good care is shared with all care team members
    • collaborative care arrangements (including contact (access) arrangements) are made in the best interests of the child.
  • Monitor the effective working of the care team when case management is contracted to a CSO.
  • Ensure the care team is aware of the child's case plan.

Ensure care team members’ input is incorporated in the development of the child's case plan and that any care management concerns that are unable to be resolved by the care team are referred to the case planner for resolution. In certain cases, such as a high-risk child who is in crisis or is experiencing unstable placement arrangements, the case management process may require greater child protection direction and more frequent meetings. In such cases the case planner will determine whether day-to-day care management processes  are led by child protection, including in cases where case management has previously been contracted to a CSO.

Care team member tasks

  • Make the arrangements for the child’s day-to-day care.
  • Engage the child in an age-appropriate manner to ensure they have a say and are informed about the arrangements being made for their day-to-day care.
  • Encourage the child’s parents to be part of their child’s care team, unless this is not safe or practical – until they are actually reunified or is no longer appropriate.
  • Manage the contact arrangements for the child with their parents, siblings and extended family.
  • Obtain, utilise and update the essential information about the child that is needed by all care team members using the Looking After Children Essential Information Record.
  • Assess and respond to the changing needs of the child in care and monitor the outcomes for the child using the Looking After Children Assessment and Action Records.
  • Develop, implement and review the child’s care and placement plan using the Looking After Children Care and Placement Plan or the 15+ Care and Transition Plan and the Looking After Children Review of the Care and Placement Plan.
  • Develop, implement  and review cultural plans for Aboriginal children.
  • Ensure positive cultural connections for children from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.
  • Manage day-to-day liaison with pre-schools or schools and participate in student support groups for school aged children. This may include facilitating education assessments and deciding which member(s) of the care team will be directly involved in developing the child’s individual education plan with the school.
  • Obtain and compile information needed by the child’s GP, mental health worker or any other specialist undertaking health assessments for the child.
  • Ensure initial health checks are conducted within four weeks of entry to care and any necessary follow up assessments or health reviews occur.  Implement any recommendations arising from these health assessments.
  • Ensure the child maintains positive connections and relationships with their family, friends, school, community and culture and/or support the child to reconnect and rebuild their network of relationships.
  • Ensure the child experiences the ‘ordinary plenty’ of a good life by developing their interests and enabling them to participate in a range of community activities.
  • Monitor and respond to all incident reports including tracking history and patterns of incident reports.
  • Ensure action needed for the good care of the child is taken if the child is affected by any adverse events, whether directly or indirectly, including critical incidents.
  • Plan for and prepare the child to return home or to move to another placement if required and ensure up-to-date care records are transferred to the new care team where applicable.
  • Plan for and prepare the young person to leave care and make a successful transition to adulthood if not returning home.

Case planner tasks

  • Resolve disputes between care team members in the best interests of the child.
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