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Case plan with purpose

Remember to be SMART about your case plans:

Specific—the family knows exactly what has to be done.

Measurable—goals are measurable, clear and understandable, so everyone knows when they have been achieved.

Achievable—the family is able to accomplish the goal in a designated time period given their available resources.

Realistic—the family has had input into and agreed on the development of feasible goals.

Time-limited—time frames for goal accomplishment are determined based on understanding the family's risks, strengths, ability and motivation to change, and availability of resources.

Source: De Panfilis (2006, p. 65)

Goals and outcomes

A goal should be specific and achievable and should focus on how outcomes are reached. In this case, an outcome is what needs to occur to provide safety. Therefore ‘stop using alcohol or drugs’ needs to be seen as the outcome rather than the goal.

Listen to the parent’s perspective

Be guided by parents about what has and has not worked for them before. If they are worried about using a particular service you have suggested, ask why and explore what they think will work for them. Ask for feedback and other’s perspectives (from supports and professionals) to help parents identify the best road forward.

Make sure case plans are culturally appropriate

Ask yourself:

  • Is this case plan goal and intervention culturally appropriate?
  • Can this service provide a culturally appropriate intervention or service to the child and family?
  • How have you considered and consulted about this?

Make sure parents can access the supports they need

  • Can the child and parents get to the service they’re accessing?
  • Do appointments fit around school and other family commitments?
  • How can family support children and parents?

Family stress

  • Is the family experiencing unnecessary stress because of the services and interventions that have been included in the case plan?
  • What benefit are the services providing?
  • How can you alleviate stress?


  • Have you consulted with the family and the safety and support network? How have you bought people together?
  • Are they committed to doing what the child needs from them?
  • Have you consulted with alcohol and other drug services?

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