Ensure any discussions around the development of concurrent permanency goals for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child visibly reflect and articulate the five core elements of the Child Placement Principle outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999 section 5C. Be aware that in the face of statutory intervention, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are especially vulnerable to becoming disconnected from their culture, family and community (Cripps and Laurens, 2016). Concurrent planning outlining alternative permanency goals must articulate careful consideration of all three dimensions of permanency, self-determination and the Child Placement Principle. Unification with family will always be the option that best supports cultural identity development and a sense of belonging (Cripps and Laurens, 2016).
Child Safety must arrange, in consultation with the child and their family and subject to their agreement, for an independent person to facilitate the child and family’s participation in significant decisions made during the ongoing intervention. This includes decisions such as the type of intervention, type of child protection order, case planning decisions, where and with whom the child will live and how their safety belonging and wellbeing needs are met.
The independent person will facilitate the child or family’s participation in any meeting held to discuss these decisions. When it is time to review and revise a case plan, including a review of the primary and alternative permanency goals, the independent person can support the child and family to participate in the Family Group Meeting (FGM). Wherever possible, the Family Participation Program (FPP) service will also be involved to facilitate a culturally appropriate family led decision making process.
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Safety and support networks are essential to permanency planning
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