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Case planning

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This page was updated on 13 September 2022. To view changes, please see page updates

Case management

Case management refers to the overall responsibilities of Child Safety when providing ongoing intervention to a child and their family after the completion of an investigation and assessment. It is a way of working with the child, family and other agencies to make sure the services provided are:

  • coordinated
  • integrated
  • targeted to meet the goals of the case plan or support plan.

Ongoing intervention is provided when:

  • A child, pregnant woman or young person requires support through a support service. 
  • A child is subject to
    • an intervention with parental agreement 
    • a directive or supervision child protection order
    • a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive.   
  • A child is subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person. In this circumstance, ongoing intervention is provided in a limited capacity. (Refer to Long-term guardianship to a suitable person.)

Note

Ongoing intervention by Child Safety is not provided when a child is subject to a permanent care order. (Refer to Permanent care order.)

Ongoing intervention continues until the child’s safety needs have been resolved, or ongoing support is no longer needed. Each ongoing intervention case is allocated to a CSO who is responsible for the following case work:

  • meeting all statutory requirements relevant to the intervention type
  • providing an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child and their family with the opportunity to participate in all significant decisions about the child, and arranging for an independent person to help facilitate their participation in decision making
  • collaborating with the child and family, pregnant woman or young person to develop and implement a case plan or support plan and achieve the goals and outcomes of the plan
  • working with the child’s safety and support network to develop a safety and support plan, which outlines strategies to meet the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs
  • undertaking ongoing assessment and review of the case plan or support plan
  • working collaboratively with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child and their family to implement the cultural support plan developed within the child’s case plan
  • working collaboratively with the child and family in making decisions and provide them with as much information as possible
  • supporting a child in care and monitoring the quality of care provided.

When case management and case work is delivered in conjunction with specialised or structured support services, it enables a holistic response to be taken to a child’s assessed needs across a range of areas including:

  • physical health (including dental)
  • emotional and behavioural stability
  • child development and intellectual ability
  • cultural identity
  • social relationships, including with their
    • family of origin
    • carer’s family or residential care staff
    • community
  • education, vocation and employment
  • independent living skills
  • alcohol and drug use.

Note

Research indicates that children in contact with the child protection system experience poorer outcomes across a range of wellbeing indicators and entering care with increasingly complex levels of need. Children are often assessed as having:

  • complex or extreme support levels 
  • poor social functioning
  • poor levels of behavioural and emotional functioning
  • high levels of attachment problem behaviours
  • significant levels of clinical depression and anxiety.

Children with histories of sexual abuse and those who display harmful sexual behaviours are particularly vulnerable groups with specific support needs.

Timely and targeted provision of services that match a child’s assessed needs will assist in improving a child’s life chances, both now and in the future.

Practice prompt

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be overrepresented in the child protection system. It is critical that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families are provided with culturally appropriate care arrangements, services and supports, including opportunities to be consulted and involved in all aspects of decision making about significant decisions.

Record case management in ICMS

The senior team leader will update the case management tab of the child’s person record in ICMS to make sure it reflects the current case status, including:

  • the name of the allocated CSO and CSSC
  • the start date of the case
  • the start date the CSO was allocated responsibility for the case, and the end date when this ceases
  • the end date when the ongoing intervention type is closed.

When case management information is being recorded in ICMS, a message is displayed if:

  • An open ongoing intervention event already exists for the child.
  • Multiple open ongoing intervention events already exist for the child.
  • No open ongoing intervention event exists for the child.

If a case transfer between CSSCs is in progress, the tab also includes information about case work tasks requested during the case transfer process.

Transfer a case to another CSSC

Case management responsibility remains with the CSSC in the geographical area where the child and family normally lives. A case transfer between CSSCs may be required when:

  • A child moves to a placement in another geographical area.
  • The approved carer of a child moves to another geographical area. The approved carer can include a residential care placement, a licensed care service or another entity (Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1))
  • The long-term guardian of a child moves to another geographical area.

Transfer principles and guidelines

The following principles guide decision making about the child’s care arrangement and transfer of case management responsibility:

  • The safety, wellbeing and best interests of a child are paramount and therefore take priority over the location of the care arrangement.
  • A child in care is kept close to their family, community and support network.
  • The five elements of the child placement principle are considered for all decision making for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 5C.)
  • Cases are to be transferred in the relevant timeframes and CSSCs will not retain case management for cases they cannot regularly and adequately service.
  • The care arrangement supports the goal of a child’s case plan.
  • The CSSCs and the placement services unit will share information in a timely way for decisions about the care arrangement and case transfer.
  • Case work will continue to be provided to the child, family and carer while the transfer is being negotiated and implemented.

The transfer guidelines are:

  • Case transfers will be planned with the child, family and carer, who will be kept informed of the transfer progress
  • Case transfers will be negotiated between the relevant CSSCs.
  • If a family moves without the CSSC knowing, the case transfer will occur as soon as the address is known.
  • A child will not be placed with an approved carer of another CSSC until that CSSC manager approves the care arrangement.
  • If the CSAHSC places a child outside the catchment area of the child’s CSSC, the CSAHSC will advise both CSSC managers of the placement by the next business day.  
  • If it is proposed that a child be placed with kin (subject to the person being assessed as a kinship carer) who lives outside the catchment area of the child’s CSSC, the CSSC manager with case management responsibility is responsible for the carer approval.

Attention

In deciding on a case transfer, the CSSC manager will consider:

  • the length and stability of the care arrangement and if the relocation is considered long term. A care arrangement needs to be stable for a case transfer process to begin
  • the planned length of ongoing intervention
  • for a proposed kinship placement―whether the child and kin have an existing positive relationship.

Case transfer exceptions

The principles and guidelines do not apply to:

  • short-term cases―if the current CSSC is within a reasonable distance of where the child lives and can continue to provide case work in the short term as the planned case closure is not long away. The CSSC with responsibility for the catchment in which the child is living will be told that the family is in their area. Case transfer can be considered if circumstances change
  • temporary care arrangements―the CSSC must not transfer case management so as to maintain stability in service provision
  • siblings placed with different approved carers in adjacent geographical areas within close proximity―the CSSC managers may agree it is in the children’s best interests for one CSSC to have case management responsibility
  • children in residential care services―case management is not transferred for a child in a grant-funded residential placement unless 
    • the child has remained in the residential placement for more than 12 months
    • both CSSC managers agree to the transfer 
    • it is in line with the placement and transfer principles.
  • If the case is not to be transferred, the CSSC manager may negotiate with the CSSC manager in the area of the residential care service to complete case work tasks
  • admission to a hospital―a case will not be transferred if a child is admitted to a hospital in another location, but their family or carer remains in the same geographical area. The CSSC in the area of the hospital will complete case work tasks 
  • boarding schools―the case will not be transferred if a child attends a boarding school, but their family remains in the same geographical area. The CSSC in the area of the boarding school will complete case work tasks, such as visits to the child
  • expiry of a child protection order―case management will remain with the current CSSC for a child subject to a child protection order that is due to expire. If an application for another child protection order is planned, the 2 CSSCs will negotiate about the type of order
  • transition to adulthood―a support service case for a young person over the age of 18 will not be transferred. The CSSC with responsibility for the catchment in which the young person is living will be told information about them so they can respond to the young person if needed
  • homeless or mobile young people―case management will not be transferred until there is stability in the young person’s living arrangement―unless agreed between the CSSCs. If a child at high risk is mobile and homeless in Brisbane or another large metropolitan area, negotiate with the local CSSC to provide case work.

Tip

A permanent care order is not an order for which Child Safety provides ongoing intervention. Therefore, case management and case transfer requirements do not apply.

The CSSC with case management responsibility at the time the permanent care order is finalised in the Childrens Court continues to be responsible for a permanent guardian’s fortnightly caring allowance and any additional financial support, even if the permanent guardian moves out of the CSSC’s geographical area. (Refer to Permanent care order.)

Accept case transfer

The CSSC in the new geographical area must accept the transfer based on the transfer principles and guidelines. There are 3 levels of approval, depending on the case circumstances. The relevant approvals must be satisfied before the transfer is accepted:

  1. The senior team leader accepts the case transfer for a child subject to  
    • a support service case
    • intervention with parental agreement, including if the child is subject to a child protection care agreement
    • a directive or supervision child protection order.
  2. The CSSC manager accepts the transfer for a child who is subject to a child protection order and in a care arrangement (irrespective of which type of child protection order). The CSSC manager is also responsible for approving the care arrangement.
  3. The regional director approves the financial cost of a child’s care arrangement with a transitional or grant-funded residential care placement, in line with their financial delegation.

Note

Before the placement of a child, the receiving CSSC must give written advice of the decision to approve and accept the transfer, including the agreed timeframe for transfer, in an email to the transferring CSSC (unless the placement was unplanned). 

Case management responsibility remains with the transferring CSSC until this occurs.

Timeframes for case transfers

The timeframes for completing a case transfer are:

  • within 6 weeks for a child subject to
    • a support service case
    • intervention with parental agreement, including a child protection care agreement
    • a supervision or directive child protection order
  • after 3 months for a child subject to
    • any type of child protection order (when the child is in a care arrangement)
    • a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person.

Responsibility of the transferring CSSC

To transfer a case to another CSSC, the CSSC with case responsibility will:

  • As soon as possible, discuss with the senior team leader or CSSC manager of the receiving CSSC:
    • the plan to place the child in their area
    • details of the case, including critical issues, financial commitments and service needs
    • the process for approving a foster or kinship carer applicant in the new area, if relevant
    • timeframes for the transfer
    • specific case work tasks to be completed during the transfer period and who is responsible for them.
  • Request that the placement services unit in the region where the child is moving complete a foster or kinship assessment―if one is needed.
  • Complete a Case summary for transfer and attach it to a case note in ICMS.
  • Discuss the case plan or support plan with the receiving CSSC and negotiate the transfer of case work tasks and financial commitments.
  • Visit the child to tell them about the transfer.
  • Make sure all ICMS records are up to date and forms are completed and approved.
  • Request that the receiving CSSC accept the case transfer and provide written confirmation.
  • Inform services working with the child, family and carer about the pending transfer.
  • Together with the receiving CSSC, meet with the family, confirm transfer of the case and document the reasons and transfer process.
  • Re-allocate all open events in ICMS to the receiving CSSC.
  • Send paper files to the receiving CSSC.

Responsibility of the receiving CSSC

The receiving CSSC will: 

  • Participate in
    • discussions with the transferring CSSC
    •  a review of the case plan or support plan to make sure case work requirements can be met by the new CSSC.
  • Allocate a CSO and make sure contact with the child and family occurs within one week of their arrival to the area.
  • Complete case work tasks before the case transfer is completed.
  • Finalise approval for any new foster or kinship carer application.
  • Provide written acceptance of the transfer to the transferring CSSC manager or senior team leader.
  • Participate in a joint meeting with the family and the transferring CSSC.
  • Confirm that a child's paper case files have been received.
  • Update the case management tab in ICMS.
  • Tell the child, their family and the carer when the transfer is complete.
  • Accept all responsibility (including financial responsibility) for the case.

Interim orders and appeals

A case may be transferred if there is an interim child protection order or the child protection order is currently being appealed, but only if both CSSC managers agree to the transfer.  

If the child has moved to the new geographical area before the transfer is accepted, the two CSSC managers will provide a coordinated approach to providing case work support to the child until the order is finalised and the case can be transferred.

In the interim period:

  • The transferring CSSC will provide the receiving CSSC with a case summary outlining specific case work tasks to be completed.
  • The receiving CSSC will
    • allocate the case to a CSO immediately
    • sight the child within one week
    • complete case work tasks as agreed with the transferring CSSC.

Practice prompt

If a case for a child subject to an interim order is transferred to another CSSC, the transferring CSSC will inform the OCFOS lawyer and the DCPL. 

Unplanned move by a carer of a child in care

The unexpected and unplanned move of a carer of a child in care is a rare occurrence. If the child placed with the carer is subject to the custody or guardianship of the chief executive, consider whether:

Attention

These considerations do not apply to the unexpected move of a child’s long-term or permanent guardian.

Respond to a notification recorded during the transfer

If a new notification is recorded during a case transfer process, the CSSC responsible for the area where the child lives will complete the investigation and assessment. The two CSSCs will continue to liaise until the transfer is completed.

Resolve a disagreement

CSSC managers are responsible for resolving any disagreement that arises during the case transfer process—within 2 weeks.

If the CSSC managers cannot reach agreement about a child’s move to a care arrangement in another area, they will refer the matter to their respective line managers to decide if the care arrangement and transfer will proceed.

Develop a case plan

A case plan is a written plan for meeting a child’s protection and care needs. Every child assessed to be in need of protection will have a case plan developed and reviewed in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51A.

A case plan clearly states:

  • why a child is in need of protection
  • relevant information about the child, including  
    • goals and actions to achieve permanency for the child, and timeframes for achieving them
    • actions to promote the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing
    • actions to meet the child’s developmental needs
    • the people or services responsible for completing actions
    • how a child will be assisted in gaining skills and a sense of wellbeing to help them meet their full potential and positively participate in the wider community.

If a child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the case plan also includes a cultural support plan, which details how the child will be connected to their culture, family and community regardless of where they are living.

Case planning is a collaborative process that involves four cyclical steps:

For more information on case planning, refer to the practice guide Overview of case planning.

Further reading

Policy Case planning.

Concurrent planning 

When a child is in care, Child Safety works with the child, their parents and their safety and support network to develop a case plan for the child that identifies:

  • a primary permanency goal
    and
  • an alternative permanency goal if the primary permanency goal is reunification  with the child’s parents.

This is known as concurrent planning, and it includes the development and progression of actions for achieving both goals as part of the case plan. 

Note

Concurrent planning is in line with the permanency principles outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 5BA and the additional principles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 5C.

Reunification cannot be the primary and alternative permanency goal for a child where two parents who reside separately are both working towards reunification.

Assess and plan for the primary goal as soon as the child is placed in care. If the primary goal is reunification, also assess and plan for the alternative goal. This ensures that if the primary goal cannot be achieved in a timely way:

  • The child and family still have a clear plan and understanding of
    • where and with whom the child will live
      and 
    • what the child’s life will look like.
  • The child’s alternative goal can be implemented in a timely manner.

Note

The child’s carers play an important role in working with the child and family, Child Safety and the safety and support network in acting on both goals. They provide input into case planning to support and complete actions for reunification and the alternative permanency goal.

Further reading

Practice kit Permanency.

Assess and prepare to develop the case plan

The assessment stage of case planning involves collaboration with the child, family and safety and support network to gather additional information:

  • for the case planning process (the Child Protection Act 1999, Part 3A (sections 51A–51YB)
  • to assess the child strengths and needs and parental strengths and needs 
  • to ensure the ongoing intervention is appropriate to meet the child’s belonging, safety and wellbeing needs
  • to prepare for a family group meeting  

Time sensitive

A family group meeting to develop an initial case plan will be held within 30 days of the decision that a child is in need of protection, or within the timeframe set by the court.

As soon as a child is assessed as being in need of protection, arrange for a family group meeting referral to be completed. Contact the principal team leader for the region where the family group meeting will be held to obtain a copy of the referral form and confirm the referral process, if required. Attach all relevant information to the referral. (Refer to Provide additional information to the convenor.)

Tip

Refer to the practice guide Family Group Meeting legislative requirements for information on statutory obligations for family group meetings and case planning.

If the child is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, discuss with the child and family a referral to a Family Participation Program for a family-led decision making process to develop the child’s case plan. (Refer to Refer the family for family-led decision making.)

The child and their family must be given the opportunity to meaningfully participate in decision-making processes, including the case planning process. Arrange, with the consent of the child and family, for an independent person to help facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in the decision. (Refer to Enable participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in decision making).  

Gather information about the child and family

The assessment stage requires in-depth and collaborative engagement with the child, family, and safety and support network to gather and analyse information about the family’s functioning, situation, strengths and needs.

A significant amount of this information will have been obtained during the investigation and assessment. This information is used in the child strengths and needs assessment and parental strengths and needs assessment. (Refer to Complete the child strengths and needs assessment and Complete the parental strengths and needs assessment).

The process of gathering information:

  • provides an opportunity to build rapport with the child, their family and safety and support network and to engage them in the case planning process
  • identifies and strengthens a family’s safety and support network
  • helps develop a greater understanding of the child and family
  • involves a wide range of sources to ensure the assessment is comprehensive and holistic. 

Tip

When gathering information to develop an initial case plan, remain child-centred family-focused. Use professional judgement and the tool Collaborative assessment and planning framework to gather and analyse the information obtained and to assess what further information may be required. Use the tool Collaborative assessment and planning framework – Integrating Safe and Together  to gather and analyse information about domestic and family violence. (Refer to the practice guide Assess harm and risk of harm for further guidance on information gathering).

Practice prompt

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child or a child from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, provide a culturally safe space for the child and their family to provide information for the case plan. Providing a culturally safe space involves:

  • working to empower and promote individual and family wellbeing through enhancing their cultural identity
  • maintaining an awareness of how your behaviour could have a negative consequence for a person from another culture
  • asking the person if they had their culture and values taken into account during the process.

Gather relevant information from:

  • the child, if age and developmentally appropriate
  • the parents and extended family members who may make a useful contribution to the case plan
  • the carers
  • service providers such as health practitioners, school staff, Evolve  therapeutic services, counsellors, cultural support or other formal supports engaged with the family. 

If the child or a family member requires an interpreter to ensure their full participation when engaging with them, arrange an interpreter. (Refer to How can I access a translator or interpreter? on the Queensland Government website.)

Practice prompt

If a child is transgender or gender diverse, they may have specific therapeutic, medical, wellbeing and cultural needs to be addressed in the case planning process. This will ensure the child can access all appropriate supports associated with affirming their gender identity.

If a young person has a diverse sexual orientation (for example, they are gay, lesbian or bisexual), they may require targeted services regarding sex education, peer support or connection to the community. Respectfully explore with the young person what services and supports they think would be beneficial to them. Refer to Support for young people who identify as LGBTIQ+.    

Refer to the practice guide Children with gender and sexual orientation diversity.

Attention

When gathering information to prepare a case plan, Child Safety can make a request for a criminal and domestic violence history check under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 95(3). The CSSC  manager or senior team leader can authorise the request any time a decision is being made about a child under the Child Protection Act 1999.

This information may be required to assess the safety of a household member or when considering reunification of the child with their family, as it may impact on the actions developed in the case plan. (Refer to Procedure 2 Check criminal and domestic violence history).

Complete the child strengths and needs assessment

An assessment of the child’s strengths and needs provides a snapshot of a child’s functioning over a 6-month period. The case plan identifies how to build on the child’s identified strengths to achieve the stated goals. It includes a plan to address the child’s needs to improve the child’s emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing.

A child strengths and needs assessment must be completed:

  • once the decision is made that a child is in need of protection
  • before the initial family group meeting to develop a case plan for the child
  • for each case plan review, if ongoing intervention is likely to continue.

The child strengths and needs assessment ensures that the child’s functioning over time is considered within the same domains, using the same criteria. This allows departmental staff to easily identify and assess changes to a child’s strengths and needs, so they can respond appropriately. 

Tip

Refer to Appendix A: Physical and Cognitive Developmental Milestones in the SDM Policy and procedures manual to assist in assessing domain 8 Child development and intellectual ability in the child strengths and needs assessment.

Compete a child strengths and needs assessment for each child in their ongoing intervention event. Every time a case plan is reviewed, complete a subsequent child strengths and needs assessment in the child’s new ongoing intervention event, using information obtained during the review process.

Practice prompt

If a child is subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person (Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(f)(i) and (ii)), the child strengths and needs is only completed if:

  • the long-term guardian is receiving child related costs or a high or complex support needs allowance
  • Child Safety is providing case work support due to placement difficulties.

(Refer to Respond to a request for support.)

To complete the child strengths and needs assessment:

  • Refer to the SDM Policy and procedures manual including
    • Appendix B: Case plan guidance for prompt questions to help gather information about the child
    • Appendix A: Physical and cognitive developmental milestones to help assess the child’s development.
  • Meet with the child (if developmentally appropriate), the parents and carers and
    • explain the purpose of the assessment
    • explore areas of the child’s life to assist in completing the assessment
    • respond to any questions or worries they have.
  • For every child, rate their current level of functioning in the first 9 domains, then domains 10 to 13 as required. To rate the child’s functioning in each domain, use professional judgement and consider
  • Complete the child strengths and needs assessment in ICMS, selecting the level of strength or need within each domain that accurately reflects the information gathered and the definitions.
  • Provide a rationale and evidence for selecting the strength or need.
  • Submit the completed assessment to the senior team leader for approval.
  • Provide a copy of the approved assessment to the family group meeting convenor to use in developing the child’s case plan.

Practice prompt

When completing a child strengths and needs assessment for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child or a child from a culturally and linguistically diverse, apply a cultural lens to:

  • support engagement with families
  • help consider how the family’s culture, cultural identity, norms and past/current experiences of discrimination and oppression may influence or shape parenting.

In particular, when interviewing families, consider:

  • how the child identifies with their culture
  • any historical experiences of discrimination that are important or relevant to the child
  • any direct or indirect experiences of discrimination the child might be experiencing
  • any coping skills, strengths or survival skills the child has developed or demonstrated in facing discrimination.

This context is intended to assist in better understanding the family, recognising and acknowledging differences, developing collaborative working relationships, and helping identify culturally relevant activities and services to include in the case plan.

Complete the parental strengths and needs assessment

A parental strengths and needs assessment is completed to systematically identify critical parental problems and strengths to help develop an effective case plan. It provides a snapshot of parental functioning over a 6-month period to assist in the case planning process.

Note

Only 1 household and up to 2 parents can be assessed on a parental strengths and needs form.

If a child is in care, their parents are residing in 2 separate households and both parents are working towards reunification, complete a separate parental strengths and needs assessment for each household.

Complete a parental strengths and needs assessment:

  • after a decision has been made that a child is in need of protection
  • before the initial family group meeting to develop a case plan for the child
  • to inform each revised case plan, if ongoing intervention is likely to continue
  • to inform each case plan until a case is closed or a long-term guardianship order or permanent care order is made.

Choose a primary and secondary parent

Before starting the parental strengths and needs assessment, determine the primary parent. This is based on the first of the following descriptions that best applies to the family situation:

  1. the parent living in the household where the allegations occurred who assumes most of the child care responsibility
  2. the adult who is the legal guardian of the child―if child care responsibility is shared equally between two parents
  3. the person responsible or alleged to be responsible for the harm―if both parents are legal guardians
  4. the parent demonstrating the more severe behaviour when both parents are alleged to be responsible for the harm.

If applicable, the secondary parent is an adult living in the household who has routine responsibility for child care, but less responsibility than the primary parent.

Attention

A partner or non-biological adult in the household may meet the criteria of a secondary parent in the parental strengths and needs assessment even though they have minimal responsibility for caring for the child.

To complete the parental strengths and needs assessment:

  • Refer to Appendix B: Case plan guidance in the SDM Policy and procedures manual. It provides prompt questions to help gather information about each parent.
  • Meet with the parents to
    • discuss the purpose of the assessment
    • explore areas of each parent’s life to assist in completing the assessment.
  • For each parent, assess their current level of functioning in the first 9 domains and how this may impact either positively or negatively on the safety and risk to the child in the home, using professional judgement and considering
  • Open the parental strengths and needs assessment in ICMS and
    • in each domain in ‘Section 1: Strengths and needs’, select the level of strength or need for the primary parent that accurately reflects the information gathered and the definitions.
    • if there is a secondary parent, open the ‘plus’ tab at the send of section 1 and add the secondary parent, completing each domain for them
    • in ‘Section 2: Results’, select the 3 agreed priority parental needs. Refer to Select the 3 priority parental needs and provide a rationale for the priority needs
    • submit the completed assessment to the senior team leader for approval.
  • Give the approved assessment to the family group meeting convenor to use in developing the case plan.

Practice prompt

When completing a parental strengths and needs assessment for a parent who is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person or from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, apply a cultural lens to:

  • support engagement with families
  • help consider how the family’s culture, cultural identity, norms and past/current experiences of discrimination and oppression may influence or shape parenting.

In particular, when interviewing families, consider:

  • how the parent identifies with their culture
  • any historical experiences of discrimination that are important or relevant to the parent
  • any current experiences of discrimination the parent might be experiencing
  • any coping skills, strengths or survival skills the parent has developed or demonstrated in facing discrimination.

This context is intended to assist in better understanding the family, recognising and acknowledging differences, developing collaborative working relationships and helping identify culturally relevant activities and services to include in the case plan.

Select the 3 priority parental needs

Each case plan focuses on up to 3 priority needs in total for the primary and secondary parent. The 3 needs are prioritised in collaboration with the family, and are a major focus in the development of the case plan.

If more than 3 parental needs are identified between both parents or there are several needs with the same score, prioritise the needs by talking to the parents and using professional judgement.

To assist in prioritising, consider which needs:

  • score the lowest
  • are most likely to
    • prevent reunification (for a child in care)
    • contribute to further harm.

Attention

It may be appropriate to give priority to addressing a lower-scoring need because the parents are highly motivated to address the issue and it will have a positive impact for the child.

When completing the assessment:

  • Ensure the parents are aware of all of the needs identified and the rationale for the prioritisation decision, particularly if the parent disagrees with Child Safety’s assessment.
  • Advise the parent that, while 3 priority needs will be addressed in the case plan, their other identified needs may need to be addressed in subsequent case plans.

Determine the non-negotiables required to meet the child’s needs

After completing case planning assessments and before developing the case plan, determine the non-negotiables for inclusion in the case plan to meet the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs. An example of a non-negotiable may be that a parent’s contact can only occur if a safe adult is present to support the contact, due to safety concerns. This will be reviewed as the case plan progresses.

Consult with a senior team leader when determining the non-negotiables for case planning, taking into consideration:

  • the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing
  • the child’s strengths, needs, resources and abilities
  • the parents’ strengths, needs and demonstrated capacity to meet the child’s needs.

Meet with the family and inform them of the non-negotiables, clearly explaining the reasons for the decision(s) and answering any questions or worries the family may have.

Attention

After gathering information about the child and family and developing the non-negotiables, ensure the proposed case plan goal and the ongoing intervention type are appropriate to meet the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs. (Refer to Procedure 4 Intervention with parental agreement and Procedure 3 Recommend a child protection order).

Practice prompt

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child:

Explore service options

It is important to coordinate the provision of appropriate services to a child and their family by other government agencies or funded community sector services. This includes access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for a child with a disability.

Before a family group meeting or case plan review, and in collaboration with the family:

  • Identify services currently engaged with the family. If it is suitable and the family and service agree, have the service continue addressing the family’s needs. (Refer to Liaise with service providers).
  • Identify potential services that can provide assistance to the family in meeting the identified needs of the child and parent.
  • Identify services the family has previously worked with, or services they would prefer to engage with to help address their needs.
  • For a child who is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, consider a referral to a family wellbeing service. (Refer to Procedure 4 Refer a family to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing Service).
  • If a child has complex behavioural and psychological issues, consider a referral to Evolve therapeutic services. (Refer to Refer a child to Evolve).
  • If a child has a diagnosed or suspected disability or developmental delay, identify if they are linked to the NDIS or have an existing NDIS plan. (Refer to Respond to a child’s disability needs).
  • If financial mismanagement or neglect are issues for the family, consider Child Protection Income Management (Rockhampton and Logan trial sites only as of August 2019). (Refer to Department of Social Services—Child protection measure of income management).

Note

If there are no services available to meet the identified needs of the child or parent within the case plan period, consult with the senior team leader to develop alternative options for addressing the needs and discuss possible options with the family.

Liaise with service providers

If an agency has been identified as a potential service provider, discuss this with the child and family and find out if they are willing to work with the service.

Contact the agency to:

  • ensure the service will meet the identified needs of the child or family
  • ensure the child or family are eligible for the service
  • determine the availability of the service to meet the case plan requirements
  • identify the referral procedure for the agency
  • discuss the expectations for collaboration, feedback and review of the family’s progress by both the agency and Child Safety
  • determine the cost of the service and any other resources that may be required to complete the work.

Decisions about suitable service options will be made in consultation with the senior team leader.

Information on service providers must be provided to the convenor of the family group meeting in a timely manner. This process must not pre-empt the family decision-making process at the family group meeting.

Give involved service providers the opportunity to attend the family group meeting, if the family agree and it is appropriate for them to attend.

Tip

Seek financial approval from the CSSC manager for any anticipated costs involved in the implementation of the case plan before the family group meeting.

Plan for the family group meeting 

The purpose of a family group meeting as outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51G is to:

  • provide family-focused responses to a child’s care, safety, belonging and wellbeing needs
  • ensure an inclusive process for planning and making decisions relating to a child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs.

Family group meetings are an important component of Child Safety’s Framework for Practice, providing a forum for consultation and collaborative assessment and planning with the child, their family and their safety and support network.

Under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51H, Child  Safety must (other than in circumstances specified in the Child  Protection  Act 1999 ) convene a family group meeting, or have an external convenor convene a family group meeting, to develop the initial case plan for a child.

A family group meeting may also be convened, but is not required, to:

  • review the existing case plan and prepare a revised case plan (Refer to Review and revise the case plan.)
  • consider or make recommendations about, or deal with, another matter relating to the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs.

Attention

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, use a family-led decision making process to develop a case plan whenever possible. This process can be facilitated by the Family Participation Program or an external, identified convenor. A family-led decision-making process to develop an initial case plan meets the requirements of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51A.

Family-led decision making:

  • assists a child and their family to fully participate in significant decisions that affect a child (for example, the decision about what is included in the child’s case plan)
  • enables the collective resources and protective capabilities of the family to be fully explored and taken into account to ensure the best decisions are made for the child
  • supports the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families to self-determination.

With the consent of a child and their family, arrange for an independent person or persons to help facilitate the child’s and parents’ participation in significant case planning decisions.

For further information, see Refer the family for family-led decision making and the practice kit Safe care and connection

Refer to the Family group meeting convenor handbook for guidance on the process. The handbook provides convenors with practical guidance on:

  • the values and principles of the family group meeting model
  • the resources available and the procedures for preparing and facilitating a family group meeting
  • skills and considerations to enhance practice when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families or families from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

Provide information to the family group meeting convenor

Every family group meeting will be convened by a family group meeting convenor, a person specifically delegated to conduct this task (under the statutory delegations). This includes:

  • a person appointed as a family group meeting convenor
  • a CSO, senior team leader or senior practitioner with the delegation to convene a family group meeting
  • an external person contracted by Child Safety to convene the family group meeting, including a family-led decision making facilitator from the Family Participation Program

The role of the convenor is to:

  • prepare all relevant people to participate in the meeting
  • facilitate the family group meeting
  • ensure the case plan is recorded on the approved form
  • distribute the endorsed case plan to the relevant people.

Complete a referral for the family group meeting

To initiate a family group meeting, arrange for a referral to be completed and provided to the convenor. Contact the principal team leader for the region where the family group meeting will be held to obtain a copy of the region’s referral form and to confirm the referral process, if required. Provide the following information as part of the referral process:

  • the name of the person making the referral
  • the child’s name, date of birth and address
  • the child’s cultural identity
  • if the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, include
    • whether, at the time of making the referral, the child and family had chosen to have an independent person or persons to help them participate in the family group meeting
      and 
    • the details of the independent person or persons
  • depending on the child’s age, the child’s views and wishes regarding their care needs and the case plan being developed at the family group meeting
  • details of how the child is going to participate in the family group meeting
  • the parents’ names and contact details
  • the details of the person currently caring for the child and the type of care arrangement
  • information about the current situation, including
    • a copy of the family’s completed Collaborative assessment and planning framework tool  
    • the non-negotiables for case planning
    • details of service providers currently working with the child or family
    • details of the parent’s or child’s direct legal representative and child’s separate representative, if relevant
    • if separate family group meetings are required (Refer to Consider convening separate family group meetings.)
    • any safety concerns, including the presence of domestic and family violence
  • details of any other significant family member or services. 

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, family group meetings will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family-led processes wherever possible. Seek the family’s agreement to be contacted by the Family Participation Program so they can explain the family-led decision making process to the family.

Once the family has spoken to the Family Participation Program and consented to the referral, complete the online referral form in the Queensland family support referral portal. If the family does not consent to being referred to the Family Participation Program for family-led decision making, make a referral to the family group meeting convenor.      

Note

Before making contact with the family, some Family Participation Program services may require Child Safety to first:

  • speak to the family and gain consent for a referral

and

Check local arrangements for referral to the Family Participation Program before talking to the family about a referral.

Provide additional information to the convenor

As soon as possible after completing the referral, provide the convenor with:

  • all relevant information from the approved investigation and assessment including the safety assessment and and the Assessment and outcome form in ICMS
  • the child strengths and needs assessment
  • the parental strengths and needs assessment, if the case plan goal is reunification
  • any other relevant information that has become available since the referral, including details of additional significant family members or other people who have been identified
  • the placement agreement for a child in a care arrangement
  • the proposed concurrent plan to achieve permanency for the child.

Meet with the convenor prior to the family group meeting

The CSO will meet with the family group meeting convenor before the meeting to discuss in detail:

  • the reasons for Child Safety’s involvement
  • the non-negotiables for case planning and the critical areas of need
  • the views of the child and family about case planning options, including the proposed concurrent plan
  • the views of the CSO and senior team leader regarding the child’s and family’s strengths and how these can be included in the case plan
  • current and future actions to enable the child to
    • contribute their views and wishes
    • participate in the family group meeting
    • overcome any barriers to their participation
  • the proposed venue, duration and format of the meeting
  • any significant issues that may impact on the family’s participation, for example
    • domestic and family violence issues
    • violent behaviour by any attendees
    • language or disability needs
  • ways to ensure the safety and full participation of all attendees
  • cultural considerations and ways to ensure a culturally safe meeting place for
    • an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child and their family (Refer to the practice kit Safe care and connection.)
    • a child and family from a culturally and linguistically diverse background
  • any people whose participation in the meeting would not be in a child’s best interests or would be contrary to the purposes of the family group meeting
  • if a young person is eligible for transition to adulthood planning
    • details of the planning that has commenced
    • the likely actions and outcomes that could be included in the child’s plan to meet their current and future needs. (Refer to the practice kit Transition to adulthood.)
  • what resources are required to implement the case plan and whether financial approval has been obtained from the CSSC manager.

Decide who will attend the family group meeting

It is the responsibility of the convenor to decide who will attend the family group meeting.

The following people must be given the opportunity to participate in the family group meeting:

  • the child. If they do not wish to attend the family group meeting in person, ensure they are encouraged to contribute their views and wishes in another way and supported in doing so
  • the child’s parents
  • extended family members who are likely to make a useful contribution to the case plan (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51L)
  • any legal representative for the child
  • the Public Guardian (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51L(1)(g)). To provide the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) with the required information, email the regional contact and telephone the relevant regional OPG visiting manager. (Refer to OPG—Regional visiting manager contact details ).
  • anyone else the convenor considers likely to make a useful contribution to the development of the case plan at the meeting, for example
    • a service provider
    • the foster or kinship carer or care service staff
    • Evolve Therapeutic Services staff
  • any support person nominated by the child or parent
  • a Child Safety representative, if the convenor is external to Child Safety.

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, an independent person will attend, with the child’s and family’s consent.  An independent person will attend, with the child’s and family’s consent, to help facilitate their participation in the decision-making process, unless their participation is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the child or someone else’s safety or emotional or psychological wellbeing (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51W).

In consultation with the family, determine if the following individuals or agencies will be invited to participate in the development of the child’s case plan and cultural support plan:

  • a cultural practice advisor 
  • individuals or services nominated by the child and family
  • community members of significance to the child and family
  • the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander foster and kinship care service, if relevant
  • the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing Service, if relevant
  • other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agencies that are delivering services to or are in contact with the child and family. 

Note

The decision about who will attend a family group meeting is based on whether the participation or attendance of a person is in the child’s best interests, and if the person is likely to make a useful contribution to the development of the case plan.

Under the Child Protection Act 1999, sections 51L(4) and 51W, someone who should be given the opportunity to attend the family group meeting may be excluded by the convenor if the person's participation and attendance:

  • would not be in a child’s best interests
  • would be contrary to the purposes of the meeting.

Reasons to exclude a person may include:

  • a risk of harm to the child or another person attending the family group meeting
  • domestic and family violence issues, for example
    • if there are safety concerns
    • if, due to a perpetrator’s coercion and control, a non-offending caregiver would be unable to express their views or genuinely participate in the family group meeting process
  • if a participant has a mental illness or substance misuse issues that will disrupt the family group meeting, making it unable to function or proceed
  • the presence of a participant is likely to pose a psychological or emotional risk to the child’s wellbeing and ability to participate in the meeting.

In these circumstances, if the person who is excluded is likely to make a useful contribution to the child’s case plan, the convenor will seek their views and input in a way that does not compromise the safety or wellbeing of the participants or the functioning of the meeting process.

Note

The convenor's decision to exclude a person from a meeting should be exercised rarely, and only after strategies to avoid excluding have been considered in consultation with the senior team leader and the CSO with case responsibility. The convenor cannot exclude the child, a CSO or a child’s legal representative from a family group meeting.

Consider convening separate family group meetings

It is appropriate to hold separate family group meetings to develop the case plan if there is:

  • an existing Significant DFV threat alert recorded in a person’s profile in ICMS 
    or
  • domestic and family violence within the child’s family 
    or
  • significant conflict between the parents.

Attention

If domestic and family violence is known or suspected, partner with the mother first to discuss the worries and develop a plan to create safety for her throughout the case planning process. For information on case planning for families if there is domestic and family violence, refer to Case planning in the practice kit Domestic and family violence.

Prepare for the meeting

The convenor will undertake preparation tasks with the participants for the family group meeting in advance, as outlined in the Family group meeting convenor handbook.  This gives attendees the opportunity to discuss in advance:

  • the process and structure of the family group meeting, and what to expect during the meeting
  • harms, worries, complicating factors and the child and parental strengths and needs assessments  
  • strengths and resources, and acts of protection and belonging 
  • what case plan goals and actions may be developed at the meeting
  • how the child’s cultural needs will be met
  • any questions or concerns they have.

Practice prompt

When a family group meeting is to be held for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, the convenor will talk to the family before the meeting about who may be the most appropriate person to deliver the Acknowledgement of Country (also known as an Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners and Elders) at the opening of the meeting.

This is usually delivered by the meeting facilitator, but may also be delivered by a family member, an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander professional attending the meeting or an independent person. The convenor will sensitively seek the views and advice of the family about any cultural protocols that apply to meeting attendees.

Refer to Welcome to Country on the Queensland government website for information about the Acknowledgement of Country protocol.

When meeting with participants before the family group meeting, the convenor can advise them of Child Safety’s obligations regarding sharing information about criminal proceedings. Refer to Advise participants about evidence from family group meetings and case plans in criminal proceedings.

This is also an opportunity for the convener to further understand and to make plans to ensure the full participation of everyone attending the meeting. For example, they can plan for a person’s disability or other needs. Refer to the practice kit Disability for further information on case planning and engaging with a child or parent with a disability. Refer to the Case planning sections of each of the relevant practice kits for more information on understanding and responding to the needs of the participants to ensure their full participation. (Refer to Practice kits.)  Refer to the Children and young people's participation strategy for resources on promoting the participation of children and young people.

Attention

If a parent is unwilling to meet with the convenor or attend the family group meeting, the convenor will make efforts to have the parent participate in another way, such as via telephone or through the parent preparing a written statement to be presented at the meeting.

A parent's decision not to participate in a family group meeting does not prevent the meeting from being held and a case plan being developed in their absence.

Convene the family group meeting

The structure of a family group meeting and the way it is convened is based on the following considerations:

  • the views and wishes of the child and family about
    • how they would like the meeting to be conducted
    • ways in which the meeting can best promote their genuine participation
  • for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child or a child from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, cultural advice from the child, their family and any members of the community to which the child belongs
  • the safety of all participants
  • communication needs and required supports for any participants to ensure their full participation
  • whether separate meetings are occurring, and how they are each structured.

Practice prompt

When a family group meeting is held for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, talk to the family in advance about who is the most appropriate person to do an acknowledgement of the traditional land owners at the opening of the family group meeting.

For further information about cultural protocols, talk to the child’s family and refer to the Family group meeting convenor handbook.

Advise participants about evidence from family group meetings and case plans in criminal proceedings

As part of the introduction, the convenor will ensure participants are aware:

  • Child Safety is obligated to share any information discussed at the meeting about incidents of harm to a child that may involve a criminal offence, with the QPS — with or without the consent of the participants. This applies regardless of whether or not the department suspects the child is in need of protection (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2) and 14(3)).
  • That aside from the above obligation, anything said or done at the family group meeting is inadmissible in a criminal proceeding unless
    • all people participating in the family group meeting consent
      or
    • there is a criminal proceeding for an offence committed during a family group meeting (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51YA)

Tip

In the Family group meeting convenor handbook, there is a disclaimer that can be read at the beginning of the family group meeting that outlines Child Safety’s obligations in relation to providing information to the QPS.

Discuss items for the case plan

During the family group meeting, the convenor will guide discussion between all the participants to formulate an agreed case plan that:

Refer to the Family group meeting convenor handbook for comprehensive guidance on addressing these items and convening the family group meeting.

Tip

When developing case plan goals and actions, make them SMART:

  • specific
  • measurable
  • attainable
  • results-oriented 
  • time-limited (to be achieved within a set time).

To assist participants in the family group meeting to develop items for the case plan, provide opportunities for private family time. The use of private family time gives families ownership over the case plan and encourages them to take responsibility for protecting the child with strategies they have developed as a family. 

During the meeting, the family group meeting convenor:

  • explains to the child and the child’s family the requirements for concurrent planning
  • ensures all participants have a clear and shared understanding of
    • the main items to be discussed
    • the goals of the case plan
  • assists participant develop actions for working towards the goals
  • ensures the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (Child Protection Act 1999, section 5C) is discussed and included in the development of the case plan for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.

The shared focus is on the child’s safety, wellbeing and best interests now and for the rest of the child’s life. 

Practice prompt

When discussing and documenting items for the case plan during the meeting, use wording that:

  • reflects the intention of what is discussed at the meeting 
    and
  • is understood by all participants in the meeting.

It may be helpful to write statements down or represent them visually for participants to see during the meeting and clarify as required.

Record the case plan

Every case plan must be recorded in the approved case plan form in ICMS. Recording the case plan is the responsibility of:

  • the convenor 
    or
  • the CSO with case responsibility, if
    • the convenor is a private convenor (including the Family Participation Program service for a family-led decision making process)
    • the CSO with case responsibility, if the case plan is developed without a family group meeting being held.

Time sensitive

In the ongoing intervention event in ICMS, record the case plan and submit it to the senior team leader, to be endorsed within 10 business days of the meeting (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51Q).

The child’s genogram

A genogram helps identify people who can:

  • be part of the child’s and family’s safety and support network (Refer to the Circles of safety and support tool.)
  • assist the child and family to complete case plan actions and achieve case plan goals
  • care for the child if required
  • keep the child connected to their family of origin.

Note

Ideally, who is in the child’s family is explored and documented in a genogram before the family group meeting. If not, ensure time is dedicated during the meeting to identifying the child’s maternal and paternal immediate and extended family members.

Revisit and update the genogram as part of every case planning meeting. Attach the family’s genogram to the case plan and make sure the child has a copy of their genogram.

Record of meeting

In the case plan, record the details of each person who participated in its development, including:

  • their names
  • the role of each participant and their relationship to the child
  • how each person participated.

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, record information in the Independent person form in ICMS if an independent person helped facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in the development of the case plan, including the development and review of a cultural support plan. (Refer to Develop a cultural support plan.)    

In addition, record in the case plan:

  • the date of the most recent family group meeting
  • the date the case plan was developed if no family group meeting was held
  • the purpose of the family group meeting
  • the location where the family group meeting was held
  • the name and role of the family group meeting convenor.

Summary of current assessment

This section in the case plan is based on Child Safety’s current assessment and identifies the type of ongoing intervention the child is subject to, and the primary goal of the case plan to best achieve or maintain permanency. 

Note

It is critical that all participants understand the current intervention and the goal of the case plan, so they know what they are working towards.

Type of ongoing intervention

In this section, select the type of ongoing intervention the child is subject to. It will be one of the following:

  • Intervention with parental agreement 
  • Intervention with parental agreement and a directive child protection order 
  • Child protection order (CPO).

Primary goal of the case plan to best achieve permanency

Each child, regardless of whether they are subject to a child protection order or in-home intervention, requires a primary permanency goal to be developed during the initial family group meeting.

The primary goal selected in the case plan is the goal that will best maintain or achieve permanency for the child considering Child Safety’s assessment.

The primary goal will be one of the following:

  • child to remain safely in the home
  • reunification
  • long-term out-of-home care
  • young person to live independently
  • another permanency option.

‘Child to remain safely in the home’ is selected as the goal when a child is subject to intervention with parental agreement, a supervision order, or a directive order, and remains in the care of their parents.

‘Reunification’ is selected as the goal when a child has been removed from the care of their parents and the goal of the case plan is to reunify the child with their parents on a permanent basis. Reunification with the family is the best outcome when the family can provide and sustain safe and nurturing care for a child.

‘Long-term out-of-home care’ is selected as the goal when reunification with a parent is not possible or not in the child’s best interests, and an alternative long-term care arrangement is required. This applies to a child who is subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive.

‘Young person to live independently’ is selected as the goal if:

  • reunification with a parent is not possible or not in the child’s best interests
  • the child is 15 years or older and is transitioning to adulthood through independent living.

‘Other permanency option’ is selected as the goal when reunification with a parent is not possible or not in the child’s best interests, and an alternative long-term care arrangement is required.

This applies to a child if the proposed permanency option is not a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive, such as:

  • a long-term guardianship to a suitable family member or another suitable person. (Refer to Long-term guardianship to a suitable person).
  • a permanent care order (Refer to Permanent care order).
  • a family law court order 
  • an adoption order
  • another option, for example, if a family has arranged a cultural adoption  

To assist with decision making for a child about permanency options and to promote stability and continuity, refer to the practice kit Permanency.

Tip

Placing a child with extended family members or other important people in their lives is the preferred option for achieving permanency for a child who cannot safely live at home.

A child permanently residing with a kinship carer or foster carer may be provided with enhanced legal, physical and relational permanency through the use of a child protection order granting guardianship to another person (long-term or permanent guardian).

A child requiring a permanent care arrangement may also be provided with legal permanency through adoption.

For information on transition to adulthood, refer to Support a young person's transition to adulthood.

Alternative goal to achieve permanency

If the primary goal is reunification, an alternative permanency option must be recorded and pursued through concurrent planning processes in the event that the timely reunification of the child with their parents is not possible.

One of the following options must be selected:

  • long-term out-of-home care
  • young person lives independently
  • another permanency option.

Refer to the practice kit Permanency for further information on alternative permanency goals and the importance of concurrent planning for a child in care.

Note

For a child subject to a child protection order granting custody or short-term guardianship to the chief executive, the alternative permanency options of ‘long-term out of home care’ or ‘another permanency option’ may require a recommendation to the DCPL for a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive or a suitable person.

If so, an initial affidavit and Form A referral  will be completed no later than 20 days before the current child protection order ends. (Refer to Procedure 3 Refer to the Director of Child Protection Litigation to apply, extend, vary or revoke a child protection order).

What we are worried has happened

This section of the case plan identifies the past harm to the child and identifies the complicating factors that make it more difficult for the child to be safe.

Harm statements

Include information about the harm  that led to Child Safety being involved or harm related to past care environments. It includes:

  • times when a child has suffered significant harm as a result of an action or inaction of a parent, or a series of acts, omissions or circumstances
  • the past and current behaviours of parents who are abusive
  • the context and circumstances in which this behaviour happened
  • the harm or impact on the child.

Record a separate harm statement for each harm type. Refer to the Framework for Practice Collaborative assessment and planning framework - harm statements for further information.

Complicating factors

This section includes any factors, issues or circumstances that currently exist and make it more difficult for the child to be safe. If a child has not been harmed and was removed due to risk of harm, the factors contributing to the risk are complicating factors.

Consider the behaviour of parents, or other circumstances or conditions that place the child at risk of future harm. 

Tip

If alcohol and other drug use is identified as a contributing harm or complicating factor and substance testing of a parent is a necessary and important part of the case plan, refer to Procedure 4 Undertake substance testing of a parent for guidance.

What’s working well

This section of the case plan identifies:

  • the strengths and resources that improve safety, belonging and wellbeing for the child
  • the acts of protection and belonging taken by the parent, child, network or Child Safety to protect the child from harm.

Refer to the practice guide Framework for Practice Collaborative assessment and planning framework - protection and belonging and strengths and resources statements for further information.

Strengths and resources

It is important to have an understanding of the positive things that are occurring and working well in the family. These are recorded as strengths and resources and include information about:

  • what is happening that has helped the parents care for the child
  • what is in place that helps the parents improve the safety, belonging and wellbeing of the child
  • what other resources the parents have that help them care safely for the children
  • the child’s strengths and resources.

Protection and belonging

This section outlines what has occurred and is working well to create safety, belonging and wellbeing for the child. Record information about:

  • the actions of the parents, the safety and support network or Child Safety that have created safety, belonging and wellbeing for the child over time
  • what the parents have been able to do at times to keep the child safe from harm, and for how long
  • the strengths and protective actions that a child in long-term care has demonstrated in relation to their own safety, belonging and wellbeing.

Planning for safety, belonging and wellbeing

What needs to happen

This section of the case plan focuses on the future and outlines what needs to happen to ensure the safety, belonging and wellbeing of the child. It includes worry statements, goal statements and the actions required to achieve the goals.

Worry statements

Develop a worry statement to correspond to each harm statement and complicating factor related to a significant risk of harm.

Develop a worry statement for each complicating factor relating to risk of significant harm to the child. These should correlate with the needs identified in the child strengths and needs assessment and parental strengths and needs assessment.

A worry statement is future-focused and identifies:

  • who is worried
  • what they are worried the parents or carers might do or not do and in what circumstances 
    and
  • what the possible future impact of the behaviour might be on the child.

A worry statement is written in plain language that is easily understood by the family. Anyone participating in developing the case plan can have worry statements. This includes the child, parents, the safety and support network, and Child Safety.

Refer to the tool Collaborative assessment and planning framework - worry statements for further information.

Primary goal statements

A primary goal statement outlines what we want the future to look like, and how we see safety, belonging and wellbeing for the child. Whenever a worry statement is documented, a corresponding goal statement is developed and recorded.

Tip

An effective goal statement is positive and outlines what behaviour we will be seeing from a parent or carer, rather than the absence of something.

For example, rather than stating ‘Sally will not get drunk around her son Alex and won’t leave him unsupervised’, a preferred goal statement would be ‘Sally will work with her alcohol counsellor and Child Safety to develop a plan that will show everyone she is sober when her son Alex is in her care, and ensure that Alex is always supervised appropriately for his age. Child Safety will need to see this plan working for 12 months to be confident that Sally has received the help she needs to maintain her sobriety.’

When developing goal statements, consider:

  • what the child needs to experience, or have, to address the worries for the future
  • what needs to be demonstrated over time to ensure the child is safe, well and connected to family, community and culture
  • what we want to see the parents, family, safety and support network, and Child Safety doing
  • how each goal relates to achieving or maintaining permanency for the child.

Ensure the goal statements:

  • address the main needs of the child identified in the child strengths and needs assessment
  • address the 3 identified priority needs for the parents identified in the parental strengths and needs assessment
  • state what behaviour or actions will be taken by the parent, carer or network to address the worry and achieve the primary goal
  • respond to the reasons for Child Safety’s involvement
  • are forward looking, positive and behaviour-based
  • address the child’s need for relational, physical and legal permanency
  • include how long the behaviour will need to be demonstrated for Child Safety to be confident the behaviour will continue.

Refer to the practice guide Framework for Practice Collaborative assessment and planning framework - goal statements for further information.

Actions for the primary goal

This section outlines the activities and actions that need to be carried out to achieve the primary goal of the case plan to best achieve permanency and address the worry statements and priority needs identified in the strength and needs assessments.

For each action, record:

  • what has to be done and how frequently
  • who is responsible for the action
  • the date by which the action is to be completed or reviewed.

Do not record contact arrangements as an action. Record contact arrangements in the Family, culture and community connection section of the case plan.

When developing the actions for each goal statement, consider:

  • how the actions contribute to best achieving or maintaining permanency
  • what actions are required by the child’s parents, Child Safety, the network, carers and others to achieve the case plan goal
  • what the child needs to experience or have to address the future worries
  • what needs to be demonstrated over time to ensure the child is safe, well and connected to family, community and culture.

Agreed-upon actions need to be flexible enough to accommodate changes in people’s circumstances. If necessary, include strategies to address any potential problems or ‘what ifs’, if there is a possibility a person will be unable to complete their agreed-upon actions.

Refer to the practice guide Framework for Practice Collaborative assessment and planning framework - action steps and non-negotiables for further information.

Tip

Any person attending the family group meeting can be responsible for an agreed-upon action.

A person who is not at the meeting can be given responsibility for an action if they have tentatively agreed to the action prior to the meeting, if they understand what is required of them, and if they understand the worries.

A proposed action can be recorded for a person who is not at the meeting and has not tentatively agreed to it prior to the meeting, but a timeframe to obtain their agreement to the action must be recorded, along with what needs to happen if they don’t agree to the action.  

Alternative goal statements

The alternative goal statements outline what everyone is working to achieve for the child and what the future will look like if the timely return of the child to a parent is not possible. They outline how we see safety, belonging and wellbeing for the child in an alternative permanency option.

Tip

Depending on the options available to a child and family, there may be more than one alternative goal statement.

Actions for each alternative goal

This section outlines what actions are taken to achieve the alternative permanency option, if the primary goal is reunification.

The actions required to achieve the alternative permanency option include:

  • what has to be done and how frequently
  • who is responsible for the action
  • the date by which the action is to be completed or reviewed.

Child wellbeing and belonging

This section of the case plan outlines information about the child’s:

  • living arrangements
  • schooling or childcare arrangements
  • culture
  • health
  • family, culture and community connection, if the child is not in the care of their parents)
  • transition to adulthood plan, if the child is over 15 years.

Include information in relation to:

  • the care arrangements for the child
  • who the child is living with (if not their parents) and the name, relationship and address of the carers, unless it poses a safety risk to the child (Refer to Ensure information recorded in the case plan does not compromise safety).
  • where the child will attend childcare, school or other education or training
  • if applicable, details of the education support plan  or the arrangements to progress an education support plan for the child
  • if the child requires a child health passport (see following note), and how the child’s medical and therapeutic needs are to be met—if not already included as actions in the above part of the plan. 

Note

A child health passport is required for a child who has been in care for 30 days or more. In collaboration with the child, their parents and their carer, start a child health passport as soon as possible once a child is in care. (For further information, refer to Develop a child health passport).

Family, culture and community connection

Family, culture and community connection is a subsection of child wellbeing and belonging, and only appears in the case plan if it is identified that the child is not in the care of their parents. Family and community contact arrangements must reflect the case plan goal. These arrangements are recorded in this section and are not to be duplicated in the actions of the case plan.

Family contact arrangements must be consistent with any order made by the Childrens Court under the Child Protection Act 1999 (sections 61(b), 67(1)(b) or 68(1)(c)), which can include limiting the child’s contact with the child’s family or directing how the contact should happen.

Practice prompt

For further information about appropriate family contact arrangements, refer to Family contact decisions and Facilitate, monitor and review family contact.

In this section, include detailed arrangements for:

  • contact between the child, siblings and the child’s parents
  • contact between the child, other family members and other important people
  • how the child will maintain his or her connection to
    • parents
    • siblings
    • extended family
    • community members
    • people of cultural or ethnic significance
  • the agreed family contact schedule and all specific information about
    • frequency
    • duration
    • where it will occur
    • who will attend
    • the level of supervision.

In this section, also record any directions made by the Childrens Court granting an interim order about contact. 

Practice prompt

When a decision is made to refuse to allow, or restrict or impose conditions on family contact, ensure the child and parents are provided with a reviewable decision letter. (Refer to Family contact decisions and Procedure 7 Reviewable decisions and review applications). 

Cultural support plans

A comprehensive cultural support plan is integral to a child’s wellbeing. The cultural support plan is an important part of case planning for every child from another cultural community. The cultural support plan:

  • helps nurture and support the child while strengthening their cultural identity and connections
  • assists the child to understand and remain connected to their community networks and cultural heritage
  • increases the child’s knowledge and understanding of their place in their family, kinship and community structure
  • ensures important cultural and family information is documented for a child who is too young to contribute to their own cultural support plan.

The purpose of a cultural support plan is to ensure the child’s ongoing connection to their culture, family and community, including their parents, siblings and other people of significance in their communities or under Aboriginal tradition or Island custom.  

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, a comprehensive cultural support plan developed with the child’s family and community is essential, particularly if the child is not placed with a person who is compatible with or connected to the child’s community or language group.

Practice prompt

The cultural support plan is created as part of the development of the initial case plan for a child at a family group meeting and reviewed as part of the formal case plan review process. It is a ‘live document’, in that it is updated regularly to respond to the child’s needs.

Develop a cultural support plan

Work collaboratively with and provide the opportunity for the child (considering their age and developmental ability), their family and other appropriate people to meaningfully participate in the development of the child’s cultural support plan. This includes discussing and identifying:

  • strategies to ensure the child’s belonging and wellbeing needs are met and supported
  • strategies to maintain or enhance the child’s and family’s relationships, culture and community
  • who is willing to undertake tasks or activities with the child
  • any costs that may be required to deliver tasks or activities
  • people with whom the child has or will have regular contact to support the child in developing their cultural identity, and how and when this contact occurs/will occur
  • what assistance the carer requires to support the implementation of the plan
  • family contact arrangements that will safely maintain the child’s cultural identity and community connections.

Refer to the practice kit Safe care and connection for further information on the importance of culture and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.

Transition to adulthood

As part of the case planning process for a child aged 15 years or over, develop and record a transition to adulthood plan. (Refer to Support a young person's transition to adulthood.) For further information on working with young people and transitioning to adulthood, refer to the practice kit Transition to adulthood.

Resources required for plan

Record any decisions made that will require approval by the financial delegate, including specific details of the service to be provided and any anticipated costs. Where approval has not been sought prior to the family group meeting, advise the participants that CSSC manager approval is required following the family group meeting and prior to the case plan being endorsed.

For more information on developing the key items in the case plan, refer to the Family group meeting convenor handbook.

When a case plan cannot be developed at a family group meeting

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 51S, outlines the requirements for developing a case plan in circumstances where either:

  • the case plan is not developed at the family group meeting 
    or
  • it has not been possible for Child Safety to convene a family group meeting or have a private convenor convene a family group meeting.

In these circumstances, a case plan can be developed by Child Safety. Obtain the views of the following people:

  • the child, if age and developmentally appropriate
  • the child’s parents
  • other members of the child’s family group who are considered likely to make a useful contribution
  • significant people to the child, for example, the child’s carer
  • any legal representative for the child
  • a relevant service provider
  • anyone else considered likely to make a useful contribution to the plan.

Prepare a case plan that best meets the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs, taking into consideration:

  • the views of the participants
  • information obtained through the assessment process
  • identified risks to the child 
  • the child and parental strengths and needs assessments.

Attention

The Childrens Court cannot make a child protection order unless it is satisfied that there is an endorsed case plan that responds to the child's assessed needs.

If an initial case plan was developed without a family group meeting being held, the Childrens Court must be provided with evidence in an affidavit about why the case plan was developed in this way.

The court must be satisfied that it was not possible to convene a family group meeting (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51S) and that all steps were taken by Child Safety to convene a meeting. A lack of time and resources is not sufficient criteria to justify not convening a family group meeting.

Ensure information recorded in the case plan does not compromise safety

In circumstances where there is a risk to the safety of a child, parent or participant, ensure information recorded in the case plan does not jeopardise their safety. Examples of information that could compromise a person’s safety include:

  • the location, address or other personal details of a person or their extended family members
  • information that identifies a child’s school or the location of other activities they participate in
  • photographs of a child on family visits that may identify the location or area where a parent or child resides.

Practice prompt

When it is assessed that information may need to be withheld from a person who perpetrates domestic and family violence, talk with the non-offending parent about what information they believe should be withheld to ensure their safety.

When withholding information, work closely with the senior team leader and, where relevant, the OCFOS lawyer to ensure the obligations to a parent under the legislation are met, and the parents are provided with all rights of review for such decisions.  

Endorse and distribute the case plan

Endorse the case plan

To endorse a case plan, the senior team leader must be satisfied that it:

  • is consistent with the child’s best interests throughout childhood and the rest of the child’s life
  • is practicable
  • sufficiently provides for the child’s safety, or for any directions or orders made by the Childrens Court
  • addresses the critical areas of need
  • takes into account the long-term effect of decisions about an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child’s identity and connection with family and community
  • includes approval for any significant resourcing impacts by the financial delegate.

Note

If a case plan has not been endorsed within the required 10 business days and a short period of time has elapsed, it is not necessary to reconvene a family group meeting (unless the delay was because the case plan is not suitable).

The senior team leader is responsible for endorsing the existing case plan in ICMS as soon as possible and recording the rationale for the delay.

Take action when the case plan cannot be endorsed

If the case plan developed is considered impractical or not in the child’s best interests (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51R) the case plan will not be endorsed. In these circumstances:

  • Reconvene the family group meeting and involve the same participants from the previous meeting.
    or
  • Hold another family group meeting, involving additional or different participants from those involved in the meeting where the original plan was developed.
    or
  • Amend the original case plan in ICMS:
    • within 7 business days of the case planning meeting at which the original plan was developed (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51R (3)(b))
    • only to the extent necessary to ensure the case plan is practicable and in the child’s best interests
    • after consultation with the convenor, if the family group meeting was convened by a private convenor
      and
    • submit the amended case plan to the senior team leader for endorsement.

Attention

It is the role of Child Safety to make decisions about amendments to a case plan.

If a decision is made to amend the case plan, provide each person who was at the family group meeting with written notice of the amendment and the reasons for the amendment.

Distribute the case plan

Once the case plan is endorsed, provide a copy of it to:

  • the child (if age and developmentally appropriate), or explain the case plan to the child in a way that is appropriate to the child’s age and ability to understand
  • the child’s parents
  • anyone else
    • affected by the plan
    • responsible for action in the plan
    • who Child Safety considers should receive a copy, for example, the Public Guardian
  • any legal representative for the child or the child’s parents
  • the child’s foster or kinship carer, or licensed care service, or long-term guardian who will be involved in implementing the case plan for the child
  • an Elder or other respected person of the child’s community who will play a role in supporting the implementation of the plan.

Practice prompt

The case plan is a document developed for the child and about the child. Depending on a child’s age, disability and any developmental or therapeutic needs, it may be appropriate to develop a ‘child-friendly’ case plan so the child has a clear understanding of it.

In most cases, everyone who attends the family group meeting will be given a copy of the case plan, except if an attendee will not be involved in the implementation of the case plan. This may include an independent person or support person.

Note

When the convenor is external to Child Safety, record the case plan in the approved form and distribute it to the relevant people. If the convenor is internal to Child Safety, they will distribute the case plan.

Provide the case plan to the Childrens Court

As mentioned earlier, the Childrens Court cannot make a child protection order unless it is satisfied that there is an endorsed case plan that responds to the child's assessed needs. Once the endorsed case plan is filed in the Childrens Court, if there is any dispute or disagreement about the plan, the Magistrate must be satisfied that the case plan is valid and appropriate.

In line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51X, attach a review report and revised case plan to an updating affidavit and provide the material to the DCPL via CourtShare. (Refer to Procedure 3 Participate in child protection proceedings).

Implement the case plan

The CSO with case responsibility facilitates actions to implement the case plan, and supports and monitors the progress of the family and other network members in achieving case plan goals. This is done with the support of the CSSO, senior team leader, and other Child Safety staff and service providers.

Case plan implementation requires:

  • positive and collaborative working relationships with the child, family and service providers
  • engagement with the parents to
    • encourage and support them in completing actions in the case plan
    • undertake goal-directed visits in accordance with the minimum contact requirements (Refer to Have contact with a child in care.)
  • engagement with the child to
    • monitor their safety and promote their wellbeing
    • undertake goal-directed visits in their home or care arrangement in line with the minimum contact requirements (Refer to Have contact with a child in care.)
  • management of family contact for the child, including having regular reviews and making plans to increase family contact in appropriate timeframes if the case plan goal is reunification
  • coordination of case plan actions and ongoing monitoring of the family’s and network’s progress in completing the agreed actions in the case plan to meet the child’s needs
  • staff to be responsive and effective when working across difference with children and families, for example, families whose ethnicity, gender, culture, sexual orientation and other experiences may differ from their own
  • completion of the actions assigned to Child Safety in the case plan
  • completion of court-related tasks as required
  • information about all activities with the child, family and carer to be recorded in ICMS.

If the child is in a care arrangement:

  • Ensure the carer has all necessary support and information to meet the child’s daily care needs.
  • Support and monitor the care provided by the carer to enable them to undertake the actions outlined in the placement agreement. (Refer to Procedure 6 Arrange a placement meeting and complete a placement agreement.)

If the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander:

  • Ensure interactions with the child, their family and community are culturally responsive, and the child and family are given an opportunity to have an independent person help facilitate their participation in the decision-making process for all significant decisions (Child Protection Act 1999, section 6) (Refer to Decision-making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.)
  • Make active efforts to place the child in accordance with the placement hierarchy set out in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 83, if the child is in care or requires a care arrangement.

Use professional judgement and consider all information gathered during the implementation of the case plan to regularly assess progress towards the case plan goals, and the appropriateness of the primary case plan goals and actions.

Attention

If, during case plan implementation, or at any other stage during work with a child or family, information is received that indicates the child or family member may have been a victim of an act of violence, provide information about services and assistance available through Victim Assist Queensland. (Refer to Procedure 4 Provide information about Victim Assist Queensland).

Engage required service providers

The provision of appropriate services to children and families to address needs identified for the child, parent or family is an important aspect of achieving case plan goals. Contact with service providers will generally have occurred prior to the development of the case plan, in accordance with Explore service options

To engage a service provider:

  • Talk with the child (if appropriate), the parents, and the carer (if relevant) about the service provider and referral process to ensure they understand the service and what is required of them to engage with the service.
  • Complete a referral to the agency in line with their referral requirements.
  • Provide information to the child, parents and if relevant, the carer, about how and when to access the service.
  • Confirm the cost of the service and if required, organise the method of payment following approval from the CSSC manager.
  • Develop a communication plan between the service and Child Safety including
    • how often they will engage with the child and family
    • how often they will provide information to Child Safety about the family’s progress.

If the parents are referring themselves to a service, provide them with support to complete the referral process as required.

Practice prompt

In consultation with the child and family, invite the family’s service provider to be part of the family’s safety and support network. This network promotes a shared understanding of the worries and the shared responsibility for promoting the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing.

Tip

If a service nominated in the case plan is unable to accept a referral, record the information in a referral case note in ICMS. Identify other possible services as soon as possible and discuss them with the child, parent and, if relevant, the carer, to progress case plan implementation.

Coordinate service providers

If there are multiple services working with the child and parent:

  • Coordinate regular communication between the services and the family or carer and child, if age and developmentally appropriate.
  • Monitor the services provided to ensure they meet the needs of the child, parents or carer in progressing the case plan.
  • Include the staff of these services in the regular review of the case plan.

Practice prompt

Having regular meetings with service providers and the family is one of the best ways to share information. This helps everyone involved understand what work is being undertaken by each service provider, and ensures everyone is kept up to date on the family’s progress. For further information, refer to Procedure 4 Support a child by sharing information.

Have contact with a child in care

Maintaining contact with children and parents is a critical part of ongoing intervention. There is a minimum number of face-to-face contacts that a CSO must have with the child and their parents to help progress case plan goals and monitor a child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing.

Face-to-face contact requirements for reunification cases

Face-to-face to contact may be completed by one of the following practitioners or professionals:

  • CSO
  • CSSO
  • cultural practice advisor
  • another Child Safety practitioner
  • a professional working with the family responsible for actions within the child’s case plan.

To meet the requirements, face-to-face contact must be:

  • meaningful, purposeful, and goal directed
  • culturally responsive and respectful
  • used to assess
    • the strengths, needs, safety and wellbeing of each child
    • the parents’ individual strengths and needs, actions taken to progress the case plan goals and demonstrated change relating to case plan goals.

Attention

During face-to-face contact:

  •  consider changes in family circumstances that may affect the child’s safety and respond as necessary
  •  speak with the child alone to provide them with an opportunity to express any concerns.

Note

Use the case note type ‘Prescribed home visit’ to record a face-to-face contact with a child in their care arrangement.

Use the case note type ‘Visit to parents’ to record a face-to-face contact with a parent, where the child is in care.

Refer to the practice guide Case notes.

For a child placed in care whose primary case plan goal is reunification, face-to-face contact is to occur at least:

  • once per month with the child, in the child’s care arrangement
  • three times per month with the parents, twice in their residence.

A CSO must complete at least one face-to-face contact with the child per month, and at least one of the face-to-face contacts with child’s parents.

For minimum face-to-face contact requirements for a child subject to an in-home intervention, refer to Procedure 4 Face-to-face contact requirements for in-home cases.

For minimum contact requirements with a child whose case plan goal is not reunification, refer to Contact requirements for a child in care if the case plan goal is not reunification.

Additional contact with a child and their parents

Consider whether additional contact is necessary in the following circumstances to meet case plan goals and ensure a child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing:

  • there has been a change in the child or parents’ circumstances
  • the child’s vulnerability is heightened due to factors such as age, disability or engagement in high-risk behaviour
  • a child placed in a care arrangement under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(f) requires additional levels of contact to ensure the standards of care are met
  • an immediate safety plan is in place, to ensure the implementation of the plan and to address the child’s safety needs
  • a child is in a care arrangement and
    • additional contact is required to monitor the standards of care
      or
    • there may be a risk of placement disruption
      or
    • the child is experiencing a significant transition (for example, the death of a family member).
  • the duration of the intervention requires a more intensive response to help achieve case plan goals.

Undertake additional contact assessed as necessary, which may include:

  • additional face-to-face contact by the CSO with either the child or parents
  • face-to-face contact with either the child or parents by
    • a CSSO, provided the contact meets the requirements of a face-to-face contact or
    • a service provider who is involved in implementing the child’s case plan (such as health service or counselling service).
  • personal or telephone contact with a person who has information about the child or the parents, where that person is involved in the implementation of the child’s case plan. Examples may include, but are not limited to, educational personnel, health services, counselling services, Youth Justice staff.

Further reading

Refer to Child Safety iLearn course: Non-violent crisis intervention.

Contact requirements if a child is reunified

If a child in care is reunified following the review of a case plan, the minimum contact requirements for in-home cases will apply. (Refer to Procedure 4 Face-to-face contact requirements for in-home cases.)

Contact requirements for a child in care if the case plan goal is not reunification

When the case plan goal is not reunification, Child Safety must have contact with the  child, in the child’s place of residence, at least once a month.

For a child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, contact with the child and long-term guardian is required once every 12 months. (Refer to Have contact with the child and long-term guardian).

Note

There is no requirement for Child Safety to have ongoing intervention with a child subject to a permanent care order. However, the child or guardian may request a review of the case plan at any time. If a review is to occur, refer to Review a permanent care order—case plan.

Visit the child, parent and carer during ongoing intervention

Face-to-face contact is the key to building positive relationships with a child, their family and carer.

It is important to plan and conduct contact visits with a clear purpose and understanding of the planned outcome of each visit. Face-to-face contact must:

  • be meaningful, purposeful and goal-directed
  • be culturally responsive and respectful
  • be child-focused and take into account the child’s
    • needs
    • views
    • wellbeing and safety
  • be used in assessing the child’s and parents’ strengths and needs and progress toward the case plan goal and actions
  • ensure compliance with the statement of standards for children in care.

When arranging contact with the child, parent or carer:

  • negotiate an appropriate time and place for the visit
  • assess any personal safety issues and take necessary action to ensure safety for all participants
  • consider cultural information and make plans as required
  • arrange for an interpreter or communication partner if the child or parent experiences communication barriers due to disability, or if the child or parent speak a language other than English.  (Refer to How can I access a translator or interpreter? on the Queensland Government website.)

 

Attention

When visiting a child or family, plan for your personal safety. Always document your exact location in your electronic calendar, carry a mobile phone, have access to exits from the home, and use non-violent crisis intervention techniques to de-escalate potentially hostile situations.

Refer to Child Safety iLearn course: Non-violent crisis intervention.

Further reading

Contact with a child or parent

Face-to-face contact with a child and their parents is critical to assessing the safety of the child, and to supporting the child and parent in achieving case plan goals.

For information on face-to-face contact with a child, refer to Procedure 4 Engage in meaningful face-to-face contact with the child.

For information on face-to-face contact with a parent, refer to Procedure 4 Engage in meaningful face-to-face contact with the parent.

Contact with a carer

Face-to-face contact with a child’s carer assists in developing a collaborative working relationship to meet the needs of the child, and to ensuring the child’s carer has all the necessary supports to meet the child’s needs. When scheduling a visit to a child’s carer, liaise with the carer’s foster and kinship carer support worker to determine if a joint home visit to the carer is suitable.

When meeting with the carer of a child:

  • Explore what support they are currently receiving and what further supports they may require to meet the needs of the child and to support the child’s care arrangement.
  • Discuss the actions detailed in the case plan and placement agreement and determine if other actions need to be taken to achieve the case plan goal and support the child’s care arrangement.
  • Identify and seek to resolve any issues that may impact on the progress of the case plan, for example, conflict with the child’s parents, transport arrangements, or costs exceeding the fortnightly caring allowance.
  • Identify any issues in the care environment that may impact on the safety, belonging and wellbeing of the child.

If an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child is placed with a carer who is not an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, regularly talk with the carer about:

  • the important role a child’s connection to culture and kin has in developing a child’s identity and building their resilience
  • how the placement and care provided aligns with the five elements of the child placement principle
  • the child’s cultural support plan
  • any supports the carer requires to ensure the child’s cultural needs are nurtured and actions in the cultural support plan are completed.

If there is more than one approved carer for a child, make arrangements to meet with both carers where possible.

(Refer to Procedure 5 Child Safety contact requirements for ongoing intervention.)

Following face-to-face contact with the carer:

  • Schedule the next visit in line with the contact requirements.
  • Record relevant information in a Visit to carer case note in ICMS as soon as possible
  • Take action to address any issues identified, particularly about the child’s safety.

Assess the progress of the case plan

Assessing the progress of the case plan occurs throughout the implementation stage by analysing the information gathered through case work, including:

  • all contact with the child, parents, safety and support network members and other significant people
  • feedback from service providers
  • observations of family interactions and behaviours.

Monitor and record the progress of the case plan

Monitor the progress of the case plan through regular contact with the child, the parents, and the family’s safety and support network. Regularly discuss the family’s progress with a senior team leader to ensure a robust assessment and response to the family’s needs.

As part of ongoing contact:

  • Collaborate with the family and other relevant people to gather and assess information about the safety and wellbeing of the child including
    • the completion of the case plan activities
    • the completion of the placement agreement actions
    • progress made towards achieving the case plan goals by all parties.
  • Record all relevant information in ICMS as soon as possible, using the correct case note template, including
    • a summary of any important events that occur in the life of the child or family
    • any risks to the child’s safety that are identified and the strategies undertaken to ensure the child’s safety
    • case discussions and decisions, including the rationale for these decisions. 

Practice prompt

Poor case notes can result in poor decision making and adverse outcomes for children and families. When recording information about a child and family:

  • start the case note by setting the context. Include the date, time, location, who was present, method of communication, and purpose of contact
  • use plain language that is impartial and factual
  • include a section that details next steps and when tasks will be completed by, to help move the case forward and show progress over time.

Respond to harm, risk of harm or criminal court information

If new child protection concerns are received during implementation of the case plan in relation to a child, take immediate action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child. If concerns are received about a child’s care arrangement, refer to Procedure 6 Respond to concerns about the child’s care arrangement. For all other child protection concerns received, refer to Procedure 1 New child protection concerns.

If criminal court information is received about:

  • a child subject to ongoing intervention via an Integrated Justice Information Strategy (IJIS) notification (Criminal court matter alert) 
    or
  • a criminal or civil court matter via an IJIS electronic transfer of court result (ETCR) alert email,

Take the following actions:

  • View the information contained in the automated email or the ETCR report in ICMS.
  • Assess the information and record the appropriate response in ICMS.
  • Record any further action taken, including the provision of information about the services offered by Victim Assist Queensland. (Refer to Victims of Crime.)
  • Complete a new safety assessment.
  • Consider the need to review the current case plan, including the type of ongoing intervention required to keep the child safe.
  • Review the appropriateness of the child’s care arrangement.

(Refer to Procedure 2 Receive information from the Integrated Justice Information Strategy.)

Note

If information gathered during the implementation of the case plan indicates the need to record an alert in ICMS for a child or family member, refer to Procedure 1 Information that requires an Integrated Client Management System alert.

Review and revise the case plan

Every case plan developed for a child under the Child Protection Act 1999, part 3A, must be regularly reviewed. The review of a child’s case plan provides an opportunity for Child Safety, the child, their parents and their safety and support network to come together and share information on what they have accomplished so far, and what other actions need to be taken to achieve the overall case plan goal.

Tip

Use the tool Collaborative assessment and planning framework to measure positive progress and determine what further worries need to be addressed.

To review a case for a child subject to intervention with parental agreement, refer to Procedure 4 Review an intervention with parental agreement case for further information on case plan reviews.

Frequency of reviews

A case plan must be reviewed every 6 months. It may be appropriate to review a case more frequently, taking into account:

  • any change that has a significant impact on the direction of the case plan
  • the child’s vulnerability, age and developmental needs
  • the action steps in the case plan
  • the type and duration of the child protection order. The shorter a child protection order is, the more frequently the case plan is reviewed to ensure sufficient progress is being made to address the worries in a timely way.

Attention

For a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive as at 29 November 2021, a review in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999section 51VAA is required (within two and a half years) by 29 May 2024. Refer to Particular review requirements for a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to chief executivefor information about the specific requirements of this review.

If the order was made after the commencement of the provision and has been in force for two years, the case plan will be reviewed within a six-month period of the 2-year anniversary of the granting of the long-term guardianship order.

Note

If a child has a long-term guardian, the case plan is reviewed every 12 months. For further information, refer to Decide whether to review a long-term guardianship to suitable person—case plan.

Participants in the case plan review

Make active efforts to enable the following people to participate in the review of a case plan (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51W ):

  • the child, if age and developmentally appropriate
  • the child’s parents
  • other members of the child’s family group who are considered likely to make a significant contribution to the case plan
  • other people with whom the child has a significant relationship, for example, the child’s approved carer or guardian
  • any legal representative for the child
  • the Public Guardian−email the OPG—Regional visiting manager contact details 
  • service providers who worked with the family in the period of time prior to the case plan review.

Practice prompt

For a child who is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, arrange for an independent person to help facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in the review of a case plan. (Refer to Enable participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in decision making.)

Decide the process for a case plan review

In collaboration with the child and family, decide how the review process will occur, including the date and venue for the meeting.

A family group meeting is not required for a case plan review; however, it may be an appropriate way to review the case plan when:

  • there is disagreement about the case plan
  • there has been a significant lack of progress in completing the actions in the case plan being reviewed
  • changes to the case plan are being proposed that would significantly change the permanency goals or outcomes.

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, consider making a referral to the Family Participation Program to facilitate an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family-led decision making process to review the case plan and develop a revised case plan. 

This process:

Note

The family participation program prioritises family-led decision making for children subject to short term child protection orders who require:

  • a case plan review and a revised case plan

or

  • a review 6 months before their order expires.

(Refer to the tool Family Participation Program Priority referral points for children subject to short-term orders.)

When a family group meeting is held to review a case plan and develop a revised case plan, provide the convenor with:

  • a revised copy of the collaborative assessment and planning framework tool for the family, including an overview of the family’s progress in achieving the case plan goals
  • the child’s strengths and needs assessment
  • the parental strengths and needs assessment if the case plan goal is reunification
  • the placement agreement
  • other relevant information, including details of any additional significant family members or other people who have been identified.

Tip

Use the tool Collaborative assessment and planning framework to structure the meeting—to measure positive progress and determine what further worries need to be addressed. 

If a family group meeting or case plan review meeting is not used for a case plan review, ensure that the child, family and safety and support network are given adequate opportunity to provide information to inform the case plan review.

Refer to Prepare for the meeting for information on the family group meeting process, if a family group meeting is convened to review the child’s case plan.

Review the case plan

The review of a child’s case plan provides an opportunity for Child Safety, the child, their carer, their parents and their safety and support network to come together and share information on what has been accomplished so far, and what other actions need to be taken to achieve the overall case plan goal.

To review a case plan for a child in care where the case plan goal is reunification:

  • Assess progress towards the primary and alternative case plan goals.
  • Complete a safety assessment, if
    • case closure is being considered 
      or
    • circumstances have changed in the family, and safety needs to be re-assessed. (Refer to the Safety assessment section of the SDM Policy and procedures manual).

Attention

If the child is subject to in-home intervention, refer to Procedure 4 Review the case plan.

The following activities must be undertaken by Child Safety as part of the case plan review:

  • Contact the participants to gather relevant information for the review.
  • Consider and assess all up-to-date information about the case.
  • Meet with relevant people to
    • share relevant information and the outcome of assessments by Child Safety
    • explore with the family any barriers if actions have not been undertaken
    • identify supports or other options that may assist
    • discuss other service options if the needs of the child or family have changed
    • assess the progress of the case plan and identify if other actions are required
    • review the progress of the child health passport if the child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive
    • review the implementation of the child’s cultural support plan, where relevant
    • discuss the matters outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51X that must be included in the review report
    • decide if ongoing intervention will occur or if the case will be closed. (Refer to Decide whether to close a case).
  • Complete the review report in ICMS. (Refer to Complete the review report.)

Assess if reunification can occur

For a child in care and whose case plan goal is reunification, assess the following at each case plan review:

  • the ongoing risk of significant harm to the child
  • the ability and willingness of a parent to demonstrate and maintain change over time
  • the relationship between the parent and child, assessed through
    • observations made during family contact
    • views expressed by the child or parent
  • the likelihood that reunification will occur within a timeframe considered appropriate for the child.

Use the assessment to decide the focus of the revised case plan, which will be either:

Refer to the Reunification decision table in the practice guide Decision making for reunification for prompts to help decide the focus of a child’s revised case plan.

 

 

Attention

If a parent, their partner or an adult in the reunification household has a conviction for a serious criminal offence against a child, consider this as part of the assessment of risk to the child. (Refer to Criminal matters and reunification.)

If a reunification assessment is required for a parent who lives in another state or New Zealand, refer to Procedure 7 Request a reunification assessment in another state.

Time sensitive

Take all reasonable and practicable steps to help a child’s parents achieve reunification within two years of the development of the child’s first case plan (after entering care).

If reunification has not occurred within two years of the child’s first case plan, or a timeframe considered appropriate for the child, pursue an alternative permanency goal.

Decide to reunify a child to a parent

If an assessment is made that: 

  • ongoing risk to the child in their parent’s care has been sufficiently reduced or mitigated
  • the parent has demonstrated over time, their ability and willingness to safely care for and protect the child
  • the relationship and interactions between the child and parent are consistently positive, with the parent demonstrating an ability and willingness to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs during family contact arrangements
  • there are no concerns for the child’s immediate safety in the parents’ household

refer the matter to a practice panel for a collective decision making process, to decide whether the case plan focus will be reunification of the child to a parent. (Refer to Refer the case to a practice panel.)

Further reading

Decide to continue working towards reunification

Develop a revised case plan for the child that focuses on continuing to work towards reunification where an assessment is made that:

  • continuing to work towards reunification is in the child’s best interests and is
    • the preferred permanency option to meet the child’s physical, legal and relational permanency needs
    • likely to be achieved within a timeframe considered appropriate for the child or within two years of the child’s first case plan (after coming into care)
  • the parents are making progress to address the ongoing risk to the child, but the unacceptable risk of significant harm is not yet resolved
  • the progress or commitment to progress to achieve case plan goals made by the parents is yet to be demonstrated over time
  • the relationship and interactions between the parent and child are positive, however further time is required to strengthen the relationship and make assessments of the parent’s ability and willingness to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs during family contact.

Practice prompt

The revised case plan will focus on concurrent planning with the child’s family for an alternative permanency goal, in the event the reunification cannot occur.

Decide to pursue an alternative permanency goal

Consider pursuing an alternative permanency goal for a child if:

  • reunification has not been achieved
    • within two years of the development of the child’s first case plan (after coming into care)
    • and is unlikely to be achieved within a timeframe considered appropriate for the child (taking into account their age and stage of development)
  • all reasonable and practicable steps have been taken to help the parents achieve case plan goals and meet the child’s protection and care needs
  • the child will not have a parent able and willing to protect them in the foreseeable future
  • the child’s physical, legal and relational permanency needs will be best met through an alternative permanency goal.

If an assessment is made that an alternative permanency goal should be pursued:

  • identify the most appropriate alternative permanency option that best achieves physical, legal and relational permanency for the child
  • ensure the alternative permanency goal maintains the child’s connection to culture, community and country
  • refer the matter to a practice panel for a collective decision making process. (Refer to Refer the case to a practice panel.)

Practice prompt

To inform permanency planning and decision making for a child, consider using either:

These tools support ongoing thinking and decision making about permanency. They also support reflective practice and can inform discussions in supervision, case consultations and practice panels.

Consider the range of best practice indicators outlined under the dimensions of relational permanency, physical permanency, legal permanency and case planning. Complete the template within the tool, which outlines the four domains of inquiry and helps staff reflect on whether there are any areas requiring attention as part of case planning.

The Case reflection tool—strengthening permanency for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children also aligns with the 5 elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.

If a practice panel makes a recommendation for the DCPL to apply to revoke an order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person and make a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive, refer to Procedure 3 Refer to the Director of Child Protection Litigation to apply, extend, vary or revoke a child protection order.

Criminal matters and reunification

Before making a decision to reunify a child, consider the criminal history of the parent or parents, as well as the criminal history of any adults living in the reunification household and identify if any person has a conviction for a serious criminal offence against a child, and how this may impact the safety of the child.

Practice prompt

To carry out a criminal history check, refer to Procedure 2 Check criminal and domestic violence history.

When Child Safety obtains information that any adult in the household has an alleged offence, charge or conviction that presents an unacceptable risk to a child’s safety and one or both parents has no knowledge of the information, endeavour to:

  • speak alone to the adult with the alleged offence, charge or conviction
  • explain the information that has been obtained
  • discuss the worries for the child’s safety
  • encourage the person to provide relevant information to the parents.

If a person refuses to disclose their criminal history to a parent, the CSO has a duty (Child Protection Act 1999, sections 4 and 5 ) to inform the relevant parent or parents that Child Safety has concerns, if releasing this information is considered to be in the child's best interests.

Attention

An exception to the Child Protection Act 1999, sections 4 and 5, is if the person is a reportable offender. A reportable offender is defined in the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004, section 5, as:

  • a person who has a conviction recorded for a reportable offence
    and
  • is sentenced to either a detention order or a supervised order.

The Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Offender Prohibition Order) Act 2004 prohibits an authorised officer from telling a parent the exact details of the alleged offence, charge or the conviction.

When completing a thorough assessment prior to reunifying a child to a household in which a parent, their partner or another adult household member has a conviction for a serious criminal offence against a child, the assessment:

  • is conducted in consultation with the senior practitioner and senior team leader
  • determines if reunification to the household will pose a risk to the safety and wellbeing of the child by assessing
    • what knowledge, if any, the primary parent without a criminal history has of the other adult's conviction, and their attitude to the conviction and to that person having contact with the child
    • the willingness, if any, of the adult with the criminal history to engage in an assessment process and disclose details of their conviction to the parent or parents
    • the nature and circumstances of the offence, when it occurred, any treatment or programs that the offender has undertaken and the success of the treatment
    • if a safety and support network can be established, and a long-term safety and support plan developed, to ensure the ongoing safety of the child should reunification occur.

The CSSC manager approves the decision to:

  • work towards reunification following the assessment
  • reunify a child with a household in which a parent, their partner or an adult household member has been convicted of any of the offences outlined in the practice guide Serious criminal offences.

Practice prompt

Record the CSSC manager’s approval in a case discussion/decision case note in ICMS.

Particular review requirements for a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VAA outlines particular case plan review requirements for a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive. The case plan review must consider whether permanency for the child would be best achieved by an alternative permanency arrangement.

Practice prompt

A case plan review undertaken in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VAA may be completed or coincide with a review of the child’s case plan that is undertaken at least every six months, in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51V.

The outcome of the case plan review completed in accordance with the Child Protection Act, section 51VAA will inform the child’s revised case plan. (Refer to Assess and prepare to develop the case plan.)

Complete the review within the required timeframe

Complete the case plan review within the prescribed timeframe. The prescribed timeframe is dependent on when the child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive was made.

For a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive on 29 November 2021, complete a case plan review by 29 May 2024.

For a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive made after 28 November 2021, complete a case plan review after the order has been in place for 2 years, and before it has been in place for 2 years and 6 months.

Consider alternative permanency arrangements

Consider whether permanency for the child would be best achieved by one of the alternative arrangements, as outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 5BA(4)(a)-(c), specifically:

  • through the child being reunified and cared for by their family
  • by an order granting long-term guardianship of the child to a member of the child’s family or another suitable person
  • the child being adopted (if the child is not an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child).

Attention

Adoption is the least preferred option to achieve permanency for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.

The principles for deciding which action or order best achieves permanency for a child are provided, in order of priority, in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 5BA(4).

Finalise the review

To finalise a case plan review pursuant to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VAA:

  • complete the form Review report (section 51VAA) – long-term guardianship to the chief executive, including findings about whether permanency for the child would be best achieved by an alternative arrangement mentioned in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 5BA(4)(a)-(c)
  • seek endorsement of the review report from the senior team leader
  • table the review report at a practice panel for discussion
  • seek approval of the review report from the CSSC manager
  • distribute a copy of the review report to the child (if age and developmentally appropriate), the child’s parents, any legal representatives of the child or parents and any other person who participated in the review process
  • save the completed and approved form Review report (section 51VAA) – long-term guardianship to the chief executive in iDOCS and attach to the child’s ongoing intervention event in ICMS.

Refer the case to a practice panel

A practice panel is a facilitated process of engaging Child Safety staff, and at times partners and critical friends, in a structured case discussion to elicit information and increase critical thinking. This provides a consistent, collaborative approach to decision making that allows consideration of different perspectives to deliver objective, balanced assessment and professional rigour to critical decision-making processes for a child.

Attention

A practice panel must be convened:

  • prior to finalising any permanency option for a child
  • prior to any child protection order expiring, regardless of whether another order or extension, revocation or variation is being recommended to the DCPL
  • in cases where reunification is being considered or planned.
  • prior to a case plan review for a child under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VAA.

For guidance on practice panels, including on facilitating a practice panel, practice considerations and documenting the panel discussion and decision, refer to the practice guide Practice panels.

After the practice panel meeting, discuss the decision of the panel or CSSC manager and develop a revised case plan. (Refer to Review and revise the case plan.)

If a practice panel makes a recommendation for the Director of Child Protection Litigation to apply to revoke an order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person and make a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive, refer to Procedure 3 Refer to the Director of Child Protection Litigation to apply, extend, vary or revoke a child protection order.

Attention

The practice panel will need to consider any outcome of a case plan review undertaken in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51 VAA for a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive. Refer to Particular review requirements for a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to chief executivefor information about the particular requirements.

Complete the review report

The review report documents the formal review of a case plan and the family’s progress in completing actions and achieving case plan goals to date.

Collaborate with the child, family and safety and support network to review progress and consider other matters to be addressed in the revised case plan, such as:

  • the case plan goal and actions from the previous case plan that have been achieved or are yet to be achieved
  • any changes to the goals in the revised case plan
  • any services provided to the child under the previous case plan or the revised case plan
  • how the care and contact arrangements under the previous case plan have met the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs
  • how the arrangements and plans for maintaining and supporting the child’s cultural identity have been met
  • the suitability of the child’s care arrangements and if there is any risk of disruption
  • participants in the review and how they participated
  • whether a family group meeting was held and who attended.

In the review report, record how the child’s need for relational, physical and legal permanency will be met in the revised case plan.

If the child is placed in care under a child protection order granting custody or short-term guardianship to the chief executive, include in the report:

  • the risks to the child if they were in the care of their parents
  • the benefits for the child’s sense of belonging and wellbeing if they were in the care of their parents
  • if there is a likelihood the child will not return to live with the parents within the stated timeframe
  • the plans that have been made about permanency for the child.

The plan for permanency may involve:

  • arranging for the child to live with a member of the child’s family, or another suitable person, under a child protection order granting long-term guardianship of the child
  • for the child to remain on a long-term child protection order granting guardianship to the chief executive or a permanent care order
  • arrangements for the child’s adoption under the Adoption Act 2009
  • for a child 15 years and over, arrangements for the child’s transition to adulthood through independent living.

Record any outcomes of a review undertaken in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VAA, in the report.

Record the review report in ICMS and submit it to the senior team leader for approval.

Practice prompt

For a case plan review regarding an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, record if an independent person helped the child and family participate in the review of the case plan in the Independent person form in ICMS.

Note

If the child is in care, review the placement agreement alongside the case plan to ensure they are congruent, particularly if there are changes to the primary case plan goal or family contact arrangements. (Refer to Procedure 6 Arrange a placement meeting and complete a placement agreement.)

If a child is subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, refer to Decide to review a long-term guardianship to a suitable person case plan.

When the decision is made to close a case following the review process, refer to Close a case. To close an intervention with parental agreement case, refer to Procedure 4 Close an intervention with parental agreement case.

Provide written notice of a decision to reunify a child

The decision to reunify a child to a parent is a placement decision under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(2) and is reviewable by both parents and the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 86(2)).

Attention

A CSSC manager is delegated to make the decision to place a child in the care of a parent. Ensure the CSSC manager participates in the practice panel meeting and approves the decision to reunify the child.

Following this decision:

The decision to withhold information is based on whether the child or anyone living with the child would be at significant risk if the details of where the child will be reunified are provided to the other parent (Child Protection Regulation 2011, section 3).

To decide whether a significant risk exists, consider whether the parent:

  • has behaved or is likely to behave in a violent, threatening, intimidating or frightening way towards the child or another person living with the child
  • is likely to influence the child in relation to future court proceedings
  • is likely to attempt to remove the child.

The CSSC manager is delegated to make the decision to withhold information.

Identify other reviewable decisions

Consider whether the decision to reunify the child to their parent means other reviewable decisions are made or need to be made. To identify other reviewable decisions:

After all reviewable decisions have been identified and made by the delegated officer, provide written reasons for each reviewable decision to the person with a right of review using the appropriate letter template. (Refer to Letter to carer – removal of a child (section 89) and Letter re: refusal or restriction of family contact.)

Attention

Ensure written reasons are provided when the reviewable decision is made, rather than when the decision takes effect.

Re-assess the child and parental strengths and needs

Once the case plan has been reviewed, re-assess the child’s and parents’ strengths and needs prior to developing a revised case plan for the child. This is only done if the child remains subject to ongoing intervention, but not if the child is subject to a long term guardianship to other order or permanent care order.

The reassessment of a child and parental strengths and needs:

  • assesses changes in a child’s and a parent’s functioning
  • identifies the needs to be addressed in the revised case plan
  • monitors the effectiveness of services being provided to the child and parents.

(Refer to Complete the child strengths and needs assessment and Complete the parental strengths and needs assessment.)

Practice prompt

Complete the child strengths and needs assessment and the parental strengths and needs assessment in the new ongoing intervention event—created once the child’s review report has been approved.

Develop, endorse and distribute the revised case plan

A revised case plan is developed following the:

  • completion of the case plan review
  • decision to continue ongoing intervention with the child and family
  • re-assessment of the child and parental strengths and needs assessments.

Develop a revised case plan

Assist the child, their parents, their carer and their safety and support network to actively participate in the development of a child’s revised case plan. Refer to Decide who will attend the family group meeting for consideration as to who is given the opportunity to participate in the development of a revised case plan, even if a family group meeting is not convened for this purpose.

Practice prompt

The Public Guardian must be involved in the review and preparation of the revised case plan in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51W(1)(g).

A revised case plan has the same main areas as the primary case plan. The information in the revised case plan will change from the previous case plan based on the progress made to date.

A revised case plan is informed by:

  • the assessment about whether the child can be returned to their parents. (Refer to Assess if reunification can occur.)
  • the assessment about whether the child continues to be in need of protection, for a child subject to in-home intervention
  • the child and parental strength and needs assessments
  • the review report, including
    • progress towards completing the goals and actions in the revised case plan
    • the goals that are still relevant to address the child’s and parents’ needs that have not yet been achieved
    • any new child or parental needs identified during the review and what goals and actions are required to address them
  • any new goals and actions identified due to a change in case plan direction, for example, the decision to extend an existing chid protection order
  • actions to be undertaken as part of planning for an alternative permanency option for the child if reunification is unlikely
  • the outcome of a review of how best to achieve permanency for the child in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51VAA, if applicable
  • the child’s cultural needs and cultural support plan, including arrangements for maintaining and supporting the child’s cultural identity
  • revised family contact arrangements
  • services the child and family need to assist them in meeting the primary case plan goal.

If a decision has been made in a practice panel meeting to pursue a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person, a permanent care order, or an adoption order, ensure the revised case plan to be submitted to the Childrens Court includes:

For information on a developing a revised case plan for a child subject to long-term guardianship to a suitable person, refer to Review a long-term guardianship to suitable person case plan.

Endorse the revised case plan

Record a revised case plan for a child in the Case plan form in the ongoing intervention event in ICMS. Submit the revised case plan to the senior team leader for endorsement within 10 business days.

If the plan is not endorsed because it is not practical or not in the child’s best interests, amend it to ensure that it is practicable, workable and consistent with the child’s best interests. (Refer to Endorse and distribute the case plan.)

Distribute the revised case plan

Once the case plan has been endorsed, distribute a copy of the case plan to:

  • the child (if age and developmentally appropriate), or explain the case plan to the child in a way that is appropriate to their age and ability to understand
  • the child’s parents
  • anyone else
    • affected by the plan
    • responsible for action in the plan
    • who Child Safety considers should receive a copy, for example, the Public Guardian
  • any legal representative for the child or the child’s parents
  • the child’s foster or kinship carer, or licensed care service, or long-term guardian who will be involved in implementing the case plan for the child
  • an Elder or other respected person of the child’s community who will play a role in supporting the implementation of the plan.

Close a case

Decide whether to close a case

The decision about case closure is made as part of the review of a case plan and is dependent on the progress made to complete case plan actions and meet the case plan goal.

An ongoing intervention case for a child in care is closed when either:

  • the child has turned 18 years and no longer requires support from Child Safety 
    or
  • the family has sufficiently addressed the worries to the point that the child is no longer in need of protection.

Note

If a young person who is 18 years of age requires ongoing support from Child Safety, consider opening a support service case. (Refer to Procedure 4 Support service case with a young person).

Practice prompt

For information on case closure for a child who is subject intervention with parental agreement, refer to Procedure 4 Close an intervention with parental agreement case

Close a case for a child

To proceed with case closure, ensure:

  • the most recent safety assessment has an outcome of safe
  • there is a safety and support plan in place, if needed
  • current service providers will continue to work with the child and family after the closure of the case by Child Safety, if applicable
    and
  • the child protection order has expired or been revoked, if applicable.

As part of the case closure process:

  • Ensure the senior team leader approves the case closure.
  • Meet with the child, parents, and with the family’s consent, the safety and support network to discuss
    • the case closure decision, including how the family’s scored risk level has changed and what goals the family has achieved
    • likely future challenges and supports the child and parents can access
    • the family’s access to ongoing support from their safety and support network
    • how to support the child through any transition, for example, if a decision is made to reunify the child with their parents.
  • Tell any services continuing to work with the child and family about the case closure.
  • Talk with the family and consider offering a referral to another agency such as
  •  Record all case notes and documents in the relevant ongoing intervention event in ICMS.
  • Record the decision and reason for the case closure in the ongoing intervention event in ICMS. 

Related forms, templates and resources

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  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance.
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    Maintenance
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    Maintenance
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    Maintenance
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    Links updated
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    Links updated
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    page updated.