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Participating in case planning

A case plan for a child or young person in out-of-home care is not only important in terms of record keeping, but is a vital tool to ensure the best possible outcomes for the child's placement, development and future. We place a great deal of importance on ensuring the actions and decisions recorded in the case plan are put into practice.

Case planning almost always requires a team effort including the child or young person in care, family, carers and other important people in their lives. Whenever appropriate and possible, all interested or responsible parties are involved in the decision-making process.

What is a case plan?

A case plan is a record of the goal or objectives for Communities and jusitce (DCJ) intervention in the lives of children, young people and their families or carers. The case plan records all the important decisions and tasks that are necessary to achieve the goal and objectives agreed on by all parties.

Case planning involves regular assessment of the issues facing a child or young person, their family and foster carers.

Case plans make it clear to all parties why DCJ is involved, what issues need to be addressed, and what the individual responsibilities of all parties are.

Participating in the case plan

Participation means that everyone gets to take part in discussions, express their views, and have their opinion considered in the case planning and decision-making process.

It also means that where DCJ makes decisions or takes action, the people whose lives are affected are given reasons for those decisions or actions, as well as the opportunity to respond.

Why participation is important

A case plan is more effective if it has been developed with the participation of all parties.

Where effective and cooperative relationships are established with families during the case planning process, better outcomes are achieved for children and young people.

Who should participate

Wherever possible, case plans are developed with the participation of the child or young person, their family and their carer, if they have one.

We recognise the need for specific strategies to ensure the participation of children and young people, women and men, people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Foster carers

Where a child has been placed with a carer, it is vital that the carer participates in the case planning process. As a carer, you have responsibility for making day-to-day decisions about children or young people in your care, and you may also be delegated aspects of parental responsibility.

This gives you an important role to play in case planning, and a right to participate in decision-making about the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children or young people in your care.

We are committed to giving carers the information you need to participate, and recognise that you may also need additional resources to help you participate effectively, such as interpreters, support people or child care.

Birth parents

Whenever it’s possible and appropriate, we encourage the parents of children and young people to be involved in case planning. Your child's caseworker will talk to you about your participation in decision-making and explain that the interests of your child are of paramount importance.

As a birth parent, you can participate in decision-making by:

  • attending conferences and meetings
  • having a support person accompany you to a meeting or conference
  • contributing agenda items for a meeting.

See more on rights of parents whose child or young person is in care.

We understand that parents may need extra support to express their views, participate in decision-making and understand the outcomes. We can provide appropriate support to help you participate, such as arranging for an interpretor or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander support person or community representative.

See Children in out of home care for more information for parents of children or young people in foster care.

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Last updated: 18 Oct 2019