What to expect when a caseworker visits
What happens when a caseworker visits a family, and how families should expect to be treated by DCJ caseworkers
Why a caseworker would visit
Communities and Justice (DCJ) staff, who receive calls reporting child abuse and neglect on the Child Protection Helpline, are trained to assess what level of risk of significant harm a child or young person is facing.
It may be that the child and family need support services. Or it may be that the child is at risk of significant harm and a caseworker needs to visit the family.
Assessment and investigation
When DCJ receive information about a child or young person who may have been significantly harmed or injured, or is at risk of significant harm, we make decisions about how to assess or investigate the report.
Where a serious crime against a child or young person has been alleged, the Joint Child Protection Response (JCPR) Program investigates. JCPR is comprised of DCJ, NSW Police and NSW Health.
Where a child has been reported, it is against the law for DCJ to delete or destroy records. These records are kept in permanent storage. The law says DCJ must limit access to all personal records to authorised staff only.
If you have concerns about how DCJ have assessed or investigated a report you can request to speak to a manager at your local Community Services Centre or make a child protection-related complaint — see Client complaints.
How you should expect to be treated by DCJ caseworkers
Communities and Justice (DCJ) caseworkers have standards of behaviour and conduct. Here are the care and protection practice standards you should expect from DCJ caseworkers. Download a copy of the Care and Protection Practice Standards.
Aboriginal families can request an Aboriginal caseworker – this request is dependent on whether there is one available in the local area.
If English is your second language, you can ask your caseworker for a translator.
- We will treat you and your family with respect.
- We will listen to your ideas and respond when you ask for help.
- When we get things wrong we will be honest with you about it.
- You can rely on us to develop relationships with you, your children and your community.
- Being open and honest with you is important to us. We will be clear about why we are involved in your life and how we can help.
- We will be clear about what’s okay and what’s not okay when it comes to your child’s safety.
- We will try to come to see you often and listen to you.
- We will help to make sure children keep relationships with people who are important to them and help keep them safe.
Holistic assessment and family work
- We want to involve families, children and young people in planning about their lives. We will talk with them and the people who are important to them regularly.
- Plans will be reviewed regularly.
- We will arrange other people with specialist knowledge such as doctors or counsellors to help as well.
- Our role is to help make sure children and young people are safe. We believe the best way to do this is to work with you and the people in your life. This may include your family, people in your community and other workers.
- We will think about what is best for the child or young person when we make decisions.
- We will listen when you tell us what your life is like.
Working with Aboriginal communities
- We will respect and value your culture and connection to your community.
- We will take the time to really understand the history of Aboriginal people and how this affects Aboriginal people today.
- We support self determination.
Culturally responsive practice with diverse communities
- We respect and value different cultures and the languages spoken by you and your family.
- You can expect us to listen to you and understand your migration or refugee experience.
- We will use the knowledge from our training and continue to improve through ongoing learning.
- We value the information you have about your life.
- You can expect us to talk to you and all the important people involved in your life to help make the right decisions. We know it’s important to recognise all the things you and your family do well and these will be recorded when decisions are being made.
Documentation in casework
- We will write with respect and honesty.
- We will write about what happens in children’s lives and what decisions are made and why. This is so that in the future children can see what information we have about them.
- But we will make sure that we don’t spend too much time in the office so that we have time to spend with you and your family.
- You can expect us to ask about your life and what is important to you, your family and how we can best support you.