Permanency in casework
Permanency in casework gives a child or young person in the child protection or out-of-home care (OOHC) systems the best opportunity to have a permanent, safe home.
A permanency case plan includes a goal for the child or young person to have a permanent home within two years. Each child or young person’s case plan has a focus on working with their parents, family and other people significant to them, to keep the child at home with family or provide a safe and permanent home through guardianship or open adoption.
Guardianship and open adoption are only considered where it is not safe for a child or young person to return to the care of their parents or family. Where guardianship or adoption are not possible, DCJ considers long-term care with an authorised foster carer.
Tailored services to achieve permanency
A child or young person is able to access different services that suit their specific needs under their case plan. These services are funded as individual packages based on eligibility after a permanency goal has been decided for that child or young person.
Under the Permanency Support Program, service packages can be mixed and matched to suit a child or young person’s needs and help achieve case plan goals.
Permanency coordinators help caseworkers plan for achieving a child or young person’s case plan goal.
Permanency coordinators have expertise across the child protection and OOHC care systems, however are not caseworkers and do not make decisions about individual cases. They can advise both DCJ and non-government caseworkers on what service packages or services in their local area best help meet the needs of each child or young person and their parents/family.
Shorter-term court orders to support permanency
DCJ is seeking far fewer court orders for parental responsibility that last until a child or young person turns 18 years of age. Instead, we are looking at shorter-term court orders that support a child or young person finding a permanent home in line with their case plan goal.
Principles guiding change for Aboriginal children and young people
We are working with Aboriginal care service providers to make sure:
- Aboriginal children maintain a close connection with their culture and community
- Aboriginal organisations are able to keep Aboriginal children safe and cared for with their families.
Aboriginal service providers are being strengthened to support Aboriginal children and families.
Caseworkers must first work with an Aboriginal child or young person’s family and community to support them staying with their family (family preservation).
If family preservation is not possible, caseworkers must work with the child’s family and community to develop a case plan that will provide the child or young person with a permanent home. This must support cultural, family, kin and Country connections and where possible, support should be delivered by an Aboriginal community controlled organisation.