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What is case management?

The focus of the Child Wellbeing and Child Protection – NSW Interagency Guidelines is on children and young people. While an organisation may provide services to a parent e.g. mental health services, the Guidelines are only intended to provide assistance and/or guidance where there are concerns about the parent’s capacity to ensure the safety, welfare or wellbeing of their child.

Case management is a process whereby an individual and/or family’s needs are identified and services are coordinated and managed in a systematic way. The core elements of case management include assessment, case planning, implementation (service delivery), monitoring and review.

In the context of the Guidelines case management aims to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families through integrated and coordinated service delivery.

Effective case management may require organisations to work collaboratively to support children, young people and their families/carers. Children, young people and their families within a child wellbeing or child protection context may have complex and multiple needs and may require the support of a number of different services or organisations. Not every family will require multiple services and a coordinated approach, however, rarely do families where there are safety, welfare or wellbeing concerns about their children present with only a single issue. Collaborative work promotes multidisciplinary assessment, identification of gaps and duplication in service delivery and more efficient use of resources.

Principles of good case management

Effective case management in a child wellbeing or child protection context is based on the following principles.

  1. The safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child or young person is of paramount concern, however the provision of services to parents or carers is an important protective function for children and young people.
  2. Realising positive outcomes is more likely with the active participation of the child, young person and their family. It is important to ensure that engagement is meaningful, age appropriate, culturally relevant and appropriate for people with disabilities.
  3. Self determination is an important principle for all children, young people and their families and case management should actively support this principle.
  4. Case management needs to be designed and implemented in a culturally appropriate way and where possible led by Aboriginal or culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) workers in order to effectively engage the family, local community and organisations. This includes taking into account access and equity issues.
  5. Being collaborative and involving relevant organisations ensures that needs are identified and responded to in an efficient way that avoids people having to “re-tell” their story, self-navigate through the service system and receive multiple assessments. A collaborative approach can minimise gaps, avoid duplications and promote the efficient use of resources.
  6. Goals and strategies are recorded and monitored for progress and arrangements are reviewed to ensure continued appropriateness.
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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019