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Care and Cultural Planning overview

The Care Plan for children and young people in statutory out-of-home care has been redesigned. The latest version come into effect on Monday 9 January 2017.

To help deliver culturally appropriate care to Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse children and young people, the redesigned Care Plan includes 'Cultural Plans' to ensure children preserve their cultural identity as well as their connection to culture and family.

The Care Plan is presented by Family and Community Services (FACS) to the Children’s Court, after extensive consultation with the child or young person, their parents and family, the carers, the non-government organisation (if they hold case management responsibility), and any other people involved in the care and cultural planning for the child.

In developing the redesigned Care and Cultural Plan, there has been Extensive consultation with and also feedback received from:

  • parents and carers
  • the President of the Children’s Court
  • frontline staff (this includes Managers and caseworkers both within FACS and from Non Government Community partners)
  • children and young people
  • peak bodies including AbSec, ACWA
  • legal stakeholders.

To support caseworkers with this important work we have developed this new website to ensure the successful implementation of the Care Plan.

If you have any questions please contact: safehomeforlifereform@facs.nsw.gov.au

Why the change?

Redesigning the Care Plan has been driven by the need to:

  • have a standard and consistent approach to care and cultural planning in NSW that captures planning information more comprehensively
  • ensure that all children and young people who are Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or from multicultural backgrounds are supported with a detailed Cultural Plan
  • enhance consideration and use of the Permanent Placement Principles introduced in legislation in October 2014
  • provide the Children's Court with a clearer picture of who the child is and what orders are being sought.

What are the benefits?

The Care Plan has been redesigned to be user-friendly for caseworkers, including features such as:

  • auto-population of family details to relevant sections throughout the Care Plan
  • the inclusion of information buttons to support caseworkers and stimulate ideas for better practice
  • spell check.

The Care Plan supports successful accreditation by clearly documenting cultural information in the child's care records. It will record how children will stay connected to their culture and maintain their identity, as well detail how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are placed in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Placement Principles.

The Redesigned Care Plan

From Monday 9 January 2017, the redesigned Care Plan will replace the current Care Plan template when seeking orders from the Children’s Court. The Cultural Plans within the redesigned template will also be mandatory from this date, ensuring the cultural needs of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse children and young people are met.

The Redesigned Care Plan is broken down into the following sections:

Summary page:

  • Acts as a cover page for the entire Care Plan.
  • Is a requirement of the President of the Children’s Court.

Family details:

  • Includes key information on the child’s identity, their family and other relationships.

Family history:

  • Has key information about the child and their family relevant to the care proceedings.
  • Also includes the history, development and experience of the child, their relationship with parents and family.

Legal status and placement information:

  • Has key information about the child's legal status, the placement proposed to be sought and how it relates to permanency planning.
  • Details any allocation of parental responsibility between Minister and parents, any proposed interim arrangements and timetable for achieving a permanent placement.
  • Includes amended versions of previously filed Care Plans.

Permanency planning:

  • Aligns with and is structured according to the Permanent Placement Principles introduced in legislation in October 2014.
  • The redesigned Care Plan template does not allow for the adoption pathway to be generated for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Views:

  • This is where the Family and Community Services (FACS) caseworker records the views of the child, parents, family and kin, as well as other significant and professional relationships such as Carers and the NGO holding case management.
  • This is also where the views of any person who has expressed disagreement with plan provision can be record.
  • Documents FACS approval of the Care Plan.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Plan:

  • Includes all relevant information on how the child or young person will maintain their cultural identity and improve their cultural development.
  • As well as the a minimum of 4 consultations with the child or young person’s Aboriginal family and community and minimum of 4 activities that encourage cultural participation.
  • Details culturally appropriate services to be provided.

Multicultural Plan:

  • Includes all relevant information on how a child's cultural identity will be maintained and cultural development improved.
  • Including culturally appropriate services to be provided as determined through consultations with culturally appropriate family members and community representatives as well as the roles and responsibilities of those participating in delivering the cultural plan.

Cultural Planning

On this page:

What is Cultural Planning?

Cultural Planning:

  • identifies the cultural needs of the child or young person
  • outlines how a child or young person is going to be immersed in their culture to maintain and support their cultural identity, language, spirituality and religion, connection and sense of belonging to family, community, Country and culture
  • helps ensure that important cultural and family information is maintained for any child who is too young to contribute to their own cultural support plan or for a child who does not want to identify with their community or culture
  • includes information that should inform ongoing practices and processes related to cultural support planning, life story work and sustained casework for the child.

Every child has the right to be raised in their own culture, learn and use the language and customs of their family and play and join in a wide range of cultural activities. Cultural planning should commence when FACS first becomes involved with a family and continues throughout case planning and life story work and cultural support planning.

A Cultural Plan in the Care Plan should contain all the information that has been gathered or is known about the child's culture. It is best done in partnership with the family as they know their cultural values and beliefs the best

When should I complete a Cultural Plan?

Cultural Plans should be completed with the information known at the time of its completion.

If it is known at the time a child or young person comes into care, or during the development of the Care Plan, that they are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background and/or a Multicultural background, the Cultural Plans should be completed at the same time as the Care Plan.

Is cultural planning mandatory?

Yes. Completing the Cultural Plans is mandatory for children and young people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and multicultural backgrounds.

There are specific legislative requirements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children that FACS must demonstrate compliance with.

There are also legislative requirements for supporting cultural connection for children or young people from a Multicultural background.

The new Cultural Plans support decisions made relating to the placement and ongoing support required for that child or young person whilst in statutory care.

What takes preference, the Cultural Plan in the Care Plan, or the Cultural Support Plan in the Case Plan?

The Care Plan, including the Cultural Plans, is used when submitting documentation to the Children's Court.

Future Case Plans and Cultural Support Plans are not restricted by this Care Plan but should be informed and be used as a basis on which to build and allow the child or young person to fully engage in their culture over the Case Plan timeframe.

What if the child has both an Aboriginal and a Multicultural background?

In this case both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Plan and the Multicultural Plan should be completed as part of completing the Care Plan.

What if I need to submit an incomplete Cultural Plan because the information I need to complete it is not available?

Wherever possible, caseworkers should provide all information regarding the child and young person's cultural identity and background.

Where some information is incomplete or not known at the time, caseworkers should document the actions they have taken to find the information, or the follow up actions that are required to complete the Cultural Plan.

Webinar Presentation

Family and Community Services (FACS) has developed a webinar presentation on Care and Cultural Planning to share with everyone involved in the care and cultural planning process.

Support Resources

To support the successful implementation of the Care and Cultural Plans, the following resources have been developed. Any other questions or enquiries can be directed to SafeHomeForLifeReform@facs.nsw.gov.au.

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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019