Every effort should be made to meet the wellbeing needs of children in the CEO's care, with the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration. One of the ways that this can be achieved is by undertaking Quarterly Care Reviews. This provides a regular opportunity to build your relationship with the child and carer, seek their views and wishes, discuss any worries they may have, review the progress of implementing the Care Plan decisions and Cultural Support Plan and updating the Safety Plan if necessary.
Children must be given an opportunity to express their views and wishes, according to their abilities and understanding, in a safe environment free from the pressure of others. You are required to visit the child at least once every three months to speak to the child on their own, assess the child's progress, needs and care arrangement requirements. Although this is the minimum requirement, you are encouraged to visit the child more regularly as practicable.
Following the Quarterly Care Review visit, you are required to produce a Quarterly Care Report which can also be informed by information gathered through other contact you have with the child, their carer, or other professionals during the three-month period.
Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities. Throughout this entry, the term 'child' is referred to as inclusive of both children and young people.
Quarterly Care Reports are required for all children in the CEO's care. You must meet with the child at least once every three months to assess their wellbeing, build relationships, explore how they are progressing in their care arrangement, hear their views and wishes, and ensure planning upholds their best interests.
The written report must confirm that the child has been seen and spoken with in person, away from their carer, at least once every three months.
You are responsible for undertaking the quarterly visits to the child and recording all information in the Quarterly Care Reports. Where there is shared case management, the district office responsible for managing the care arrangement is responsible for undertaking the quarterly visits with the child and carer.
Prior to visiting the child, you should familiarise yourself with the current care plan or provisional care plan. This will help you to consider the way you engage with the child, including use of language and activities that are appropriate to their age, development and individual needs.
When organising the location of the visit, you should also organise where you are going to meet privately with the child.
When working with an Aboriginal child or a child who is culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD), refer to existing Cultural Support Plans and other relevant cultural information when planning the discussion. See
Chapter 3.4 – Cultural Support Planning for further information. It may also be appropriate for the Aboriginal Practice Leader (or another relevant senior Aboriginal officer) to be consulted prior to the visit.
It is important that you work with the child in a trauma-informed manner so that they feel comfortable telling you their views and wishes.
When working with an Aboriginal child, uphold cultural safety by asking the child what you can do to support them to feel safe and comfortable when speaking with you. For example, where a child is experiencing intergenerational trauma and has family members who have been in the CEO's care, the district office may not be a safe environment for the child and alternative locations should be explored.
Cultural safety may also include asking the child if there is a safe person that they would like to be present at the visit for support, such as an Aboriginal Practice Leader.
must organise the visit to be accessible and inclusive. Where a child whose disability prevents them from participating in decision making or having their views and wishes known, you
must provide the option of an interpreter to assist the child to engage in the process.
When working with an Aboriginal or CaLD child, their cultural and language needs must be upheld. This may include the use of an interpreter to ensure the child understands the process and can express their wishes and views or participate in decision making processes if they wish to.
For more information relating to the use of interpreters, refer to Chapter 4.2 Language services - booking and payment.
If the Department is supporting a child in out-of-home care from another state, it is recommended that a Quarterly Care Report be completed to provide a summary of the child's progress that can be forwarded to the Child Protection Worker in the state with legal responsibility for the child. For further information, see
Chapter 3.4 Interstate and New Zealand Liaison.
During quarterly visits you
must talk to the child on their own, away from their carer, so that they are comfortable to speak freely and openly. Explain to the child that if they want to, they can ask questions and talk to you about where they are living, who they are living with and how they are feeling. Where a child is unsure, or does not want to meet with you alone, work with the team leader to reassure and support the child to be comfortable to talk to you or another worker on their own.
This is likely to look different for every child and should be considered on a case-by-case basis. You should ask questions that help you gather information to assess whether the child feels safe and that their needs are being met across the nine dimensions of care:
Planning for birthday or Christmas gifts (or for another occasion if more culturally appropriate) for children in the CEO's care may also be discussed with the child and their carer during the visit. Refer to
Gifts for Children in the CEO's Care in related resources for more information.
The child should be advised of the need to document conversations and actions in the Quarterly Care Report. They may not initially understand why or what this means. If you have not already had this conversation with the child about documentation, it is important to reassure them that these files are not shared unless the Court requires them, and to explain why they are necessary. For example:
"What you say is really important and by writing it down I can make sure that I remember everything you tell me"
Consider discussing what information the child feels comfortable documenting and how they would like it to be written. You may not be able to honour the young person's wishes, but discussing their views shows the child that their contributions are important.
Subject to their age and level of understanding, children in care
must be provided the opportunity to express their views and wishes during Quarterly Care Reporting and to participate in subsequent decision-making processes that arise. If a child chooses not to engage in decision making processes, it is still important to check in with the child.
This includes supporting the child to freely express themselves and providing them with information about any decisions to be made and reasons why they were made, including that decision making must reflect the child's best interests. Where a child states that they do not want to do this face-to-face, they should be offered the opportunity to use Viewpoint or a phone call as alternative options.
In circumstances where the child expresses that they do not want to speak with you, the child
must still be sighted.
Wherever possible, ask the child why they do not wish to engage and document any reasoning within the child's case file.
The CIP (formerly the Quarterly Care Review) is used to record information obtained from the Quarterly Care Report visit through Assist and to generate the Quarterly Care Report. At a minimum, you should update the CIP in Assist quarterly, with Team Leader or District Director approval.
When working with an Aboriginal child, the Aboriginal Practice Leader needs to review and endorse the CIP before it is approved by the Team Leader or District Director. Once uploaded and approved, the CIP will publish the Quarterly Care Report to the case file in Objective.
To assist you to complete the CIP, each dimension of the CIP contains practice prompts which will not be visible in the published, final version of the Quarterly Care Report.
An Aboriginal child must be placed in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (s.12 of the Act).
Before making a care arrangement for an Aboriginal child, you must consult with:
Document these consultations under the 'Care Arrangements' tab in the CIP. For more information see Chapter 3.4 – Child Placement Principle.
If controversial matters or issues of serious concern are raised during the Quarterly Care Report visit, report them to the Team Leader immediately, record them in the CIP in Assist and request approval. It is the Team Leader's responsibility to immediately inform the District Director. It is the District Director's responsibility to forward a draft copy of the Quarterly Care Report to the relevant Regional Executive Director and to contact them to discuss the concerns. For further information relating to the CIP, see
Chapter 3.4 – Child Information Portal and the Assist User Guide - Child Information Portal and QCR.
If you have visited a child to discuss provisional care planning or care planning within one month of a Quarterly Care Report being due, you do not need to complete an additional visit or a Quarterly Care Report for that period. Care Planning decisions should inform the Quarterly Care Report.
In this situation, you should record the information normally required in the Quarterly Care Report in the CIP in Assist. Once approved, the information will auto-populate the provisional care plan, care plan or modified care plan.
For further information on Care Planning see Chapter 3.4 – Care Planning.