Care planning refers to the planning and decision making process that addresses the individual care needs of a child in the CEO's care. Care planning involves gathering information and views from the child, their parents, family members and significant others to inform decisions about care through arranging meetings and/ or opportunities to participate. A Care Plan is a written document that contains information, plans and decisions in relation to the nine dimensions of care and is created and approved in Assist.
Significant changes made since the last care planning meeting and proposed changes to the Care Plan should be raised within a care planning meeting to ensure the child, parents, family members and other people significant to the child are included in the decision making process. If this is not possible, you must find alternative strategies to ensure all parties are provided an opportunity to express their views and wishes.
Certain people important to children and their carers are considered as a 'care team'. The care team maintains and supports a child's care arrangements and their continued connection to parents, siblings, their wider family, network, community and culture. The emphasis is to create stability and reduce the disruption to lifetime connections that a child has when they enter out of home care, and maintain and increase the naturally occurring networks they belonged to before coming into care. For more information, see the see the
Care Team Approach Framework (in related resources).
All care planning decisions are reviewable via the Care Planning Review Panel. For more information, see
Chapter 3.4 – Care Plan Decisions and the Care Plan Review Panel.
'Care planning' is different to 'case planning', which refers to general case management for the whole family. Care planning is specific to the individual child and is a statutory requirement. Stability and connection planning will help inform the Care Plan. See Chapter
3.4. Stability and Connection Planning for more information.
When working with an Aboriginal child and their family, you should engage in regular and meaningful consultation with the child's family and an Aboriginal Practice Leader or other relevant senior Aboriginal staff member.
You should also engage with Elders or leaders of the relevant community if this is supported by the child and their family.
All care planning decisions must be made in the best interests of the child.
These decisions and their documentation should be aimed at improving life outcomes in respect of the child against the nine dimensions of care.
A child's Care Plan
must demonstrate how the Department is meeting the individual needs of the child, and
must adhere to the principles set out in the
Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act). The following principles are particuarlly relevant to care planning for children in the CEO's care:
For reference to the other principles set out in the Act, see the Introduction to the Casework Practice Manual.
A child's citizenship information and, where relevant, visa status should be recorded within the care plan. If you are unsure of a child's status, ask the child's parents or other family members. If this is not possible, you should apply directly to Department of Home Affairs (DHA) under s.23 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act). Complete the Request for Personal Information form (in related resources) and email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org
If the Department has determined that reunification is not possible for a child who is subject to protection order (until 18), and the child is on a temporary visa, the Department must apply for a child visa (Subclass 802) from the DHA. Commence the process as soon as possible as this is a lengthy process which can take more than 12 months.
To discuss complex visa or immigration issues, you should consult with Legal and Business Services and contact the DHA Community Status Resolution team in Perth via email@example.com. Consider consultation with Principal Policy and Planning Officer – Cultural Diversity.
All considerations and decisions relating to a child's citizenship or visa status should be discussed during the care planning meeting and included in the child's written Care Plan, as the information does not auto-populate from Assist.
Care planning is a cyclical and ongoing process and where Care Plans are developed, reviewed, and modified to demonstrates how the child's developing needs and circumstances will be supported in the CEO's care.
An 11-month planning cycle assists with forward-planning to ensure a child in the CEO's care has an up-to-date care plan. All meetings, information gathering, and home visits should be scheduled between January and November every calendar year as part of the 11-month planning cycle.
Outlook calendar can be used to schedule and set reminders for deadlines, proposed meeting dates, consultation and when to start gathering information. This will ensure you are well prepared and organised for care planning meetings.
A care planning schedule should be created and provided for the child, where age-appropriate, their family and carers in advance so they know when to expect a meeting invite.
The nine dimensions of care refers to nine interconnected aspects in respect of a child's care: safety, care arrangements, health, education, social and family relationships, recreation and leisure, emotional and behavioural development, identity and culture, and legal and financial. See below for a summary of information that should be included in each dimension of a child's care plan:
Use this space to raise any emerging or existing safety concerns for the child. For example, if a child is at risk of being removed from contact or school by a parent or if there are cyber safety concerns for the child. Detail any relevant behavioural observations or threats, noting why these indicate a safety risk for the child. You should also note care planning decisions that will help increase safety for the child.
Assist allows you to link a safety plan from the child's file from Objective for easy reference.
Care ArrangementsDetail any updates or information relating to a child's current or proposed future care arrangements. You should include any decisions or actions required to support this arrangement, such as an agreement to provide additional transport support for the child.
This section should capture the child's views and wishes about their current care arrangement, and what the child may need to support or strengthen this arrangement. If it is a new care arrangement, you must also demonstrate that decisions made were in accordance with the relevant child placement principle. For more information, see
3.4.7 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principle and Guidelines for the placement of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.This dimension of care will include living arrangements as the child's Care Plan transitions to a Leaving Care Plan.
Include information about a child's general physical and mental health and development, and any specific health needs. Attach relevant health reports to the Care Plan in Assist, including the child's annual health assessment.
Before sharing or documenting physical or mental health information about the child, you should balance the merit of informing everyone in the Care Team, with the privacy needs of the child. If you are unsure if you should share material due to privacy concerns, ask the child/young person and consult with the Team Leader.Where a child is 4 years or older, you should organise for the child to complete the relevant Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) prior to the care planning meeting.
Chapter 3.4 – Health Care Planning for more information.
Each child in the CEO's care should have at least one Documented Plan developed by the school in partnership with the Department and the child's Care Teams. There are a number of types of Documented Plans, including Individual Education Plans (IEPs), Individual Behaviour Management Plans (IBMPs) and Risk Management Plans (RMPs).
Include information about the child's general progress and achievements, any supports that can be implemented to help the child reach their educational milestones and goals, as well as any tasks that need to be completed. For example, if concerns have been raised that a child may have dyslexia, detail what actions will be taken to ensure the child is appropriately assessed and what supports can be put in place pending formal assessment.
Chapter 3.4 – Education for more information.
Social and family relationshipsThe primary focus of this dimension in respect of a child in the CEO's care is on developing, maintaining, and strengthening relationships that are important to the child. This section should include up-to-date information about contact the child is having with their parents, siblings, family members and significant others. It's important that the child's views on contact, including who/ how/ when/ where are included.
Any actions or decisions to support and strengthen relationships for the child should be included here, such as supporting a child to attend family functions and to meet their familial, cultural and community obligations.
Recreation and LeisureDescribe what care planning actions or activities are required to support the child's formal or informal recreation and leisure needs. This may include decisions to provide case support costs to cover enrolment in a certain number of sporting activities, for art supplies or to learn a new skill. The child's views and wishes will be important when determining the costs the Department should cover and why.
7. Emotional and Behavioural developmentYou should encourage the child to participate in any discussions and documenting required for this dimension as much as possible, according to the child's age and ability. It is important to understand how the child feels, if they are coping and to identify any supports they may want or need.
Where relevant, acknowledge that discussions may include difficult topics such as suicidal ideation, self-harming or harmful sexual behaviours, particularly if the child is present for these conversations.Discussion and documentation should remain child-focused and respectful and include only information relevant to making decisions and taking actions in the best interests of the child.
Identity and cultureIf a child is Aboriginal or of a CALD background,their Cultural Support Plan should inform this section of their Care Plan. However, you should include any significant decisions made in relation to how a child's connection to culture and Country will be supported, including details of proposed trips to return to Country or Native Title information. Relevant and up to date information can be cut and pasted from the Cultural Support Plan (CSP) template.
Chapter 3.4 – Cultural Support Planning for more information.
9. Legal and financial
Include any decisions or important information about a child's financial or legal needs. This might include details of upcoming criminal Court hearings, criminal injury compensation claims on foot, updated information about entitlements, native title claims or updates regarding a child's visa or citizenship status. The written Care Plan should not include any private or confidential information including bank account details or balances, income details or the amount of any lumpsum payments received or likely to be received in the future. Depending on the circumstances, it may not be appropriate to reference a claim at all. Any information excluded for safety or confidentially, should still be recorded on Assist and Objective.
If you become aware that a child in the CEO's care is being charged rent or board by their carer, or that the carer is attempting to charge them rent or board, seek advice from Legal and Business Services.
The provision of financial assistance to a carer to meet a child in the CEO's care needs must be funded by the Department and not the child.
Chapter 3.3 – Legal support for children in the CEO's care for more information.
If safety concerns exist, create a plan to manage these risks within the care planning meetings and process. For example, if there is a Violence Restraining Order (VRO) in place, separate meetings may be required, or participation/ attendance to the meeting may be varied, such as in person, in writing and/ or via teleconference from a district office.
If there are health risks or restrictions pertaining to Covid-19, follow the most recent guidance from the
Department of Health.
Any practical, health or safety issues should be considered and discussed with the Care Team prior to meetings being scheduled.
Care planning meeting invites should be sent out 14 days prior to the scheduled meeting. It is your responsibility to schedule and invite the child (where age-appropriate) and relevant members their care team. Not all care team members will need to be involved in the care planning process. The Team Leader in consultation with the child, their parents and carer will decide who has a direct and significant interest in the child's wellbeing and who should be involved in the care planning process. For more information, see Care Planning Policy
If a child is attending their care plan meeting or part of the meeting, plan how you will provide them with practical and emotional support before, during and after the meeting, including where the child is attending via video link from Banksia Hill Detention Centre. Where a young person cannot attend, obtain their views and wishes, wherever possible, prior to the care plan meeting.
Strategies to manage the child's anxiety or stress prior to or during a care planning meeting include:
If the participants are spread over a large geographical distance, you should consider alternative ways to ensure all members of the Care Team are able to participate.
This could include holding multiple smaller meetings; using technology such as video or telephone conferencing; requesting written input via Report To Meeting forms or meeting with individuals separately.
All meetings should start with an
Acknowledgement of Country.
If you are working with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or CaLD child and their family, specific language and cultural needs should, wherever possible, be accommodated. This includes the provision of language supports such an interpreting service and considering the cultural safety needs of all Care Team members in consultation with an Aboriginal Practice Leader before the meeting.
Where possible, cultural safety needs should be discussed with the child and their family. Community leaders/Elders should also be consulted if the child and family support this.
A Senior Child Protection Worker (SCPW) may chair a care planning meeting. However, if there are complex or contentious matters that require an experienced facilitator, a Level 6/SC3 officer or above should chair the meeting.
Care planning meetings are an opportunity for the child (age and level of understanding permitting), their parents, carers, Department staff and other people significant to the child to:
A care planning meeting should be an empowering and positive experience
for the child. A break should be called if the child requests or indicates that this is required. If the
child is not present, you should reiterate that the language and content of the
discussions should remain child-focused and respectful toward the child.
The Care Plan meeting is extremely important but is only one part of the care planning process. Ensure all follow-up tasks are completed in a timely manner and decisions made are acted on.
All written Care Plans should be recorded and saved in Assist using the Care Plan Form. Once the Care Plan is approved and/or endorsed, the Care Plan will be published and automatically saved in the Child History File in Objective.
You must ensure that the child's dignity and privacy is respected throughout the plan. Particularly for an older child, this can be achieved with lots of consultation and feedback from the child.
You must ensure there is no content in the Care Plan that could pose a risk to the child's physical, emotional or cultural safety. This includes reference to a home address or school.
Where a child, their parents, family or significant others cannot read confidently in English, but can read and understand content in another language, you should have the Care Plan translated into the appropriate language.
This includes Indigenous languages and augmentative and alternative communication.
For more information, refer to Language and Interpreter Information (in related resources) and Chapter 4.2 – Language services - booking and payment.
A copy of the final approved Care Plan should be provided within 14 days after the meeting to:
In addition to the Care Plan, all participants must be provided with a copy of the Care Plan Review Panel brochure which outlines their right to a review of certain decisions regarding the Care Plan, and adequate information to initiate a complaint or appeals process.
If a decision is made not to provide a person with a Care Plan due to the unacceptable risk to the child or other person,, and the family is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, consult with other family members about the decision, in addition to an Aboriginal Practice Leader or other relevant senior Aboriginal officer.
It is important the district engages with the family and supports them to safely manage any possible conflict or repercussions arising from this decision.
If it is determined that there is an unacceptable risk to the safety of the child or another persona by providing an individual with a copy of the child's Care Plan, you should withhold the Care Plan from that person. Any decision to withhold a Care Plan should be made in consultation with the Team Leader and other relevant district staff, such as the Aboriginal Practice Leader, where appropriate.
When considering if providing a Care Plan to a person could pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of a child or another person, consider the following:
If the decision is made to withhold a Care Plan, you
must ensure that person is notified and provided with the reasons why it was withheld. You
must provide this information in writing
When notifying someone of the decision to withhold a copy of the Care Plan, use the Letter from CEO not to provide a copy of a Care Plan s.89 (in related resources). You
must complete Form 417 -
Application For Review of Decision Not to Provide a Care Plan or Modification to accompany the letter.
Once a person has been provided with the written advice, they have the right to apply to the CEO for this decision to be reviewed via the Care Plan Review Panel. If they are still dissatisfied with the reviewed decisions, they can also apply to the State Administration Tribunal.
A modification is a change to the Care Plan to any of the dimensions of care. You must consult and engage with the child, their parents, family, carers and other people significant to the child when a modification to the Care Plan is made. There may be instances where this is not possible, such as an urgent change to a child's care arrangement. In these circumstances, you should have these conversations as soon as practicable. Even small changes for a child in out-of-home care can cause disruption and may impact significantly on their life. It is important that Care Team members are, if possible part of the decision making process to support the child to manage transition or change successfully.
You must make a modification to the Care Plan if:
Any change to a care planning decision
must result in a modification of the child's Care Plan as soon as practicable after a decision is varied, revoked or substituted or a new decision is made.
When you make a Care Plan modification, you are not required to conduct a full meeting as you would with a new Care Plan, or a Care Plan review. However, you must place a hard copy of the modification to the Care Plan on the physical Child History Folder and provide a copy within 14 days of the decision to change the Care Plan to:
You can withhold a Care Plan modification from a person if you believe that sharing it with that individual would place the child or other person at at an unacceptable risk. If a decision is made to withhold a Care Plan modification, you must advise and explain this decision in writing and follow the same instructions you would when withholding a Care Plan.
You must include the Care Plan Review Panel brochure with any correspondence about a Care Plan modification to the relevant parties.
If there is a need to modify several dimensions of the child's Care Plan, consider undertaking a review rather than modification of the Care Plan, even if it is before to the review due date.
If this is not possible, and you are only able to consult around the modifications, you must still complete a full Care Plan review within the scheduled timeframe.
If the child's case is currently before the Court, please contact the
Departmental lawyer managing the case before making significant decisions as
these may be best made by the Court.
If a referral to Secure Care is made, you must modify the child's Care Plan. If possible, you should do this as part of a planned transition and referral to Secure Care where all Care Team members have been involved in the decision making process. Where this is not possible due to the urgency of the situation, the modification must be completed within two working days of the child's admission.
Specific decisions about what modifications are required, will be made at the secure care initial planning meeting. For further information, refer to Chapter 3.3 Secure Care Arrangements.
When a child is detained at Banksia Hill Detention Centre (BHDC) you should engage as many Care Team members as possible, including the child, to discuss how to meet the needs of the child while in detention, and to plan for the child's release. Where possible, this should be completed as a full Care Plan review and a care planning meeting should be held. Where it is more appropriate, if a Care Plan was recently completed, a modification to the Care Plan might be more appropriate.
The specific requirements of children entering or exiting BHDC should be taken into consideration when undertaking care planning. Collaboration with the Department of Justice is encouraged, to promote the safety and wellbeing of children in custody.
Consult with the SCPW co-located at BHDC to assist with:
The SCPW does not have a decision making role, will not direct case practice, and will not develop a Care Plan for a child in the CEO's care. Rather, they will assist both young people in detention and detention staff to understand Department processes, be a conduit for communication, and relationship building between children in the CEO's care and their case managers to ensure the best interests of the child are met.
For more information, see Chapter 3.3 – Young offenders- including children in the CEO's care.
If a child, a child's family member or any other significant person to the child is dissatisfied with a decision made during a Care Plan review or modification, they can apply to the CEO to have those decisions reviewed by the Care Plan Review Panel. People who have had a copy of the Care Plan or a modification of the Care Plan withheld from them are also able to have this decision reviewed by the Care Plan Review Panel.
Refer to Chapter 3.4 – Care Plan Decisions and the Care Plan Review Panel.
If a child, their family or another person significant to them is still dissatisfied with a decision made by the Care Plan Review Panel, that person can apply for a review by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).
During the review process, you can continue to review and modify care plans. However, any decisions made by the SAT must remain in place for 12-months before being re-reviewed, unless there is a significant change in the child's circumstances or new/pertinent information becomes known.
The child, their family, carers and any other person who has a significant interest in the child's wellbeing, can make a complaint if they have concerns about how the child's care is being managed. Complaints can be made about any service offered, any other aspect of the Department's operations, or a perceived lack of service where one could reasonably be expected.
When engaging in the care planning process, it is important to remind people of their right to make a formal complaint if they do not feel you are able to resolve the issues with them directly.
You should provide Department resources regarding the complaints process that are presented in language specific for children and young people.
For more information about the complaints process, refer to the Chapter 4.1 – Complaints Management.
It is important that the child knows they can talk to you, the Team Leader, or where relevant, the Aboriginal Practice Leader and how they can get into contact if they have any worries or questions about being in out-of-home care, or if the child wishes to raise complaints of their own. If the child has a specific complaint, they can raise this with the Advocate for Children in Care (the Advocate).
You should regularly remind the child that they can contact the Advocate, and ensure that they have the Advocate's contact details.
The Advocate can be contacted via:
Ensure the child has information about other services that can provide them with support and promote their best interests. This includes, but is not limited to:
The Charter of Rights for Children and Young People, and the Charter of Rights for Parents and Families Involved in Statutory Child Protection in WA can help the child to understand the purpose of a Care Plan and what should be included in it. Ask the child and family members if they have or would like a copy. Refer to Chapter 3.4 Charter of Rights for Children and Families for further information.
The decision to apply for an extension or revocation of a protection order (time limited) should be informed by the case planning process as it is not a care planning decision. The decision must be made by the District Director as the CEO's delegate. See Chapter 3.3 – Protection orders (time-limited and until 18) for further information.