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3.5.2 Case management costs - case support costs

Last Modified: 07-Jun-2022 Review Date: 01-Jul-2010


To inform child protection workers of the process for incidental ‘one off’ costs and recurrent costs for the provision of goods or services, particularly in relation to a child in the care of the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities.  This process includes accessing the Contract Tracking System (CTS) portal to generate contracts under $50,000.


  • Case support costs are available to support children in the care of the CEO and their carers. These expenses are above the general day to day costs (covered by the subsidy payment) and can be one-off or recurrent.
  • Case support costs are also available to families to prevent children from coming into care through Intensive Family Support.
  • Case support costs are paid from district budgets or community sector funding. Refer to Chapter 3.5: Case management costs - funding for placements other than approved foster care to check if community sector agency funded placements have case supports included in the funding.
  • Categories of case support costs include, but are not limited to:
    • counselling
    • day care
    • entertainment
    • furniture
    • legal costs
    • medical and dental
    • mentoring
    • recreational and leisure activities
    • school fees and books
    • supervision contact
    • travel
    • tuition.
  • During the planning processes for a child in the CEO's care in community sector funded agency placements, it is essential that child protection workers and community sector agencies case worker discuss and plan any anticipated costs for the child.
  • During the planning processes for a child in the CEO's care, it is essential that child protection workers discuss significant costs with the child (age permitting), the family and his or her team leader.
  • The anticipated costs for the child must be included in the case plan to facilitate management of the district's budget or the community sector agency's budget in relation to case support costs.


Process Maps

Not applicable

Information and Instructions

  • Eligibility
  • Establishment costs
  • Guidelines for district directors, team leaders and child protection workers
  • Delegated approval levels – case support costs
  • Minor expenditure and reimbursement
  • International travel reimbursements to carers
  • Processing case support costs
  • Processing contracts for services
  • Case support costs with community sector agency funded placements
  • Eligibility

    Case suppo​rt costs are provided to support children in the CEO’s care and their carers. To access case support costs for a child in the CEO’s care, the child must have a case plan and a provisional care plan or care plan.

    Case support costs are also provided to families to prevent children from coming into care through Intensive Family Support. To access case support costs through Intensive Family Support the child must have a case plan.


    Establishment costs

    It may be appropriate to provide establishment costs when a child is initially placed with a carer when essential items need to be purchased (i.e. beds, bedding, toys etc). This is determined on a case by case basis, and may be influenced by whether a family has immediate access to subsidy payments.

    When requesting funds for establishment costs, an accurate cost estimate and clear justification for the funding must be submitted to team leaders through the funding component in Assist.

    Child protection workers should not make any commitments to carers or suppliers by assuring them of payment for an item.  Carers should also be advised not to make such commitments.  A commitment for payment for goods can only be made to a supplier when electronic or written approval is received.

    When planning case support costs, child protection workers should be aware of the reciprocal arrangements existing with other government departments, and of relevant Commonwealth allowances and benefits, and access these whenever eligibility or entitlement exists.

    Refer to the Centrelink website at for information on Centrelink benefits.


    Guidelines for district directors, team leaders and child protection workers

    Each district is provided with a budget for costs at the beginning of the financial year. District directors allocate this budget to their team leaders and monitor expenditure on a regular basis.

    District directors should set appropriate expenditure limits for their team leaders and other senior staff who approve client expenditure. Adherence to these limits and management of the client costs budget must be reviewed in each supervision session between district directors and team leaders.

    All children must have a case plan.  Depending on the value of the expenditure, funding is approved by a team leader, an assistant district director, or a district director in the funding component in Assist.  Children with high funding costs must be identified early in the financial year and, if the level of expenditure is likely to exceed the district’s budget, prepare a Special Purpose Funding Submission - for more information please refer to Chapter 3.5: Case management costs - special purpose funding: major, extraordinary and capital costs.

    Case support costs expenditure must be reviewed at each district management team meeting.  If over-expenditure occurs, strategies to manage the district's budget need to be discussed with the relevant executive director.


    Delegated approval levels – case support costs

    The delegated approval levels for case support costs per item of expenditure per child are:

    • up to $2,500 - team leader
    • up to $5,000 – assistant district director
    • up to the district budget - district director.

    Approval for funding is sought through the funding component in Assist.  Staff with delegated approval for case support costs must review the specific funding items to verify that they have the required level of delegation approval to approve the funds.


    Minor expenditure and reimbursement

    Child protection workers may meet emergency, unplanned expenditures of up to $50 per transaction from petty cash (up to $100 per quarter per child). While carers should be encouraged and reminded that they should only make unplanned and emergency expenditures without prior approval in exceptional situations, this delegation allows child protection workers to reimburse carers immediately on presentation of receipts.  Alternatively, the delegation may be used to provide for minor costs in advance for a child (for example, costs of unplanned school excursions or outings).

    If the money is paid directly to a child in the CEOs care, the child must sign the petty cash sheet as proof that they have received the money.  This delegation does not extend to normal, ongoing and predictable costs; these should be planned for and approved in advance.

    When carers purchase small items or services in emergencies without prior approval, child protection workers should check the following before reimbursing minor expenses:

    • that these costs are not covered by the basic subsidy or any special needs loading the carer is receiving
    • that the carer has a receipt from the supplier in the name of the Department of Communities (not the carer or the child)
    • that the receipt identifies the child concerned for accounting purposes, and
    • the item or service purchased by the carer must not cost more than $50.  This is particularly important if we are to recoup any GST paid.

    To recoup GST:

    • the account must be in the Department of Communities' name; and
    • the supplier must provide a tax invoice for amounts above $82.50.

    Child protection workers must inform carers about these requirements, and that in all cases, the receipt must show the amount of GST paid.

    Child protection workers must:

    • record the item or service and the cost on Form 516 Carer Reimbursement (in related resources)
    • attach the receipt/invoice to the form, and
    • give the form with attached receipts to the district Administration Officer for storage.

    International travel reimbursements to carers

    Refer to Chapter 3.2: Interstate and overseas travel.


    Processing case support costs

    Child protection workers must apply for miscellaneous expenditure in advance.  All purchases must comply with the purchasing requirements outlined in the Administration Manual.

    When a business with an Australian Business Number (ABN) provides goods or services, place the order and arrange payment. If required, send an email with the relevant details to the supplier to confirm the order.

    Service provision over a period of time with periodic tax invoices

    Before any requests can be made for services that will occur over a period of time and involving a number of recurring tax invoices (for example, ongoing orthodontic treatment), child protection workers must:

    1. submit an overall estimate of the cost of the services to their team leader through the funding component in Assist for approval
    2. when approved, contact the supplier to request the services, providing a letter confirming the details to the supplier if requested
    3. initiate payment upon receipt of the tax invoice by recording its details in the 'Payment Request' screen in Assist.  

    Psychology Services

    If the type of service involves a contractor such as a clinical psychologist, child protection workers must complete Form 665 Psychology Services Referral - Intervention or Therapy and forward it to the Chief Psychologist for quality assurance and endorsement.  For more information refer to the related resource Psychology Services - Approved Private Practitioners, and Chapter 4.2: Engaging with private practitioners for treatment/therapeutic services.

    Payments for Services

    The Western Australian Government’s preferred method of payment is through Government Purchasing Card (GPC).

    When a child's case plan indicates that goods or services should be ordered, the process depends on the payment type:

    Government Purchasing Card (GPC) or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

    1. Child protection workers must submit a justification in the funding component in Assist.
    2. Funding is approved by the officer with appropriate delegated authority.  
    3. The child protection workers contact a supplier to request the goods or services.   If the supplier requests official confirmation of the purchase, child protection workers can list the goods or services required in an email or letter and send to the supplier.
    4. The supplier provides the goods or services, sending their tax invoice to the child protection worker.
    5. The child protection worker initiates payment by entering the details in the 'Payment Request' screen in Assist and selects the appropriate payment type.  This generates the 'Payment Authorisation Form'.
    6. The child protection worker attaches the tax invoice to the 'Payment Authorisation Form' and forwards both to the district administration team.
    7. The supplier is paid in the appropriate method.

    Child protection workers must check that all tax invoices and receipts are in the Department of Communities' name, not in a carer's or child's name, and that the child's name is noted on that document for accounting purposes.

    MasterCard Prepaid Card

    Department officers must not use the Prepaid MasterCard for purchasing except in the limited circumstances set out below.  Within these circumstances, where child protection workers (CPWs) and other Department officers use a Prepaid MasterCard on behalf of a client, they must: 

    • determine that there are no other payment options available
    • complete Form 016 Acknowledgement of Use by Departmental Officer for MasterCard Prepaid Card and attach
    • keep all receipts, and
    • meet other requirements (refer to the Governance and Business Manual 3.10 Prepaid credit cards).


    1. Child protection workers must submit a justification in the funding component in Assist.  Enter details in the 'Payment Request' screen in Assist to generate an 'Authorisation Code'.
    2. Senior officer with delegated authority must approve the funding. 
    3. When funding is approved, CPWs load and activate the MasterCard Prepaid Card through the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) portal.
    4. Clients must sign Form 014 Acknowledgment of Assistance for MasterCard Prepaid Card before CPWs issue a MasterCard Prepaid Card to them.  
    5. After Form 014 has been signed by the client, CPWs issue the MasterCard Prepaid Card to them, and the client  purchases the goods or services. 
    6. If a CPW or other Department officer is issued a MasterCard Prepaid Card to use on behalf of a client, they must:
      1. sign Form 016 Acknowledgement of Use by a Departmental Officer for MasterCard Prepaid Card,
      2. attach it to the printed Payment Authorisation Form generated through Assist, and
      3. keep and attach all receipts to the Payment Authorisation Form.  For detailed procedural information, refer to the section 'Other payment types' below, or Chapter 2.5: Prepaid card in the Administration Manual.

    Other payment types

    Other payment types available include: petty cash, corporate travel, and cabcharge. These payment methods can be used in instances where GPC, EFT or MasterCard Prepaid may not be appropriate.

    Exceptional use by Department officers:

    There are limited exceptional circumstances where the Prepaid MasterCard may be used by CPWs and other Department officers to make purchases on behalf of clients.  Before using this payment option, all other options must be explored, for example, EFT or GPC to determine that there are no other payment options available.  

    Examples of exceptional circumstances:

    • Where children are waiting on a placement in an emergency situation. Child protection workers may need to purchase items for the child.
    • Where a client living in a remote community is unable to make the purchase themselves and agrees that the CPW can make the purchase on their behalf.
    • Where children in residential care require unplanned items. Each residential care home has a small stock of cards that can be loaded by the case managing district staff.
    • Prepaid cards may also be issued for Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA) and for Emergency Services – Disaster Assistance payments.

    Process for exceptional use:

    1. Determine that there are no other payment options available.
    2. Record Prepaid MasterCard (or preloaded MasterCard) as the payment type in Assist and print the Payment Authorisation Form.
    3. CBA Portal:  When loading the Prepaid MasterCard, record the card in the client's name.  The CPW issuing the card cannot load the card.  The card should be loaded by a different Department worker. 
    4. Where a CPW uses the card on behalf of the client, he or she must sign Form 016 Acknowledgement of use by a departmental officer, and attach it to the Payment Authorisation Form (generated in Assist).
    5. The employee purchases the items for the client using the card and keeps all receipts/tax invoices for all goods purchased.
    6. The purchased goods are then given to the client.
    7. Child protection workers forward the following to the administration officer: 
      1. Payment Authorisation Form
      2. Form 016 Acknowledgement of use by a departmental officer.
      3. All receipts or tax invoices to the administration officer.  A receipt is sufficient for amounts up to $82.50 and a tax invoice is required for amounts of $82.50 and above so that the GST can be claimed.   

    Processing contracts for services

    In other cases, such as mentoring, child minding, tutoring etc., a Contract For Services should be initiated.  This sets out the agreed arrangement between the Contractor and Communities in terms of:    

    • that the individual has completed the required Communities client and criminal record checks, and has a Working with Children Card
    • the services they will provide, and 
    • the payment they will receive.

    The Contract for Services can be for a one off provision of service or for services provided over a period of time for contracts under $50,000.  For contracts valued at $50,000 and over please contact the Procurement Services Team by phone or email:

    Contract Tracking System portal

    To generate contracts for services under $50,000, staff (child protection workers, education officers, etc.) need to access the Contract for Service System portal

    1. Enter the Contract details into the CTS - refer to the User Guide Contract Initiator - Contract Tracking System for contracts for service under $50,000 (in related resources). 
    2. Generate a Contract for Service (the Service Agreement) and save it to the appropriate hard drive folder.
    3. Upload a copy of the saved Contract for Service to the CTS.
    4. Electronically submit the Contract for Service for approval in the CTS.
    5. When approved, print the Contract for Service and arrange to have it signed by the Contractor and the appropriate Director level officer.
    6. Scan and save the signed of the Contract for Service to the appropriate hard drive folder
    7. Upload the signed copy of the Contract for Service into CTS.
    8. The Contract for Service must be signed with all processes completed before the commencement date of the contract.
    9. Complete Form 280 Creditor/Supplier Maintenance (tick Assist Creditor), attach the Statement by Supplier (if applicable) and forward to Financial Accounting to establish the supplier and enable payment.

    Contractors must provide invoices for payment for services. On receipt of an invoice, payment is initiated via Assist Payment Authorisation Form – EFT Payment Type from approved funds.

    Services for extracurricular (e.g. driving lessons etc.) do not require a contract for services to be completed. 


    Case support costs with community sector agency funded placements

    Where a community sector agency has funding for case support costs, this funding is for each placement (not each child) for that year.  All case support costs should be negotiated and reflected in a child’s case plan. Child protection workers and community sector agency case workers should regularly plan and review the case support costs against the child’s case plan. 

    When a community sector agency case worker or child protection worker identify high costs needs where the level of expenditure is likely to exceed the community sector agency’s budget, case support costs must be reviewed and assessed to determine if a Special Purpose Funding Submission should be prepared - refer to Chapter 3.5: Case management costs - special purpose funding: major, extraordinary and capital costs for details.

    Provision of additional case support costs from a district’s budget to support the community sector agency’s funded placement is at the district director’s prerogative. A community sector agency cannot commit to any additional costs without consultation with the child protection worker.