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Introduction to the Casework Practice Manual

Last Modified: 02-May-2022 Review Date: N/A

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation

Overview

Acknowledgement of Country

The Department of Communities (the Department) proudly acknowledges Traditional Custodians throughout Western Australia and recognises their continuing connection to their lands, families and communities. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and emerging leaders.

The Department acknowledges the continuing harm caused by past legislation and policies and the responsibility required to work collaboratively with Aboriginal people and communities, and to work transparently. The Department recognises the immense strength and resilience of Aboriginal people and their enduring cultures. 


Officers of the Department must adhere to the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act) when working with children, their families, and the broader community. The Act sets out clear provisions and guiding principles on engaging with families to provide support and in what circumstances it is appropriate to intervene to protect a child from harm or likelihood of harm.

The Act provides the Chief Executive Officer of the Department (the CEO) with the power to take various actions to support families and promote the safety and wellbeing of children.  The CEO, referred to in practice as the Director General of the Department, can delegate powers under the Act to officers of the Department. The Instrument of Delegation and Authorisation sets out the specific powers that have been delegated, and which officers occupying different roles within the Department are able to exercise them.  It also establishes which officers are authorised to exercise specified powers as 'authorised officers' under the Act. 

The Casework Practice Manual (CPM) has been carefully aligned with the Act, departmental frameworks, action plans and other publications to provide consistent practical instruction and theoretical context to enable workers to undertake their roles. Each entry provides links to relevant frameworks, additional documents, practice tools, process maps and additional information. When read together, these documents provide detailed guidance to help you manage all aspects of frontline child protection work and service provision, from initial engagement, to supporting young people in the CEO's care.

This chapter provides an overview of the principles covered in the Act, in addition to brief summaries for each of the primary departmental frameworks and action plans. This information should provide you with a strong foundation for understanding the guidance detailed in the entries to follow.

Note:

Care arrangements are referred to as "placement arrangements" in the Children and Community Services Act 2004. It means an arrangement for the placement of a child with certain persons, made under section 79(2)(b) of the Act. Both terms mean the same thing and are interchangeable. 

Rules
  • ​All staff must comply with the Children and Community Services Act 2004 and any other legislation relevant to their role within the Department.

Information and Instructions

  • Ethical principles for workers
  • How to use the CPM
  • Principles of the Act
  • Departmental practice frameworks and action plans
  • Ethical principles for workers

    In addition to relevant legislation, frameworks, the CPM and other documents which detail specific guidance, it is important to acknowledge and consider the vulnerability of the children and families we work with. To provide a response that is respectful, appropriate and rights-based, consider the following ethical principles for practice:

    • Practice ethically and with integrity within the principles and requirements of the Act.
    • Act in the child's best interests and to promote the child's safety.
    • Consider the child's rights, expressed wishes and lived experience.
    • Act to promote the child's development.
    • Be culturally responsive.
    • Be both analytic and intuitive in exercising expert professional judgement.
    • Be prepared to discuss and have your assessments and practice challenged.
    • Review your information, assessments, decisions, actions, goals and outcomes in consultation with senior staff.
    • Be prepared to change direction as new information comes to light.
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    How to use the CPM

    The CPM has been organised into separate entries based on topic, with each entry sitting within a Chapter and sub-chapters relevant to the area of work. For example, the entry on Care Planning, sits within the chapter regarding children in the care of the CEO, Chapter 3 – Children and Young People in the CEO's Care, and within the sub-chapter related to planning, 3.4 - Planning.

    Version Control:

    Underneath the title, you will find information noting when the entry was last modified. Clicking on the 'Comments' link will take you to information about what changes have been made to the entry and when they were made. 

    Overview:

    The overview section provides an explanation for what the entry is about and highlights at least one key point within the entry.

    Rules:

    This section briefly describes key mandates held within each entry. These are generally based on legislation, policy or a recommendation from the Ombudsman of Western Australia or Coroner. Mandated actions are easily recognised throughout the entry, as they are prefaced with a "must". Where you are directed to take an action based on best practice, this direction is usually prefaced with a "should".

    Where you are unable to comply with a specified action, document the rationale in your case notes. 

    Process Maps:

    Relevant maps, flowcharts and diagrams designed to help you understand a specific process can be found here.

    Information and Instructions:

    Each sub-heading used within the entry is listed here to allow you to skip directly to the section you require. It also provides a summary of the content, so you know what information is included within the entry.

    Related Resources:

    The list of related resources can be found to the right of the entry, and provides direct links to related policies, frameworks, forms, and other information, as well as links to related entries.

    Glossary:

    This link will take you to the Communities Glossary and Acronym page on Sharepoint.

    Custodian Details: 

    This link allows you to report any comments, queries or to report any errors or typos directly to the CPM custodian via email.

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    Principles of the Act

    Part 2 of the Act details the principles that must be upheld and underpin any action taken under the Act. These principles are as important as other sections of the Act which detail when to intervene to protect a child.

    These principles are contained in the Act as follows:

    Section 7: Paramount consideration is best interests of child

    In performing a function under this Act in relation to a child, the paramount consideration is the best interests of the child.

    Section 8: Determining best interests of child

    (1)   In determining, what is in the best interests of a child the following matters must be taken into account –

    (a)   The need to protect the child from harm

    (b)   The capacity of the child's parents to protect the child from harm

    (c)   The capacity of the child's parents, or of any other person, to provide for the child's needs

    (d)   The nature of the child's relationship with the child's parents, siblings and other members of the child's family; or other people who are significant in the child's life

    (e)   The attitude to the child, and to parental responsibility, demonstrated by the child's parents

    (f)    Any wishes or views expressed by the child, having regard to the child's age and level of understanding in determining the weight to be given to those wishes or views

    (g)   The importance of continuity and stability in the child's living arrangements and the likely effect on the child of disruption of those living arrangements, including separation from-

    (i) the child's parents; or

    (ii) a sibling or member of the child's family; or

    (iii) a carer or any other person (including the child) with whom the child is, or has recently been, living; or

    (iv) other people significant in the child's life

    (h)   the need for the child to develop and maintain contact with the child's parents, siblings and other members of the child's family and with other people who are significant in the child's life

    (i)    the child's age, maturity, sex, sexuality, background and language

    (j)    the child's cultural, ethnic or religious identity (including the need for cultural support to develop and maintain connection with the culture and traditions of the child's family or community)

    (k)   the child's physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and developmental needs

    (la) the child's educational needs

    (l)    any other relevant characteristics of the child

    (m) the likely effect on the child of any change in the child's circumstances

    (2)   Subsection (1) does not limit the matters that may be taken into account in determining what is in the best interests if a child.

    Section 9: Other Principles

    In performing a function under this Act, other principles to be observed are as follows - 

    (a) the principle that the parents, family and community of a child have the primary role in safeguarding and promoting the child's wellbeing

    (b) the principle that the preferred way of safeguarding and promoting a child's wellbeing is to support the child's parents, family and community in the care of the child

    (c) the principle that every child should be cared for and protected from harm

    (d) the principle that every child should live in an environment free from violence

    (e) the principle that every child should have stable, secure and safe relationships and living arrangements

    (ea) the principle that every child should be treated as a valued member of society in a manner that respects the child's dignity and privacy

    (f) the principle that intervention action (as defined in section 32(2)) should be taken only in circumstances where there is no other reasonable way to safeguard and promote the child's wellbeing

    (g) the principle that planning for the care of a child who is in the CEO's care should occur as soon as possible in porder to promote long-term stability fo rthe child and should, as soon as possible, include consideration of whether it is appropriate to work towards returning the child to the child's parents

    (ga) the principle that objectives of planning fo rthe care of a child who is in the CEO's care include the following - 

         (i) to achieve continuity and stability in the child's living arrangements

         (ii) to preserve and enhance the child's relationships with the child's family and with other people who are significant in the child's life (subject to protecting the child from harm and meeting the child's needs); 

         (iii) for an Aboriginal child, Torres Strait Islander child or child of culturally or linguistically diverse background - to preserve and enhance the child's connection with the culture and traditions of the child's family or community; 

    (gb) the principle that objectives of planning for a placement arrangement for a child include, subject to protecting the child from harm and meeting the child's needs, the following 

    (i) to place the child with a member of the child's family

    (ii) to place the child with the child's siblings (subject also to protecting the siblings from harm)

    (iii) to place the child with a person who is willing and able to encourage and support the child to develop and maintain contact with the child's parents, siblings and other members of the child's family and with other people who are significant in the child's life, subject to decisions under this Act about contact. 

    (h) the principle that decisions about a child should be made promptly having regard to the age, characteristics, circumstances and needs of the child and to minimise the risk of detrimental effects arising from delay in decision-making

    (ia) the principle that decisions about a child with disability should be made giving special consideration to any difficulties or discrimination that may be encountered by the child because of the child's disability and should support the child's full and effective participation in society

    (i) the principle that decisions about a child should be consistent with cultural, ethnic and religious values and traditions relevant to the child

    (j) the principle that a child's parents and any people who are significant in the child's life should be given an opportunity and assistance to participate in decision-making processes under this Act that are likely to have a significant impact on the child's life

    (k) the principle that a child's parents and other people who are significant in the child's life should be given adequate information, in a manner and language that they can understand, about-

    (i) decision-making processes under this Act that are likely to have a significant impact on the child's life, and

    (ii) the outcome of decisions under the Act that are likely to have a significant impact on the child's life (as described in section 10(3), including an explanation of the reasons for the decision, and 

    (iii) any relevant complaint or review procedure

    (l) the principle that, as far as practicable, services of an interpreter or other appropriate person are to be made available to assist - 

    (i) a person who has difficulty understanding or communicating in English, or 

    (ii) a person whose disability prevents or restricts the person's understanding of, pr participation in, a decision-making or other process or the person's expression of wishes and views. 

    Section 10: Principle of child participation

    (1)   If a decision under this Act is likely to have a significant impact on a child's life then, for the purpose of ensuring that the child is able to participate in the decision-making process, the child must be given-

    (a)   Adequate information, in a manner and language that the child can understand, about-

    (i) the decision to be made; and

    (ii) the reasons for the Department's involvement; and

    (iii) the ways in which the child can participate in the decision-making process; and

    (iv) any relevant complaint or review procedures; and

    (b)   the opportunity to express the child's wishes and views freely, according to the child's abilities; and

    (c)   any assistance that is necessary for the child to express those wishes and views; and

    (d)   adequate information as to how the child's wishes and views will be recorded and taken into account; and

    (e)   adequate information about the decision made and a full explanation of the reasons for the decision; and

    (f)    an opportunity to respond to the decision made.

    (2)   In the application of the principle set out in subsection (1), due regard must be had to the age and level of understanding of the child concerned.

    (3)   Decisions under this Act that are likely to have a significant impact on a child's life include but are not limited to-

    (a) Decisions about placement arrangements or secure care arrangements in respect of the child; and

    (b) Decisions in the course of preparing, modifying or reviewing care plans or provisional care plans for the child; and

    (c) Decisions about the provision of social services to the child; and

    (d) Decisions about contact with the child's parents, siblings and other members of the child's family and with other people who are significant in the child's life.

    Section 12: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child placement principle

    (1)   The objective of the principle in subsection (2) is to maintain a connection with family and culture for Aboriginal children and Torres Strait children who are the subject of placement arrangements or interim order made under section 133(2)(c).

    (2)   In making a decision under this Act about the placement under a placement arrangement of an Aboriginal child, a Torres Strait Islander child, or in making an interim order under section 133(2)(c) in relation to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child or in varying such an order, a principle to be observed is that any placement of the child must, so far as is consistent with the child's best interests and is otherwise practicable, be in accordance with the following order of priority-

    (a) a placement with a member of the child's family

    (b) placement with a person who is an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander in the child's community in accordance with local customary practice

    (c) placement with a person who is an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander who lives in close proximity to the child's community

    (d) placement with either a person who is an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander or a person who is not an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander but who - 

    (i) lives in close proximity to the child's community, and 

    (ii) is responsive to the cultural support needs of the child and is willing and able to encourage and support the child to develop and maintain a connection with the culture and traditions of the child's family or community

    (e) placement with a person who is not an ABoriginal person or Torres Strait Islander but who is responsive to the cultural support needs of the child and is willing and able to encourage and support the child to develop and maintain a connection with the culture and traditions of the child's family or community. 

    Section 13: Principle of self-determination

    (1) Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders have a right to participate in the protection and care of their children with as much self-determination as possible.

    (2) Consideration must be given to the wishes and views of the child, taking into account the maturity and understanding of the child, and the child's parents about the participation of a family, community or organisation under subsection (1). 

    Section 14: Principle of community participation

    In the administration of this Act a principle to be observed is that a kinship group, community or representative organisation of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders should be given, where appropriate, an opportunity and assistance to participate in decision-making processes under this Act that are likely to have significant impact on the life of a child who is a member of, or represented by, the group, community or organisation.

    The Department must also adhere to the following legislation and regulations:  

    • Adoption Act 1994
    • Adoption Regulations 1995
    • Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004
    • Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Regulations 2005

     

    The Department is the only agency with authority in WA to conduct local and overseas adoptions.

    For further information about adoption, refer to the Department's website Fostering and Adoption page and the Adoption Act 1994.

        
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    Departmental practice frameworks and action plans

    The Department has published a range of practice frameworks, action plans and other documents. These are often developed with external stakeholders and are research-based. These publications underpin the work we do in all areas of child protection and provide additional context and understanding when read in conjunction with the Act and the CPM. See below for a summary of the primary frameworks currently in use and central to best practice.

    Signs of Safety Child Protection Practice Framework

    Signs of Safety is the primary assessment and engagement framework used by the Department. The framework uses specific practice tools and processes to bring family members and professionals together in partnership to look at, and manage, risk of child abuse. Signs of Safety is a solution-focused, strengths-based model that:

    • explores harm and danger while building on existing strengths and safety

    • provides workers with the tools to articulate professional knowledge in a manner the family will understand, and equally acknowledges the family's knowledge and wisdom about their own circumstances, and

    • is designed to support professional collaboration and equal family engagement in the assessment process.

    The framework has four distinct but interrelated domains for inquiry and assessment. These are:

    1. What are we worried about?

    This includes capturing past harm, future danger and identifying complicating factors, which can exacerbate risk.

    2. What's working well?

    This section is where we identify and explore existing safety across the family network, and what the family are already doing to keep the child safe.

    3. What needs to happen?

    This is where we look at what changes need to be made to address each of the concerns. This is the planning/finding solution phase of the assessment process and we do this in collaboration with the family.

    4. Where are we on a scale of 0-10?

    When scaling, '10' means there is enough safety for the child protection authorities to close the case, and '0' means it is certain the child has been harmed and there is no potential to create enough safety for the child to remain in the home. By asking everyone how worried they are, and why they are worried, the assessment becomes much more transparent and the family will have a better understanding of why certain actions are being taken or not taken.

    As much as possible, all statements used throughout the process should focus on specific, observable behaviours and judgement-loaded terms should be avoided. Clear, commonly understood danger statements are essential since they define the fundamental issues that must be addressed via safety planning.

    Safety planning is key to creating safety for a child. It is designed to create a proactive, structured and monitored process that provides parents involved in child protection matters with a genuine opportunity, to demonstrate that they can provide the safety and care for their children in a manner required of them by the Department. To sustain hope and constructive professional-family engagement, it is best if the safety planning occurs as quickly as possible after the initial contact.

    Aboriginal services and practice framework

    Aboriginal children and families are significantly over-represented in the child protection system. The framework details some of the challenges faced by Aboriginal people, while acknowledging the resilience and strengths of Aboriginal communities and cultures and makes a strong commitment to improve the outcomes for Aboriginal children, families, and communities.

    The framework sets out clear collective responsibilities for all departmental workers to support the goal of achieving better outcomes for Aboriginal children, their family, and communities. These responsibilities include:

    • understanding our shared history of colonisation and its ongoing influence and negative impact on the present

    • delivering policies, practices and services that are culturally responsive and which effectively meet the needs of Aboriginal children, families and communities

    • recognising the strength of aligning with Aboriginal people's worldviews, values, traditions, and approaches in our current and future practice

    • actively seeking out partnerships that support Aboriginal children, families, organisations, and communities, and

    • building on the existing strengths and resilience in Aboriginal families, organisations, and communities.

    In addition to the above responsibilities, the Department has made a commitment to foster cultural competence to improve engagement and service provision.

    Path to Safety: Western Australia's strategy to reduce family and domestic violence

    Family and domestic violence is a pervasive and complex social problem with serious justice, community safety and public health consequences. This strategy is the Department's plan to address family and domestic violence through a whole-of-community response over the next decade. The role of child protection is a fundamentally important element of this approach.

    See below for the list of guiding principles underpinning the action plan.

    • People in Western Australia should be safe in their relationships and in their homes.

    • The safety and wellbeing of child and adult victim-survivors is the first priority.

    • Children and young people exposed to domestic violence are victims.

    • Perpetrators are solely responsible for their actions – victims must not be blamed.

    • Women's safety is linked to gender equality.

    • Everyone has a role in stopping family and domestic violence.

    • Effective solutions are locally tailored, culturally safe and trauma informed.

    • Men and boys are integral to the solution.

    • There is a 'no wrong door approach' to service delivery.

    The four areas of primary focus include the following:

    1. Working with Aboriginal people to strengthen Aboriginal family safety

    Recognising the disproportionate impact of family violence on Aboriginal women, children, families and communities and the need to respond to the different drivers of violence experienced by Aboriginal people.

    2.  Act now to keep people safe and hold perpetrators to account

    This refers to both responses to achieve safety and long-term recovery for victim-survivors, as well as managing the multiple risks that perpetrators present.

    3. Grow primary prevention to stop family and domestic violence

    Preventing violence from occurring in the first place requires an expansion to the way we currently work. It requires us to actively challenge the attitudes and social conditions that enable violence to occur.

    4.  Reform systems to prioritise safety, accountability and collaboration

    Government agencies and community sector services will work together to provide culturally appropriate, holistic, safe, and accountable responses to victim-survivors and perpetrators, streamlined pathways through the service system and coordinated service delivery between agencies and systems.

    The strategy clearly outlines the impact for children and young people exposed to violence in the home, noting that these impacts may be immediate or chronic. These include:

    • low self-esteem
    • learning difficulties
    • behavioural problems
    • depression and other mental health issues
    • bullying, and
    • homelessness

    Perpetrator accountability in child protection practice

    This is a practice-focused resource designed to provide child protection workers with safe, ethical guidance to minimise risks for child and adult victims of domestic violence. The document also aims to support their long-term recovery, in addition to engaging and responding to men who perpetrate domestic violence. 

    The four primary practice principles for this resource are detailed below:

    1. The safety of the child and adult victim-survivors is paramount.

    2. Increasing the safety of the non-abusive parent and their safety networks enhances the safety for the child.

    3. In order to keep the child and adult victims safe, perpetrators of family and domestic violence must be held accountable for their actions and actively supported to cease their violent behaviour.

    4. The safest and most effective responses to family and domestic violence involve collaboration and coordination with other agencies and services.

    Underpinned by the Signs the Safety Practice Framework, this resource supports workers to develop safe strategies for information gathering, and details micro-skills helpful in engaging men to talk about their use of violence. The resource also describes your referral options and how best to ensure an effective, coordinated response to the child's needs. Guidance is provided to work constructively with women who have experienced or who are experiencing family and domestic violence.

    The resource explores and helps the worker to understand the experience of a child being mothered by a woman living in fear and fathered by a man who is a perpetrator of violence.

    Intensive Family Support Approach

    The Department recognises that earlier and more intensive engagement and intervention provides the best opportunity to effectively support and benefit children and families. This is particularly important for families dealing with multiple challenges such as family and domestic violence, homelessness, poor mental health, and substance misuse. This type of intervention will also reduce the likelihood of a child entering out-of-home care. Early intervention work is carefully aligned with and underpinned by the Signs of Safety Practice Framework and the Aboriginal Services and Practice Framework.

    The Department provides a range of primary, secondary and tertiary services in health, early childhood and education, in collaboration with a range of community service providers. Under the Early Intervention and Intensive Family Support (EIFS) strategy, the Department provides targeted intensive family support to 'hard to reach' families and children. These are delivered directly by the Department or via contracted services.

    The intensity of intervention applies to the frequency and duration of contact, and the variety of services provided to the family. This extended, stable contact with the Department allows the family to build relationships with workers and the Department to provide a targeted service to meet the specific and individual needs of the family, as identified in collaboration with the family.

    Key goals of the IFS teams include:

    • A stronger focus on working with Aboriginal families, earlier and in a culturally responsive way, to divert children from entering out-of-home care.

    • Utilising tools from the Family Finding mode. Where a child cannot be brought up by their own family and community, they have a right to maintain meaningful connections.

    • Intensive support is provided for 6-12 months, depending on the needs of the child.

    • All IFS cases to be reviewed monthly via the Multidisciplinary Care Consultations (MCC's).

    • To align and coordinate government services to have a local and shared role in identifying families who require intensive earlier intervention.

    • Greater collaboration and shared responsibility of government agencies and community sector services, including Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs).

    Care Team Approach Practice Framework

    Every child in care has a 'care team' comprising of a group of people important to the child and carer, and who share responsibility for meeting the needs of the child in their care journey. Part of this responsibility is to maintain and support the child's care arrangement and their continued connection to parents, siblings, the child's wider family, network, community, and culture.

    The emphasis is on:

    • creating and maintaining stability in environment and relationships

    • reducing disruption to lifetime connections the child had when they entered out-of-home care; and

    • developing and maintaining naturally occurring networks the child would have had if they were not in out-of-home care.

    This care team approach promotes proactive, rather than reactive, case management and is guided by the question, "what do I need to do to support the child's development, learning, stability and growth, as well as healing?" This way of working places the child's best interests and needs as the central focus.

    Support from the care team is particularly important during:

    • transitions, particularly between care arrangements or schools.

    • legal proceedings, and

    • at other difficult times for the child and their carer.

    Residential Care Sanctuary Framework

    The Residential Care Sanctuary Framework describes the overarching model and core elements of how the Department's residential care facilities operate, including the Kath French Secure Care Facility. The Framework is largely based on the principles of the Sanctuary Model, which is a coherent and therapeutic approach to care, and which facilitates positive organisational change within care facilities.

    Children and young people who have experienced abuse and trauma may not function at their chronological age in terms of their physical, social, emotional or cognitive skills. It is critical that care givers are aware of the effects of abuse and trauma and respond therapeutically, rather than reactively, to what can be challenging behaviours.

    Multicultural Plan

    This plan was developed to meet the need for culturally responsive service provision and to highlight the importance of considering the diversity of the children, families, and communities we work with. A key aim of the Plan is to improve the cultural competence of the Department in relation to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) families we have contact with.

    Cultural competence is required for service provision to be culturally safe and appropriate. To meet cultural competency, the following elements should be demonstrated by the Department, individual workers and service providers:

    • Awareness of the influence of their own cultural beliefs on practice

    • Respect for, and sensitivity to, the cultural practices and beliefs of others

    • Provision of language services, and

    • Commitment to supporting cultural diversity, including the provision of, or completion of, cultural competency training.

    Institutional discrimination is embedded in policies and practices of an organisation. While this form of discrimination is often unintentional, the effect is to limit or restrict people, particularly from minority groups, from accessing all or some of the services of an organisations in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. Unless unconscious bias and systemic racism are consciously countered through anti-oppressive practice and a commitment to cultural competency, culturally safe service provision is unlikely to be achieved.

    State Disability Strategy

    This strategy paper was created by the Department in accordance with the Disability Services Act 1993 and seeks to achieve the following objectives:

    • eliminate access barriers and foster inclusiveness

    • raise awareness and understanding of client and employee needs in order to deliver services and information that add value

    • create an environment that embraces and values diversity; and

    • have a systematic approach to managing access and inclusion which is integral to the way the Department does business.

    This strategy is designed as a corporate strategy to achieve greater workplace diversity and to break down barriers for people with disability, across all service areas. Given this focus, there are no specific guidance or child protection focus. However, the strategy provides useful insight into the issues facing people with disability and provides information on what strategies can help to overcome these barriers.

    WA Youth Action Plan

    The Action Plan draws on years of consultation with young people and youth service providers, in addition to work completed during the emergency response phase of COVID-19. It outlines how the Department and the broader State Government have worked with the youth sector prior to, and during the initial pandemic response. This document communicates many of the concerns and issues facing young people, including job losses, insecure employment, social isolation, poor mental health, and limited access to digital technology.

    The consultation highlighted the diversity of young people and the need to ensure that groups such as Indigenous young people, youth with disability, members of the LGBTQIA+ community and young people from CaLD backgrounds are represented and included in the implementation of any youth-specific initiatives. Young people articulated their worries about getting support not only for their own mental health, but also how to best help their friends who are struggling with increased social isolation, poor employment prospects, and finding a safe place to live.

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