Case planning

Last update: 19 September 2022

Specialised substitute residential care providers must have enough information to develop and implement plans to meet the immediate day-to-day care needs of children, young people and their families.

Providers must have formal case plans for each child or young person in care for 180 days or more in any 12-month period.

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    The purpose of a case plan

    Children and young people spending more than 180 days in overnight respite care need additional planning and support. This is to make sure their health, social, emotional and developmental needs including skill development, continue to be met. At this point, they may also require their own respite from care.

    The requirements of a case plan are listed in section 21 (1) of the code of practice at Schedule 4 to the Children’s Guardian Regulation. The information gathered at intake, and outlined in section 12 of the code of practice, should also be included in case planning considerations to provide a comprehensive picture of the child, their family and their needs, strengths and preferences. The case plan should include things such as:

    • likes, dislikes and aspirations of the child or young person and their family
    • health, medical, mobility, nutritional, behavioural and personal care needs
    • emotional and behavioural support needs
    • maintenance of relationships with family and significant others
    • long-term care planning
    • participation in educational, vocational, social and leisure activities 
    • spiritual, religious and cultural support needs
    • care risks and appropriate management strategies 
    • age-related considerations, including developmental needs and key transition stages (such as transition to high school, adulthood, returning to the care of their parents).

    Case planning is a collaborative process facilitated by the provider. 

    It involves the child or young person (to the extent of their capacity), their parents (and other relevant family members), care provider and other support (such as schools, support coordinators and health professionals) and the designated supervising agency.

    Case plan requirements

    Case planning requirements are set out in section 21 of the code of practice at Schedule 4 of the Children’s Guardian Regulation. In addition to the list above, a case plan must:

    • be developed and approved before a child or young person has been in care for 180 days in a 12-month period
    • be developed as a result of a formal case conference
    • record the views of the child or young person and their parent/s and how they participated
    • be signed by the parties involved in developing the case plan 
    • be reviewed when the child’s ongoing care and support needs or care arrangements change (or when required) and at least once every 12 months
    • be kept by either the main provider or supervising agency until a child or young person has turned 18 years old.

    Case plan notification requirements

    Under section 35 of the Children’s Guardian Regulation, a provider is required to enter the date the plan was prepared and each review date for the plan on the SSRC Register, within 5 days of the case plan (or case plan review) being finalised.

    A designated agency must also notify the Office of the Children’s Guardian if they identify that a child has been in care for more than 180 days in a 12-month period so that the Children’s Guardian can monitor compliance by the provider with case plan requirements. 

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