Last updated 12 July 2022
A child who is in need of protection and ongoing intervention under the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) (Child Protection Act) must have a case plan. A case plan is a written plan for meeting the child’s protection and care needs. Case plans must include:
- the goal for best achieving permanency for the child and the actions to be taken to achieve that goal
- an alternative goal in the event that timely return of the child to the care of the parent is not possible, if returning the child to the care of a parent is the goal for best achieving permanency
- details about how the case plan is consistent with the connection principle for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
- actions for helping the child transition to independence if the child is 15 years or more and does not have a long-term guardian (s 51B Child Protection Act).
A case plan can also include:
- any other goals to be achieved by implementing the plan
- arrangements about where the child will live
- what services are to be provided to meet the child’s protection and care needs and to promote the child’s future wellbeing
- matters that the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs (Child Safety) will be responsible for, including particular supports or services
- the child’s contact with the child’s family group or other persons with whom the child is connected
- arrangements for maintaining the child’s ethnic and cultural identity
- matters for which a parent or carer will be responsible
- a proposed review date for the plan (s 51B(4) Child Protection Act).
A case plan can be, but does not need to be, developed at a family group meeting. This is convened by Child Safety or a private convenor. A private convenor, in the case of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander families, may be through family-led decision making in the family participation program.
The family group meeting convenor should encourage and facilitate the involvement of the following people in the meeting:
- the child, if appropriate
- the child’s parents
- other appropriate members of the child’s family group who the convenor considers likely to make a useful contribution to the plan’s development at the meeting
- other people the child has a significant relationship with
- any legal representative of the child
- if the child is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, an independent Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander entity for the child
- the public guardian
- anyone else who the convenor considers is likely to make a useful contribution to the plan’s development at the meeting
- Child Safety if the convenor is a private convenor
- the Director of Child Protection Litigation on the request of Child Safety
- other people that are likely to make a useful contribution to the case plan (e.g. teachers or medical professionals) (s 51B Child Protection Act).
The convenor must also allow the child or a parent to have someone attend and participate in the meeting to give help or support to the child or parent such as a youth worker or a legal representative.
What is said in the meeting or what is recorded in a case plan cannot be used in any criminal proceedings before a court, unless all persons participating in the meeting provide their consent or it relates to an offence committed during the meeting. Also, a person must not be taken to have admitted anything alleged about the person only because the person participated in the development of, or agreed to, a case plan (ss 51YA, 51YB Child Protection Act).
A case plan must be reviewed at least every six months (s 51V Child Protection Act) unless the child has a long-term guardian (other than the Chief Executive). Child Safety must give the above listed people and a relevant service provider reasonable opportunity to participate in the review of the case plan, but this does not have to occur through a family group meeting (s 51W Child Protection Act).
A child who has a long-term guardian (other than Child Safety), is to be given an opportunity at least once every 12 months to make comments or queries, or ask for a review of their case plan. The child, a parent or long-term guardian at any time may ask Child Safety to review the case plan. If the child is subject to a permanent care order, the child or the permanent guardian may ask Child Safety to review the case plan. Child Safety may then decide not to review the plan if the child’s circumstances have not changed significantly since the plan was finalised, or if Child Safety is satisfied that it would not be appropriate in all the circumstances. Otherwise, it must review the plan. The decision not to review a plan is a reviewable decision, and Child Safety is required to give a written notice.