The Department for Child Protection (DCP) uses a ‘care team approach’ when working with children and young people and their families. A child’s care team includes the child or young person, family members, carers, the DCP case worker and other professionals, such as therapists, educators or placement support workers, who may be involved in supporting the child or young person and their carers.
The child’s care team works together to make decisions, ensuring that the child or young person’s needs and best interests are identified and addressed. This is managed through the development, implementation and review of the child’s case plan.
A wide range of considerations are taken into account when DCP seeks to place a child or young person. These include, but are not limited to, a child or young person’s connections to their family and community, physical and mental health needs, culture, disability, behaviour, language, religion, daily routine and likes and dislikes. Children and young people must be protected from harm and provided with a safe and nurturing placement.
Consideration is also given to the impact of the placement on any existing children or young people in a placement and whether the placement poses any risks to the safety of the carer or other children and young people in the household.
For Aboriginal children and young people, placement decisions must follow the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle, which supports the placement of Aboriginal children with members of their family or community wherever possible. This helps ensure that Aboriginal children and young people maintain their connections to family, community and Country.
Promoting safety and stability for children and young people is critically important and promoted by the department’s Practice Approach. Planning for permanence recognises that children need consistent, predictable and nurturing relationships as well as a sense of connectedness and belonging to family and community in order to reach their full potential.
The early years of a child’s life are the most crucial for developing attachment relationships and permanence and stability supports children to develop these relationships with their caregivers. Children who experience constant change may experience compromised outcomes related to their wellbeing, emotional functioning and mental health, ability to form healthy relationships, self-esteem, identity and health and educational outcomes.
The DCP case worker will work together with carers to to ensure children and young people are well cared for and have every opportunity to reach their potential. The amount of contact you have with the DCP case worker will depend on the individual needs and circumstances of the child or young person and the placement.
Case planning is an important process that puts the child at the centre of everything we do. A quality case plan is based on a holistic assessment of the child or young person needs and strengths, and ensures that any intervention is focused on achieving the best outcomes for the child or young person.
Every child under the Custody or Guardianship of the Chief Executive must have a case plan that is developed and reviewed at least annually in partnership with the child or young person, family, carers and relevant professionals. The case plan may be shared with members of the child’s care team or with services to whom the child is being referred, to ensure a shared understanding of the child’s needs and progress towards case plan goals.
If you have any concerns or issues, first discuss these with the child’s case worker. You can also request a meeting of the child or young person’s care team if you believe this will be of assistance or speak with your placement support worker.
If the issue is not resolved through speaking with the case worker, ask to speak the Supervisor or the Manager of the DCP Office where the child or young person is allocated. If you continue to be concerned, you can make a complaint via the DCP Central Complaints Unit on 1800 003 305 or complete the online complaints form.