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3.4.1 Care planning - provisional care plans, care plans, and Viewpoint

Last Modified: 21-Nov-2018 Review Date: 04-Oct-2021

Purpose

To inform child protection workers of the legislative and practice requirements for provisional care plans and care plans for children in the CEO's care; the review process for certain decisions about a care plan; and the use of Viewpoint as part of care planning and the Needs Assessment Tool.

Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities (the Department).

Practice Requirements
Provisional Care Plans
  • Every child in the CEO's provisional protection and care must have a provisional care plan and an approved Needs Assessment Tool (NAT).
  • A provisional care plan must be prepared and approved in Assist within seven working days of the child coming into provisional protection and care, unless the child is in secure care. In this instance, a plan must be prepared or modified within two working days of the child being placed in secure care.
  • The provisional care plan must:
    • identify the needs of the child while he or she is in provisional protection and care
    • outline the steps and measures to be taken in order to address those needs
    • set out the decisions about placement arrangements for the child
    • set out the decisions about contact between the child and a parent, sibling or other relative, or any other person who is significant in the child's life, and
    • where applicable, set out decisions about secure care arrangements.
  • Consultation must occur with an Aboriginal practice leader (or other relevant Aboriginal officer) when developing provisional care plans for Aboriginal children.
  • Child protection workers must use Form 515a - Signs of Safety Assessment and Case Planning to record the primary plan - including the danger statements and safety goals – and the secondary plan for long term out-of-home care (OOHC) discussed at the internal Signs of Safety meeting. These decisions will inform the child's provisional care plan.
  • If there is a major change in the child's life or a case planning decision is made that has a significant effect on the care planning decisions for the child, the child's provisional care plan must be modified.
  • As part of case management, the provisional care plan must be reviewed every six months.

Care Plans

  • Every child in the care of the CEO must have his or her own care plan.
  • The care plan must:
    • identify the needs of the child
    • outline the steps or measures to be taken in order to address those needs , and
    • set out decisions about the care of the child including:
      • decisions about placement arrangements
      • decisions about contact between the child and a parent, sibling or other relative of the child or any other person who is significant in the child's life, and
      • where applicable, secure care decisions referred to in s.88G of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act).
  • A care plan must be prepared and implemented as soon as practicable after a child comes into the CEO's care. In practice, this means within 30 working days.
  • Consultation must occur with an Aboriginal practice leader (or other relevant Aboriginal officer) when planning for an Aboriginal child.
  • Under s.90 of the Act, the care plan must be reviewed, at a minimum, once every 12 months. More frequent review may be required for a child under 2 years of age or where a major change occurs in a child's life.
  • As part of the annual care planning process, child protection workers must review and update the NAT and submit it to the team leader for approval.
  • Child protection workers must use the relevant Form 515 - Signs of Safety Assessment and Case Planning form to record the child's permanency plan and goals, decisions and actions discussed at case planning meetings with the child (age and capacity permitting), the child's family and other invited participants. These case planning decisions will inform the child's care plan. Refer to Chapter 3.4: Permanency planning.
  • Information about the child's culture and identity must be included in the care plan. The culture and identity component should outline the connection of the child with his or her cultural origins, and be maintained throughout their period of care.
  • Information about the child's disability must be included in the care plan.
  • Where a child in the CEO's care is about to become a parent, child protection workers must actively facilitate the provision of appropriate supports (including pre-birth planning) to the young person regarding the responsibility of parenting.
  • The carers, child, child's family and significant others must be given at least two weeks' notice of formal planning and decision making forums, such as a review of the care plan, with courteous consideration in setting the time and venue.
  • The carer, child, child's family and significant others must be given the opportunity to submit reports to care planning meetings. Reports from other parties must be provided to each participant at least three days in advance.
  • If the carer is not present at the care plan meeting, any changes to the care plan must be discussed with them within one week of the meeting.
  • The care plan must be modified as part of the planning process for a child leaving the CEO's care in accordance with the Leaving Care Policy and planning requirements. Leaving care planning must start from 15 years of age.
  • All parties must be informed of their right of review of certain decisions regarding a care plan, the complaints and appeals process and how to initiate the formal review process if they are dissatisfied with a decision in the care plan (except secure care decisions). Child protection workers may refer to the Review of Certain Decisions flowchart (in related resources) for further details.
  • Under s.89(7) of the Act, a decision may be made not to give a copy of the child's care plan or modification, as the case requires, to a party (as outlined above) if it is considered that to do so would pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of the child or another person. In this instance, the party must be given written notice of the decision including the reasons.
  • If a child in care is a reportable offender, or subject to a prohibition order, under the Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004, child protection workers must not:
    • record this information in the care plan
    • disclose this information to a third party, or
    • include this information in any distributable document. To do so is an offence under the Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004. Refer to Chapter 2.2: Assessment and Investigation.
  • Specific details of the balance of a child's banking account, their incomes, or their entitlements or potential entitlements must not be recorded in the child's care plan.
  • Where a child is leaving care and has an ongoing legal claim, the final care plan must contain the type of legal claim – for example, common law or criminal injuries compensation – and the name and contact details of the lawyer conducting the claim.

Viewpoint and care plans

  • Every child in the CEO's care aged five to 17 years old must be invited to undertake a Viewpoint questionnaire as the first step in the care planning process.
  • If the child declines to undertake a Viewpoint questionnaire, this must be recorded and the reasons provided.
  • Viewpoint questionnaires are also available for use at other times
  • Child protection workers must review the child's Viewpoint responses at least within two working days of completion to identify any safety concerns or matters requiring urgent intervention.
  • Child protection workers must meet one-to-one with the child as soon as possible after they have given their responses to explore and reflect on the issues raised and to discuss potential solutions or actions.
  • A copy of the child's responses and a summary of the follow-up discussion must be provided to the child and to the Chair of the care plan meeting as part of the consultation process.
Process Maps

  • The Care Planning Process - process map and circular flowchart (2012) 
  • Flowchart - Case Planning and Care Planning for Children in Care
  • Flowchart - Review of Certain Decisions
  • Viewpoint Process Chart
  • Care Team Approach - Integration of Existing Processes and Role of Care Team Members.

Procedures

  • Provisional care plans
  • Care plans
  • Review of certain decisions about a care plan
  • Viewpoint and care plans
  • Provisional care plans

    Developing the provisional care plan

    A provisional care plan must be developed and approved in Assist within seven working days of a child's entry into provisional protection and care (unless the child is placed in secure care, in which case the plan must be developed and approved within two working days).  Due to the short timeframe, a planning meeting with the family is not required. However, an internal Signs of Safety meeting (documented in Form 515a - Signs of Safety Assessment and Case Planning) must occur to identify the Department's expectations in preparation for the case planning meeting with the parents. The meeting will help to inform the child's provisional care plan. Refer to Chapter 3.4: Permanency planning.

    The information that must be recorded in the provisional care plan is:

    • the steps and measures that address the identified needs of the child while in provisional protection and care
    • decisions about care arrangements or secure care arrangements, and
    • contact arrangements with the child's parent(s), sibling(s), relative(s) or any other person who is significant in the child's life.

    Any information recorded in the child's approved Child Information Portal (CIP) in Assist will populate in an editable format into the provisional care plan - for example, the danger statement and safety goals related to the child, and any known information about the child's education and health needs, and certain aspects recorded under identity and culture. Child protection workers should record any known information in the CIP and have it approved before developing the provisional care plan. Additionally, the child's NAT must be completed as soon as possible but within 90 days of the child entering the CEO's care – refer to Chapter 3.4: Needs Assessment Tool.

    Consultation must occur with an Aboriginal practice leader (or other relevant Aboriginal officer) when developing provisional care plans for Aboriginal children.  All consultations must be recorded in the case plan.  Refer to Assist User Guide - Case Plan - Case Plan Consultation (in related resources). 

    The provisional care plan is recorded in the care planning component in Assist. Refer to the Assist User Guide – Provisional Care Plan (in related resources).

    Signs of Safety meeting with the family (case planning meeting)

    Assessment and planning about the likelihood of reunification must commence from the time the child enters provisional protection and care.

    The child protection worker must arrange a Signs of Safety meeting with the child's parents and key stakeholders within 30 working days of the child entering the CEO's care. The purpose of this meeting (and subsequent meetings) is to:

    • discuss the harm and/or danger statements 
    • discuss the family's strengths and our safety goals
    • identify the family's views and goals 
    • talk about permanency planning 
    • review the timeframe requirements, and 
    • develop a safety plan including contact arrangements. 

    Refer to Facilitating a Signs of Safety Meeting with Families (in related resources).

    Document the outcome of the meeting in Form 515a - Signs fo Safety Assessment and Case Planning.  Further information can be found in Chapter 3.4: Permanency planning.

    Preparing for a provisional care plan meeting

    A provisional care plan meeting may be held in conjunction with a Signs of Safety case planning meeting, however consideration needs to be given to who is invited to participate. Team leaders have the delegated authority to determine those people who have a direct and significant interest in the child's wellbeing, including members of a child's care team.

    The child protection worker should arrange the provisional care plan meeting date with all relevant parties, including the time and venue.  All parties must be given at least two weeks' notice. If a party is unable to attend the meeting, they should be consulted through other means.

    English language proficiency of parents, children or other relevant parties must be taken into account, and an interpreter and/or translator engaged if necessary. For further information refer to Language and Interpreter Information (in related resources).

    The provisional care plan meeting and/or consultations should identify any needs of the child that were not identified in the initial provisional care plan, and allow discussion and agreement on what actions are required to address those needs.

    Before the meeting, the child protection worker should gather the following:

    • details of the current situation (including the case plan goals, decisions and actions)
    • the views and wishes of all parties
    • the child's needs and proposals to meet those needs, and
    • funding requirements recorded and approved in Assist.

    Information may be gathered from the NAT, Viewpoint, Signs of Safety Assessment and Case Planning forms, Care Arrangement Referral, health and education reports etc. Information can also be gathered from care team members.

    Child protection workers may use the Care Team Tree or Care Planning Template – Using Signs of Safety (in related resources) to inform the discussion and record what needs to happen in relation to the child's needs across all nine dimensions of care.

    The provisional care plan for a child in secure care

    If a child is in provisional protection and care, and he or she is placed in a secure care facility under a secure care arrangement, the child's provisional care plan must be modified within two working days (if not sooner).  If the child does not have a provisional care plan at the time of being placed in secure care, a plan must be prepared within two working days of the care arrangment.  

    In addition to the other requirements of a provisional care plan (see Developing the provisional care plan section above), the plan for a child in secure care must:

    • identify the needs of the child in his or her transition to other living arrangements after leaving the secure care facility, and
    • outline the steps and measures to address those needs and to reduce the likelihood of the child being placed in a secure care facility again.

    For further information refer to Chapter 3.3: Secure care arrangements.

    Distribution of the provisional care plan

    The provisional care plan document is only deemed complete once approved and published in Assist (it is automatically saved to the Child History File in Objective). Refer to the Assist User Guide – Approve a Care Planning Document (in related resources). Child protection workers must print a copy of the published document and place it on the Child History Folder.

    A copy of the provisional care plan must be given to the child, parent(s), carer(s) and any other person who is considered to be significant in the child's life as soon as practicable after it is prepared or modified. In practice, this should be within 14 working days of the provisional care plan being approved. 

    English language proficiency of parents, children or other relevant parties must be taken into account, and copies of documents translated if necessary. For further information refer to Language and Interpreter Information (in related resources).

    Grievances or disagreements about the provisional care plan

    Decisions made as part of a provisional care plan are not reviewable by the Care Plan Review Panel or State Administrative Tribunal (SAT). If a parent, carer, the child, or any other person significant to the child has a grievance, they may:

    • discuss their concerns with the child protection worker, Chair of the provisional care plan meeting, team leader or district director, or 
    • where they are a party to the proceedings, make an application to the Children's Court (the Court) for an interim order - s.133(2A)(b) of the Act.

    People who wish to apply to the Court for an interim order should be encouraged to seek legal advice.

    A review or modification to the provisional care plan

    A provisional care plan must be reviewed, at a minimum, every six months to consider whether the plan is still relevant and current. 

    The provisional care plan can be modified at any time if the situation changes or more information is gathered, and must be modified if the child's care arrangement changes. Modifying the provisional care plan should be an inclusive process with all parties where possible.

    If a child in provisional protection and care is admitted to secure care, the provisional care plan must be modified as soon as practicable, but within two working days of being placed in secure care. Modification of the provisional care plan usually occurs at the Secure Care Initial Planning Meeting. Child protection workers may refer to Chapter 3.3: Secure care arrangements.

    On approval, the reviewed or modified provisional care plan is published through Assist and will be automatically saved to the Child History File in Objective.  Child protection workers should print a copy of the document and place it on the Child History Folder. A copy of the provisional care plan or modification, as the case requires, must be distributed to all parties as soon as practicable, but within 14 working days of the provisional care plan being approved.

    The Court may at any time in the course of protection proceedings make an interim order on its own initiative or on the application of a party to the proceedings under s.133(1) of the Act.  Where the Court makes an interim order, the child's provisional care plan must be reviewed, and where necessary modified.

    Top

    Care plans

    Overview

    Under the Act, a child is in the care of the CEO if the child is:

    • in provisional protection and care
    • the subject of a protection order (time-limited) or protection order (until 18)
    • the subject of a negotiated placement agreement, or
    • provided with a placement service under s.32(1)(a) of the Act.

    An initial care plan, care plan review and modification of a care plan are recorded in the Care Plan form in the Care Planning component in Assist. Information recorded in the child's last approved CIP will populate in an editable format to the initial care plan, care plan review or care plan modification. If there is no approved CIP, no information will be populated. Once the care plan is approved, the decisions, steps and measures from each dimension will populate those sections of the CIP, replacing any previous version. This information will be non-editable and provides child protection workers an outline of the care planning outcomes when undertaking the next care plan review. It is important that child protection workers keep the child's CIP up-to-date and have it approved before commencing the care planning process. Refer to the Assist User Guides (in related resources) for more information.

    The care planning process should be an inclusive process where the views and wishes of the child, the child's parent(s), carer(s), and any other person considered by the CEO to have a direct and significant interest in the wellbeing of the child are gathered and documented.

    The Care Team Tree (in related resources) can be used before or at care plan meetings to talk about the child's needs and write what actions are required on the leaves under the related dimension of care, including who is responsible for completing the action. For example, under 'Social and Family Relationships', it has been identified that the child is to keep in contact with family members who live in a country town and the child's grandmother has agreed to facilitate this on a monthly basis. The Care Team Tree can also be used to talk with the child before the care plan meeting or at other times to gather their views and wishes. Full information can be found in the Care Team Approach Practice Framework (see related resources).

    The care planning process provides all parties with an opportunity to participate in significant decisions regarding the child's care. Team leaders are delegated the authority to determine which people are considered to have a direct and significant interest in the child's wellbeing.

    Every child in care 5 to 17 years old must be invited to complete a Viewpoint questionnaire as the first step in the care planning process. For more information, refer to the Viewpoint and Care Plans section below.

    Decisions made at the case planning meetings also inform the child's care plan. 

    Care planning is a cyclical and ongoing process in which care plans are reviewed and modified so that steps and measures are identified to meet all nine dimensions of the child's care. This is supported through completion of the NAT. The nine dimensions of care are:

    1. Safety
    2. Care arrangements
    3. Health
    4. Education
    5. Social and family relationships
    6. Recreation and leisure
    7. Emotional and behavioural development
    8. Identity and culture, and
    9. Legal and financial (note: this dimension refers to any legal claims or issues, and financial issues such as inheritance – not funding).

    Leaving care planning occurs as part of the care planning process. Child protection workers must begin planning for leaving care once a child reached 15 years of age. This includes modifying the child's care plan to reflect the leaving care arrangements. Refer to Chapter 3.4: Leaving the CEO's care.

    Child protection workers may refer to the following related resources:

    • The Care Planning Process - Process Map and Circular Flowchart
    • Case Planning and Care Planning for Children in Care (flowchart), and
    • The Focus of the Care Plan.

    The 11 month care planning cycle

    Under s. 90 of the Act, a review of the operation and effectiveness of every care plan must be completed at least once every 12 months, at a minimum. To assist forward planning and to confirm that reviews of care plans are completed within the required legislative timeframe, districts must implement a rolling 11 month planning cycle. This cycle is designed to support a sustainable and systematic approach so that all children in the CEO's care have an up-to-date care plan.

    Using this model, all planning requirements are scheduled to occur between January and November of each calendar year. This should be documented in a letter to the parents, carers and parties significant to the child at the beginning of the cycle, detailing future meeting dates for reviewing the care plan and quarterly care visits scheduled throughout the year.

    The planning cycle should also include key requirements such as the Education Plan, health care planning processes, review of the culture and identity plan and any safety plan, and act as a guide so that the child's CIP contains up-to-date information.

    At the conclusion of each care plan meeting, feedback is sought from all participants, including the child (as age appropriate), in relation to preparation for the meeting, the conduct of the meeting and post-meeting follow-up; that is, what worked well, what didn't work well and what needs to happen. This feedback is collated by the district and used to inform its approach to planning for children in the CEO's care.

    To help with management and tracking of the care planning processes, staff can refer to the following related resources:

    • 11 Month Care Planning Guide, and
    • Health Care Planning for Children in Care Tracking Sheet.

    The Needs Assessment Tool (NAT)

    As part of the annual care planning process, child protection workers must review and update the NAT and submit it to the team leader for approval. The NAT must also be reviewed when there are significant changes in a child's needs. The NAT may be completed more frequently as required (in particular, where a child is in a high needs care arrangement). For further information, refer to Chapter 3.4: Needs Assessment Tool.

    Preparing for a care plan meeting

    Child protection workers should arrange the care plan meeting date with all relevant parties, including the time and venue.  All parties must be given at least two weeks' notice.

    The English language proficiency of parents, children or other relevant parties must be taken into account, and an interpreter arranged if necessary.

    Before the care plan meeting, the child protection worker should gather the following:

    • details of the current situation, this includes the case plan goals, decisions and actions
    • the views and wishes of all parties (includes the child's Viewpoint responses)
    • the child's needs and proposals to meet those needs, and
    • funding requirements recorded and approved in the case plan in Assist, Special Purpose Funding or Special Needs Loading.

    Consultation must occur with an Aboriginal practice leader (or other relevant Aboriginal officer) when planning for an Aboriginal child.  All consultations are recorded in the case plan.  Refer to Assist User Guide - Case Plan - Case Plan Consultation (in related resources). 

    Under 'Description', record the:

    • date of the consultation
    • name of the staff member(s), including the Aboriginal practice leader or other Aboriginal staff, involved in the consultation
    • issues discussed and outcomes, and
    • Objective reference number of any other documents relating to the consultation, for example Form 456 - Request for Aboriginal Practice Leader Consultation.

    Relevant care team members (those who have a direct and significant interest in the child's wellbeing) should be consulted and attend the care plan meeting. The team leader in consultation with the child, their parents and carer will decide who in the care team has a direct and significant interest in the child's wellbeing and therefore need to be involved in the care planning process.

    If a party is unable to attend the care plan meeting, they should be consulted through other means such as a separate face-to-face meeting, via telephone, or by completing a Report to Meeting form. All parties attending the care plan meeting can also complete a Report to Meeting form (Carer's/Child's/Young Person's/Parent's Report to Meeting forms: Form 730, Form 731, Form 732 and Form 733 respectively) beforehand to provide their views about the child's care.

    Child protection workers must provide a copy of the child's Viewpoint responses to the Chair of the meeting, unless there are specific reasons why this is not available (for example, where a young person declines to undertake Viewpoint). The views and proposed solutions or actions discussed in the follow-up meeting with the child should be summarised and attached. Where applicable, the child protection worker and Chair should compare the child's Viewpoint responses with any previous questionnaire responses in order to measure progress and identify areas of ongoing concern from the child's perspective. However, without the child's agreement, Viewpoint responses are to be kept confidential - except where it is necessary, such as to prevent child abuse or neglect. For further information refer to the section Viewpoint and Care Plans below. 

    Development of the initial care plan or care plan review

    A group meeting should be convened to develop or review the child's care plan. However, if this is not possible due to challenging circumstances (for example, geographical distance, illness, or concerns about family violence), other forms of consultation should occur. A case planning meeting may be held prior to, or in conjunction with, the care plan meeting. The case planning decisions will inform the decisions in the child's care plan. Refer to Chapter 2.2: Case allocations, management, transfer, requests for co-working services, and case closure.

    Where a child has a culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) background, specific language and cultural needs must be considered.  Where possible, this information should be obtained from the child's family and community.  Additional cultural information is available through the CaLD Resource Library (in related resources).

    A Chair is appointed, and is responsible for writing the care plan after the meeting or the process of consultation has concluded. A Chair is appointed even when there is not a group meeting.

    It may be appropriate for the Chair to bring a proposed draft care plan document to the meeting or use the Care Team Tree or Care Planning Template – Using Signs of Safety (in related resources) to inform the discussion and record what needs to happen in relation to the child's needs across all nine dimensions of care. These documents can serve as the basis for consultation and discussion, but do not represent the care plan. A care plan must be prepared and published as a result of consultation.

    The Report to Meeting form in Assist can also be used to support the care planning process but it is not a substitute for the care plan.

    The review process should:

    • provide a synopsis of the child's current circumstances
    • consider the current care plan and assess the operation and effectiveness of the steps and measures identified in addressing the child's identified needs
    • present the views of all parties about the current situation and future planning
    • discuss any changes and decisions that may have occurred since the last care plan, and
    • identify whether the child is leaving care and, if so, propose steps and measures to meet the child's leaving care needs.

    The child's carer can request a review if there are significant events that affect the care plan such as changes in the child's care needs.

    For more information on conducting a care plan meeting, refer to Step by Step Guide to Planning Meetings (in related resources).

    Funding requirements

    The anticipated costs for meeting the child's needs over the next 12 months should be discussed at the care plan meeting. This may include case support cost items such as counselling, recreational activities, day care, school fees and books. It should also include a discussion about extra care needs required for a child that has additional, regular and ongoing costs due to a medical issue or behavioural/emotional issues.

    The anticipated case support costs for the child must be included in the case plan in Assist to facilitate management of the district's budget. Where Special Needs Loading is required, a submission for funding approval must be completed (in Assist) and submitted to the Coordinator Client Support Services for consideration and endorsement.

    This forward planning gives the child protection worker prior approval for the anticipated funding requirements to support the child and their care arrangement. This negates the need to seek approval for funding later in the year, therefore reducing the wait time for the child and/or carer to receive the supports or items they require. 

    Consideration of an interstate placement for a child in the CEO's care 

    If the option of an interstate placement is being considered for a child in the CEO's care it must be carefully considered and planned for in care planning/care planning review processes before a final decision to approve an interstate placement is made.  Under the Interstate Child Protection Protocol the Department may request another state to conduct:

    Note: You can also access these forms through Chapter 3.3 Interstate and New Zealand liaison or the AAA Forms List.  

    Any proposal to permanently relocate a child and transfer protection orders interstate or to New Zealand must be discussed as part of the care planning process and approved by the district director or relevant Executive Director.  Child protection workers must consult with the WA Interstate Liaison Officer via WAInterstateLiaisonOfficer@communities.wa.gov.au before a child is relocated from Western Australia to another state or New Zealand. These decisions are open to review under normal processes such as the Care Plan Review Panel and SAT. 

    For detailed information about requests to relocate a child in the CEO's care to another state or New Zealand refer to Chapter 3.3 Interstate and New Zealand liaison.

    Writing the care plan

    All care planning is recorded in Assist using the Care Plan form within the Care Planning component. The Care Plan form in Assist serves the purpose of the initial care plan, modification of the care plan and care plan review. Refer to the details in the Assist User Guides for how to record these (in related resources).

    The Chair is responsible for the final care plan document, including writing the care planning decisions. As a copy of the approved care plan is provided to all parties (unless s.89(7) applies), it should be written in such a way that a child's safety and wellbeing is not compromised. For compliance purposes, the care plan is only deemed complete once approved and published in Assist.

    Once published, the care plan form is automatically saved to the Child History File in Objective.  Child protection workers must print a hard copy of the published care plan document and place it on the Child History Folder. 

    Distribution of the care plan

    Under s.89(6) of the Act, the CEO is required to provide a copy of the approved care plan to all parties as soon as practicable (the child, each parent, the carer(s) and any other person considered by the CEO to have a direct and significant interest in the wellbeing of the child). In practice, this should occur within 14 working days of the care plan being approved. The parties should also be provided with information on how to apply to the Care Plan Review Panel if they are dissatisfied with a care planning decision.

    A copy of the care plan or modification (as the case requires) may be withheld from a party if it considered that providing a copy would pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of the child or another person (s.89(7) of the Act).  This could include circumstances where the care plan or modification:

    • identifies, or enables identification of an adult and/or the child victim of family and domestic violence through their placement, contact arrangements or school, etc.
    • documents the child's safety plan for protecting himself/herself from the perpetrator, or
    • could escalate risk to the child or an adult by identifying planned actions, such as applying for a violence restraining order or criminal charges.

    A person who is denied a copy of the care plan also has the right to apply to the CEO for a review of the decision (through the Care Plan Review Panel), and subsequently may apply to the SAT if dissatisfied with the CEO's review decision.

    Persons who are denied a copy of a care plan or modification must be given written notice of the decision and the reasons for it. In this instance, use the template Letter from CEO Not to Provide a Copy of a Care Plan s.89 (or copy of the modification to a care plan) (in related resources). Form 417 Application For Review of Decision Not To Provide a Copy of a Care Plan or Modification (in related resources) must accompany the letter.

    If there is a change in the person's circumstances and it is assessed that the level of risk they pose has reduced or is no longer applicable, then a copy of the care plan or modification, as the case requires, may be provided to the person. For example, at the time the care plan is withheld the person has severe mental health issues and, if they were to have known the child's care arrangements outlined in the care plan, they would have posed an unacceptable risk to the safety of the child. However, the person receives treatment and medication, and it is assessed that he or she would no longer pose a risk to the child's safety if provided with a copy of the care plan.

    It is recommended that any key changes to the care plan made during the formal review meeting be discussed with any party who was not present within one week of the meeting taking place.  Any new care planning decisions should not be implemented until 14 days after the care plan is distributed, unless they need to be implemented sooner – for example, for safety reasons.

    The English language proficiency of parents, children or other relevant parties must be taken into account, and copies of documents translated if necessary.

    Modification of the care plan

    A care plan can be modified at any time during the care planning cycle if new information emerges or events occur that have an effect on the planning decisions for the child; care plans should always be modified if there is a change of placement.

    A care plan meeting should be held to provide the opportunity for all parties to have their views and wishes heard and considered. However, where a modification is being made to the care plan it is not necessary to have a care plan meeting, but consultation should occur. If modifications are required to several dimensions of the care plan, it may be more practical to conduct a review of the care plan, even if it is before a review is due. If this is not possible, the modification(s) can occur; however, an inclusive and consultative process should be undertaken with all parties where possible.

    All parties (the child, parents, carers and any other person considered to have a significant interest in the child's wellbeing) must be given a copy of the modifications) or the modified care plan, as the case requires, within 14 working days of it being approved (unless if it is considered that to do so would pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of the child or another person). The parties must also be provided with information on how to apply to the Care Plan Review Panel if they are dissatisfied with the modified decision/s.

    Child protection workers should place a hard copy of the modified care plan on the Child History Folder.  

    The care plan for a child in secure care

    As soon as practicable following an admission to secure care, and not more than two working days after, the child's care plan must be modified.  The modification usually occurs at the secure care initial planning meeting. Refer to Chapter 3.3: Secure care arrangements for detail. 

    Seeking an extension of a protection order (time-limited)

    An application for the extension of a protection order (time-limited) can be made at any time while the order is in force but only after a review of the care plan has been carried out (s.56(2) of the Act). A proposal to seek an extension of a protection order (time-limited) requires the CEO's approval after the care plan review has taken place and prior to making an application to the Court.

    Form 652 - Children's Court Of WA: Affidavit for Extension, Revocation, Replacement and Variation and Form 641 - Written Proposal for Child (s.143 proposal) must be lodged with Child Protection Legal Unit no later than one month before the expiry date of the order.  In the event that the documentation is prepared less than one month before the expiry date, this must be forwarded via the district director to the Practice Director, Legal Services, with an explanation as to non-compliance with this timeframe.

    If a decision is made at a case planning meeting that an extension of a protection order (time-limited) is required, the child protection worker must undertake the following:

    1. Advise all relevant parties of the decision to apply for an extension, including those who did not attend the case planning meeting.
    2. Hold a care plan review to discuss the child's needs and circumstances pending the Court's decision.
    3. Complete Form 250 - Permission to Seek Extension of a Protection Order (Time-Limited).  
    4. Attach a copy of the latest Form 515 - Signs of Safety Assessment and Case Planning Form (this must include the rationale for seeking permission to extend the order) and a copy of the child's current care plan, and
    5. Email the documents according to the directions at the top of Form 250.

    Once the Director General's approval is received, the child protection worker must proceed with the application to the Court for the extension.

    If the application is made but not determined before the day that the protection order (time-limited) is due to expire, the order remains in force until the application is determined. However, the Court may make interim decisions about contact and placement arrangements for the child.

    All requirements for care planning under the Act must be performed, but are subject to any interim orders. If significant decisions about a child's care arrangements are required while proceedings are underway, these must be discussed with the Child Protection Legal Unit. At this point, the appropriate forum for decisions of this nature is the Court.

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    Review of certain decisions about a care plan

    Overview

    The child, a parent of the child, any carer of the child, or any other person considered to have a direct and significant interest in the child's wellbeing can apply to the CEO for a review of certain decisions regarding a care plan. That is, where a person is dissatisfied with a care planning decision set out in the child's care plan (excludes a secure care decision - s.88G of the Act) or where a decision was made to not provide a person with a copy of the care plan.  

    As part of the care planning process, all parties should be provided with a copy of the brochure Care Plan Review Panel - Requesting a Review (in related resources), which provides information about the review process.

    If protection proceedings (including an application for revocation and replacement of a protection order) are underway, the appropriate forum for significant decisions about a child's care is the Court. A party (s.147 of the Act) may apply to the Court under s.133(2A)(b) of the Act for an interim order regarding such matters. If child protection workers have queries about this issue, telephone head office on (08) 9222 2555 and ask for the Child Protection Legal Unit.

    How a person makes application for a review of a decision

    Should a person wish to apply for a review of a care planning decision, they must make an application in writing within 14 days after the day on which they received their copy of the care plan or modification, setting out the grounds on which a review is being sought. The application can be made using Form 418 - Application for a Review of a Care Planning Decision

    In instances where a party is not provided with a copy of the care plan or modification because it is considered they pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of the child or another person (s.89(7) of the Act), they can apply for a review of the decision. The person must make an application within 14 days of receiving written notice from us of the decision, setting out the grounds on which a review is being sought. The application is made using Form 417- Application for Review of Decision Not to Provide a Care Plan or Modification.  Applications for a review of a decision by the Care Plan Review Panel can be handed in at the local district office, faxed to (08) 9222 2932 or forwarded to:

    Executive Officer
    Care Plan Review Panel
    c/- Department for Communities, Child Protection and Family Support division
    189 Royal Street
    EAST PERTH WA 6004

    The Care Plan Review Panel's report and recommendations

    Once the CEO (or his delegate) has considered the Care Plan Review Panel's report and recommendations, he/she may:

    • confirm, vary or reverse the care planning decision or decision made under s.89(7) of the Act
    • substitute another decision for the care planning decision or decision made under s.89(7) of the Act, or
    • refer the matter back to the Care Plan Review Panel for further consideration and report.

    The applicant must be given written notice of the CEO's decision and the reasons for the decision.

    Staff may refer to the flowchart Review of Certain Decisions for information on the process (in related resources).

    State Administrative Tribunal (SAT)

    If a party is dissatisfied by the CEO's review of the decision, they can seek a review of the decision through the SAT (s.94 of the Act).

    If a SAT review results in the modification of the child's care plan, that 'relevant modification' must be reflected in the care plan for 12 months. Care plan reviews may still be carried out and modifications made as required; however, the relevant modification is to remain in the care plan for 12 months unless there is a significant change in facts or circumstances, or new facts or circumstances have arisen since the SAT decision was made.

    This is intended to ensure the powers to modify a care plan (under s.89(4) of the Act) are not used to circumvent a SAT decision in cases where a person has succeeded in having the CEO's review decision overturned in the SAT.

    Disagreements about a provisional care plan

    The Care Plan Review Panel cannot review decisions made in a provisional care plan. Refer to the Provisional Care Plans section above for information on the complaints process.

    Other concerns or complaints

    Complaints may be made about any service offered by us and any aspect of our operation. Conversely, complaints may be made about a lack of service that could reasonably be expected of us. For information on the complaints process, staff should refer to Chapter 4.1: Complaints management.

    The Advocate for Children in Care (the Advocate)

    A child in the CEO's care, or someone who has concerns about a child in the CEO's care, can contact the Advocate with problems or complaints that cannot be resolved with their child protection worker. 

    It is important that child protection workers and others inform children, and those concerned about them, about this service, as it is a means by which we aim to protect and promote the interests of children in the CEO's care.  The Advocate can be contacted by telephone on 1800 460 696 (freecall), 9222 2518, 0429 086 508 (mobile), or via email.

    For information on what should be given to children when they come into the CEO's care, child protection workers can refer to Chapter 3.4: Charter of rights for children and young people in the CEO's care

    The CEO has established the Care Plan Review Panel to review certain decisions made regarding a child's care plan.  This includes a decision set out in a care plan for the child, but does not include a secure care decision referred to in s.88G of the Act. It also includes a decision by the CEO not to provide a party with a copy of a care plan or modification, as the case requires.

    All parties must be advised of their right to a review of these decisions, and of our complaints and appeals processes.  Child protection workers should provide the parties with a copy of the brochure Care Plan Review Panel - Requesting a Review (in related resources).

    For more information, refer to the flowchart Review of Certain Decisions (in related resources).

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    Viewpoint and care plans

    Overview

    Viewpoint is a web-based software program that promotes participation by children in the development of their personal care plans and in the development of services to meet the needs of all children in care. It offers:

    • an interactive, computer-based self-interviewing tool for use by the child as part of the care planning process, and 
    • a management reporting system which collates live data for use in service   monitoring and improvement, strategic and operational planning and reporting.

    Child protection workers must invite and encourage each child or young person in care aged five to 17 years to use a Viewpoint Self-Assessment questionnaire as part of their care planning process.  The questionnaires should be selected according to the child or young person's capacity and developmental stage.  The options can be viewed in full in Care Planning Questionnaire Options in the Viewpoint User Guides page:

    • Self-Assessment (Child)
    • Self-Assessment (Young Person), and
    • Self-Assessment (Symbols).  

    Questionnaires focus on the child's views, concerns and experiences, and identify issues that require further examination and reflection in follow up discussions between the child and the child protection worker.  Wherever possible, solutions and actions should be identified in preparation for the development of the care plan.

    Viewpoint Self-Assessment questionnaires can be undertaken by children and young people online or offline in a range of locations. There is a version with graphics offering colourful screens, animated avatars and speech to guide the child through the questionnaire, and a non-graphical format, which asks the same questions with a speech facility but without illustrations or avatars. The Self-Assessment (Symbols) questionnaire is available for children who respond best to this medium.

    Viewpoint Self-Assessment questionnaires can be delivered to children in a variety of ways:

    1. Online using a Child Protection and Family Support division networked computer or laptop
    2. Online or offline using a Viewpoint iPad in any location
    3. Online using any computer with an internet connection, for example at school, in the placement, in a public library or internet café or
    4. Online using a child's personal device, for example mobile phone. 

    All except option 4 are delivered with support from a facilitator.

    A step by step guide for using each option is provided in the Viewpoint User Guides (in related resources).

    Managers (including team leaders, senior practice development officers and district management teams) should use the aggregated data in Viewpoint Management Reports to access collective feedback from children in the CEO's care as a way of promoting their participation in performance monitoring, and operational and strategic planning processes.  Viewpoint Administrators in each district can generate these reports.

    The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) in Viewpoint

    The SDQ is an important tool for assessing children's psycho-social needs and targeting interventions to address them.  

    Children who come into care aged four years and older must have a SDQ completed once they have been in care for six months (or sooner if they are settled in the placement), and then on an annual basis. The SDQ can be completed before the care plan review or at one of the quarterly care visits during the year. Refer to Chapter 3.4: Health care planning.

    For further information see the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Information Sheet in related resources.

    Roles and responsibilities

    Roles and responsibilities in the Viewpoint process are shared between:

    • child protection workers
    • Viewpoint Administrators
    • care plan Chairs, and 
    • senior staff and district management teams.

    Viewpoint process

    For procedural information please refer to the Viewpoint Process Chart (or access via related resources).

    Inviting the child to use Viewpoint

    Child protection workers must invite and encourage children in care five to 17 years old to use Viewpoint as the first step in participating in their care planning process. The child's participation is central to the planning process. Child protection workers should build in sufficient time for Viewpoint Self-Assessment questionnaires to be undertaken, the follow-up discussion to take place and the results included in the care plan discussion.  If the child declines to undertake a questionnaire, this must be recorded and the reasons provided - refer to the information sheet Recording When a Young Person Declines to Undertake a Questionnaire (or access via Viewpoint User Guides in related resources). 

    Confidentiality

    Child protection workers should assure the child that the responses they give in Viewpoint questionnaires are confidential and will not be shared with anyone else (for example, with their family or carers) without their agreement. The only exception made is where it is necessary to prevent significant harm to themselves or others, or as required or allowed by law (for example, if files were to be subpoenaed by a Court).

    The child should be helped to understand that their responses will be used to inform their personal care plan, and added anonymously to responses given by others so we have feedback to help us to improve services for all children in the CEO's care.

    Choosing a venue, delivery method and facilitator support

    Child protection workers should:

    • Assist the child to decide how and where they will be most comfortable completing the questionnaire.  This may include venues such as their placement, a park, the library, a restaurant or at the office.  Earbuds can help ensure that the questionnaire can be undertaken  in privacy at any chosen venue. 
    • Determine whether the child requires a facilitator to support them when completing their questionnaire, or whether they have the skills and maturity to do it independently on their personal device, and
    • Determine which questionnaire is most appropriate for the capacity and developmental stage of the particular child, and whether online or offline delivery method is most appropriate - refer to the information sheet Care Planning Questionnairres - Versions and Delivery Options  (or access via Viewpoint User Guides in related resources).

    Where a facilitator is required, child protection workers may undertake this role themselves or arrange for an independent facilitator if necessary, so that the child feels comfortable to express their thoughts and feelings.  The independent facilitator should be someone known to the child; it may be another child protection worker, a family resource employee, or any other employee who has received Viewpoint training. It is not appropriate for foster carers or agency staff to undertake this role.

    Facilitators are responsible for the following actions:

    • assisting the child to access their questionnaire using their designated user login
    • providing any other support or assistance the child may need to help them understand the questions and give thier chosen responses
    • providing the child with emotional and practical support (for example, providing earbuds for privacy) if required
    • facilitating immediate support as required for a child who gives at-risk responses in relation to safety and/or mental helath (refer to relevant entries in Chapter 2.1: Assessing and Responding to Child Protection Concerns for Children in Care and Chapter 1.4 Suicide and self harm)
    • where a Viewpoint iPad has been used, returning the equipment to the office after the child has undertaken the questionnaire.

    Some children are not able to complete the whole questionnaire but should be encouraged to do as much as they can. Some children will need two sessions to give their responses: it is possible for them to log out for a break and resume thier questionnaire later or on another day. 

    Detailed guidance on Viewpoint logins, recording and updating user information and accessing technical support is available in the Viewpoint User Guides (or access via link in related resources).

    Viewpoint logins

    Each child's unique Viewpoint login is displayed on their CIP and NAT pages in Assist. 

    Reviewing and storing Viewpoint responses

    Child protection workers must review Viewpoint Self-Assessment responses as soon as possible and at least within two working days of a questionnaire being done.  This is important to:

      • identify any safety concerns
      • look at any matters that require urgent intervention, and if required, 
      • take any necessary action.

    Web reports displaying up to 4 sets of questionnaire responses from individual young people are available to view and print in the Child Information Portal and NAT screen in Assist.

    Districts will need to ensure child protection workers or Viewpoint administrators have responsibility for generating an electronic copy of the web report and storing it in the Child History File in Objective, and for printing a paper copy and placing it on the hard copy Child History File. 

    Following up with the child

    As soon as practicable after receiving the child's responses, the child protection worker should consider the content and identify the most appropriate person to follow up with the child.  In most cases, this will be the child protection worker unless another person would be more appropriate, for example, where the child has disclosed difficulties with the child protection worker in the questionnaire responses.

    The child protection worker (or another designated person known to the child) must meet one-to-one with the child to offer them a hard copy of their responses, explore and reflect upon the issues raised in the questionnaire, and generate potential solutions or actions. 

    Documenting Viewpoint outcomes for the care plan/review process

    The child protection worker must provide a copy of the child's responses to the Chair of the care planning process.  The views and proposed solutions or actions discussed in the follow-up with the child should be summarised and attached.  Where applicable, child protection workers should compare the child's Viewpoint responses with previous questionnaire responses shown on the web report in order to measure progress and identify areas of ongoing concern from the child's perspective.   

    Developing the care plan

    Each child should be encouraged to participate in the care planning process so that their views and experiences form part of the discussion, regardless of whether or not they have undertaken a Viewpoint questionnaire.

    Record how the child has had input into the care plan or at other times on the care plan before it is approved by a team leader.

    Where a Viewpoint questionnaire has been undertaken, the Chair considers the confidentiality and sensitivity of the child's responses, the proposed solutions or actions, and how these can be appropriately included in the discussion and documentation.

    The Chair should acknowledge and discuss the child's views as part of the care planning process whilst protecting their confidentiality.

    Where a child has not undertaken a Viewpoint Self-Assessment questionnaire, the Chair should check that they were given the opportunity and encourage them to use Viewpoint as part of their next care plan process.  This information should be recorded in the child's care plan.   

    Staff supervision

    The responses of each child provide a unique and unmediated perspective and a valuable tool in professional supervision.

    Management reports

    Viewpoint Management Reports provide collective feedback from each child in the CEO's care and can make a critical contribution to their genuine participation, and the improvement of services and outcomes.  Viewpoint Management Reports can be filtered to display specific cohorts, for example, by districts, age group, or gender, or by ethnic background or placement type.  Data used to form management reports updates every time new questionnaire responses are uploaded to the Viewpoint data base.

    Management Reports do not identify individuals, therefore may be shared with other groups - foster carer groups, CREATE, and other service providers (as appropriate) to promote and improve outcomes.

    Detailed guidance is available in the Viewpoint User Guides (in related resources).

    Technical assistance

    For advice and technical assistance about Viewpoint software, contact your Assist district mentor, or the Viewpoint Helpdesk via email: helpdesk@vptorg.com. For problems with hardware (Viewpoint iPads) contact the IT Helpdesk: 1800 898 078.

    Learning Hub

    The Viewpoint Organisation hosts a Learning Hub at http://hub.vptorg.com/ where you can see information about the Viewpoint program, policy and research, Viewpoint in practice in various jurisdictions, and a series of 'How do I' screencasts showing how to use the software.  You can also access workshops and view video feedback from staff and young people from WA and elsewhere in the world.  Site content is password protected.  To request a password, email your request to heulwyn@vptorg.com.

    Full information can be found in the Care Team Approach Practice Framework (see related resources). 

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