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).
Viewpoint and 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 be held 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:
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 all 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).
Identifying the child's citizenship
If the child's parents have a temporary or special visa, the child will have the same visa.
Child protection workers must identify the child's citizenship. If the child is not an Australian citizen, record his or her citizenshiop and visa status in Assist in 'Person Details ('Identity and Culture' tab) and in the child's provisional care plan. This information is important in the event that reunification is not successful and the child is placed on a protection order (Until 18). If this occurs the Department must apply for a child visa (Subclass 802) from the Department of Home Affairs, a process that can take between 12 and 15 months.
Note: The current four year waiting period for Centrelink benefits starts from the date the visa is granted. If the young person turns 18 before the end of the waiting period, child protection workers may need to help the young person apply for Special Benefits.
Signs of Safety meeting with the family (case planning meeting)
Assessment and planning for reunification must commence from the time the child enters provisional protection and care.
Child protection workers 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 and subsequent meetings is to:
Refer to Facilitating a Signs of Safety Meeting with Families (in related resources).
Document the outcome of the meeting in Form 515a - Signs of 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:
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 arrangement.
In addition to the other requirements of a provisional care plan (refer to the section 'Developing the provisional care plan section' above), the plan for a child in secure care must:
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 – Endorsing and Approving 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, parents, carers) 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 its approval.
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:
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.
When 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. 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 is 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 must also be distributed to all parties as soon as practicable, but within 14 working days of its approval.
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.
Under the Act, a child is in the care of the CEO if the child is:
The 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 populates 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 populates those sections of the CIP, replacing any previous version. This information is non-editable and provides an outline of the care planning outcomes for the next care plan review. It is important that child protection workers keep the child's CIP up-to-date and approved before they commence 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 parents, carers, and any other person considered by the CEO to have a direct and significant interest in the child's wellbeing 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 and who is reponsible for completing the actions on the leaves under the related dimension of care. For example, under 'Social and Family Relationships', its 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 and 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 an opportunity to participate in significant decisions regarding the child's care. Team leaders have delegated the authority for determining 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 where care plans are developed, 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:
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 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:
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, and may be completed more frequently when 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:
When planning for an Aboriginal child, an Aboriginal practice leader (or other relevant Aboriginal officer) must be consulted. 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:
Identification of citizenship and visa status for children under protection order (Until 18)
Each child's citizenship and, where relevant, visa status should be recorded in Assist in the 'Person Details' ('Identity and Culture' tab). If reunification has not been successful and a child with a temporary visa is placed on a protection order (Until 18), the Department must apply for a child visa (Subclass 802) from the Department of Home Affairs. This is a lengthy process that can take between 12 and 15 months, so the application process must begin as soon as possible. The application process must also be recorded in the child's care plan.
Application for child visa (Subclass 802):
Department of Home Affairs Child and Other Family Processing Centre Locked Bag 7 NORTHBRIDGE WA 6865 OR deliver the application by courier service to:Department of Home Affairs Child and Other Family Processing Centre 836 Wellington St WEST PERTH WA 6005
Department of Home Affairs Child and Other Family Processing Centre Locked Bag 7 NORTHBRIDGE WA 6865
OR deliver the application by courier service to:
Department of Home Affairs Child and Other Family Processing Centre 836 Wellington St WEST PERTH WA 6005
If you need more information or assistance in this process, contact the with the Department's Principal Policy and Planning Officer Cultural Diversity, Professional Practice Unit.
Care plan meetings
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:
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).
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:
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:
When 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.
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:
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).
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:
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:
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:
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 refer to the Viewpoint Process Chart and Viewpoint User Guide 16 Strengths and Difficulties (links also in related resources).
Roles and responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities in the Viewpoint process are shared between:
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).
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:
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:
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).
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:
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.
The responses of each child provide a unique and unmediated perspective and a valuable tool in professional supervision.
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).
For advice and technical assistance about Viewpoint software, contact your Assist district mentor, or the Viewpoint Helpdesk via email: email@example.com. For problems with hardware (Viewpoint iPads) contact the IT Helpdesk: 1800 898 078.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full information can be found in the Care Team Approach Practice Framework (see related resources).