Department of Human Services

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9.4 Implementation of the case plan

Key outcomes

  • a child’s right to safety is paramount; focus on safety
  • empower children and young people
  • exercise wise use of authority – collaborate with the person, not the abuse (Human Services, 2012:13)
  • work collaboratively on case plan tasks, consult and obtain consent for referrals and advocacy
  • regularly review and share information

Implementing case plans:

  • the child’s right to safety and wellbeing is given the greatest weight
  • conscious, deliberate and purposeful activity with, and for, the child and their family
  • actions that are outcomes focused and work towards case plan goals (set with the child and family)
  • engaging and working with all stakeholders and coordinating task orientated responses
  • being responsible and accountable to the child, family, community and the plan
  • providing accurate and timely case notes on all activities undertaken and the child and family’s responses to them
  • adapting new knowledge learnt about the child and family during implementation and regularly reviewing implementation and the case plan accordingly
  • for Aboriginal children and family, longer timeframes may be required
  • recognise that Aboriginal families may have other competing priorities; being flexible is important while ensuring that the child’s safety is not compromised
  • ensuring throughout implementation that consultation with Aboriginal staff is occurring for non- Aboriginal staff working with Aboriginal families

Delivery of case plan tasks

Be action- and solution-orientated, work from a strengths perspective, focusing on the child and family member’s safety, and raising the standard of accountability for those who use violence in the home (majority being fathers).

Implementing case plan actions and tasks is very practical work and requires a proactive and supportive approach to achieving the case goals with children and their families. What’s changed in the implementation phase? Is the child’s safety increasing, has the family’s resilience grown, do family members who misuse power accept responsibility and understand their accountability?

Recognise the importance of the timeframes established and work within these. Be flexible and re-strategise when plans are not working; recognise the importance of review.

Referral and advocacy

Explore options and resources to effectively implement the case plan. Referrals for short- or longer-term involvement of external agencies are likely to be necessary to expand resources and help achieve goals. Involve the whole of the family in referral processes to expand formal supports and sustain changes.

Note that people who have experienced long term oppression through intergenerational trauma may not be able to develop their emotional strength or personal skills to advocate for their own interests, even if this is the most empowering course (Payne, 2014).

Practitioners will at times need to advocate on behalf of their client to ensure access to adequate supports and the involvement of relevant services.

Collaboration and coordination of services

Collaborate and actively build relationships with other service providers to support efficient work, reduce service duplication, remove service barriers, and build a care team around the child and their family working towards the case plan goals with a focus on the child’s safety. Ensure all agencies are aware of each other’s involvement and there is a nominated lead case manager for the child and family driving family meetings.

All agencies remain responsible to the child and family for managing their specific involvement with service tasks (Chappell, 2012).

Communication and information sharing

Maintain open and transparent communication with the child and family members and all partner agencies supporting the case plan. Regular communication helps to maintain a coordinated focus on achieving outcomes and meetings or case conferences with all stakeholders can support this process.

Information shared needs to be accurate, relevant and with consent whenever possible, but not at the jeopardy of the child’s or family’s safety, wellbeing or welfare.

Cultural considerations for Aboriginal clients

Ensure that you engage and inform the child and family about every aspect of implementation as you work on goals and tasks together. Respectful cultural responses are critical when working with Aboriginal families; recognise the safety and strength of the kinship system. Regularly review the safety of the child and family within community. Ensure that consultation with an Aboriginal worker occurs if you are a non-Aboriginal worker working with an Aboriginal family.

Ensure that case plans are intrinsically linked to wellbeing as nominated by the child/family. For example, spirituality, language, cultural connection. Ensure referrals to Aboriginal specific services are prioritised if this is requested by the child and family.

Take the time to listen and demonstrate awareness of the differences across Aboriginal nations by asking about the protocols and practices according to the client’s cultural background and incorporate this advice to provide culturally responsive practice.

Be aware of the intensely personal and ancestral impact of dispossession, past practices and policies on Aboriginal peoples.

Case notes

Case notes are evidence of a program’s sequential recording of client and agency contact while implementing case plans. Case notes provide accountability and transparency in terms of our practice and ensure a record of intervention should a child seek records to piece together their story, or should matters progress through to a statutory response requiring more formal reports for Court.

Practice point: implementation of the case plan

Implementation is the ‘doing’ of all the plans and discussion. Coordinating services, clarifying roles and establishing sound communication processes and accountability will be crucial to successful outcomes for the child and family. Case notes should be a record of the facts including relevant information to the case plan, interventions and ongoing assessment of the child and family’s changing circumstances, however, exclude extraneous or irrelevant information.

Page last updated : 25 Nov 2021

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