What is a care plan?
The law says every child who is on a protection order (time limited) or a protection order (until 18) must have a care plan.
A care plan is a written document that sets out:
- what your child needs
- how your child’s needs will be met
- information about your child's culture and identity, and
- the decisions that have been made about the care of your child.
When is a care plan made?
A care plan is made as soon as possible after a magistrate puts your child on a protection order that gives Child Protection the power to make the big decisions for your child. This should be within 30 working days.
Who makes the care plan?
The care plan is made by your child’s Child Protection workers at a care plan meeting.
What is a care plan meeting?
A care plan meeting is a meeting where Child Protection will make care planning decisions about your child. Things like when your child can visit you or the other parent, their brothers and sisters and other family members and where your child lives.
The parents, carers and anyone else who the Department thinks has a direct and significant interest in the wellbeing of the child should be invited to the care plan meeting.
A child can attend a care planning meeting if they are old enough and want to attend.
If it is not appropriate for everyone to meet together (for example, in cases where there has been family violence) Child Protection must still take into account the views of everyone when they are reviewing the plan.
The law says the best interests of your child is the most important thing to think about in making these decisions.
Can I have a say about what is in my child’s care plan?
Yes. The law says that you and other people who are important in your child’s life can have a say in your child’s care plan. This means that you can speak up and say what you think should go into your child’s care plans. Child Protection should talk to you to try to make care plan meetings at times and places that suit you. You can bring a support person to the meeting.
You will not have the final say about what goes in the care plan. This is decided by Child Protection.
Can I get a copy of the care plan?
After the care plan meeting, Child Protection must give you a copy of the care plan, or a changed plan, unless they think it is not safe to do so.
You should talk to a lawyer if Child Protection says you can’t have a copy.
Can care plans be changed?
Yes. A care plan can be changed at any time if Child Protection think the current care plan is not good for your child.
What is a provisional care plan?
Until a final order is made, there is also a provisional, or temporary, care plan. This should be made by Child Protection within 7 working days of your child going into the provisional protection and care of Child Protection. With the short time frame for making this plan you may not have a say at the start but you should be consulted later. You should be given a copy of this plan by Child Protection as soon as possible after the plan is prepared or changed.
Department of Communities
Reviewed: 30 September 2020