Care plans

If your child or grandchild is in the care of the Department of Communities (sometimes called ‘the Department’ or ‘Child Protection’) on a protection order (time limited) or a protection order (until 18), you may have heard of, or been asked to go to, a care plan meeting. This page has information on care plans and if, and how, you can have a say about what goes in these plans.

You can find where to get help with care plans on our webpage Get help with child protection.

You can find information on asking for a review of a care plan decision on our webpage Dealing with Child Protection.

Quick Answers Video: Care plans
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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. 

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 sets out in writing:

  • what the child’s needs are
  • steps or things that will be done to meet the child’s needs
  • for an Aboriginal child, Torres Strait Islander child or child of a linguistically or diverse background, a cultural support plan,
  • for a child who has reached 15 years of age, a leaving care plan
  • the decisions that have been made about the care of the child, including about placement and contact arrangements with parents, siblings and other family members or people who are significant in the child’s life, and
  • a summary of how the child has been involved in the decision-making process and the views and wishes expressed by the child about the decisions set out in the plan.

A cultural support plan is a plan that sets out arrangements for growing and keeping a child’s connection with the culture and traditions of their family or community.

A leaving care plan is a plan that sets out the:

  • needs of a young person in preparing to stop living in care and shifting to other living arrangements; and
  • steps or measures to help them meet those needs. This might include what support services they will need.

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 (time limited) or a protection order (until 18). These protection orders allow Child Protection to make the big decisions for your child. The plan should be completed within 30 working days of the protection order being made at court by the magistrate.

Who makes the care plan?

The care plan is made by Child Protection workers at a care plan meeting. 

What is a care plan meeting?

A care plan meeting is a meeting where Child Protection makes care planning decisions about your child. These include things like when your child can visit you (or their other parent, brothers and sisters, or other family members) and where your child lives. 

Care planning involves:

  • gathering information and views from your child, you, other family members and anyone significant to your child
  • arranging meetings, and
  • giving everyone the opportunity to participate,

 so informed decisions can be made about your child’s care.

The law says the best interests of your child is always the most important thing to think about when making decisions. 

Can I have a say about what is in my child’s care plan?

Yes. The law says that you and anyone important in your child’s life can have a say in the important decision-making for them. This means that you can speak up and say what you think should go into your child’s care plan. Child Protection should try to make meetings at times and places that suit you to hear your views or give you other ways to have a say. You can bring a support person to these meetings.

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 my child’s 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.

Care plans must always be reviewed at least once a year to check it is still working well for your child. In reviewing the plan Child Protection must consider the views of the child, the child’s parents, any carer of the child, and any other person who Child Protection thinks has a direct and significant interest in the wellbeing of the 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. With the short time frame for making this plan you may not have a say at the start, but this should be talked about with you later. You should be given a copy of this plan by Child Protection as soon as possible after the plan is prepared or changed.

Useful documents

More information

Department of Communities  
 Family Inclusion Network WA Inc.


Reviewed: 11 December 2023


Care plans - Easy read guide

A simple guide about care plans, with information that is easy to read and understand.


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.