Permanency Case Management Policy

Purpose

The Permanency Case Management Policy, and Rules and Practice Guidance, are designed to:

  • explain the way we achieve permanency for children and young people through permanency case management across the continuum of their care – preserving them with family, restoring them to family, arranging a permanent legal guardian, open adoption or placing them in out of home care (OOHC).
  • clarify the different roles and responsibilities of Family and Community Services (FACS) and service providers in:
    • assessing and responding to the safety, permanency and wellbeing needs of vulnerable children and young people
    • providing trauma informed and therapeutic services, and
    • achieving permanency for children by working collaboratively with them, their parents and families/kin, carers and other people significant to them.
  • embed in practice culture, a focus on:
    • holistic assessment of the safety, permanency and wellbeing needs of children and young people
    • responding earlier to trauma and primary causes of child abuse and neglect, and
    • purposeful partnering with families/kin to build strengths and resilience.

Aboriginal Case Management Policy

A separate Aboriginal case management policy (ACMP) is being developed by AbSec in partnership with FACS and Aboriginal stakeholders to:

Promote an integrated case-management approach that is tailored to the needs of Aboriginal children and families, that commences early in the continuum of support and that empowers and supports families and communities to reduce the incidence of harm, addressing identified risks and thereby supporting Aboriginal children and young people to thrive.

NSW Practice Framework

The Permanency Case Management Policy, Rules and Practice Guidance is informed and framed by the NSW Practice Framework (the Framework). The Framework shapes the programs FACS develops and its practice with families.

The Framework sets out mandates for roles at all levels of the system:

Agency mandate

We work in solidarity to create a system that supports meaningful change for families. We partner with practitioners, communities and the sector to improve practice and outcomes for children and their families.

Leadership mandate

We lead with moral courage to inspire and guide practice. We support practitioners and take collective responsibility for the decisions they make. We model willingness to reflect and work hard to create open cultures where critique improves outcomes for families.

Practitioner mandate

We build relationships that are focused on children. We work hard to give dignity, partner with parents, families and communities, and use collective wisdom, skills and courage to keep children safe.

Principles of Permanency Case Management

  1. Case management that is collaborative demonstrates and fosters behaviour that:
    • is honest, relationship-based, responsive and consistent
    • partners with a child or young person, their parents, family/kin, carers and other people significant to them
    • shares risk about decisions and actions that impact on children or young people and their families/kin
    • links casework practitioners, carers and other practitioners working with them
    • provides knowledge, skills and resources.
  2. Case management that facilitates safety and healing from trauma requires a setting in which:
    • relationships are respectful, meaningful and purposeful
    • we seek and hear the beliefs and perspectives of the child or young person, their parents, family/kin, carers and other people significant to them
    • family/kin strengths are valued, resilience is nurtured, dignity is upheld and enduring connections are formed
    • sharing of information supports holistic assessment, purposeful case planning and therapeutic casework.
  3. Case management that enhances health and wellbeing hinges on participation:
    • by the child or young person, their parents, family/kin, carers and other people significant to them, in the decisions made about their lives
    • by practitioners and advocates who have a meaningful relationship with the child or young person, their parents and family/kin
    • that provides opportunities for views and practices to be critiqued and explored.
  4. Case management that is purposeful and change-focused necessitates approaches that are guided by:
    • the assessed safety and permanency needs of the child or young person and measures of their wellbeing
    • the context, experiences, values, beliefs and preferences of the child or young person, their parents, family/kin, carers and other people significant to them
    • the specialist knowledge, skills and practice wisdom of caseworkers and other practitioners, through reflective and transparent decision making processes
    • evidence based service models and tools with a track record of success.
  5. Case management that improves practice quality provides a framework for:
    • encouraging an openness to critique the quality and effectiveness of practice and decision making
    • using empathy to consider what the experience is like for the child or young person, their parents, family/kin, carers and other people significant to them
    • talking to, talking about and recording information about, a child or young person and their family/kin using language that respects them and is easy to understand
    • facilitating fairness and transparency by giving reasons for decisions
    • responding to feedback or complaints with empathy and an emphasis on improving practice.

Permanency Case Management Policy

This policy takes effect from 1 October 2017. It replaces the OOHC Case Management Policy and Guidelines (2015).

Scope

This policy applies to:

  • the case management of all children and young people who have been found to be in need of care and protection as a result of assessing their safety and their risk of experiencing abuse or neglect
  • working in partnership with children and young people, their parents and family, carers and other people significant to them.

The case management of Aboriginal children and young people and how we work with their parents, families/kin and communities will be addressed in an Aboriginal Case Management Policy, currently under development. Until this time this policy applies, to both Aboriginal and non Aboriginal children and young people.

For rules and practice guidance related to this policy, refer to the Permanency Case Management Operational Rules and Practice Guidance.

Policy Statement

Permanency Case Management supports parents, family/kin and community around a vulnerable child or young person, to put in place permanent arrangements that provide the child or young person with an experience of:

  • feeling loved, important and safe
  • being connected to their family/kin and community
  • having stability, certainty and opportunity and
  • gaining the best possible start in life.

FACS prioritises Risk of Significant Harm (ROSH) reports concerning children, young people, their parents and families/kin using a triage assessment process. Those with highest priority are allocated for a safety and risk assessment (SARA).

FACS conducts a SARA to assess:

  • a child or young person’s immediate safety, and
  • the risk that a child or young person will experience abuse or neglect in their household in future.

SARA occurs in consultation with a service provider providing a service to a child or young person. It may also occur with participation of a service provider in the assessment – if FACS and the service provider agree that their participation will be beneficial to the child or young person, their parents and family/kin (or is requested by them).

Service providers continue to provide services to the child or young person, their parents and family/kin during SARA unless FACS and the service provider agree that service provision is to cease.

Permanency case planning is undertaken for a child or young person assessed at high or very high risk of experiencing abuse in their home in future.

Permanency case planning:

  • is guided by sharing information, professional judgement and decision making  supported by evidence based models
  • addresses a child or young person’s safety and permanency needs and
  • focuses on recovery from trauma and building family strengths and resilience.

In developing a child or young person’s case plan, the permanent placement principles (section 10A) of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (the Care Act) are followed, that is to:

  • work with families/kin to keep a child or young person at home, or restore them to the care of their family

    if that is not possible,

  • identify stable and secure guardianship options, so that a child or young person can grow up with their family/kin

    if that is not possible,

  • facilitate open adoption that provides a (non-Aboriginal~) child or young person with secure attachment and permanency within an adoptive family and supports connection with their birth family

    if that is not possible,

  • provide high quality, trauma informed, therapeutic care to a child or young person in parental responsibility of the Minister, that provides them a safe, permanent home and keeps them connected to their birth family and community.

    ~ Note:  Aboriginal people don’t support open adoption for Aboriginal children and young people for cultural reasons. However legislated permanent placement principles do provide for the adoption of Aboriginal children and young people as a last preference after all other outcomes have been assessed and ruled out.

A case plan goal is identified along the continuum of care, that will provide permanent arrangements for a child or young person’s care while growing up:

  • for most children and young people (over time), this will be family preservation, restoration, guardianship or open adoption and
  • for a smaller number of children and young people (over time), this will be foster or residential care (in the parental responsibility of the Minister) when preservation, restoration, guardianship or adoption are not possible.

FACS sets the child or young person’s case plan goal[1] as:

  • commissioner (purchaser or provider) of the service, and
  • agency with statutory responsibility for responding to ROSH and exercising parental responsibility for children and young people in OOHC.

Permanency Case Planning is a collaborative process:

  • in partnership with a child or young person, their parents, family/kin, carer/s (if applicable) and other people significant to them
  • with the participation of a service provider when the service provider did work with, currently works with, or will work with (after transfer of case management responsibility), the child or young person, their parents, family/kin.

FACS prioritises and make decisions about which families/kin will receive a permanency support service based on SARA and permanency case planning.

FACS commissions (provides or purchases) effective, innovative and flexible permanency support services by:

  • tailoring services to support achievement of a child or young person’s case plan goal
  • transferring case management to a FACS service or to a funded service provider
  • arranging for the provision of services by a FACS service or a funded service provider
  • closely monitoring the performance of services to ensure achievement of outcomes for children, young people, their parents and families/kin.

Content Owner

This policy was developed by the Permanency Support Program, Child and Family Directorate, Commissioning Division, NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS).


[1] During the transition period (from 1 October to 30 June 2018) service providers will lead the assessment of alternate permanency outcomes (working with FACS) for children they have case management responsibility as of 1 October 2017.

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)