Communities and Justice

Helping children stay safe at home

The Family Action Plan for Change

The Family Action Plan for Change is made with you after the caseworker has done the first risk assessment. It is a longer-term plan than the safety plan. The Family Action Plan for Change includes the worries about your child that came out of the safety assessment and the risk assessments. It records what you and the caseworker think needs to happen, so your child stays safe and the risk to them  being hurt in the future is lower.

The Family Action Plan for Change includes:

  • worries about things that may be making your child unsafe
  • goals that show what will be different for you and your child when there is enough change to these worries
  • actions that you will take to work towards those goals with support
  • details about who will do what and when it will be done.

Once the Family Action Plan for Change is written, it is put in place for three months to give you time to work on the changes needed. During the three months, you and the caseworker will talk about the plan often and update actions as needed. If you cannot read English ask for an interpreter service to attend the meeting and explain it to you in your language.   

See how much has changed for your child. To see how much change has happened for your child. You, your support people and the caseworker may then update the actions in the plan so you can keep working towards the goals for another three months if more time is needed.

Making a Family Action Plan for Change

A Family Group Conference (also known as an FGC) can be a good way to help you, your family and other support people come up with actions that can go in the Family Action Plan for Change.

Think about what a happy, healthy and safe life looks like for your child. Families sometimes face issues that are very difficult or painful to overcome. It is important to have people around you to help you make the changes your child needs.

The goals in a Family Action Plan for Change shouldn’t seem too big or unrealistic. You should be clear about:

  • what the goals are
  • what it will look like when the goals are met
  • how the goals are going to keep your child safe
  • what needs to be done to meet the goals
  • who is going to help you get to those goals and how.

If things change and goals become too hard

If you can’t meet a goal, or the plan is too hard or not helping, talk to the caseworker.

The goals can feel big and you have a right to break down actions into smaller steps. The caseworker can help you to do this. If they don’t, you can ask for the goals to be made smaller. Once you have achieved each smaller step, update the Family Action Plan for Change to add the next steps. The idea is that you will keep updating the actions and steps until you get to the goal. When the risk re-assessment shows that the worries have gone down enough, DCJ will close the case.

Making big changes is hard. You may feel stressed, upset or overwhelmed. Think about who you can talk to, or what you can do to help you manage your feelings. Ask the caseworker if you need their help to do this.

Learn more about where you can call for help in the support services section.

If you are not happy with the plan

If you feel like the caseworker isn’t listening to your concerns about your Family Action Plan for Change, you can:

How the caseworker can help

The caseworker’s job is to support families and communities to keep children safe. Often that means making sure the child’s family is also safe, so they are able to give the child the support and care they need. The caseworker needs to meet certain standards in the way they work with you and your child. You can find the standards as well as an easy read and translated versions on the DCJ website.

The caseworker can advocate on your behalf (that is, help you) to get support for housing, food, managing alcohol and other drugs, health issues like medicines, mental health, parenting, disability and refuge from domestic and family violence. A caseworker does this by linking you to nearby services that can help.

You should expect the caseworker to:

  • ask you about what is happening in your life and your worries
  • listen and treat you with respect
  • understand your disability and support and meet your specific needs, such as communicating differently (e.g. in more visual ways if needed)
  • do things to support your child, including talking to them, taking them to activities, or making referrals to services they may need
  • talk to your child about their life, and connect them to family, community, friends or networks that make them feel safe
  • understand issues like trauma, grief, violence, mental health, abuse and addiction and to give you advice and help
  • ask you if there are things they can do to help
  • offer support and services for people with disabilit
  • give you opportunities to learn new skills in a supportive environment
  • help you contact services by calling them or going with you to your first visits
  • make sure the service is the right choice for you and your family
  • listen to what you have to say about the service and if it is right for you
  • help explain why they have chosen a service and how it will keep your child safe.

Caseworkers can support you to access services to help you make the changes needed to keep your child safe. Different areas will have different services available, like:

  • Getting healthy food and groceries
  • Making and attending health appointments
  • Organising cleaning or repairs for your home
  • Help with rental bonds or application letters
  • Help with transport
  • Help with budgeting
  • Help with getting financial support for services like day care

Who to contact for help

There are many online, telephone and face-to-face services that can help you. 

If you don’t have access to a phone, a computer or the internet, speak to the caseworker about whether your Community Services Centre has a phone you can use or if they can suggest local areas with free Wi-Fi. 

Learn more about services that might be able to help here.

Last updated:

05 Jul 2024