Communities and Justice

Collaborating in case planning during court proceedings

Case planning before and during court proceedings is different to case planning and review after final orders have been made because during proceedings, critical decisions have not yet been made. For example:

  • a care plan setting out the Department’s case plan goal may not yet have been accepted by the court
  • even if accepted by the court, a care plan is open to further challenge arising from:
    • new evidence filed in proceedings, such as an independent assessment by the Children’s Court Clinic or an external assessor
    • a dispute resolution conference in which parties negotiate and attempt to agree on the proposed care plan
  • the court has not yet made a final order to put in place a set of legal care arrangements for the child.

During court proceedings, collaboration between the Department and PSP provider is critical so that the court has all the information it needs to make the best decision for the child.

Good collaboration can lead to:

  • a decision for the child in line with the provider or Department’s views and what is in their best interest
  • the avoidance of unnecessary additional work for the PSP provider and/or the Department
  • confidence by the court in current and future assessments put forward by the Department and PSP provider.

The Department holds a case transfer meeting with the PSP Providers within 14 days of a child in OOHC transferring to primary case responsibility of a PSP provider, to share information and plan for roles and responsibilities going forward.

The Department and PSP provider collaborate to:

  • prepare and file the care application, care plan and other evidence in the Children’s Court
  • coordinate and file evidence that supports the case plan goal
  • provide information for a dispute resolution conference
  • ensure the PSP provider understands the administrative directions of the court.

Although a PSP provider exercises primary case responsibility, the Department (in addition to the provider) maintains a more active casework relationship with the child, their carers, parents, siblings or family/kin. This enables the Department to oversee, prepare for, and manage court proceedings until the making of a final order.

It is also necessary for there to be close communication in relation to ongoing assessment. For example, if the case plan goal is restoration, PSP providers provide information to the Department regarding:

  • their use of evidence-based assessment to manage risk, support decision making and monitor progress toward achieving the case plan goal and
  • the outcomes of evidence-based assessment tools, such as use of the SDM© Restoration Assessment. 
Last updated:

19 Feb 2023