Looking After Children processes
Consistent with the Best Interests Case Practice Model, Looking After Children processes support an ongoing cycle of information gathering, assessment, planning, implementation and review.
The key LAC processes are:
- gathering and maintaining the essential information that is needed for good care
- assessing the child's needs and developmental progress in care
- planning what the out-of-home care team will do to provide good care
- reviewing what the out-of-home care team needs to do to respond to the child's changing needs and circumstances.
Recommended best practice
The recommended best practice processes are:
- a continuous process of recording and updating of the factual information about the child from the start of the placement using the Essential Information Record - building on the information already provided in the Placement Referral Record and elsewhere in CRISSP to ensure the key information each care team member knows about the child is kept in one place
- using the Care and Placement Plan to document what the care team members have agreed to do to meet the child's needs in care across each of the seven life areas commencing with the first plan completed in the first two weeks
- completing an Assessment and Progress Record as soon as practicable after a child comes into care (after the initial Care and Placement Plan has been completed) to enable the care team to get to know the child in their care and thereafter annually (bi-annually for children under school age) to track the child's developmental progress. The APR should not be completed in one sitting as a form filling exercise but should be based on a series of conversations with the child and various care team members over a period of at least 6 weeks
- undertaking a Review of the Care and Placement Plan whenever the child's circumstances change, after the completion of each APR and at least six monthly
The ongoing Looking After Children cycle (click image & open in new window)
The minimum Looking After Children related requirements for a community service organisation (CSO) providing out-of-home care services to comply with registration standards and program requirements in accordance with the Department of Human Services funding and service agreements are:
- compilation of an Essential Information Record
- completion of a Care and Placement Plan within the first two weeks of a child coming into care, or within four weeks of the referral being made for a CSO based kinship placement support service
- completion of a Review of the Care and Placement Plan at least every six months
- completion of an Assessment and Progress Record for every child in care for six months and thereafter annually (bi-annually for children under school age)
- documentation within the relevant LAC records of the necessary information, assessments and strategies that indicate that the care team is addressing the child's safety, stability and developmental needs whilst in care.
Links with other processes
Looking After Children processes are primarily collaborative care management processes. They comprise an integral part of the broader child protection statutory planning and court related processes. It is therefore expected that ongoing Looking After Children processes will enhance and link into a number of other processes such as cultural support planning for Aboriginal children, health and education assessments, Individual Education Planning for school aged children by school based Student Support Groups and disability support planning where applicable. Looking after Children processes are also designed to assist the child prepare for their transition to adulthood and a good life after they leave out-of-home care.
The following diagrams depict the links between Looking After Children processes and the broader cycle of statutory case planning, assessment and review processes.
The first diagram applies for all children in foster care, residential care or lead tenant care and the second diagram applies for those children in kinship care who are being supported by a CSO based kinship service.
- LAC processes and timelines flowchart February 2011 (doc 42.0 KB)
- Looking After Children kinship care flowchart of processes and timelines March 2011 (PDF 88.9 KB)