Once you are in care, the Department has to make a care plan for you that says what is going to happen and how you are going to be looked after. For example, it may say how long you are likely to be in care or what needs to happen before you can go back home. It will also include things like:
What is a care plan meeting?
A care plan meeting is when people get together with your case worker from the Department to discuss your care plan. They will talk about how you are going and make plans and important decisions about your life and future. Care plan meetings are a chance for you to sit down with people who care about you. They want to hear about what is happening in your life and what you want to happen in the future.
Who decides what is in your care plan?
When you come into care, your case worker writes a care plan to make sure everyone involved in looking after you knows what your needs are and how these needs are going to be met. Your case worker talks to everyone involved in your life to see what they think should be in your care plan. This can include people like your family, your carer and case worker and of course YOU! It’s important that you have your say about what you want to happen in your life.
What is a cultural plan?
There are people from lots of different cultures in Australia. The Department will help you stay in touch with your culture. This can be built into your care plan and is called your cultural plan. If you are an Aboriginal person, then you will be able to have a yarn with a special Aboriginal worker about what is best for you and how to keep in touch with your family, culture and community.
How can you have your say?
Lots of different adults take part in care plan meetings, like your parents or other members of your family, your case worker and Team Leader, your carer, your psychologist, or anyone else who is involved in your life. There may be one big meeting or lots of small ones but it is all about YOU and it’s good for you to take part if you can.
You can pick where your part of the meeting is held. For example, if you don’t want to go to the district office, you can choose somewhere you feel safe and comfortable, like where you live or a park. You can also say if there is anyone you don’t want to be at your part of the meeting. You can choose to bring an adult friend to the meeting for support, or you can ask the Advocate for Children in Care to come with you.
Sometimes it is hard to say what you want in front of a group of people, so you might like to write down what you want to say when you are at the meeting. You can ask your case worker, carer or the Advocate for Children in Care to help you with this.
It is really good if you can go to the meeting, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. You can have your say in other ways instead. For example, you can tell your case worker what you want or send a letter or use the ‘child’s report to meeting’ to help you have your say. Again, your case worker, carer or the Advocate for Children in Care can help you with this. You can say if you don’t want what you have written to be shared with everyone and it can be kept confidential.
Who gets a copy of your care plan?
You will get a copy of your care plan and you can ask if you need help to understand it. In about twelve months’ time, the care plan will be looked at again (reviewed) to see how things are going and what changes are needed to better meet your needs.
What can you do if you don't agree with a care plan decision?
You can talk to your case worker or to the Advocate for Children in Care about what you disagree with. They will help you if you want to try to get the plan changed or if you want it to be looked at again by a group of people outside the Department called the Case Review Panel. This Panel can ask the Department to make changes to the care plan.
What are health and education plans?
Health care plan
Your health care plan is put together between you, your case worker, a doctor or nurse and others. It is to make sure you are healthy and to help you with any health problems you may have.
Your education plan is put together between you, your case worker, carer, school, and others. It is to make sure that you are being helped to get the most of your education and learning at school.