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This content is taken from the University of Strathclyde & CELCIS's online course, COVID-19: Adapting Child Protection Case Management. Join the course to learn more.
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Child protection case management

During the course we will consider child protection case management and the way child protection caseworkers are working together with different service providers to identify, refer and respond to children of concern – children for whom there are, or may be, protection risks. We will particularly think about any adaptations to case management that might be necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may already have a lot of experience applying child protection case management. However, for those of you on the course who might not yet have this full experience and understanding, we would first like to review the different steps of case management in this course step.

A case management system consists of a series of actions and procedures that help to:

  • Accurately assess and respond to each individual child’s needs, circumstances and wishes
  • Make sure a child’s best interests are a primary consideration and respecting the principles of ‘do no harm’ and confidentiality
  • Support the participation of children in decision making and the planning of care and support
  • Systematically monitor each child’s circumstances and make adjustments as necessary

Using the child protection case management process can help contribute towards decisions about the most appropriate immediate and long-term protection and care for a child. These steps are still very relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The steps of child protection case management

This diagram comes from guidelines issued by the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) which is a mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance. It illustrates the different steps of child protection case management.

diagramme of the six steps of child protection case management specified below

These steps include:

  1. Identification and registration – identification of a child for whom there might be a protection risk and their referral to an agency authorised to undertake child protection case management
  2. Assessment – an inter-sectoral process led by a child protection care worker to gather and verify all the necessary information about a child’s circumstances, needs and wishes
  3. Case planning – developing Case Plans that meets the identified needs and provides all the details of the, protection and other support services a child is – and where necessary their caregivers are– referred to. This might also involve the development of a Care Plan, if it has been rigorously assessed that placement in alternative care is necessary for the protection and best interests of a child
  4. Case implementation - delivery of the Case/Care Plans including direct support and referral to other services
  5. Follow-up and review - regular follow-up and review of the child’s circumstances and the implementation of the Case/Care Plans. This includes any necessary changes to adapt to changing circumstances until a case is closed
  6. Case closure – once it is assessed by the child protection caseworker that it is now safe the close the case.

Another representation of case management steps is shown in this next diagram. It is similar to the case management steps described above and has been developed by UNHCR to use in a refugee context where additional safeguards are required. It is a process known as the Best Interests Procedure (BIP). You can find more information about the process here.

diagramme representing the case management steps

In the next course step, we will consider some of the principles that should guide our work.

The ‘See Also’ section below has links to other reading material that may be of interest to you.

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This article is from the free online course:

COVID-19: Adapting Child Protection Case Management

University of Strathclyde