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Case Management: Development of Care and Protection Plans

How care and protection plans should be developed.

In this video we hear from two members of the team working for Fundación Casa Alianza in Mexico. Margarita Cerón is a Sociologist and Mariana Paulette Morales Vega is a Social Worker. They are members of a large multi-disciplinary team working to support and care for unaccompanied children. The team includes social workers, psychologists, lawyers, youth workers, and alternative care workers.

Fundación Casa Alianza offers family-like care in a small group home. Some children are in transit, some wish to remain, and others wish to return home. We will hear how the staff do their utmost to provide a caring environment for the children. Most importantly, it is one of the alternative care projects in Mexico where there is an ‘open-door’ policy. This means the children are able to move freely and interact in the community just like other children, like, for example, going to school and attending social events.

The staff work closely with one another to make sure there is a comprehensive approach to assessments, developing care plans – a ‘Life Plan’ – and responding to the individual needs, wishes and circumstances of each child. We will see more films about this project later in the course.

Care and protection plans

Once all the information in an assessment has been gathered it should be used to help decide on any actions that will take into full consideration the best interests of a child. This includes the most suitable alternative care placement, the protection and other support services to be provided. The decisions should then be written down in a Care and Protection Plan. Some agencies – such as UNHCR – call the assessment and decision making process the Best Interest Assessment (BIA) and the Best Interest Determination (BID) process. We have provided some other examples for you to look at in the ‘See Also’ section at the bottom of the page.

Earlier this week, we recommended that each child is provided with a case worker. Ideally the same person will be responsible for any assessment, the development and oversight of the Care and Protection Plan – someone who has the opportunity to get to know the child and build a strong and trusting relationship with them.

The Care and Protection Plan should specify:

  • A named person (the child’s case worker) who has overall responsibility for making sure the plan is implemented
  • A case number – to help keep personal information or data about a child private and confidential
  • Details of where the child will be provided alternative care and who will provide it
  • The specific protection needs of the child, how these will be addressed, by whom, and when
  • Other services to be provided to the child such as health, education, psychosocial support, who will provide these services, where, and by when – making sure the child’s most urgent needs are met quickly
  • Any other specific actions that are to be taken, by when, and who is responsible
  • The frequency of visits to monitor how the child is and whether they are receiving the services and protection outlined in their Plan

We recognise this is a lot of information to bring together and coordinate, and that it might take a while to make sure the Plan is fully developed and implemented.

Once the assessment has been completed, if someone different takes responsibility as the case worker, they must receive a careful handover and be given all the information that has been gathered.

Please remember, it is important that the development of the Plan and the decisions that are made should fully involve the participation of the child concerned, which we will discuss in more detail later this week. Also, the tasks, decision making, and work to develop the Plan are made easier if supported by, and shared with, colleagues from different sectors.

Referrals and working in cooperation with other services

We realise that a child’s case worker or indeed any one organisation will not be able to provide all the services a child may need. That is why we have said case management involves close coordination between different sectors, and the ability of a case worker to refer a child to different services.

The flow diagram representing the Case Management process that we looked at earlier this week indicated that referrals occur while a child’s Care and Protection Plan is being developed and implemented. In practice, referrals to other services may start as soon as some of the child’s needs are identified – especially if they are urgent.

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

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Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

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