It takes a whole team effort to make sure children and young people in care have their needs met, and are able to meet their full potential.
A Care Team requires people who can:
- share the care of a child or young person with other people, including a child’s parents, extended family and professionals
- work co-operatively with others to reunify a child with their family, wherever possible
- attend meetings to share ideas and provide feedback to a child’s Caseworker or other professionals
- sometimes take a child to planned appointments
- maintain confidentiality of any information provided to you about a child and their family.
Case management involves working with families to: establish goals, create plans to achieve the goals; provide services to meet needs identified in assessments, monitor progress toward achievement of the goals and close cases when goals have been achieved.
To be an effective carer, it is also important that you take the time to care for themselves yourself and look after your own needs. It is hard to invest the energy in caring for someone else when your own energy levels are low. For some ideas on how you can look after yourself as a carer, refer to the SNAICC website.
The Care Team is made up of:
Every child placed in your care will have their own Case Manager who will work with you to prepare you for the placement. They’ll discuss the child’s case plan goals and do regular checks to ensure the child’s needs are being met. The Case Manager will visit you and the child regularly.
You can talk to the Case Manager about health, education, behaviour or contact visits with family. Case Managers can help you regarding child development and child management issues, and they will meet with you to work through any issues. They will be your first point of contact about anything to do with the child.
Case Support Workers and Aboriginal Community Workers
Case Support Workers and Aboriginal Community Workers may work with the child, their family and you, on behalf of the Case Manager. Case Support Workers may be involved in collecting a child to have contact with family members and returning them to your care, or they might take the child to appointments, such as doctors, if you are not able to.
Aboriginal Community Workers will support you when caring for an Aboriginal child, and will offer advice and suggestions on maintaining the child’s culture and connections with kin, country and community.
With the support of the Care Team, as a carer you are responsible for providing a safe and caring environment and ensure the wellbeing and development for a child placed with you. You have to provide for the material needs of the child, including appropriate accommodation, food and clothing. As a carer, you also need to make sure the child receives appropriate medical attention when needed and encourage the development of the child.
The largest reward is making a real and lasting difference to the life of a child or young person. As a carer, you will be the most important member of the Care Team providing support for a child in need.