What's Important To Us
The primary role of a social worker is to work with and support families/whānau to protect and care for their tamariki (children and young people). Recording is a vital element of good social work practice – timely recording facilitates analysis and reflection, supports supervision, is a means by which social workers can be accountable for their actions and decision making, and demonstrates their integrity as a social worker.
Moreover the information stored in our computer system is a record of the story of te tamaiti (the child or young person) during the time we were working with them, and it helps us understand what has happened in their life at any point in time. It must always be up to date, accurate, relevant, and the language used be child-centred and free from jargon, particularly as te tamaiti has the right to view their records at any point in time. Accurate recording also supports our commitment to data quality.
This key information provides an example of a casenote to demonstrate a poor example of the same casenote.
The importance of keeping quality casenotes
All Oranga Tamariki social workers are required to keep accurate, up-to-date and detailed records of relevant information related to the tamaiti they are working with.
A quality casenote can help to keep track of te tamaiti as well as providing reference for their case history. A quality casenote will be easily understood, in content and context, by anyone reading it (not just the person who wrote it). It will contain information that is relevant to the progress of te tamaiti, and will not contain extraneous information.
Please refer to the practice framework for more information.
Example of a good casenote
Below is an example of one style of casenote that aligns to the Practice Framework standards.
There is a second example written in a different style titled Recording a visit with a child in care: Sarah's casenote.
(Note: Names, places and identifiable information have been changed to protect privacy)
Header: Talking to John, Shirley
Venue: home address
John Last-name (DOB d/m/y)
Shirley Last-name (caregiver)
Graeme Last-name (caregiver) – not home, at work.
Name of social worker (Social Worker)
Purpose of visit
Ensuring John’s care placement is supported and meeting all his wellbeing needs.
John took me into his bedroom to show me all his toys and games. We played connect four and then cards. John talked about Jim (Paternal Grandfather) giving him the Sponge Bob cards for Christmas.
John had good eye contact and was able to speak freely, chatting and answering questions. His hand eye coordination was great; John showed me how he could make a helicopter which then fired bullets. John talked about Fluffy (cat) and Peaches (dog). John showed me that Peaches will sit down on her blanket when John says “sit”.
John talked about how much he loves rugby and can’t wait for the season to begin. John is hoping to have the same coach he had last year (called Wogs) because he really liked him. John said he likes playing touch at lunchtimes at school with his mates Daniel, Ethan, Dante, Jayden and Nikau. If there’s not a touch game on John usually plays basketball or tennis with his mates.
John says he is happy seeing his mum. John didn’t expand on this topic.
Shirley had made afternoon tea; we sat at the dining room table together. John stayed in his room playing with his Lego. Shirley said she was “very happy” with how things were going and that John was a “good boy”.
John is playing cricket on Saturday mornings between 10am until 12pm. Graeme takes him to this and watches the games.
John is going well at school however his teacher is a bit concerned about his lack of concentration at times. The teacher said to Shirley that John daydreams a lot and when the teacher asks him what he is thinking about, he says rugby.
John still sees Tracey (mum) every Friday afternoon between 3.30 and 4.30pm at our office. Maggie (resource worker) picks John up from school and takes him to access, then drops him off at Shirley’s afterwards. Tom (Tracey’s partner) sometimes comes along to the visits with Tracey. No issues raised by Shirley.
Finances for John’s rugby subs and a pair of boots;
- Shirley will provide a quote for boots that will last the season. Due (date)
Contact the school teacher to discuss John’s daydreaming, does this impact on his learning?
- Contact Shirley/ Graham re: outcome/ or to attend any school meetings.
Call Shirley/ Graham by (date), to organise the next home visit.
Example of a poor casenote
Header: H/V to John
(Note: Names, places and identifiable information have been changed to protect privacy.)
Met with John and Shirley. John took me into his bedroom to show me all his toys and games. We sat on the floor and played Connect Four and then had a game of snap with some Sponge Bob cards John had got for Christmas from Jim. John then showed me a lego set he had where you can make trucks, cars, motorbikes and even a helicopter. John showed me how he could make the helicopter which then fired bullets. John also showed me Shirley’s cat, Fluffy and Dog, Peaches that he likes. John showed me that Peaches will sit down on her blanket when John says “sit”.
Shirley had made afternoon tea, so we then sat at the huge dining room table and had scones with jam and cream and a cup of tea. Shirley said she was very happy with how things were going and that John was a good boy. He is playing cricket on Saturday mornings at 10am and this goes until 12pm. Graeme takes him to this and watches the games. Shirley wanted to know if we could pay for John’s upcoming rugby subs and a pair of boots. Shirley wants to get John a good pair of Nike boots from Rebel Sport that will last the distance rather than cheep ones from the Warehouse that will fall apart half way through the season.
Shirley also said that John is going well at school however his teacher is a bit concerned about his lack of concentration at times. The teacher at KVPS has said that John daydreams a lot and when the teacher asks him what he is thinking about, he says rugby. John really loves rugby and can’t wait for the season to begin. John wants to have the same coach he had last year, a guy called Wogs who John really liked. John said he likes playing touch at lunchtimes at school with his mates Daniel, Ethan, Dante, Jayden and Nikau. If there’s not a touch game on John usually plays basketball or tennis with his mates.
John still sees Tracey every Friday afternoon between 3.30 and 4.30pm at our office. Maggie picks John up from school and takes him to access, then drops him off at Shirley’s afterwards. Tom sometimes comes along to the visits with Tracey.
I thanked Shirley for the afternoon tea and told her I’d be back in a couple of months.