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Key messages

Placing a child in care is a safety intervention

We acknowledge families are the experts in caring for their children, and there are times when children need other care arrangements to meet their safety, belonging and wellbeing needs. These arrangements come in many forms. Each requires a different approach and way of thinking to ensure it meets the needs of the child and their family.

It is not possible to achieve a successful care arrangement for a child without a safety and support network of people around the child—remembering that involving families and networks is an intervention in itself. By keeping children safely connected to familiar people, kin and places, we may minimise ongoing trauma and adverse experiences.

Participation and partnership are central to achieving successful care experiences for children

The participation of children and their family in the decision-making processes for care arrangements aligns with Child Safety’s Framework for Practice values and principles and with elements of the child placement principle. We partner with children, parents and carers to develop the best care arrangement for each child.

Consideration is given to a child's need for relational, physical and legal permanency.

Child Safety is committed to achieving permanency for children and the first goal is for children to be cared for by their families where this is safe and possible. Should permanency through reunification not be possible within timeframes, concurrent case planning occurs with families, so alternative permanency options are explored and identified. This work begins at the same time as planning for reunification.

Carers plan an important role in working with the child, family and Child Safety. They provide input into case planning to support and inform actions for both reunification and the alternative permanency goal.

Further reading

To read more on permanency, refer to the practice kit Permanency.

Family-based care leads to better outcomes for children

A child being placed in a family based care arrangement provides an opportunity to change the trajectory of the child’s future and help them to reach better outcomes. Child Safety assists the identification of possible family based care through listening to the views of the child and family, and being curious about the extended family network.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, family based care also supports building and maintaining connections to kin, culture and country.

Work in partnership to support carers

A carer's level of commitment, experience, skills and knowledge is valued. Child Safety works in partnership with carers and their support agency to develop and maintain collaborative relationships responsive to providing safe, high quality care. 

Cultural safety is important in helping an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child to achieve better outcomes in care

Address cultural safety to ensure children are provided with a safe, nurturing and positive environment where they are comfortable with being themselves, and express their culture, spiritual and belief systems, to form a positive sense of self and identity. Partner with carers to provide a culturally safe and nurturing care arrangement for children in care. 

Carers and Child Safety are responsible for meeting the statement of standards for a child in care 

We partner with carers in family and residential settings to ensure these standards (as outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 122) are met for children in care.

When carers and parents work as partners, the relationships children experience contribute greatly to their safety, belonging and wellbeing.

Enduring relationships between a child's family members and carer family members are vital in achieving better outcomes for children in care, with carers and parents working together for the long term wellbeing of the child.

Positive relationships between carers and parents also support timely, safe reunification of children with their family. These positive relationships also  support ongoing connection for children on long term child protection orders, when they are unable to safely return to parents.

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