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Placement matching

The 2013 conceptual framework outlined in the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry’s Final Report recognised that children in care need more than stability of placement to achieve the best outcomes. They also require the continuation of existing, and the establishment of new, enduring relationships.

Existing relationships can be maintained through family contact, community and cultural connections and relationships at school, while new relationships can be formed with carers.

Continuity of placement alone is unlikely to result in permanency. Placements need to meet the child’s social, emotional and physical needs to have the best chance of achieving permanency. Placement matching, where all possible options are explored to ensure the placement reflects the child’s needs and the requirements of the relevant child protection order, is very important.

Including the child, their family and prospective carers in the placement matching process may lead to placement stability. This in turn may increase the longevity of the child’s placement and lead to better outcomes for the child.

Placement matching factors need to be included in your Placement Services (PSU or PSS) referral, outlining the child’s or young person’s placement needs and your amd their hopes in a placement. With this information, the PS is able to better match children and young people to placements and offer placements that will provide for the children and young people’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs.

The following table outlines various factors to consider for placements. 

Placement factor Child/young person factor Carer factor
Views and wishes

Consider:

  • views and wishes of the child, their family and community

Consider:

  • views and wishes of carer and household members
Cultural safety
  • cultural connections
  • community connection
  • traditional language group
  • cultural customs and traditions
  • cultural child rearing practices
  • cultural kin structures
  • carer's ability to meet and support the child/young person's ongoing connection to culture and to support cultural traditions and child rearing practices
  • carer's awareness and knowledge of child/young person's culture

 

Type of placement required and case plan goals
  • respite or long-term placement needed?
  • relationships with previous carers
  • family-based--foster or kinship care
  • residential
  • supported independent living services
  • with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander carers
  • assessment order
  • reunification
  • long term/permanent care
  • carer's approval status and the placement type the carer can provide (for example, respite carers)
  • foster carer agreement details (for example, are they approved for 3 children under the age of 12?)
  • level of experience of carer
  • current commitments and availability of carer to meet child's needs
  • age of carers (that is, when seeking a permanent placement for a 4-year-old, consider if the carer's age may affect their ability to provide long-term care)
  • carer's flexibility when goals change
  • carer's ability and willingness to partner with parents and Child Safety to reach case plan goals

 

Location
  • keep child within their community for continuity of relationships with their family, school, child care, and community
  • if required to place outside of community, consider placements as close as possible to support continuity of relationships
  • ideally, a child will be placed within a short driving distance of their family and community, unless it is unsafe to do so
  • carer's location in proximity to family
  • carer's ability to transport child to current school, child care and community activities

 

Safety worries
  • a child/young person presents as a risk to others or other children in the placement present as a risk to the child/young person
  • past incidents of conflict/bullying with children/young people in the placement
  • carer's capacity to supervise and manage complex behaviours
  • carer's ability to protect child/young person and other children/young people in the placement (that is, develop and implement a safety plan for the household)
Relationships and connection with family
  • contact and connection with parents, siblings, extended family, friends and their community will be maintained
  • siblings will be placed together
  • capacity to support and implement contact plan
  • capacity to partner with the parents
  • capacity of carer with siblings in care
Services (for example, Evolve, medical, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS))
  • existing services the child accesses such as NDIS
  • potential services the child may require such as Evolve
  • carer's capacity to access and support child's involvement with current and potential required services

 

Age and gender
  • child's age and appropriateness of placement offered
  • child's gender
  • child/young person's gender and sexual identity
  • household composition of ages, gender and sexual identities
  • match to other children/young people in the household (for example, a 10-year-old being offered a residential placement with 3 young people is not a good match)
Safety, belonging and wellbeing needs
  • health
  • education
  • behaviour
  • emotional stability, developmental delays and disability
  • attachment needs and style, particularly for children under 5 years of age
  • complexity of needs
  • carer's ability and capacity to support identified needs
  • other children's needs in the placement
  • likely impact of needs on other children
  • carer's experience and skill including completed training
  • carer's ability to connect with the child and suitability of home environment
Past experiences
  • child protection history, including harm experienced at home and/or in care
  • history of placement changes
  • Standards of care history-note themes that may impact on carer's ability to provide for the child's needs
  • placement history
Lifestyle and personality
  • child/young person's personality, interests and hobbies
  • carer's lifestyle and availability so support child/young person's interests and hobbies

 

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