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Place a child in care

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This page was updated on 30 September 2020. To view changes, please see page updates

Care arrangement matching—an overview

Care arrangement matching is required when making a decision about who a child in need of protection will live with. This includes:

  • determining the most appropriate care arrangement for a child who is not able to be placed with kin and therefore requires a foster or a non-family based care arrangement
  • identifying a new care arrangement for a child (whether for their first or a subsequent care arrangement).

Note

The fundamental purpose of care is to provide for the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing, and to ensure their ongoing protection and care needs are met.

Effectively matching a child with a carer who can meet their needs is critical to promoting positive outcomes for the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing. Research indicates that when a child has experienced 2 or more disrupted care arrangements, there is a significantly increased likelihood of this pattern continuing. A stable care arrangement helps a child re-build their life and reach their potential.

Care arrangement matching is critical for:

  • achieving a stable care arrangement
  • improving a child’s psychological adjustment, social functioning and educational outcomes.

The care arrangement matching process is informed by the case plan goal and a thorough assessment of the child’s strengths and needs, including the extent to which they impact on the child’s daily functioning and the domains in which they are present.

These factors determine the level of support the child needs from the care arrangement. (Refer to the child strengths and needs assessment in the SDM Policy and procedures manual.)

Child Safety and care services are responsible for:

  • obtaining and providing quality information to inform the matching process. This includes information about:
    • the child’s assessed needs and case plan goal
    • the skills and capabilities of the potential foster carers
  • providing carers with early and targeted support to improve stability and reduce the risk of the   care arrangement breaking down.

Practice prompt

If the need for a care arrangement is sudden, for example, because there has been an unexpected care arrangement breakdown after hours, the extent of matching that is able to occur may be limited. In these circumstances, place the child in the care arrangement that is the best possible match, and as soon as possible after the care arrangement commences:

  • determine if it is the best available option, based on the child’s level of support needs and the case plan 
    or
  • locate a more suitably matched care arrangement for the child.

Consider kinship care as the preferred care arrangement

When a child requires a care arrangement, make all reasonable efforts to first identify and fully explore potential kinship care options within the child's family and community, in line with the Child Protection Act 1999section 5B(h). (Refer to the policy Kinship care.)

Kin is defined in the Child Protection Act 1999 as any of the child’s relatives who are persons of significance to the child, and anyone else who is a person of significance to the child. 

Kinship care provides benefits to children by maintaining their connections to family, culture and community. Other benefits include:

  • The child usually experiences a less traumatic care experience due to their pre-existing relationship with the kinship carer.  
  • Kinship care is more normalising and less stigmatising than other types of care arrangements.
  • Kinship care reinforces a child’s sense of belonging, identity and self-esteem.
  • The child has an increased likelihood of being placed with siblings.

The PSU will provide advice about the role a foster and kinship care service may be able to provide in identifying, assessing and supporting kinship carers.

If it is not possible to immediately identify a potential kinship carer for a child, due to insufficient information or lack of time, and the child is placed with a foster carer or in another approved care arrangement, continue to proactively seek a suitable kinship care option for the child. This may continue, until a kinship carer is identified or it is decided that all current kinship care options have been exhausted.

Attention

Kinship carers can often face additional challenges when providing care, due in part to the complexities and tensions that arise from family loyalties and relationships.

When considering a proposed kinship care arrangement, take into account any factors that could impact on the child’s safety in the care arrangement.

If a member of the child’s family or community expresses an interest in providing care to the child, refer to Arrange an initial interview with a prospective kinship carer and Help the prospective kinship carer to complete a carer application.

Care arrangements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children  

When an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, subject to a child protection care agreement or an order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, requires a care arrangement, the Child Protection Act 1999, section 83 requires Child Safety to:

  • arrange, in consultation and with the consent of the child and their family, for an independent person to facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in decision-making processes (Refer to Procedure 5 Arrange for an independent person to facilitate the child’s and family’s participation)
  • give consideration to placing the child, in order of priority, with: 
  • a member of the child’s family group
  • a member of the child’s community or language group
  • another Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander person who is compatible with the child’s community or language group
  • another Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander person 
    or
  • if the above options are not practicable, with:
    • a person who lives near the child’s family
    • a person who lives near the child’s communityor language group.

Practice prompt

Proper consideration must be given to the views of the child and the child’s family about where and with whom the child will live.  

The decision must provide for the optimal retention of the child’s relationships with family members and other people of significance to the child under Aboriginal tradition or Island custom. (Child Protection Act 1999, section 83).

If consideration is being given to placing an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child with a carer who is not an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, make sure the carer is committed to:

  • facilitating contact between the child and their family members, unless restrictions have been imposed under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 87
  • helping the child to maintain contact with their community and language group
  • helping the child to maintain a connection with their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture
  • preserving and enhancing the child’s sense of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander identity
  • implementing any actions in the child’s cultural support plan  for which the carer is responsible.

For each care arrangement decision for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child, complete the following in the child’s placement event in ICMS :

  • the Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander child placement form
  •  the Independent person form.

Practice prompt

When an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child is placed with a carer who is not an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, continue to regularly review the child’s care arrangement, and attempt to place the child in line with the placement element of the child placement principle. (Refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 83(4).)

Consider the needs of a child with siblings in care

When a care arrangement is required for a sibling group, or for a child with siblings in care, the first preference is to maintain or restore the sibling group in the same care arrangement, if this is in the best interests of all the children.

When deciding on a care arrangement in these circumstances, consider:

  • any history of abuse within the sibling group
  • the roles and responsibilities each sibling has previously undertaken within the family (for example, older siblings taking inappropriate levels of adult responsibility for younger siblings)
  • whether the proposed care arrangement is sustainable, both in terms of rooms and location, and financially.

 

If it is appropriate or necessary to place a sibling group in more than one care arrangement, consider the best combination of siblings to be placed together, taking into account:

  • each child’s needs and attachments within the sibling group
  • the arrangement that will foster each child’s sense of safety, security and continuity of relationships.

When siblings are placed separately, make sure regular and meaningful contact between siblings is included in case planning and care arrangement decisions.

Consult the Placement Services Unit

Note

The PSU coordinates care arrangement referrals to regional care services.

Contact the PSU as soon as the need for a care arrangement is identified, regardless of whether this is through a planned transition or as a result of a crisis event (such as an investigation and assessment or unexpected care arrangement breakdown).

This will allow the PSU to assist in identify any supports or resources that help maintain an existing care arrangement that is under stress, and prevent an unnecessary change to the care arrangement.

Gather information to use in care arrangement matching

Matching a child to a suitable care arrangement capable of meeting the child’s individual needs requires an understanding of:

  • the child’s view about the most appropriate type of care arrangement
  • the child’s care needs
  • the level of support the child requires
  • the preferred type of care arrangement.

Obtain the child’s views

Give the child necessary information (in line with their age, maturity and ability to understand) to allow them to participate in decision making about the most appropriate type of care arrangement.

For a care arrangement decision for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, arrange, with the child’s and family’s consent, for an independent person to assist the child and their family to participate in the decision. (Refer to Procedure 5 Decision making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.)

Before giving the child’s personal information to a potential carer or care service:

  • Discuss with the child the type of information that is helpful to share with a potential carer or service and why.
  • Obtain the child’s views about what information will be shared.
  • Decide what information will be shared, taking into consideration the child’s views.

Practice prompt

If a child objects to their sensitive personal information being disclosed, assess whether disclosing the information to the carer or service is necessary to meet the safety and care needs of the child, or of other children in the carer’s household. If it is decided that disclosing the information is not necessary, respect the child’s privacy and do not share the information.

Record the child’s views in a Case planning/implementation case note in ICMS, using the title ‘The child’s views’.

Determine the child’s care needs

To assist in matching the child with the most suitable care arrangement, identify and document their current care needs, which can be obtained from a range of sources:

  • discussions with:
    • the child
    • the child’s parents and family members, obtaining their views about their preferred type of care arrangement for the child
  • information provided by the previous carer or care service staff, specifically from the Conclusion of care arrangement form
  • information obtained from members of the child’s safety and support network, care team or stakeholder group, where relevant
  • Child Safety records, including:
    • assessments, such as the child strengths and needs assessment and the family reunification assessment
    • any alerts recorded in ICMS for the child, such as suicide risk or self-harm alerts and outcomes
    • case notes relating to direct observations of the child’s behaviour or characteristics
    • information about the child’s abuse and attachment history
    • the case plan goals and actions, including the child’s cultural support needs 
    • the child’s care history, including significant events in previous care arrangements and reasons for the care arrangements ending
    • any youth justice history
  • health issues identified:
    • in the child health passport 
    • in outcomes from the child’s initial or annual health assessment, particularly any current health plan, medications or allergies
    • by specialist health and educational professionals involved with the child, and other service providers 
  • information about medications prescribed for the child, including psychotropic medications (those that affect a person's mental state) and the possible impacts on the child's behaviour and functioning (Refer to Procedure 5 Develop a child health passport)
  • the latest education support plan  
  • information from sites such as the Children in care portal to access the My Health Records of a child, including the child’s immunisation schedule. (Refer to Procedure 5 My Health Record.)
  • information from the child’s parents and previous carers, about the child’s swimming ability. 

Give special consideration to gathering information about the care needs of a child who has been sexually abused or has engaged in sexually reactive or sexually abusive behaviours. (Refer to the practice kit Child sexual abuse and the practice guide Children with sexual abuse histories.)

Determine the appropriate level of support needs

Information about a child’s level of support needs will inform decisions about the most suitable type of care arrangement, including the supports the carer or care service  will require.

To determine the required level of support for the child, use the outcome of the child strengths and needs assessment, along with other relevant information, to:

  • determine the extent to which the child’s behaviours and characteristics may impact on their daily functioning
  • identify the specific areas of functioning that are likely affected.

Support levels are categorised as:

  • Moderate―needs that are typical for most children in care, given the harm and trauma they have experienced. These can be managed through limit setting or other interventions.
  • High―needs that indicate serious emotional, medical or behavioural issues that require additional professional or specialist input.
  • Complex―needs that significantly impact on the child’s daily functioning, usually characterised by health conditions, disabilities or challenging behaviours.
  • Extreme―needs that have a pervasive impact on the child’s daily functioning, usually characterised by multiple, potentially life-threatening health or disability conditions and extreme challenging behaviours that may necessitate a constant level of supervision and care.

Further reading

For a detailed description of the characteristics that apply to each support level, refer to the practice guides Support levels and behaviour characteristics and Complex/extreme support needs and care arrangement matching

Consider whether additional supports are required

If there is an identified risk of care arrangement instability or breakdown, include strategies in the case plan and placement agreement designed to:

  • minimise the likelihood of further care arrangement disruption 
    and
  • avoid an escalation of the child’s emotional and behavioural support needs.

Strategies may include:

  • an Evolve referral to assist the carer or care service to respond to the child’s disruptive behaviour and assist the child to develop more appropriate skills and behaviours. (Refer to Procedure 5 Refer the child to Evolve)
  • referral to another specialist counselling service 
  • the use of short breaks (Refer to Negotiate the placement agreement)
  • specialised training for the carer in providing trauma-informed care and positive behaviour support to the child
  • appropriate and meaningful cultural support, outlined in the child’s cultural support plan within the case plan (Refer to Procedure 5 Discuss items for the case plan)
  • talking to the child’s family group to identify existing resources, connections and supports.

Determine the most suitable care arrangement type  

Refer to the following table for an outline of the types of care arrangements:

Table: Care arrangement types and approval requirements

Child’s support level - Moderate to high
Kinship care

The child is placed with kin. This is the first option that must be explored for a child.
If kin is available to care for the child, before the care arrangement can commence, approval (or provisional approval) may be granted.

The care arrangement may be approved by a senior team leader, CSSC manager, or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader.

Foster care

The child is placed with:

  • an approved foster carer
  • a foster carer applicant granted provisional approval.

The arrangement may be approved by a senior team leader, CSSC manager, or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader.

Supported  independent  living                                    

Supported independent living services provide accommodation and support workers for a young person, but do not provide live-in workers or carers.

This care arrangement is best suited to a young person aged 15–17 years who is in the process of making the transition to adulthood.

The arrangement may be approved by a CSSC manager or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader.

Safe houses

Safe houses are residential care services located in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. They have family intervention services attached and provide short- to medium-term care to assist a child to remain in, or return to, their community of origin.

The arrangement may be approved by a senior team leader.

Child’s support level - Moderate to high
Care type                          

Key features

Residential care                   

Residential care is provided at premises owned or leased for the specific purpose of accommodating children subject to statutory intervention.

Residential care may range in the combinations and levels of staffing, such as rostered workers and a combination of sleepover shifts and on-call arrangements.

The arrangement may be approved by a CSSC manager or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader.

Refer to the policy Residential care.

Child’s support level - Complex to extreme
Care  type                           Key features
Intensive foster and kinship care

The intensive foster and kinship care program is an option for children who require more intensive support and service coordination than is typically provided through foster and kinship care. 

The arrangement may be approved by a senior team leader, CSSC manager or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader.

Therapeutic residential care                                 
 

Therapeutic residential care is for young people unable to be placed in home-based care or other residential services. Its aim is to promote the development of skills and behaviours needed for the child to make the transition to a less intensive form of care.

The arrangement requires regional director approval.

Refer to the policy Residential care.

Special circumstances
Care type                           Key features
Care arrangements with another entity
 

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(f), allows a child to be placed in the care of another entity (other than an approved carer or licensed care service) only if the entity is the most appropriate for meeting the child's particular safety and care needs.

The arrangement may be approved by the CSSC manager or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader.

If the arrangement is funded through child-related costs, approval is also required by the financial delegate.

Refer to the practice guide Placements with another entity (82(1)(f)).

Emergent accommodation―over night or short-term accommodation, such as in a motel or caravan park            

A care arrangement in commercial accommodation may only be used when:

  • all other care arrangements have been exhausted and
  • the child's need for a care arrangement is urgent.

The child is cared for by direct care workers.

The Checklist for placement of a child in emergent accommodation is used to record and monitor the quality of care provided.

The arrangement requires approval by the:

  • regional director for up to 7 days for a child 12 years and over
  • regional executive director for: 
    • 7–20 days
    • a child under 12 years.

Refer to the policy Emergent accommodation.

Note

If a child is placed in emergent accommodation, the Authority to care form will record the placement authority as Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(c). The Authority to care form is provided to the service or organisation that provides the rostered care staff or with whom the staff are affiliated.

Make a referral to the Placement Services Unit

To request a care arrangement to be sought for a child, provide the PSU with a completed:   

The PSU plays a critical role in facilitating the care arrangement matching process. It will progress a request for a care arrangement  to a care service, for a child who is subject to:

  • a care agreement (with the parent’s signed consent)
  • an assessment order
  • a TCO
  • a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive
  • a child protection order granting long term guardianship to a suitable person, when:
    • the long-term guardian  was previously an approved foster or kinship carer for the child 
      and
    • the guardian is experiencing a crisis and requires short break care for the child
  • an adoption consent or dispensation of consent .

If the PSU is satisfied that kinship care possibilities have been explored and are not immediately available, they will take actioin to locate a care arrangement with an approved foster carer, or if applicable, a licensed residential care service in the region.

Complete the child information form

Note

The Child information form is essential to the matching process and is the main document required by care services.

Complete or update the Child information form with current information about the child, including information (if relevant) about:

  • any history of sexual abuse sexually reactive behaviours  
  • challenging behaviours
  • risks posed by the child to themselves or others
  • daily routines such as mealtimes and bedtimes
  • sport and recreation activities and interests
  • water safety or swimming ability
  • their cultural or community groups
  • essential health information, such as medical conditions, dietary requirements, medications, allergies, immunisation information, and current and previous health care practitioners
  • youth justice history , including any current orders and reporting requirements.

Tip

The Child information form is created in the child’s placement event in ICMS  and is pre-populated with information recorded in the child’s person record and sub-tabs in ICMS. Refer to ICMS―Child Protection Release 6.09 for information about saving the form in ICMS.

Provide the Child information form (sections A and B only) to the foster and kinship care service for a proposed foster carer, to assist them in making an informed decision about their ability to provide care to the child. Similarly, these sections of the form are provided to the proposed care service where another type of care arrangement is being sought for a child.

Identify a suitable care arrangement 

As far as possible, the PSU will work with the care service to locate a care arrangement that:

  • enables siblings to be placed together, if possible and appropriate. (Refer to Consider the needs of a child with siblings in care)
  • maintain the child’s family relationships and connections to their community and country  
  • supports the child’s individual rights and ethnic, religious and cultural identity or values
  • provides the child with continuity and stability in care
  • meets the child placement principle for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
  • ensures a baby or child with reduced immunity is not placed into a household or care environment where there may be an increased risk of infection. (Refer to the policy Immunisation of children in  care.)

When identifying a potential care arrangement, the PSU will consider:

  • the number of children currently living in the proposed care arrangement, their ages and support needs 
    and
  • the capacity of the proposed carer to meet the needs of the referred child.  

The PSU will contact the CSO with case responsibility for each child currently placed with the carer or care service, to gather information and consider feedback about the carer’s ability to meet the needs of the children currently placed and of the referred child. This includes:

  • the support level of the children in the care arrangement and the supports currently provided
  • the impact that caring for the referred child is likely to have on the carer’s capacity to continue meeting the needs of the children currently in the care arrangement
  • any known pre-existing relationships between the referred child and children in the carer household.

The PSU will also consider whether any adult household member may affect the child’s safety, belonging  and wellbeing.

Consider the immunisation status of the carer family

Queensland Health advises that a child who is not immunised is at significant risk of infection if placed with an unimmunised carer family. Additionally, any child who has not completed their 12 month primary immunisations is at increased risk of specific disease, as outlined in the table below.

Tip

The carer assessment report and the Foster carer agreement (for foster carers) provides details about immunisations the proposed carers have received (as a child and as an adult), and immunisations other children placed in their care have received. This information will be known to the Foster and kinship care service, and may be accessible to Child Safety staff on the carer entity record in ICMS.

The following table details the risks to a child at various states of the immunisation schedule should they be placed with an unimmunised carer family, and considerations for appropriate matching.

Table: Immunisation stage and care arrangement matching considerations

Immunisation status and age of child to be placed Risk to child if placed with unimmunised carer family Care arrangement matching considerations
Not immunised Significant increased risk of infection

A care arrangement with an unimmunised carer family is not recommended

12 month primary immunisations not completed

Significant increased risk of:                                                  

  • pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Haemophilis Influenzae B (HIB)
  • Meningococcal C (Men C)
  • Invasive pneumococcal disease
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) 

A care arrangement with an unimmunised carer family is not recommended

Immunised child between 12 months and 2   years

Small increased risk of:

  • Haemophilis Influenzae B (HIB)
  • Meningococcal C (Men C)
To be determined on a case by case basis, giving consideration to the child’s health status and with advice from the child’s treating general practitioner
Immunised children any age

There remains a risk of:

  • Measles, mumps, rubella, in the event of a community outbreak
  • Mild varicella (chicken pox)
To be determined on a case by case basis, giving consideration to the child’s health status and with advice from the child’s eating general practitioner

 

Match the child's needs with a suitable foster carer

Foster care matching is the process of identifying a potential carer family whose characteristics, skills and experience will, as far as possible, meet the assessed needs of the child requiring care. It takes into account:

Child Safety and foster and kinship care service staff will work in partnership to match a child with a foster carer by:

  • matching the the child’s needs across a range of domains to the proposed carer’s capacity, capabilities and characteristics
  • identifying and planning for supports, services or strategies to address areas identified as a low or moderate match. (Refer to The level of match.)

Further reading

For information about the roles and responsibilities of Child Safety and the care service in the matching process, refer to the policy Foster care matching: a partnership approach.

Note

While Child Safety has legislative and case management responsibility for children in care, approved carers are affiliated with afoster and kinship  care service that is responsible for:

  • the initial foster carer assessment and renewal assessments
  • developing the foster carer’s knowledge and skills, through training and other targeted learning activities
  • providing ongoing support and supervision tailored to the foster carer’s individual needs and circumstances.

After receiving a referral from the PSU requesting a care arrangement for a child, a care service will access relevant information about foster carers affiliated with their service to identify a carer who may have the capacity and capability to meet the child’s needs. This includes information from:

  • the foster carer agreement 
  • carer assessment reports
  • the carer’s certificate of approval
  • the carer’s support worker
  • training records
  • responses to standards of care reviews or investigations and assessments 
  • current placement agreement, if relevant.

The care service will contact foster carers identified as potentially able to meet the child’s needs to discuss the referral and gain their views about whether they could meet the child’s needs. The foster and kinship care service is encouraged to provide the potential foster carer with the Child information form (sections A and B only), to assist the carer in making an informed decision about accepting or refusing the referral.

The care service will gather information about:

  • the adult membership of the household and the impact this may have on the carer’s capacity and capability to meet the child’s needs
  • the nature of support currently provided to the carer, and any additional supports available through any flexible funding arrangements or the intensive foster care program, where this is part of the funding provided to the foster and kinship care services.

The level of match

When one or more potential foster carers are identifies, the Foster care matching tool will assist Child Safety and the foster and kinship care service to:

  • categorise the level of the match between the child’s needs and the carer’s capacity and capabilities
  • target the provision of additional supports, services or strategies to meet the child’s needs.

The tool assists in separately considering each matching factor against the child’s and the proposed carer’s circumstances. It results in one of the following:

  • a high match―indicating the identified needs of the child can be met by the carer
  • a medium match―indicating the identified needs of the child can be partly met by the carer
  • a low match―indicating the identified needs of the child cannot be met by the carer without the timely commencement of additional supports, services or strategies.

Decide on supports for the proposed care arrangement

Note

If the foster care matching tool identifies a medium or low match, Child Safety and the care service will work together to identify targeted supports, services or strategies to enhance the suitability of the proposed care arrangement. The views of the foster carer are integral to this process.

The PSU staff will use their knowledge of funding and service agreements to facilitate discussion and decision making between care services and the CSSC .

When the matching tool identifies a medium match, isolate the factors with a medium match to identify supplementary supports, services or strategies that will enable the child’s need to be met by the carer. These are likely to be derived from existing resources available from either Child Safety or the foster and kinship care services, and may include:

  • increasing support visits to the carer by the foster and kinship care service, or the CSO increasing the frequency of visits with the child, for an identified period
  • responding to the carer’s learning needs by developing specific knowledge or skills
  • providing financial or other practical supports to enable the child to maintain continuity of schooling, family and social connections, religious affiliations or cultural identity
  • providing additional care for the child when the carer’s availability is affected by work commitments
  • establishing or expanding the carer’s support network, such as through involvement in the child’s safety and support network 
  • developing or adapting a support or response plan for the carer and child, to address any identified safety, health or behavioural needs.

Attention

When there are factors with a low match, a more detailed response by Child Safety and the care service is required to make sure the child’s needs will be met.

If the pre-approval of a Child Safety financial delegate (regional director or CSSC manager) or a senior member of the care service is required, make sure this is obtained and documented.

When additional supports, services or strategies are identified and approved before the care arrangement commences, there is an increased likelihood of stability for the child and a likely reduction in carer stress.

Note

If a care arrangement is sought after-hours or is needed urgently, it may not always be possible to use the foster care matching tool before the care arrangement commences. If the child remains with the carer for more than 3 business days, include information about targeted strategies and supports to be provided in the first placement agreement.

Assess the care arrangement information to be given to the parents

Attention

The requirements for providing information to parents, about where and with whom their child will live, are outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999, sections 85 and 86.

Before placing the child with the carer or care service, assess what information will be given to the parents about the proposed care arrangement. Consider whether giving information to the parents could pose a significant risk to the safety of the:

  • child
  • the carer and their family
  • anyone else with whom the child is living.

To assess the level of risk:

  • Consider the specific risk factors listed in the Assessment of placement information to parents form in ICMS .
  • Gather information about the risk that would be posed by significant adults if the parents were to be given full care arrangement information. This includes:
    • the child’s parents
    • any partners of the parents
    • anyone involved in the child’s removal from home
    • anyone else who will have regular contact with the child.

When assessing the information, consider the reliability of the source, and the quality of the information gathered, including its relevance to the safety of the child, the carer and their family and household members.

Based on the assessment, consider whether the parents are to be given:

  • full care arrangement information
  • partial information initially, until a further decision can be made about giving or withholding more information
  • partial or no information, because it is assessed that there would be a significant risk if the information were shared.

Practice prompt

If the assessment is unable to be completed before the child is placed with the carer or care service (because more information is required) complete it as soon as practicable after the care arrangement commences.

Discuss the assessment with the carer, care service or another entity

Attention

If a child is subject to a care agreement, do not undertake an assessment of care arrangement information, as parents are to be given all care arrangement information.

Before seeking approval of the decision about what care arrangement information that will be given to the parents, talk to the carer:

  • about the proposed level and nature of care arrangement information to be given to the parents
  • about the degree of risk, if any, associated with information being given to the parents
  • to reach agreement about the level of information to be given to the parents.

Take action when agreement cannot be reached

When agreement cannot be reached with the carer about the level of care arrangement information to be given to the parents, seek an alternative care arrangement that will:

  • support the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs
  • meet the case plan outcomes and goals.

If agreement cannot be reached with the carer or care service (when a non-family based care arrangement is proposed) about the new level of information to be given to the parents, and a decision is made to remove the child from the care arrangement, the child or carer may apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to have the decision reviewed, if:

  • the child protection order grants custody or guardianship to the chief executive 
    and
  • the carer is an approved foster or kinship carer
    and
  • the stated reason for the decision is that:
    • the carer is no longer a suitable person to have the care of the child  
      or 
    • the carer is no longer able to meet the standards of care  in the statement of standard  for the child.

Give the carer and child written notice of the decision to remove the child using the Letter to carer―removal of a child (section 89).

Note

A provisionally approved carer or a staff member of a licensed care service or another entity does not have a right of review under the Child Protection Act 1999, but may access the Child Safety complaints system.

Seek approval of the assessment outcome

Once agreement has been reached with the carer about the level of information to be given to the child’s parents, finalise and seek approval of the assessment outcome from:

  • the CSSC or CSAHSC senior team leader, or the senior practitioner—for a child subject to an assessment order
  • the CSSC manager or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader— for a child subject to a TCO
  • the CSSC manager or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader—for a child subject to a child protection order.

If there is a need to maintain a very high level of security, because of serious and irrevocable safety concerns, and all details will be withheld from parents, the decision must be:

  • approved by the CSSC manager as being long-term and not subject to regular review
  • endorsed by the regional director.

Inform the parents and the child of the care arrangement information decision

The following table outlines how information provision requirements are to be communicated to the child (taking into account their age and ability to understand) and the parents.

Table: How to inform the child and parents of the care arrangement information decision

Type of care arrangement/order Tell parents the decision Provide written notice to parents Tell the child the decision Provide written notice to the child

Care agreement:

Assessment care agreement

Child protection care agreement
Yes

 No

Yes

 No

Assessment order

TAO

CAO
Yes

 No

Yes

 No

Temporary custody order

 

Yes  No Yes  No
Child protection order―where the care arrangement is for 6 nights or less Yes No Yes No
Child protection order―where the care arrangement exceeds 6 nights Yes Yes Yes Yes

Provide written notice of the decision to the child and the parents

When the decision is approved about what care arrangement information is to be given to the parents:

  • Tell the parents and the child the decision, and if required, give written advice signed by the CSSC manager.
  • Tell the carer the decision.
  • Give the parents written advice of the decision and also provide information about Child Safety’s complaint process using either:

If the child is subject to a child protection order and the care arrangement exceeds 6 nights, the following are reviewable decisions (which means they can be reviewed by QCAT):

  • the decision to withhold full or partial care arrangement information from the parents
  • the decision about whose care the child is to be placed in.

This includes when a child is to have planned and ongoing short break care with one carer that is cumulatively more than 7 days in duration over the current case plan review period.

Attention

The Public Guardian Act 2014, section 89(1) requires Child Safety to advise the Office of the Public Guardian when a reviewable decision is made in relation to a child. A decision about where and with whom a child is placed is a reviewable decision.

A copy of the written notice of the decision provided to the parents or the child will also be provided to the Office of the Public Guardian, within 3 days of the decision being made by the delegate.

In these circumstances:

  • Tell the parents the care arrangement information.
  • Tell the parents the rationale for the decision and options available to have the decision reviewed by Child Safety or QCAT. 
  • Give written notice of the decision to the parents―refer to the How to inform the parents and child  of the care arrangement information decision table.
  • If age and developmentally appropriate:
    • talk with the child about what care arrangement information has been, or will be, given to their parents
    • explain to the child the reasons for the decision and options available to have the decision reviewed by Child Safety or QCAT
    • give the child written notice of the decision.
  • Attach a copy of all correspondence given to the parents and the child to the relevant event in ICMS.

Record the assessment and the decision about the care arrangement information given to parents

Record the assessment and the decision about the provision of care arrangement information to parents in the:

  • Assessment of placement information to parents form in ICMS
  • Placement agreement in ICMS
  • Licensed care service or another entity referral.

Practice prompt

When a decision is made that care arrangement information is to be withheld, or only partial information is to be given to parents, consider whether other people or agencies (such as the child’s school or local hospital) should be advised that the parents are not to be given information about the child’s care arrangement.

Support the child through a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal review, if applicable

When a child indicates they wish to apply to have a decision reviewed, the CSSC manager will:

  • nominate a CSO who was not involved in the decision about what  information would be given to the parents to support the child through the review process
  • consult with the regional director about legal support the child may access, having considered the child’s age and capacity to instruct legal representation.

Review the decision to withhold full or partial care arrangement information

Unless a long-term decision has been endorsed by the regional director, Child Safety will regularly review a decision to withhold full care arrangement information or provide partial information to the child’s parents, regardless of the type of order to which a child is subject.

Review will occur:

  • in line with the review date specified on the Assessment of placement information to parents form
  • if additional information becomes known that potentially affects the level of care arrangement information to which that parents should have access.

If, when the child was placed, the parent was given partial or no information about the care arrangement, and circumstances change that affect the level of care arrangement information that the parents should have access to, talk to the carer about the new assessment and outcome. If it is proposed that the parents be given more care arrangement information, work with the carer or care service to develop strategies to address any concerns they may have about this.

Practice prompt

Each decision resulting from a review by Child Safety is a new decision subject to review. The new decision will be communicated to the parents, the child (where possible) and the carer.

Note

If a long-term decision has been made about what care arrangement information is given to the parents, it does not preclude the parents receiving care arrangement information in the future—if circumstances change in a way that mitigates previously identified risks.

Obtain approval for the care arrangement

When the most suitable care arrangement is identified and the assessment of the provision of care arrangement information to parents is completed, seek approval for the care arrangement from the delegated officer:

Care arrangement approval
Care arrangement type                         Approval delegation
Kinship care CSSC or CSAHSC senior team leader or manager
Foster care CSSC or CSAHSC senior team leader or manager
Intensive foster or kinship care CSSC or CSAHSC senior team leader or manager
Residential care CSSC manager or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader

Therapeutic residential care

Regional director
Supported independent living CSSC manager or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader
Safe houses CSSC or CSAHSC senior team leader

 

Attention

If the proposed care arrangement is located in a geographical area covered by another CSSC, the child cannot be placed until the CSSC manager or senior team leader responsible for that area has given written permission for the care arrangement.

The delegated officer will approve the care arrangement if satisfied that:

  • the child is in need of protection and cannot safely remain in their home
  • kinship options for the child are being explored, or have been explored and exhausted
  • the views of the child and their family have been sought and considered in relation to the child’s care
  • the decision made and actions taken for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child are in line with the child placement principle, and the child and their family have had the opportunity for an independent person to facilitate their participation in the decision-making process
  • every effort has been made to identify a care arrangement where all siblings are placed together, if possible
  • family relationships can and will be maintained
  • the individual rights and ethnic, religious and cultural identity and values of the child and their family can be accommodated
  • the requirements regarding care arrangement information provision to the child, parents and the carer have been fulfilled.

Prepare for the care arrangement

Plan, consult and negotiate with the child, and all relevant people involved in the care arrangement process, to ensure the child’s transition to the new care arrangement is as smooth as possible.

When agreement is reached with the carer and the care service about the care arrangement:

  • Create a placement event in the locations tab in ICMS .   
  • Complete an Authority to care form in ICMS and give the signed form to the carer.
  • Obtain information from the child’s parents to enable the carer to meet the child’s needs, such as the child’s:
    • immediate health needs
    • essential medical history
    • Medicare enrolment details.
  • Provide information about the child’s current immunisation status.  (Refer to Procedure 5 Obtain the child’s immunisation history and My Health Record.)
  • Make sure all relevant information about the child is recorded in the Child information form, such as:  
    • the child’s name, date of birth, sex and cultural or Indigenous status
    • health information, including allergies to food and medication
    • Medicare and health care card details
    • the child’s normal daily routine
    • notable behaviours, including learning difficulties, developmental delays or high risk taking behaviours
    • education, vocation or employment details
    • dietary requirements, including specific needs for a child under 2 years  
    • the child’s swimming ability and the level of supervision required when they are in, on or near water
    • the child’s strengths and needs
    • relevant family health history.
  • Give the child the opportunity to visit the carer or service before the care arrangement commences, if possible.
  • Make sure the carer or care service is given an updated Child information form, parts A and B only, at the commencement of the child’s care arrangement.
  • Complete a placement agreement with the carer or service. (Refer to Arrange a placement meeting and complete a placement agreement.)
  • Give approved care arrangement information to the child’s parents. (Refer to Inform the parents and the child of the care arrangement information decision.)

Place a child with another entity (82(1)(f))

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(f), allows for a child to be placed in the care of another entity (other than an approved carer or licensed care service), only when that entity is the most appropriate for meeting the child's particular protection and care needs.

This applies to a child subject to:

  • a care agreement
  • an assessment order
  • a TCO
  • a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, including an interim order.

Further reading

The practice guide Placements with another entity―82(1)(f) gives details of care arrangements with another entity, and those that fall outside of the provisions of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(f) (such as a disability or mental health facility).

Determine if an 82(1)(f) care arrangement is appropriate

 A care arrangement under the Child Protection Act 1999section 82 and must comply with the statement of standards (Child Protection Act 1999, section 122).

It can only be made with a service that requires staff to undergo criminal history screening through the blue card process .

Before assessing the suitability of an 82(1)(f) care arrangement:

Assess the suitability of the proposed 82(1)(f) care arrangement

Child Safety will assess whether the care provided by another entity is consistent with the statement of standards and whether the entity understands their obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999.

Attention

A care arrangement with another entity under 82(1)(f) is not monitored via a licensing arrangement  or a carer approval process. Therefore, Child Safety must complete a comprehensive assessment of an entity’s ability to meet the standards of care,  to ensure the safety and wellbeing of a child in the care arrangement. (Refer to the practice guide Provisional approval - meeting the statement of standards to help complete the assessment, and provide the entity with a copy of the handout Standards of care.)

The assessment about whether a proposed 82(1)(f) care arrangement is suitable will take into account whether:

  • the care provided by the entity is subject to regulation by a government agency such as: 
  • the entity is willing to act in line with reasonable directions from Child Safety and work cooperatively to meet the child’s case plan goals and actions
  • the length of the proposed care arrangement and the child's age and development
  • the care arrangement for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child can provide for the optimal retention of the child’s relationships with parents, siblings and other people of significance to the child under Aboriginal tradition or Island custom 
  • the care arrangement is able to facilitate family and cultural contact for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
  • the entity uses appropriate behaviour support strategies consistent with the statement of standards and Child Safety policies
  • the entity is aware of the requirements for reporting harm  to a child in care to Child Safety
  • the care will be provided by staff who: 
    • pose no risk to the child's safety
    • have a current blue card 
    • are able and willing to protect the child from harm
    • are able to provide care that is consistent with the principles of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 5
  • the entity agrees to the confidentiality requirements in the Child Protection Act 1999, sections 187 and 188
  • the premises where the child is to be placed is safe and suitable for their needs 
  • the care arrangement will assist the child to gain positive life skills and a sense of wellbeing
  • appropriate strategies and interventions will be implemented for a child who has been sexually abused or has demonstrated sexually reactive behaviours. (Refer to the practice kit Child Sexual Abuse.)
  • other people residing at the premises are an appropriate peer group for the child, taking into account the child’s circumstances, age and gender.

Obtain approval for the care arrangement―82(1)(f)

Following the assessment, seek approval for the care arrangement from the CSSC manager or CSAHCS manager or senior team leader, depending on the type of care arrangement.

If the care arrangement is funded through child-related costs,  additional approval is required for the funding. (Refer to the policy Child-related costs―placement support funding.)

Assess the care arrangement information to be given to parents―82(1)(f)

Before placing the child with the entity:

Monitor and review the child's care arrangement

Attention

A care arrangement with another entity requires an additional level of monitoring by the CSO with case responsibility to ensure the standards of care are met.

The senior team leader is required to:

  • monitor the ongoing level of contact between the CSO and the child
  • regularly review the care arrangement to ensure it continues to be the most appropriate for meeting the child's protection and care needs.

Monitor the quality of care provided to a child

Child Safety will inform staff of another entity about the statement of standards and the required standards of care. If there are any concerns about the quality of care provided to a child, refer to Support and monitor care.

Ellen Barron Family Centre

The Ellen Barron Family Centre provides a multi-disciplinary, specialist child health service for families who require support with building practical skills and confidence in parenting. The service offers multiple inpatient programs for families with children aged from birth to a child’s third birthday. These programs are available to families across Queensland, in parts of northern New South Wales and in the Northern Territory.

The Ellen Barron Family Centre requires that if a child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, their parents must have an Authority to care form to cover the duration of their admission.

Note

A child subject to a court assessment order granting custody to the chief executive cannot be admitted to the Ellen Barron Family Centre, as they cannot be placed with a parent under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(2).

The Ellen Barron Family Centre requires the following documents for the child’s and parents’ admission:

The following guidelines apply when a family is admitted to the Ellen Barron Family Centre:

  • Where possible, a Child Safety officer is to drop off and pick up the parents from the centre.
  • If it is unavoidable that parents have to be served with court papers during their admission to the centre, discussing this with Ellen Barron Centre staff beforehand will assist in managing any sensitivities that may arise.
  • If an assessment is made that a child is to be removed from their parents’ care, make every effort for this to occur at an alternative location. If the removal is considered urgent, the Ellen Barron Family Centre requires that their staff be consulted and involved in the planning process.

Arrange a placement meeting and complete a placement agreement

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 84, requires Child Safety and an approved carer to enter into a written placement agreement regarding a child’s care.

Child Safety is responsible for ensuring a placement meeting occurs. The placement meeting:

  • is an important part of working collaboratively with and assisting carers and care services to provide quality care for a child
  • is for the purpose of ensuring: 
    • carers and care services have access to relevant information about a child
    • adequate support is available for the child and the carer.  

Note

Information is provided to enable the carer or care service to:

  • provide an appropriate level of care for the child 
  • ensure the safety of the child, the carer and members of the carer’s household, or the safety of children and staff in a residential care service
  • ensure the safety of a child, in the exceptional circumstances where it has been decided that a child’s parent may reside in the carer’s household.

A placement agreement must be developed for each child placed in a care arrangement. This includes a child subject to an assessment order, child protection order or care agreement where the child is placed with:

  • an approved kinship carer, an approved foster carer or a provisionally  approved carer (either primary or short break care)
  • a licensed care service, including a residential care service or therapeutic residential care service.

The placement agreement:

  • outlines the goals of the care arrangement
  • provides relevant information about the child, including the child’s strengths and needs and assessed level of support needs
  • records the agreed support and services to be provided to the carer or care service, based on the child’s assessed level of needs
  • establishes the roles and responsibilities of each of the parties in achieving the case plan goals and outcomes of the care arrangement.

Negotiate the placement agreement

Time sensitive

Arrange a time with the carer, and their foster or kinship care agency support worker or the residential care service, to complete the placement agreement before the child’s care arrangement commences. If this is not possible, arrange a placement meeting within 3 business days of the care arrangement commencing.

If a care arrangement is required at short notice and limited information is available about the child, complete a placement agreement based on all known information and record a short review timeframe. Update the agreement when more details are known.

If possible, and in line with the child’s age, level of maturity and ability to understand, involve the child in developing the placement agreement.

Tip

If agreed to by all parties, the placement meeting may be arranged or facilitated by the care service. If a CSO, carer or care service staff member is unable to attend the placement meeting in person, arrange for their participation by phone.

The placement meeting:

  • enables the CSO, carer and foster and kinship care service or care service staff to work together to identify the child’s needs and the supports required by the carer or staff to assist in meeting the child’s needs
  • gives the CSO an opportunity to assess how the child’s needs are going to be met in line with their case plan
  • strengthens the partnership between the CSO, foster and kinship care service and carers
  • assist in identifying any possible care arrangement pressures and enable strategies to be implemented to help address these—for example, an Evolve  referral for behavioural support, or trauma-informed training  for a carer.

Record the placement agreement

At the placement meeting the CSO will:

  • provide information in an open, accountable and timely manner to enable the carer to provide a level of care consistent with the legislated statement of standards (Child Protection Act 1999section 122)
  • maintain the confidentiality of personal information about the child or parents that is not directly relevant to ensuring the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing, or the safety of other members of the carer's household
  • ensure the arrangements made maintain family relationships and support individual rights and ethnic, religious and cultural identity or values
  • use the Foster care matching tool and the carer’s observations, if this has not already occurred prior to the child being placed in the care arrangement, to consider whether any other supports might be required. (Refer to Determine the most suitable care arrangement type.)

The placement agreement will include the following information:

  • a brief summary of the reasons for the child entering care and significant historical information
  • relevant details about the child, their family and other people of significance to the child
  • the care arrangement information given to the child’s parents
  • information about the child’s health, including:
  • information about the child’s education, religion, culture, behavioural support needs and recreational interests or hobbies
  • ways to positively maintain and extend the child’s self-development and life skills
  • decisions about the child’s care that are able to be made by the carer, and decisions to be made by the child’s parents or Child Safety (Refer to Procedure 5 Determine who may decide a custody or guardianship matter)
  • information regarding behavioural factors that may impact on the safety and wellbeing of the child or others in the household, for example:
    • previous sexual abuse (Refer to the practice guide Children with sexual abuse histories)
    • previous relationships with other children (including incidents of conflict or bullying)
    • previous suicide risk alerts, suicide risk management plans  and related outcomes 
  • relevant information from agencies involved with the child, including specialist services such as Evolve
  • information about the child’s swimming ability, particularly if the carer or care service has a swimming pool, spa or other water hazards such as creeks, dams, rivers, water troughs, in or near their premises. If needed, develop a strategy to manage any identified risks
  • information about the carer's commitment to providing care in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 83(7)―when the child is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, and the carer is not
  • existing or additional supports and services required for the child, and financial responsibility for any costs incurred, in line with expenditure agreed in the child’s case plan
  • family contact arrangements
  • roles and responsibilities for the child’s care, including the nature and level of parental contact if, in exceptional circumstances, a decision has been made that the parent may reside in the carer’s household
  • the agreement between Child Safety and the carer or care service about:
    • the goals of the care arrangement
    • the duration of the care arrangement
    • the support and services available to the carer or service, including any short break arrangements
    • the timeframe for reviewing the placement agreement.

Record the placement agreement

Record the main details of the placement meeting, including agreed roles and responsibilities, in the Placement agreement in ICMS. Give a copy to the carer and the foster and kinship care service.

In the Carer support section of the placement agreement, record specific details of all identified supports a foster or kinship carer will receive. This ensures the CSO, carer and foster and kinship carer agency staff have a clear record of:

  • the agreed supports the carer will receive
  • who is to provide the support.

Review the placement agreement

Review the placement agreement on a regular basis, and at a minimum, every 6 months, to ensure consistency with the child’s case plan and review processes. The review of the placement agreement may occur before, during, or after a family group meeting  or review of the child’s case plan. (Refer to Procedure 5 Case planning.)

Place a child with a carer or care service

If possible, give the child an opportunity to visit the carer or care service before their care arrangement begins.

Make sure the child and carer are prepared for the care arrangement as far as possible, and that the child’s personal belongings and records go with them to the new arrangement.

Provide information to the child and parents

When a child is placed in a care arrangement, give the following information to them (having regard to their age and ability to understand) and to their parents:

  • an explanation of the role of Child Safety and why Child Safety is involved with their family
  • details of the carer and their household members or the licensed care service 
  • contact arrangements between the child and their parents, siblings, relatives and friends, including written notice of a reviewable decision 
  • details of the child’s case plan 
  • details about arrangements for child care, school or other education arrangements
  • information about the Charter of rights for a child in care  and its effect―if the child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive 
  • written information about the charter of rights, using the relevant booklet, either:
  • the Go your own way Info Kit, for a young person who is transitioning to adulthood
  • information about the role of a community visitor and relevant community visitor publications. (Refer to the Office of the Public Guardian website.)

Note

When a child is placed in care with the authority of a care agreement, there are additional requirements for commencing the care arrangement. Refer to Procedure 4 Use a child protection care agreement.

Provide information and documentation to the carer or care service

When placing a child in care under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(a-f), give the carer or care service the following:

  • the signed Authority to care form
  • the signed Care agreement form, if the child is subject to a care agreement
  • the completed Child information form (sections A and B only)
  • a copy of the placement agreement
  • a copy of the Conclusion of care arrangement form, completed by the child’s previous carer or care service
  • a copy of the case plan, if completed
  • a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

If applicable, give the carer:

When a child is placed with an approved carer, tell them they may be eligible for some Australian Government benefits, for example:

  • the Medicare Safety Net
  • Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing)
  • Rent Assistance or Remote Area Allowance
  • Family Tax Benefit (if claimed with health care card).

They may also be eligible for a low or no cost approved kindergarten program for the child in their care. (Refer to Procedure 5 Respond to a child’s education needs.)

Complete actions to start carer payments

When a child is placed in care with an approved foster or kinship carer or a provisionally approved carer, do the following to start carer payments, such as fortnightly caring allowance:

  • For a child being placed in care with an approved carer, complete a placement event in ICMS for the carer, including the start date of the care arrangement.
  • If a child's care arrangement is ending with an approved carer, complete the end date of the placement in the placement event in ICMS.
  • If a child is moving from one care arrangement to another, complete the end date for the care arrangement the child is leaving and commence the start date for the new care arrangement. This will ensure that the carers receive their allowance in a timely manner and are not incurring overpayments.
  • Enter relevant allowance details into Carepay and submit the task for approval.

Record information about the care arrangement

Attach a copy of all care agreement information not already recorded in ICMS to the relevant event in ICMS, for example:

  • the Conclusion of care arrangement form
  • he Child information form.

Maintain contact with the child and carer during the care arrangement

For the duration of the care arrangement, maintain regular contact with the child in their care environment to:

  • ensure their needs are met and the quality of care provided is consistent with legislative and policy requirements
  • support the child and the carer in enhancing the stability of the care arrangement
  • support the carer in responding to the child's changing needs
  • assess and monitor if intervention strategies are achieving positive outcomes for the child and their family, in line with the case plan goal.

Further reading

Practice kit Care arrangements.

Consider a referral to the Child Safety after hours service centre

Make a referral to the CSAHSC if after hours support is required:

  • to ensure practice standards  are met
  • due to concerns for a child’s safety and wellbeing outside business hours.

To refer a matter to the CSAHSC:

  • Complete the Child Safety After Hours Service Centre: After hours referral form, including:
    •  current information about the child, carer or family for whom contact outside business hours is likely
      • clear instructions and the rationale for any requested action
      • planned actions for responding to the situation.  
  • Obtain senior team leader approval for the information provided and any requested action.
  • Create a Referral case note, titled ‘After hours referral’, in the relevant event in ICMS, and:
  • paste the referral form into the case note
    • attach any supporting information and documentation. For example, if a new care arrangement is likely to be needed, include:
      • suitable care arrangement options
      • detailed information about attempts the CSSC or PSU have already made to identify a care arrangement for the child
      • details of any approval or escalation process commenced for a care arrangement out of the CSSC’s region or with another entity under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(f). (Refer to Determine if an 82(1)(f) care arrangement is appropriate)
  • The senior team leader will phone the CSAHSC senior team leader to: 
    • advise them of the referral, including the ICMS event number and client names
    • negotiate the specific action to be undertaken by the CSAHSC.

Consider a referral to the foster and kinship care support line

If a carer is likely to require after hours support to meet the needs of a child in their care, consider making a referral to the foster and kinship care support line.

An approved foster or kinship carer or provisionally approved carer can access support after hours by calling the foster and kinship care support line on 1300 729 309, Monday to Friday 5.00pm–11.30pm and on weekends 7.00am–11.30pm. 

Relevant circumstances include support for a carer who has:

  • a child or sibling group newly placed
  • a child with complex needs due to their behaviour or other special needs
  • a child with high support needs due to a specific event or issue
  • been provisionally approved or newly approved as a kinship carer.

To refer, complete the Foster and kinship care support line referral form from the carer entity Monitor and Support screen in ICMS.

Note

The foster and kinship care support line is operated by Child Safety staff. They will:

  • record information about their contact with a carer in ICMS  in the relevant event for the child and/or carer
  • advise the CSSC and PSU  of their contact by the next business day.

Conclude the child’s care arrangement

The conclusion of a child’s care arrangement, wherever possible, should:

  • be a planned event
  • happen in a way that maximises support for the child in their transition to 
    • home
      or
    • a new care arrangement
      or
    • to independent living
    • be in line with the child’s case plan.

For information about the roles and responsibilities of the CSSC and PSU at the conclusion of a child’s care arrangement, refer to the checklist Conclude a care arrangement.

Plan for a care arrangement to end

Planning for a child to leave a care arrangement occurs within the broader context of case planning and review. (Refer to Procedure 5 Case planning.)

To support a child to leave their care arrangement:  

  • Review the case plan goals achieved during the care arrangement with the child and family.
  • Discuss and decide on the support the carer and CSO will provide to the child during the transition.
  • Talk to the child and carer about how and when the child will leave the care arrangement.
  • Make sure the child will have all their personal belongings with them when they leave.
  • Make sure the child’s views and wishes are included in the planning.
  • Prepare the child for the move.  
  • Encourage the child’s safety and support network and the carer’s support worker to be involved in the planning, wherever possible.  
  • Arrange a time for the child, carer and household members to say goodbye to each other.
  • Arrange a time for the child to say goodbye to school friends and staff, if they are also needing to change schools.
  • Decide the level of ongoing involvement the carer will have with the child, if an ongoing relationship with the carer is important for the child’s emotional wellbeing.

Manage an unplanned end to a care arrangement

It is not always possible to plan for a child’s care arrangement to end. An urgent move may be required:

  • to ensure the child’s immediate safety and wellbeing
  • when an approved foster and kinship carer’s blue card or exemption card has expired
  • due to the level of the child’s support needs
  • when an approved carer, licensed care service or another entity requests an immediate end to the care arrangement, in response to a crisis situation that could not be resolved.

Child decides to leave

If a child unexpectedly leaves their care arrangement and self-places to their parents’ home, carry out a safety assessment. (Refer to Procedure 2 Carry out a safety assessment.) If the outcome of the safety assessment is unsafe, the child must be immediately removed to a care arrangement.

If the child refuses to return to their care arrangement:

  • Talk with the child about moving to an alternative care arrangement.
  • Discuss other options with the child and the child’s parents.
  • Consult with relevant agencies about safe, culturally appropriate care arrangement options, if the child is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person.
  • Explore whether the child has any kin who can be provisionally approved to care for the child.

If the child self-places with a family member or family friend, discuss with the person whether they would like to apply to be a carer for the child. (Refer to Arrange an initial interview with a prospective kinship carer.) If so, complete an assessment of the person as a kinship carer. In the interim, while the assessment is being undertaken, the child can only remain living with the person if the person is granted provisional approval as a carer. Refer to Assess an applicant requiring provisional approval.

Continuation of custody not granted by the court

If a care arrangement needs to end because an application for custody or guardianship of the child has not been successful (that is, the Childrens Court has not granted a subsequent child protection order or has revoked an order) the court may consider granting a transition order. This allows:

  • an existing child protection order to continue for up to 28 days
  • the child to more gradually transition from their care arrangement to their parents’ full-time care.

Practice prompt

If the child has been the victim of an act of violence, give information about the process for applying for support and assistance from Victim Assist Queensland to the child, or as relevant, to their parent, carer or guardian. (Refer to Procedure 5 Victims of crime.)

Respond to a child’s request to leave a care arrangement

Attention

When a child asks to leave a care arrangement, attempt to resolve the issues leading to the request, unless the move is necessary for the child’s immediate safety or wellbeing.

To work towards resolving the issues, as soon as possible after the child asks to leave their care arrangement:

  • Meet with the child to:  
    • talk to them about the reasons for their request
    • give them an opportunity to talk about how they feel
    • gather all relevant information and talk through any worries they have, to:  
      • ensure their need for safety, belonging and wellbeing is met
      • identify strategies to resolve the worries and maintain the child’s care arrangement. 
  • Seek the views of all relevant parties, including the child’s safety and support network, their parents, and the carer or care service, if applicable, to identify strategies for resolving the issues and maintaining the care arrangement.
  • Decide if a review of the child’s case plan is necessary.

If it appears likely that the care arrangement for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child will end, arrange, with the consent of the child and family, for an independent person to facilitate their participation in the decision about where and with whom the child will live. (Refer to Procedure 5 Decision making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.)

Respond to a young person’s request to live independently

If a young person advises that they want to leave their care arrangement to live independently, consult with the senior team leader and CSSC manager to consider:

  • the young person’s age and maturity
  • the young person’s ability to make decisions about their own safety, wellbeing and self-development
  • the young person’s capacity to live independently
  • the availability of licensed supported independent living services 
  • the young person’s case plan, including details of transition to adulthood goals achieved to date (Refer to Procedure 5 Support a young person's transition to adulthood)
  • the Department of Education’s compulsory education and training requirements. (Refer to Procedure 5 Make sure compulsory education and training requirements are met)
  • the young person’s eligibility for Australian Government benefits. (Refer to the Centrelink website)
  • the views of all relevant parties, including the young person’s parents and safety and support network
  • whether to review the young person’s case plan, to include services and supports to prepare and assist the young person to make the transition to independent living.

Practice prompt

If the request is made by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young person, arrange, with the consent of the young person and their family, for an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the decision about where and with whom they will live. (Refer to Procedure 5 Decision making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.)

Respond to a carer’s request to end a care arrangement

If a carer asks to end a child’s care arrangement before the date recorded in the placement agreement,  attempt to resolve the carer’s worries and maintain the arrangement, unless the move is considered necessary for the child’s immediate safety or wellbeing.

In response to the request, convene a meeting as soon as possible with:

  • the child, if appropriate
  • the carer
  • a senior team leader
  • a PSU staff member
  • foster and kinship care staff or staff of a licensed care service or another entity
  • the CSSC manager, if necessary.

At the meeting, discuss and identify solutions to the following:

  • any worries identified by the carer and the child
  • stressors in the care arrangement
  • any support, training or resources that may help to maintain the care arrangement, for example, short break options, or additional support funded through child-related costs to reduce the stressors experienced by the carer
  • safety issues associated with the care arrangement, including the impact on or risk to other children in the care arrangement and the carer’s family.

If it is agreed the child’s care arrangement will continue, consider:

Remove a child from a care arrangement

A CSSC manager, regional director or CSAHSC manager or senior team leader may decide to remove a child from a care arrangement:

  • if satisfied it is in the child’s best interests
  • in response to concerns about the standards of care being provided to a child
  • due to harm to a child, including risk of harm 
  • to ensure the child’s immediate safety and wellbeing. 

Removing a child from the care arrangement may be assessed to be in the child’s best interests if there is a serious issue, for example:

  • an issue in relation to the standards of care being provided by the carer
  • a safety issue for the child
  • conflict between a child and their carer.

In responding to concerns about a child’s safety, the purpose is to ensure continuity of the child’s relationship with the carer or care service and the stability of the child’s care arrangement, as far as possible, unless:

  • the child is at immediate risk of harm or unacceptable risk of future harm in the care environment
    and
  • protective intervention will not adequately ensure the child’s safety and wellbeing in the care environment.

Practice prompt

As far as possible, a child is to be removed from a care arrangement in a way that is the least traumatic or disruptive for the child.

Before making a decision about removing a child from a care arrangement, the CSSC manager will consult the senior practitioner (if doing so will not jeopardise the immediate safety or wellbeing of the child), having already taking into consideration the views of:

  • the child, if age and developmentally appropriate
  • the carer or the care service coordinator or manager, if applicable
  • the foster and kinship care service or care service, if applicable.

Attention

The decision to remove the child from a carer’s care is a reviewable decision under the Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 2.

If the child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive:

The Child Protection Act 1999, sections 90 and 91, does not give parents or staff members of care services the right to seek a review of the decision by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

If a parent, carer or staff member disagrees with a decision by Child Safety to remove a child, inform them of the review mechanisms available. (Refer to Compliments and Complaints feedback.)

Remove a child in urgent circumstances

If the CSSC manager decides that the child’s immediate safety and wellbeing needs require them to be removed from the care arrangement, before there is time to seek or have regard to relevant people’s views about the decision:

  • Record the decision and the rationale for the decision in the relevant event in ICMS.
  • Explain the rationale for the decision to all the people affected by the decision.
  • Carry out all information provision and administrative requirements, in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 90. (Refer to Complete end of care arrangement requirements.)

Give information to the child, parents and the carer when the care arrangement ends

When a decision is made to end a care arrangement, regardless of whether it is planned or unplanned:

  • Tell the child, their parents, the carer and service, if applicable, of the decision and the reasons for the decision.
  • Give the child, their parents and the carer information about accessing the Child Safety complaints process, should they wish to have the decision reviewed.
  • Give the child written notice of the removal decision, including reasons for the decision, and tell them they have 28 days to seek a QCAT review of the removal decision.
  • Give the child and their family information about the new care arrangement and further planned actions, unless a decision has been made to withhold all or some care arrangement information from the parents. (Refer to Assess the care arrangement information to be given to the parents.)
  • Contact the child’s school and any other agency undertaking case work services with the child and family to: 
    • advise them of the care arrangement change  
    • provide updated care arrangement details.

Implement actions relating to the carer

When a child leaves a care arrangement, tell the child’s carer:

  • that the fortnightly caring allowance for the child will cease
  • of their responsibility to advise Centrelink of the conclusion of the child’s care arrangement
  • of the need for them to complete a Conclusion of care arrangement form.

Organise to meet the carer to collect all the child’s personal belongings and relevant documents, including the:

  • completed Conclusion of care arrangement form
  • child’s birth certificate
  • child’s Medicare card and health care card 
  • child health passport folder 
  • child’s school reports
  • bank account details and associated documentation, including the child’s key card, if this is held by the carer.

After the care arrangement has ended, contact the carer to discuss the outcomes of the care arrangement including:

  • identified strengths demonstrated in managing the care arrangement
  • learning and support needs for future care arrangements.

Practice prompt

If relevant, vary the foster carer agreement, based on the experience the carer has gained from the care arrangement.

Removal of a child―the carer’s right of review

A carer, other than a provisionally approved carer, is entitled to seek a review by QCAT of a decision to remove a child from their care (Child Protection Act 1999, section 91).

If the child is subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive, the carer has the right to seek a review of the decision to remove the child from their care, regardless of the reason for the removal.

If a child is subject to a child protection order granting short-term custody or guardianship to the chief executive, the carer has the right to seek a review of the decision to remove the child from their care, if the stated reason for the decision is that:

  • they are no longer a suitable person to have the care of the child 
    or
  • they are no longer able to meet the statement of standards.

Practice prompt

If applicable, give the carer the Letter to carer―removal of a child (section 89).

Complete end of care arrangement requirements

As soon as possible after the care arrangement ends, complete or update the following forms and place them on the child’s and/or carer's file:

  • the Child information form in ICMS
  • the child’s care arrangement details (on their paper file)
  • Child Safety After Hours service Centre: After hours referral form, if relevant
  • the Conclusion of care arrangement form, completed by the carer. Place the original on the child’s file and give a copy to the new carer or to the parents if the child has returned home
  • the foster carer agreement, if required
  • the Letter to Medicare―change of address (Refer to Procedure 5 Obtain Medicare details and
    Arrange for a health care card)
  • the child and carer details in ICMS, including the end date of the care arrangement (to cease carer payments and close the placement event)
  • the Independent person form in ICMS, to record whether an independent person helped the child and family participate in a decision about where and with whom an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child will live
  • the certificate of approval for a kinship carer. (Obtain it from the kinship carer and file it on their carer file.)

Further reading

For additional requirements when ending a care arrangement for a child, refer to Procedure 4 Use a child protection care agreement

Related forms, templates and resources

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