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Place a child in care

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This page was updated on 23 November 2021. To view changes, please see page updates

Types of care arrangements

Child Safety provides recurrent funding to regional service providers for the following types of care arrangements:

Table of care arrangements

  Type of care Direct care provided by  Target group
Family based care Kinship care Approved kinship carer Children 0-17 years, with a moderate or high level of support needs. Ongoing support is provided to the carer by the service provider.
Foster care Approved foster carer
Intensive foster and kinship care Approved foster or kinship carer Children 0-17 years with a complex or extreme level of support needs. The carers and the child receive intensive support and assistance from the service provider.
Non-family based care Residential care Rostered staff Children and young people 12-17 years who have been assessed as having a high, moderate, complex or extreme level of support needs.  Can also place sibling groups for children under 12 years, as outlined in the policy Residential Care.
Therapeutic residential care Rostered staff Young people 12-15 years who have been assessed as having complex to extreme level of support needs and require an intensive level of therapeutic support, and cannot be placed in other care arrangements
Safe house care Rostered staff Children aged 0-17 years in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with moderate and high support needs, whose families required intensive family support.
Supported-independent living (SIL) Individual or small group living with levels of worker support Young people 15 to 17 years who have been assessed as having moderate, high or complex level of support needs. The service provider focuses on developing or enhancing the person’s life skills and self-care, to support their transition to adulthood.

 

When it is not possible to place a child in any of the abovementioned care arrangements, the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(f) enables Child Safety to place a child with another entity, if satisfied this would be the most appropriate care arrangement for meeting the child’s specific care and support needs. For more information, refer to Place a child with another entity.

Other entities include service providers who:

  • do not hold an organisation level license under the Child Protection Act 1999, to provide care services to children subject to ongoing intervention by Child Safety 
    or
  • the proposed residence for the child is not included in their license.

Attention

Before placing the child with another entity, an assessment is required to determine the suitability of the care arrangement. The entity must be able to meet the standards of care, (Child Protection Act 1999, section 122), and care service staff must have a current blue card or exemption card. (Refer to Assess the suitability of another entity).

Child Safety may use commercial accommodation as a temporary accommodation response for a young person when:

  • all funded and fee-for-service care arrangements options have been explored and no care arrangement is available to care for the child 
    and

  • it has been approved by the regional director. For more information refer to Obtain approval to use emergent accommodation.

Follow legislative requirements

When making a care arrangement, the Child Protection Act 1999, requires certain actions to be taken:

Table of legislative requirements - placing a child in care
Child Protection Act 1999 Description Refer to 
Section 5B(h) Consider placing the child in care with kin as a first option. Explore kinship care as the preferred care arrangement
Section 5B(i) Place the child with siblings, if possible. Consider the needs of a child with siblings in care
Section 5E Seek the child's views. Enable the child to provide their views
Section 83A(1)(a) Give the proposed caer information about the child to help them make an informed decision about whether to provide care. Submit referral to Placement Services Unit
Section 83A(4) Have regard to the child's views and wishes before giving information to the carer. Enable the child to provide their views
Section 83A(5) Tell the child what information about them is being given to the carer. Take into account the child's rights to privacy
Section 83(A)(1)(c) Give the child an opportunity to meet the proposed carer, if possible. Prepare child for the care arrangement
Section 85 and Section 86 Given the child and their parents information about in whose care the child is placed or reasons for withholding this information. Advise parents where the child is living
Section 84 Enter into a written agreement with the carer. Negotiate the placement agreement

Additional legislative requirements for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child  

When making a care arrangement for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, the Child Protection Act 1999, requires additional actions to be taken:  

Table of legislative requirements - when placing an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
Child Protection Act 1999 Description
Section 5C(1) Recognise the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to self-determination; consider the long-term impacts of decisions on a child’s identity, connection with family, culture and community.
Section 5C(2) Apply the 5 elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle – the prevention principle, partnership principle, placement principle, participation principle and the connection principle.
Section 6AA(2)   
Section 83(2)
Section 83(6)(a)
When making a significant decision (such as a care arrangement decision) ask the child and child’s family if they want an independent person to facilitate their participation in the decision-making process, and if so, arrange for one.
Section 83(4) and (5)

The child must be placed with a member of the child’s family group, if practicable. Otherwise, the following hierarchy applies, in order of priority: 

  • a member of the child's community or language group
  • an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who is compatible with their community or language group
  • another Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
  • a person who lives near the child's family, commuity or language group and demonstrates the capacity to keep the child connected to kin, country and culture.
Section 83(6)(b) The child’s care arrangement needs to provide the optimal retention of the child’s relationship with their parents, siblings and other people of cultural significance.
Section 83(7) Before placing a child with a person who is not an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, make sure the proposed carer is committed to facilitating contact with the child’s family members; helping the child to maintain a connection to their community and language group, and their culture; preserving and enhancing the child’s sense of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity.

 

Include the cultural practice advisor when considering care arrangement options for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child. 

Make active efforts to place the child in a care arrangement that will maintain their connection to family, community, traditions, language. If 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 requirements of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 83. (Refer to Continue to pursue a more suitable care arrangement).

Explore kinship care as the preferred care arrangement

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 5B(h) requires that when placing a child in care, consideration should be given to placing the child in the care of kin, as a first option. Kin is defined in the Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 3, as:

  • any of the child’s relatives who are people of significance to the child
  • anyone else who is a person of significance to the child.

For an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child, a kinship carer may be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who is a member of a similar family group, community, mob, or community that is similar to the child’s clan or from the same language group.

Further reading

Refer to the Policy Placement of children in care.
Refer to the Policy Kinship care.

Identify the child's kin

Unlike foster carers, kinship carers are usually not recruited in advance. The child’s CSO, or a foster or kinship care service if they are funded to do so, will actively search for and make contact with extended family and other people who are significant to the child, to identify prospective kinship carers.

Commence this search as soon as it is first determined that the child requires a care arrangement—for example, during an investigation and assessment, or when an intervention with parental agreement is no longer the most appropriate intervention for the child.

The search for kinship carers will take into account the child’s views about a specific prospective kinship carer. (Refer to Enable the child to obtain their views).

To increase the likelihood of identifying prospective kinship carers, make sure this occurs in partnership with the child’s family system:

  • Engage with family members who know the child the best, and use their knowledge of the family’s membership, history and strengths.
  • Seek to identify grandparents, adult siblings, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and cousins for both the maternal and paternal sides of the child’s family.
  • Use the Circles of safety and support tool and a two to three generation genogram, and keep the genogram updated as new information emerges.
  • Consider non-familial networks such as the child’s sporting or club affiliations, long-standing school friendships and faith-based connections.
  • Make use of current processes to further explore and discuss kin networks, such as during family group meetings, when revising the case plan, and within the child’s safety and support network.
  • Re-contact kin at regular intervals, to account for a change in their circumstances or views about reconnecting with the child.
  • Record all discussions with family and community members about becoming a carer for the child—refer to Record contact with prospective kinship carers.

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, also include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers, such as the cultural practice advisor, who may have specific knowledge of the child’s family and community, or how to obtain this information.

For a child already in care who is not placed with a kinship carer, proactively explore and revisit possible kinship care options at regular intervals, such as when reviewing the case plan, and at other times: 

  • when the child is facing disruption to their current care arrangement
    or
  • the child is, or becomes, disconnected from their kin networks.

Practice prompt

The identification of kin is an active and ongoing process. Enquiries about possible kinship carers will continue until a suitable kinship care arrangement is identified, or it is decided that all kinship care options have been exhausted.

Respond to a prospective kinship carer

When a family or community member is identified as a possible kinship carer for the child, explore their interest and capacity to provide a care arrangement for the child. As part of the discussion:

  • outline the child’s care needs
  • explain the benefits of kinship care for the child
  • provide the Family caring for family guide and discuss its content
  • outline the financial and other supports available to approved carers
  • address any questions or issues, such as how the changed caring relationship may impact the child and other family members.

Explain the carer application requirements, which include the need to complete:

Outline the carer assessment process (refer to Kinship carer assessment requirements), including that approval is for an initial 12-month period and requires renewal every two years.

If the family or community member decides to apply to be a kinship carer, refer to Help the prospective kinship carer to complete a carer application.

Practice prompt

If the assessment of the kinship carers application is not yet finalised, and it is not possible or in the child’s best interest to be placed with an approved foster carer or in a non-family-based care arrangement, the kinship carer applicant may be provisionally approved to care for the child for 60 to 90 days, until the outcome from their substantive application to be a carer is decided. Refer to Consider the provisional approval of a carer applicant.

Record contact with prospective kinship carers

Record details of any discussions with the child’s family and community network and their views about becoming a kinship carer:

  • in the Regulation of care tab in ICMS, generate an EOI/Application-Kinship carer initial
  • in an ICMS case note using the title, ‘Contact with prospective kinship carer’ in the child’s OI event—when the exploration is part of regular and ongoing case work enquiries with kin.

As new family members are identified or contacted:

  • Create a person ID in ICMS and add the person to the child’s relationship tab.
  • Update the child’s genogram—refer to the Practice kit Care arrangements, Practice tools.

Practice prompt

If the family or community member is not interested in becoming a kinship carer at the time, they may be interested in having ongoing contact with the child, with a view to supporting them while they are in care. This may have ongoing positive impacts on the child’s identity, belonging and wellbeing. Refer to Procedure 5 Family contact decisions.

When siblings are placed separately, make sure regular and meaningful contact between siblings is included in case planning and care arrangement decisions. Refer to Consider the needs of a child with siblings in care.

Enable the child to provide their views

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 5E, requires the child be given an appropriate explanation of any decision affecting them, such as decisions about where the child will live, and the opportunity to express their views. The Charter of rights for a child in care, Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 1, reinforces this requirement. 

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 83A(1)(b) requires the child be given adequate information about the proposed carer and members of the proposed carers household, to enable them to participate meaningfully in the decision about where the child will live.

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, make decisions in a way that actively promotes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination. Arrange, with the child’s and family’s consent, for an independent person to assist the child to participate in decision making about where they may live. Refer to Procedure 5 Decision making for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

When preparing to make a referral for a care arrangement, engage the child at the earliest opportunity, in a manner that takes into account their age, culture, understanding and developmental level, and:

  • explain the decision that is to be made and why it is being made
  • be clear about what the child can influence
  • encourage their views about
    • the preferred type of care arrangement
    • it’s locality—for instance the child may wish to remain at their current school, or to be close to family and other people who are significant to them
    • specific features of a care arrangement or carer qualities that help them to feel safe and to belong
    • other wants or dislikes.

Tip

Young people with an experience of being in care recommend use of the ‘Four T’s approach when seeking the child’s views:

  • on their ‘turf’
  • in their ‘time’
  • acknowledge their ‘tastes’
  • encourage them to share their ‘tales’ in their own words.

Seeking the child’s views is not a one-off discussion. The child’s views may change and evolve over time, based on their experiences and maturity. With each change in care arrangement it is important to give the child further opportunities to speak up about their care arrangement preferences. Refer to Record the child’s views.

Further reading

For practice guidance on talking to the child, refer to the Practice kit Care arrangements:
Practice tools
Strategies for engaging young people
Partnering with children in decision making processes.

Take into account the child’s right to privacy

In keeping with the legislative requirement to provide information to a child’s carer about the child, (refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 83A(4)):

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

  • Tell the child what information was shared with their carer or the non-family-based care arrangement. 

Record the child’s views

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

At any other time when the child’s views about future care arrangements is discussed, record these in a case note in ICMS, using the title ‘The child’s views’, and attach to the child’s current placement event.

Consider the needs of a child with siblings in care

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 5B(i), specifies that the child be placed with their siblings, to the extent that this is possible.

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 for the proposed number of children—for example, the number of household residents, the sleeping arrangements, the capacity of the carer’s vehicle, and each child’s level of support needs. (Refer to Determine the child’s level of support needs).

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.

Further reading

Contact the Placement Services Unit

As soon as the need for a care arrangement for a child is identified, make sure there is authority to place the child under the Child Protection Act 1999 or the Adoption Act 2009.  The child will be subject to one of the following:

  • care agreement
  • assessment order
  • temporary custody order
  • child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive
  • child protection order granting long term guardianship to a suitable person when the guardian was previously an approved carer for the child, and who is experiencing a crisis and requires a short break care arrangement for the child
  • an adoption consent or dispensation of consent.

Note

It may be appropriate to consult with the PSU about a child who is not yet subject to a signed care agreement or an order from the Childrens Court, but where this action is about to be resolved. In these circumstances, a de-identified referral can be sent to service providers.

The regional PSU coordinates completed care arrangement referrals to regional service providers who provide:

  • family-based and non-family-based care services, licensed under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 127, and in receipt of outsourced service delivery funding from Child Safety
    and
  • fee-for-service care arrangements, where the service provider is not licensed to provide care to a specific child under the Child Protection Act 1999, (or the proposed residence for the child is not included in their license), but can do so when funding is approved in line with the policy Child related costs – Placement funding.

The PSU can provide information about:

  • supports that could help maintain an existing care arrangement, to prevent an unnecessary breakdown
  • regional services that may be able to assist in finding kin, such as through the finding kin outcome payment process
  • regional care arrangement models, including those with specific funding to provide additional supports to the carer and child, such as intensive foster and kinship care
  • referral requirements for short break care arrangements (as these differ across foster and kinship care service providers)
  • referrals for therapeutic residential services
  • referral and eligibility for other types of care arrangements not receiving outsourced service delivery funding (refer to Place a child with another entity).

Complete the referral for a care arrangement

To request a foster care arrangement for a child, or to refer to a non-family-based service provider (as outlined in the Table of care arrangements), complete the:

  • PSU referral, or the regions locally developed referral form
    and
  • an updated Child information form completed in ICMS.

The referral requires assessment and daily care information about the child. This can be obtained from a range of sources:

  • recent discussions with
    • the child
    • the child’s parents and family members
    • the previous carer or the coordinator of a non-family-based care arrangement
    • the child’s safety and support network
  • Child Safety records
    and
  • information from other platforms
    • Carer Connect
    • kicbox
    • the Children in care portal, refer to Procedure 5 Link to a child’s My Health Record.

Attention

Give special attention to gathering information about the care needs of a child who has been sexually abused or is displaying sexually reactive behaviours. Refer to the practice kit Child sexual abuse, and the practice guide Children with sexual abuse histories.

When completing the referral:

  • Focus on providing information that is fundamental to the child’s care.
  • Avoid the use of Child Safety terminology, and terms that may inappropriately label the child.
  • Include positive information about the child, such as their strengths, interests and achievements.
  • Make sure to only include information about the child’s parents, where it is essential to the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing.

Further reading

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

Determine the child's level of support needs

The referral form requires information about the child’s support level. To determine or to review the child’s level of support needs, consider the current Child strengths and needs assessment, specifically the level of strength or need across each domain. This information, along with recent assessment information from other sources, such as the child’s therapist, health practitioners, school, and their current carer or service provider, will inform:

  • how the child’s behaviours and characteristics impact their daily functioning
  • the likely level of support the child will require from their new care arrangement.

Note

The support level classification is important information for service providers, and is a central part of matching considerations—it relates to the type and number of care arrangements a service provider is funded to provide.

For a detailed description of the characteristics that apply to each support level, refer to the practice guide Support levels and behaviour characteristics. A summary of the support levels is outlined below:

Summary table: Child's level of support needs
Support level  Description

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.

A child’s support level will not remain static. Review, and if necessary, amend the assessed support level with new care arrangement referrals.

The completed referral enables the service provider to:

Submit referral to the Placement Services Unit

 The PSU ensures all required information in the referral form is completed. The PSU may send the referral back to the referring CSO if additional information is required. When completed, the PSU will send the referral to appropriate service providers.

Note

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 83A(1), requires the proposed carer be given information about the child.

The service provider is encouraged to give a copy of the completed Child information form (sections A and B only) provided as part of the referral information,  to the prospective carer. This enables the carer to make an informed decision before responding.

Review offers from service providers

The PSU initially receives all offers from service providers, and will first review the offer for conditions or requests submitted by the service provider or requested by the carer. The PSU submits the offer to the appropriate delegated officer for their review and decision. Refer to the Table: Delegated officer: Decision to place a child in care.

Consider the level of match

Offers from service providers may include an assessment about the level of match between the child’s needs, and the capabilities and characteristics of the proposed care arrangement, and results in one of the following:

Table: Level of match
Assessed match Description
High match The identified needs of the child can be met by the care arrangement.
Medium match  The identified needs of the child can be partly met by the care arrangement.
Low match  The identified needs of the child cannot be met without the timely commencement of additional supports, services or strategies.

The delegated officer will review the offer or offers received from service providers and where there is a medium and low match with a foster carer, consider what additional supports and services may be required to support the child within the care arrangement to improve the level of match, should the child be placed with that foster carer.

The Foster care matching tool assists by isolating a set of factors and assessing the level of match for each individual factor. This informs where to target the supplementary supports, services or strategies required.

Decide on supports for the proposed care arrangement

If an overall medium or low match is identified, the delegated officer and the service provider will discuss the supports, services or strategies to enhance the suitability of the proposed care arrangement, to meet the child’s needs. If the offer is with a foster carer, their views about what they need are central to this process. For more information about the roles and responsibilities of those involved, refer to the policy Foster care matching: a partnership approach.

Additional supports and services can be sourced from existing resources available from the service provider, and may include:

  • Increasing the frequency of support visits to the carer or supplementing the staffing roster in a non-family-based care arrangement for an identified period.
  • Responding to the learning needs of the carer or rostered staff, by developing their specific knowledge or skills required to care for the child.
  • Providing financial or other practical supports using high-plus or wrap around funding, where available.
  • Proposing that short-break care be arranged for the child from within their service, if the carer’s availability is affected by work or other commitments (in line with Child Safety approval requirements).
  • Helping the carer to expand their informal support network.

Practice prompt

If a child is transgender, gender diverse or has a diverse sexual orientation, consider any specific needs they may have when undertaking the process of identifying an appropriate care arrangement. Consider how the proposed carer or service provider will be able to respect and support the child and provide them with a non-judgemental and safe environment to ensure they are able to be their authentic selves.

Refer to the practice guide Children with gender and sexual orientation diversity.

The delegated officer may consider the need for Child Safety supports to the proposed care arrangement, such as:

  • Increasing the frequency of support visits by the CSO or other Child Safety staff member
  • Approving additional carer payments or child related costs, if the policy requirements are satisfied and the decision is approved by the financial delegate
  • Arranging appropriate referrals to meet the child’s needs—for example specialist health services, counselling supports, or after school care
  • Including the carer or service provider for a non-family-based care arrangement, as a partner in the child’s safety and support network meetings, if these are established.

The delegated officer will decline the offer if it is not suitable to meet the needs of the child.

Note

If a foster care arrangement is approved after-hours or is needed urgently, it may not always be possible to fully explore the supports needed, 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.

Matching for a child who has experienced sexual abuse or is displaying sexually reactive behaviours

If locating a care arrangement for a child who has experienced sexual abuse, or may display sexually reactive behaviours:

  • Provide the proposed carer and their service provider, or the non-family-based care service, with the full history of the child’s abuse or abusing.
  • Ensure the carer or care service staff members have recently participated in specialist training to manage sexually abused or abusing children, or if this hasn’t occurred, make sure this will occur.
  • Consider the wider community into which the child is to be placed and explore for risks to the child or others in the care arrangement.
  • Develop a plan with the carer or non-family-based care service to manage any risks.
  • Consider if the care arrangement can provide effective supervision for all residents.
  • Enquire with the service provider if the carer or staff members have a personal sexual abuse history that may impact on their care of the child.
  • Consider how the carer or care service manage stress.
  • Discuss with the care arrangement their capacity to provide safe family contact.
  • Consider if a package of supports is required to assist in meeting the needs of both the child and others in the care arrangement.

Refer to the practice guide Children with sexual abuse histories.

Consider the immunisation status of the care arrangement

Queensland Health advises that a child who is not immunised is at significant risk of infection if placed in a care arrangement with others who are not immunised. Additionally, any child who has not completed their 12-month primary immunisations is at increased risk of specific diseases, as outlined in the table below.

Table: Immunisation and matching considerations
Immunisation status and age of child Risk to child if placed with others who are not immunised Care arrangement matching considerations
Child of any age is not immunised Significant increased risk of infection  A care arrangement with an unimmunised household is not recommended.
Child under 12 months and primary immunisations are not yet completed

Significant increased risk of:
•    Pertussis (whooping cough)
•    Haemophilis influenzae B (HIB)
•    Rotavirus
•    Meningococcal C (Men C)
•    Invasive pneumococcal disease
•    Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

A care arrangement with an unimmunised household is not recommended.
Child aged 12 months to 2 years, and is immunised Small increased risk of: 
•    Haemophilis Influenzae (HIB)
•    Meningococcal C (Men C)
To be determined on a case by case basis and with advice from the child's doctor.
Immunised child of any age There remains a risk of: 
•    Measles, mumps, and rubella - in the event of a community outbreak
•    Mild varicella (chicken pox)
To be determined on a case by case basis and with advice from the child's doctor.

Tip

The carer assessment report and the foster carer agreement (for foster carers) provides details about the immunisations carers have received, and that of other children placed in their care. It is expected that this information will be identified by the service provider during the matching process, particularly for young children and immunocompromised children.

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child receives additional recommended vaccines to prevent them from being placed at a greater risk of disease in their early lives, as medically recommended. Refer to the policy, Immunisation of children in care.

Approve the care arrangement

The following table outlines that the delegated officer varies depending on the type of care arrangement proposed for the child:

Table: Delegated officer - decision to place a child
Type of care Authority Delegated officer
Kinship carer approved for the specific child Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(a)

CSSC senior team leader or manager CSAHSC senior team leader or manager PSU manager

Approved foster carer Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(b) CSSC senior team leader or manager CSAHSC senior team leader or manager PSU manager
Provisionally approved carer for the specific child Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(e)

CSSC manager                          CSAHSC manager                                                PSU manager

  • Residential care
  • Safe house 
  • Supported independent living
Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(d) CSSC, CSAHSC or PSU manager (excluding a decsion about a therapeutic residential care service) 
Therapeutic residential  service Residential care policy Regional director (where the service is located)
Entity conducting a departmental care service Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(c) CSSC, CSAHSC or PSU manager (excluding a decision about a therapeutic residential care service)
Another entity Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)(f)

CSSC , CSAHSC or PSU manager (after the financial delegate has agreed to the costs)  CSAHSC senior team leader (as above)

Prior to accepting the offer, the delegated officer will be satisfied that:

  • The Assessment of placement information to parents form in ICMS has been completed (or will be completed as soon as practicable), and the carer or non-family-based care service provider agree with the level of information to be provided to parents—refer Advise parents where the child is living.
  • For a care arrangement located in a geographical area covered by another CSSC, the CSSC manager or senior team leader for that area has given permission in writing for the care arrangement.
  • Kinship care options are being actively explored or have been explored and exhausted—refer to Explore kinship care as the preferred care arrangement.
  • For an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child, active efforts have been made to identify a care arrangement for a child with a member of their family group. Where this is not possible, active efforts have been made to identify another care arrangement, in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child placement hierarchy—refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 83.
  • Efforts have been made to identify a care arrangement where siblings can be placed together, and if this is not currently possible, the proposed care arrangement will maintain sibling connections—refer to Consider the needs of a child with siblings in care.
  • The views of the child and their family have been sought and taken into account—refer to Enable the child to provide their views.
  • For a child whose immunisations are not up to date, consider if they will be placed at increased risk of infection from others living in the care arrangement—refer to Consider the immunisation status of the care arrangement.

Attention

If the delegated officer is making a decision to place a child in a fee-for-service care arrangement, make sure there is an Individualised placement and support agreement co-signed by the service provider and Child Safety financial delegate.

Continue to pursue another care arrangement

The senior team leader or CSSC manager may ask the PSU to continue to submit the referral to service providers in any of the following circumstances:

  • the proposed care arrangement is a low match for meeting the cultural needs of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child
  • a sibling group who has previously been living together, are to be placed in separate care arrangements, or will continue to remain separated
  • the overall level of match between the child’s needs and the proposed care arrangement is a low match
  • the supports, services or strategies being proposed to address the gaps in a low level of match, may not be sufficient to meet the child’s needs
  • a proposed temporary or after hours care arrangement is not suitable.

 Advise parents where the child is living

The Child Protection Act 1999, sections 85 and 86, requires Child Safety to tell the child’s parents where and with whom their child is placed. For a child in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive under a child protection order, Child Safety is also required to provide parents with the reasons for placing the child in the specific care arrangement, and how they may have this decision reviewed.

There are two exceptions to the requirement to tell parents where and with whom the child is living:

  • where a significant risk to the child or to another person in the care arrangement is created, should the parents be advised of the child’s specific location
    or
  • the child’s care arrangement is for less than 7 days and it is not reasonably practicable to advise the parents where the child is living.

Note

The 7 days includes the situation where 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.

Assess if parents pose a risk to the child

Before placing the child in a care arrangement, commence an assessment to determine if the parents, or another relevant person, pose a significant risk to the child’s safety, or to anyone else with whom the child is living, if they were given the child’s address.

The Child Protection Regulation 2011, section 3(3), defines a relevant person as including:

  • a parent of the child
  • a partner of a parent of the child
  • another person closely associated with a parent of the child.

The matters to be considered in the assessment are outlined in the Child Protection Regulation 2011, section 3, and are listed in the Assessment of placement information to parents form in ICMS. The assessment will recommend the parents be provided with one of the following information levels:

Table: Information to parents about where child is living
Level of information Assessment outcome Example of information provided
Full location details There is no significant risk to the child or others in the care arrangement. Provide the name of carer or service, and the address of the child’s accommodation.
Partial information There may be a significant risk to the child or others. Provide general information, until the assessment is completed.
Withhold information There is a significant risk to the child or others, if the parents were given information about where and with whom the child is living. Provide partial information such as the type of care arrangement, or the name of the city, town or region.

Discuss assessment with the carer or service provider

Talk to the carer, or, in the case of a non-family based care service provider, the manager or coordinator of the care service, about:

  • the outcome of the risk assessment
  • the proposed information to be given to the parents
    and
  • obtain their agreement to providing this information to the child’s parents.

Where there is agreement, refer to Seek approval to provide or withhold information.

Take action when agreement cannot be reached

If the child is already placed, and agreement cannot be reached with the carer or the coordinator of the non-family based care arrangement, seek an alternative care arrangement that will:

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

If 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 either
  • the child protection order grants the child executive long-term guardianship of the child
    or
  • 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 standards for the child.

Provide 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 non-family-based care service provider 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 to provide or withhold information

Once agreement has been reached with the carer or the non-family based care service provider about the level of information to be provided to the child’s parents, finalise and seek approval of the Assessment of placement information to parents form in ICMS 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 temporary custody order
  • 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.

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 location of the child’s care arrangement.

Inform the parents and the child of the care arrangement decision

The following table outlines how information provision requirements under the Child Protection Act, sections 85 and 86, are to be communicated to the child (taking into account their age and ability to understand) and the parents.

Table: Inform the parents and the child of care arrangement decision
Type of intervention Tell parents Written notice to parents Tell child Written notice to child
Care agreement Yes No Yes  No
Assessment order Yes No  Yes  No
Temporary custody order Yes No Yes No
Child protection order -  care arrangement of 6 nights or less Yes No Yes  No
Child protection order -  care arrangement exceeds 6 nights  Yes Yes Yes  Yes

Tell the child and the parents about the care arrangement decision

When Child Safety is not required to provide written notice of the care arrangement decision to the child or parents, and the decision about what arrangement information is to be provided to the parents is approved: 

  • tell the parents and the child the decision 

  • tell the carer the decision. 

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

If the child is in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive under a child protection order and the care arrangement exceeds 6 nights, provide the child and parents with written notice of the decision:

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

These are reviewable decisions, which means a parent or child may seek a review of the decision by QCAT. 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.

In this circumstance:

  • tell the parents the care arrangement information
  • tell the parents the reasons for the decision and how to have the decision reviewed by Child Safety or QCAT
  • give written notice of the decision using either
  • 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 review 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.

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. As the decision about where and with whom a child is placed is a reviewable decision, provide a copy of the written notice of the decision provided to the parents or the child to the Office of the Public Guardian.

Do this within 3 days of the decision being made by the delegate.

Review the decision to withhold arrangement information

Unless a long-term decision has been endorsed by the regional director, regularly review the decision to withhold information from the child’s parents, about their child’s care arrangement.  

This review will occur:

  • in line with the review date specified on the Assessment of placement information to parents form in ICMS
  • if additional information becomes known that may change the level of care arrangement information the parent should be provided with.

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. Communicate the new decision to the parents, the child (where possible), and the carer or non-family-based care service provider.

Support the child through a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal review

If a child indicates they want to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to have a decision reviewed, the CSSC manager will:

  • nominate a CSO who was not involved in the decision about in whose care to place the child, or the decision to withhold the care arrangement details from 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.

The regional director will seek advice from Court Services.

Place a child with another entity

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 needs. For examples of these types of care arrangements, refer to the Practice kit Care arrangements, Other entities.

These arrangements may be considered for a child subject to a care agreement, an assessment order, a temporary custody order or a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive.

These care arrangements do not include:

  • arrangements made under the policy, Emergent accommodation
  • when a child’s living arrangement is determined by intervention under the Youth Justice Act 1992  or other Acts
  • arrangements specific to the child’s health needs, such as for short-term hospital stays
  • where an ‘authority to care’ and a placement agreement are not required―such as, camps, boarding schools and tertiary colleges
    or
  • care provided in an individual’s own home or the home of the child’s parents.

Determine if the entity is appropriate

Contact the PSU before considering a fee-for-service care arrangement for a child―refer to Contact the Placement Services Unit. The PSU will review the recent care arrangement referral for the child, and the rationale for declining any offers made by service providers, and will discuss other options, such as:

  • providing additional supports to the child’s current care arrangement, if applicable, through the policy, Child related costs – Placement support funding
  • reviewing if there are possible kinship carers to care for the child
  • reserving a licensed care arrangement that may soon become available, if this is appropriate to meeting the child’s current needs
  • exploring care arrangements in another region, following consultation with the other regions PSU manager.

If it is determined that there is no care arrangement available through outsourced service delivery service providers, the PSU will discuss with the CSSC the use of a care arrangement with another entity and provide information about:

  • the steps required before possible suppliers for a fee-for-service care arrangement can be approached
  • the Individualised placement and support business rules, including the Individualised placement and support package Request for quote template and and the Immediate care arrangement Express request for quote template for an immediate care arrangement.  
  • the information the financial delegates requires before funding approval is considered
  • negotiating an Individualised placement and support agreement with the service provider.

Assess the suitability of another entity

An assessment of the proposed care arrangement is required to ensure the service providers will meet relevant legislative requirements:

  • the statement of standards―Child Protection Act 1999, section 122
  • blue card ‘no card, no start’ laws―Working With Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, schedule 1
  • confidentiality―Child Protection Act 1999, sections 187 and 188
  • the safety and suitability of the premises where the child will be living―including the compliance with pool safety standards, and indoor safety such as smoke alarm requirements and hot water storage.

Attention

A care arrangement with another entity under the Child Protection Act, section 82(1)(f) is not monitored via a licensing arrangement or a carer approval process. Therefore, a comprehensive assessment of an entity’s ability to meet the standards of care and the needs of the specific child, is required.

Use the Placing a child with another entity 82(1)(f) assessment guide, to complete an assessment of the entity. This will assist in identifying if the care provided by the entity is subject to regulation by a government agency such as:

The Placing a child with another entity 82(1)(f) assessment report can be used to document the assessor’s findings and recommendation. Provide the completed assessment to the delegated officer. The assessment will also explore whether 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
  • is able to facilitate family and cultural contact for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
  • will provide for the optimal retention of the child’s relationships with parents, siblings and other people of significance to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child under Aboriginal tradition or Island custom
  • is aware of the requirements for reporting harm and when the standards of care are not being met, to Child Safety
  • will use appropriate behaviour support strategies, consistent with the statement of standards and Child Safety policies
  • will use appropriate strategies and interventions for a child who has been sexually abused or has demonstrated sexually reactive behaviours
  • will assist the child to gain positive life skills and a sense of wellbeing
  • whether the service provider employs 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
  • the safety and suitability of the premises where the child is to be placed
  • whether other people residing at the premises are an appropriate peer group for the child, taking into account the child’s circumstances, age, and gender.

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 permission in writing for the care arrangement to proceed.

Obtain approval

If the funding approval from the financial delegate is obtained, seek approval from the appropriate delegated officer, to place the child, in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1). For further information, refer to Approve the care arrangement.

Obtain approval to use emergent accommodation

Emergent accommodation is the temporary use of commercial accommodation, such as hotels, motels, and caravan parks, for a child aged 12 years and older, when all other care arrangement options have been explored and exhausted. In exceptional circumstances, it may be considered for a child aged 11 years or younger, such as when they are part of a sibling group to be placed together.

The policy, Emergent accommodation, outlines that this care arrangement may be used for a child subject to a care agreement, an assessment order, a temporary custody order, or a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive. It does not include:

  • use of commercial accommodation when a child is on holiday with an approved carer
  • a planned supported independent living arrangement for a young person transitioning to adulthood.

Seek approval

The use of commercial accommodation will be approved by the delegated officer for an initial period of up to 7 nights. An extension can only be considered where there is clear evidence that no suitable care arrangement is available. Seek advice from the PSU for any additional regional processes.

The delegated officer varies depending on the length of the care arrangement and the age of the child:

Table: Delegated officer - emergent accommodation
Circumstances Delegated officer
To the next business day (if child is placed after-hours). Duty executive officer
Up to 7 nights duration, for a child 12 years and older. Regional director
Up to 7 nights duration, for a child under 12 for example when part of a sibling group. Regional executive director
From 7 to 20 nights in total, for a child of any age. Regional executive director
More than 20 nights, only in exceptional circumstances. Regional executive director

Seek funding approval

If the care arrangement is funded through child-related costs, additional approval is required for the funding of the care arrangement. Procedures for funding are outlined in the Child related costs - placement funding procedure.  

 

Tip

For emergent accommodation, use the following general ledger account codes: 

  • (G/L) 530419 for accommodation costs 
  • (G/L) 530421 for direct care worker costs and support costs. 

If a non-government service provider was unable to be engaged to provide for the child’s direct care, and Child Safety staff are providing the required direct care to the child, staffing costs will be met through staff salaries. 

When emergent accommodation is required outside of business hours:

  • the CSSC is responsible to seeking approval for the financial costs from the financial delegate the next business day
  • either the child will be placed elsewhere or the CSSC will seek approval for the continued use of emergent accommodation from the delegated officer. 

Ensure the suitability of direct care staff 

If the direct care of the child is provided by workers employed or contracted by a non-government service provider, they are required to have a current blue card or exemption card―refer to the Working With Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, schedule 1

At the commencement of the care arrangement, make sure the service provider is provided with all relevant information about the child, to enable them to meet the child’s daily care and other needs―refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 83A

Make sure direct care staff:  

  • are informed of their obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 122, and the Charter of rights for a child in care outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999 , schedule 1
  • are able to provide care that is consistent with the principles of the Child Protection Act 1999,
  • are aware of the requirements for reporting harm and concerns about the standards of care to Child Safety 
  • will use appropriate behaviour support strategies, consistent with the policy Positive behaviour support
  • know to report the use of restrictive or prohibited practices to Child Safety (refer to the policy Managing high risk behaviours)
  • are supported in their role as direct carers. 

Complete the Checklist for placement of a child in emergent accommodation when visiting the child in their accommodation, and attach this to the child’s placement event in ICMS. Include details of:  

  • the non-government service provider 
  • all direct care workers, such as full names, contact details, blue card number and expiry date (except for Child Safety staff), and the time periods for which they provided direct care 
    and
  • record compliance with the criteria listed in the checklist. 

 Prepare child for the care arrangement

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 83A(1), requires the child to be provided with information about the proposed care arrangement. Take the following actions:

  • Share the foster carers profile, and photographs of where they will be living―this may be available in Carer Connect or from the service provider.
  • Make arrangements for the child to visit the new carer or service before the care arrangement commences, if this is practicable. 
  • Talk with the child about any worries they may have about the new care arrangement.
  • Arrange for the child’s belongings to be identified and included amongst their possessions. 

If this is the child’s first time in a care arrangement, or they are returning to care following reunification, make sure the child is provided with written information about:

Discuss with the former carer or non-family-based service provider (where applicable), how they can assist the child to separate from their care, and respond to any worries the child may have during the transition period. For more information about helping the child to understand the changes that are happening, refer to the Practice kit, Care arrangements, Transitions.

Prepare the care arrangement for the child’s arrival

The Child Protection Act 1999, sections 83A, requires the carer or non-family-based care service provider be given information about the child, to enable them to keep the child safe and to meet their care needs. Take the following actions:

  • Complete the Authority to care form in ICMS and give it to the carer or non-family-based care service provider.
  • Make sure the carer or service provider has been given written information about the child: 
    • Check if the service provider has provided the carer with an up to date Child information form , and if not, provide the form to the carer.
    • For a kinship carer, a fee-for service care arrangement, or when placing a child with another entity or in commercial accommodation, provide an updated Child information form,  section A and B only. 
    • Provide a copy of the completed End a care arrangement form from the child’s former care arrangement,
  • Identify and include other information that may be needed about the child, such as:
    • the child’s Medicare card
    • a copy of the child’s birth certificate―for primary care arrangements
    • the child’s case plan
    • the child health passport for the child
    • the child’s education support plan, if there is one developed.
  • Complete and provide the letters the carer requires, such as:
  • Use the Care arrangement commencement checklist to identify other actions required for a new care arrangement.

Provide the authority to care form

Following approval of the care arrangement by the delegated officer, complete the Authority to care form in ICMS. The form can be electronically approved, and signed by the appropriate delegated officer, in line with the type of care arrangement―refer to the Table: Delegated officer – decision to place a child.

At the commencement of the care arrangement, the authority to care form is provided to:

  • the approved carer
  • the licensee of a non-family based care service provider licensed under the Child Protection Act 1999, Chapter 4, Division 2, such as licensed residential care service, a safe house, or a supported independent living service
  • the organisation providing a fee-for service care arrangement
  • another entity―refer Place a child with another entity
  • for emergent accommodation arrangements, to the service or organisation providing the rostered staff to care for the child (unless these staff are Child Safety employees).

Note

An authority to care form is not provided to a hospital or Detention Centre, as the child is not placed in that facility under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82. An authority to care is also not required where a young person is solely responsible for the payment of rent or board.

Issue a new Authority to care form to the care arrangement if any the following changes occur:

  • the child’s care arrangement changes, including a change of address
  • the type of care agreement or the child protection order changes
  • the end date of the child protection order changes
  • the delegate has extended the care arrangement, which was initially approved for a specified period of time.

Related forms, templates and resources

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Version history

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Published on:

Last reviewed:

  • Date: 
    Maintenance
  • Date: 
    The key step 'Place a child in care' has been condensed to improve accessibility and navigation. (Refer to new key step 'Support a care arrangement' for other information). Also includes some reviewed content and layout changes.