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Provisional assessment and approval

Consider the provisional approval of a carer applicant

The Child Protection Act 1999, chapter 4, Division 3A, allows for the provisional approval of foster or kinship carer applicants to provide care to a specific child for a time-limited period providing the following requirements are met:

There are no suitable care arrangements available for the child, or it is not in the child’s best interests to be placed with an approved carer or in another available care arrangement. Child Protection Act 1999, section 136A(2)(b)
The prospective carer has lodged an application to be a foster or kinship carer with Child Safety, but this has not yet been decided. Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C
The carer applicant agrees to being considered for provisional approval. Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C(d)
The carer applicant is a suitable person to be a provisionally approved carer—specifically they do not pose a risk to the child’s safety; is able and willing to protect the child from harm; and is able to meet the standards of care. Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C(e) and
Child Protection Regulation 2011, section 24
Each adult household member of the carer applicant does not pose a risk to the child’s safety. Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C(e) and
Child Protection Regulation 2011, section 25

Requirements for provisional assessment

The three assessment elements of a provisional assessment are:

If the assessment relates to a sibling group, the carer applicant need only undergo one assessment process in line with the children identified in the Application for initial approval—Form 3A (APA initial).

Seek the views of the prospective provisional carer

Meet the requirements of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C, by assisting the prospective provisional carer to make an informed decision about caring for the child:

  • Explain the purpose and requirements of the provisional assessment, which includes checks of their (and their adult household members) criminal history, domestic violence and traffic history, and child protection history.
  • Clarify that the assessment for being provisionally approved is in addition to the assessment of their substantive application to be a foster or kinship carer.
  • Outline the child’s current care needs and discuss what assistance may be required to meet the child’s needs, if this has not already been discussed with a prospective carer. (Refer to Take into account the child’s right to privacy.)

Attention

Do not undertake criminal history or child protection history checks of a prospective provisional carer or their adult household members, including use of the SSoDR portal or Connect for Safety, prior to the person lodging an Application for initial approval—Form 3A.

Make sure the application forms are completed

If the prospective carer applicant decides to proceed with the provisional assessment but has not yet applied to be a foster or kinship carer, provide them with the following forms for completion:

Help to identify household members for inclusion in the APA initial form—such as people who live with the applicant on an ongoing or temporary basis, or who reside at their property, as well as adults who may be regular visitors. Refer to Ensure adult household members are identified.

Note

The Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, schedule 1 section 14(2), provides an exemption from adult household members of a provisionally approved carer, needing to have been issued with a blue card prior to placing the child with the provisionally approved carer.

Receive and process application documents

The applicant is required to provide the completed APA initial form and two forms of identification (as specified in the APA initial form) to the CSSC, PSU or the foster and kinship care service provider—refer to Verify identity.

Attention

An applicant who is being assessed for urgent provisional approval is required to provide their drivers licence or customer reference number (CRN) as one of the forms of identification. This will enable the CSU to complete a traffic infringement check with the Department of Transport and Main Roads in a timely way.

If the application forms are incorrectly completed it will delay the commencement of the assessment. Immediately return the forms to the applicant to properly complete the documents before entering the date the application is properly made. Refer to Ensure the application is properly made

Advise the regional PSU when a carer applicant has agreed to be assessed as a provisional carer. They will provide additional advice about:

  • the carer applicant’s completion of the Vendor master data form—required to certify the carer’s bank account details
  • the regional processes for provisional assessment, such as the iDOCS filing conventions.

Record applicant details in ICMS

Complete the following steps to create a carer entity to create an EOI in ICMS:

  • Check that the applicant does not have a carer entity already created in ICMS as part of their substantive application to be a foster or kinship carer, or a previous carer application.
  • If a carer entity has not been created, search in ICMS for the person profile of applicant one, or if there is no person profile, create the person profile using the details provided in the APA initial form.
  • Open the regulation of care tab from the person profile and select either foster or kinship carer, depending on their substantive carer application.
  • Add or create the person profiles in ICMS of applicant two (where there is more than a single applicant) recording their role and date of birth.
  • Repeat the process for all remaining household members (except for a child placed in their care in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)).
  • Create an EOI from the carer entity record and make sure all carer applicants and household members are included, then: 
    • in the enquiry tab record 'no'
    • in the lodgement tab, record 'yes' to the provisional approval sought prompt and add the subject child to the application.
  • Use the ICMS/iDOCS hyperlink functionality to save all application and identification documents into ICMS.

Refer to the Central Screening Unit for a suitability assessment

The Central Screening Unit (CSU)completes the suitability assessment of a carer applicant being considered for provisional approval and their adult household members, with respect to their criminal history, child protection and personal history checks. The CSU assessment is based on: 

  • national criminal history
  • Queensland domestic violence checks
  • Queensland traffic infringement checks
    and
  • an assessment of Queensland child protection history for the applicant and all household members, and if relevant, an assessment of interstate and New Zealand child protection history, for any person who has lived in another state, territory or New Zealand during the past 5 years.

Before making a request to the CSU to commence the suitability assessment, make sure the carer application documents are properly made and are accessible in iDOCS via the EOI/application tab in ICMS. (Refer to Record applicant details in ICMS.)

Once the application forms have been properly made and an EOI created in ICMS, request the CSU to commence the suitability assessment by sending an email to the CSU mailbox, csces_csu_process@Communities.qld.gov.au. Include in the email subject line:

  • the EOI number of the carer entity
  • that the request is for a provisional assessment.

Note

CSU staff will use the ICMS/iDOCS hyperlink functionality to confirm the details of the carer applicants and adult household members. CSU staff are unable to commence criminal and personal history checks unless the carer application documents have been properly made.

The CSU manager is the delegated officer to decide if a carer applicant and their adult household members are suitable persons under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C(e)(i) and 136C(e)(ii), with respect to criminal history, domestic violence history, traffic infringements and child protection history checks.

A CSU outcome letter will be attached to the applicant’s EOI tab in ICMS. This explains the CSU manager’s decision about whether or not the applicant and adult household members meet the legislative requirements as suitable persons. Refer to Take action in response to the CSU outcome letter.

Request urgent criminal history and other checks

If an urgent care arrangement is being sought to enable the child to be placed that same day (or evening) with a carer applicant who is being assessed for provisional approval, the CSU will facilitate urgent criminal history and other checks on behalf of the CSSC.

To request urgent checks in these circumstances, and if it is before 3:00pm on a business day, email the CSU mailbox (csces_csu_process@Communities.qld.gov.au) and provide a rationale for same day request. In the email subject line include:

  • the EOI number of the carer entity
  • that the request is for an urgent provisional approval.

Note

The use of the SSoDR portal for urgent criminal history checks of carer applicants being provisionally assessed to care for a specific child is not an alternative to requesting CSU to complete these checks.

If the applicant’s substantive carer application has already been sent to the CSU, the CSU may have commenced the suitability assessment and will upgrade the urgency of the request to the QPS. If the carer application documents have only just been lodged, the CSU will prioritise the request and provide the CSSC with the information that can be obtained within the required time frame.

The information provided by the QPS for urgent requests will be provided by email to the CSSC by the CSU.

Include the results of the urgent checks in the ICMS Form 5: Approval Decision - Provisionally approved carer so that these can be considered by the regional director or duty executive, as part of their decision to approve or refuse the provisional assessment.

If information is subsequently received (such as national criminal history or interstate child protection history), the CSU manager, as the delegated officer under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C(e)(i) and section 136C(e)(ii), will provide a finalised suitability outcome to the CSSC. Refer to Take action in response to the CSU outcome letter.

Request assistance from CSAHSC to finalise urgent approvals

If it is not possible for the CSSC to complete all the requirements for the provisional assessment for an urgent same day care arrangement, and it is after 3:00pm on a business day, the senior team leader can speak to the CSAHSC senior team leader to negotiate after-hours assistance.

If CSAHSC has agreed to arrange for urgent criminal history checks, the CSSC will first seek approval from the CSSC manager or senior team leader to request urgent checks, and will:

  • complete the QPS—Urgent S95 request (after hours), including the details of the carer applicants and adult household members as listed in the APA initial form
  • seek approval from the CSSC manager to request urgent checks
  • provide a rationale for the request, as required by the QPS form
  • make sure the delegated officer signs the form
  • create the EOI/application in ICMS.

Attention

The information obtained for urgent after-hours checks does not replace the suitability assessment made by the CSU manager, even when the carer has been provisionally approved in urgent circumstances by the regional director or duty executive officer.

In these circumstances CSU will continue to complete a suitability assessment. In line with the statutory delegations, (Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C(e)(i) and 136C(e)(ii)) the CSU manager will provide the final suitability outcome to the CSSC.

If CSAHSC is assisting the CSSC to complete other assessment actions the CSSC will:

  • make sure the completed or partially completed provisional assessment documents are accessible to CSAHSC
    and
  • seek the CSSC manager’s endorsement for the completed or partially completed assessment.

For a same day care arrangement, CSAHCS will document the subsequent assessment information they obtain in either the Provisional approval assessment report or the ICMS Form 5: Approval decision—Provisionally approved carer (whichever is relevant to the assessment information.)  

When the assessment has been finalised, CSAHSC will initiate contact with the appropriate delegated officer and provide them with the provisional assessment documentation for decision making. Refer to Provide the finalised assessment to the delegated officer.

Note

During extended CSSC closure periods, CSAHCS may complete other tasks to facilitate the provisional carer assessment and the approval decision. This will be directly negotiated by the CSSC senior team leader with the CSAHSC senior team leader.

If the regional director or duty executive officer provisionally approves a carer applicant, CSAHSC staff will make sure the information is recorded in ICMS by:

  • creating the EOI/application in ICMS (if this has not been completed by the CSSC), refer to Record applicant details in ICMS)
  • recording the outcome of personal history checks and ‘Provisional assessment recommendation’ details in the Assessment tab
  • recording the ‘Provisional approval’ decision details made by the duty executive officer in the ‘Approval/refusal tab in ICMS.

Take action in response to the CSU outcome letter

If the CSU has completed a suitability assessment, access the CSU outcome letter from the applicants EOI tab in ICMS, and take one of the following actions:

  • If the CSU manager has determined that the applicant and their adult household members are suitable persons:
  • If the CSU manager has determined the applicant and their adult household members are not suitable persons, the assessment to be a provisionally approved carer cannot proceed. The CSSC will:
    • take action to inform the assessor to cease further provisional assessment activities
    • tell the applicant that the child will not be placed in their care under a provisional certificate of approval
    • explain that their substantiative application to be a foster or kinship carer is unaffected by this decision and will still proceed.

If the child has been placed with a provisionally approved carer in urgent circumstances, prior to completion of the suitability assessment by CSU, and the CSU manager subsequently determines that the carer or an adult household member is not a suitable person:

Complete the provisional approval assessment

If the provisional assessment is being completed by the CSO, undertake the following steps to complete the assessment:

If the assessment is being completed by an assessor external to Child Safety, the CSO will:

  • Provide the assessor with information obtained from the child about the proposed care arrangement, as well as any views the child’s parents may have communicated.
  • Discuss with the senior team leader any conflicting views expressed by the child or family members about the prospective carer.

Attention

If the carer applicant resides in another CSSCs geographical area, the CSSC manager with case management for the child will contact the CSSC manager responsible for the geographical area where the child is proposed to be placed, and request their endorsement to proceed with the proposed care arrangement.

Complete the household safety study part one

The assessor will complete the mandatory safety requirements of the Household safety study, these being:

  • water safety
  • fire safety
  • indoor safety
  • firearms requirements, if relevant.

Practice prompt

The Household safety study aims to prevent injury to a child in a family-based care arrangement. Provide a copy of Tips to make your pool safer to the applicant. Discuss the expectations for water safety and supervision, regardless of whether or not the applicant has a pool or spa.

In urgent circumstances, the applicant may not be fully compliant with the requirements at the time of the assessment. If safety risks are identified, the assessor will:

  • develop a plan with the applicant to address the identified risks
  • explain any risks or vulnerabilities for the child in the Household safety study.

If the risk to the child’s safety is significant and is not sufficiently mitigated by the agreed plan, the applicant cannot be granted provisional approval.

Provide the finalised assessment to the delegated officer

The delegated officer to approve or refuse the provisional assessment of a carer applicant is outlined in the following table:

Delegated officer Assessment context

CSSC manager of the CSSC holding case management for the child

Based on the:

Regional director or duty executive officer outside of business hours

Based on the:

Provide the appropriate delegated officer with the following assessment information:

Note

If the applicant is a Child Safety employee, provide the assessment documents to the regional director, who will decide whether to grant a certificate of approval as a provisional carer. Refer to Decide an employee’s carer application.

Decide the outcome of the provisional assessment

The delegated officer will consider the following legislative requirements before making a decision to provisionally approve the carer applicant to care for each specific child, or alternatively, to not provisionally approve the applicant:

  • the applicant does not pose a risk to the child’s safety (Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C(e)(ii)) and is able and willing to protect the child from harm
  • the applicant can meet the standards of care Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C(e)(iii)
  • all members of the applicant’s household are suitable persons to associate with the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 136C(e)(iii).

Complete Form 5: Approval decision—Provisionally approved carer in ICMS to:

  • complete the checklist for approval.
  • record the decision to approve or not approve the carer, and the date of the decision
  • state any conditions to the approval

If the delegated officer does not provisionally approve the carer applicant, the decision is not a reviewable decision. The affected person is unable to apply to QCAT for a review of the decision. The refusal decision does not affect their substantiative application to be a foster carer or kinship carer.

Issue a certificate of approval as a provisionally approved carer

If the delegated officer has approved the applicant, complete the following actions:

  • Record the delegated officer’s decision in the provisional approval section of the Approval/refusal tab in the carer entity in ICMS.
  • Prepare the Certificate of Approval—Provisionally approved carer in ICMS for the delegated officer’s signature.
  • Prepare a Letter of approval as a provisionally approved carer in ICMS for the delegated officer’s signature.
  • Ensure the certificate of approval and the letter are sent to the approved carer.

Time sensitive

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 136D(5), states that the provisional certificate of approval can only be issued for 60 days. If an amendment is required to extend the period of approval, refer to Extend the approval expiry date.

The assessment of a provisionally approved carers substantive application to be a foster or kinship carer must be made before the expiry date on their current certificate of provisional approval. If this cannot occur, the child will need to be placed with another care arrangement, until the substantive application to be a foster or kinship carer is approved.  Refer to Prioritise provisionally approved carers.

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 136D(3) requires a separate certificate of approval for each child identified in the APA initial form and the provisional approval assessment report.

If it is subsequently proposed to place another child with the provisionally approved carer (before the expiry of the certificate of approval as a provisionally approved carer), the carer needs to be assessed as a suitable person for the subsequent child.

  • Complete a new ICMS Form 5: Approval decision—Provisionally approved carer.
  • Provide to the delegated officer information relevant to the care of this child.
  • Specify any conditions relating to the approval specific to the care of this child.
  • Include information about the CSU managers suitability assessment, if it had not been completed as part of the earlier provisional assessment.

If the delegated officer provisionally approves the carer for the subsequent child, prepare another Certificate of Approval—Provisionally approved carer in ICMS for that child, and provide to the carer.

Take action when advised of a new spousal relationship

If a provisionally approved carer who was issued with a certificate of approval as a single carer then advises Child Safety of a new spousal relationship, make sure the following actions occur:

  • Advise the provisionally approved carer and other adult to complete a joint application for initial approval as foster or kinship carers.
  • Ensure the new carer application documents are properly made (refer to Ensure the application is properly made) and the identity of the other person has been verified (refer to Verify identity).
  • Create a new initial carer EOI/application in ICMS for the applicant couple.
  • Arrange for the assessor to commence an assessment of the new carer application (refer to Identify the assessor.)

If the joint application is approved by the CSSC manager or PSU manager:

  • Issue the carers with a new joint certificate of approval.
  • Request the return of the previous certificate of approval.
  • End the existing single carer entity approval in ICMS with an end reason of Surrendered, as a new joint carer entity will automatically be created in ICMS upon approval.
  • Ensure any existing care arrangements are updated in ICMS to reflect the new carer entity.
  • For foster carers, attach the new Foster carer agreement to ICMS.
  • Review the placement agreement for any child in the care of a kinship carer,  taking into consideration any changes to the support needs for the new carer entity. (Refer to Prepare for the placement meeting to review the placement agreement.)

Tip

If the provisionally approved carer’s substantive application to be a foster or kinship carer is approved, the approval remains valid only if a joint application for initial approval has been properly made and if the new spouse holds a current blue card or exemption card.

Take specific actions following provisional approval

Follow the Commence a care arrangement checklist to identify the requirements for a new care arrangement, including:

Additional action required Refer to 

Issue the carer with an authority to care form.

Provide the authority to care form

Make sure the carer has up to date and written information about the child.

Prepare the care arrangement for the child’s arrival

Identify additional supports for the carer and child.

Provide support to the carer

Arrange a placement meeting with the carer,

Negotiate the placement agreement

Provide information to the child’s parents about where and with whom the child is placed. Advise parents where the child in living

Consider the support and information needs of the child

Practice kit, Care arrangements, Transitions

Pay carer allowances

Work with the CSSC business support team to make sure the provisionally approved carer receives the fortnightly caring allowance, as well as other caring allowances approved by the CSSC manager. To commence payment of the fortnightly caring allowance, the nominated CSSC staff member will:

  • make sure a carer entity profile in ICMS (if one has not already been created)
  • complete the Vendor master data form, if one has not already been completed by the carer
  • provide the information to the CSSC business services team so they can create a SAP accountto enable carer payments to transfer to the carer’s bank account
  • follow the Carepay system process by creating a placement record in the ICMS locations tab for a Carepay task to generate for payment.  

Help a new carer understand their legislative obligations

If the provisionally approved carer has not completed the ‘Getting ready to start’ training modules or they are not supported by a foster and kinship care service provider, provide the carer with information about:

Amend the provisional carer's certificate of approval

Extend the approval expiry date

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 138B(2) enables the CSSC manager or PSU manager to extend the certificate of approval as a provisionally approved carer for no more than 30 days if all the following requirements are met:

  • the existing certificate of approval as a provisional carer has not expired
  • the extension is considered desirable and appropriate to meet the needs of the child named on the certificate
  • the carer agrees to the extension of the expiry date.

If the delegated officer extends the expiry date:

  • Record the provisional approval extension details in the approval/refusal tab in ICMS.
  • Provide the carer with a new Certificate of Approval—Provisionally approved carer, retaining the existing details and conditions (if relevant), and adding the new expiry date.
  • Attach a copy of the new certificate of approval to the EOI/Application in ICMS and provide a copy to the foster and kinship carer service, where relevant.

Attention

If the provisional certificate of approval:

  • has already expired, it cannot be backdated to enable the extension
  • has been extended once by 30 days, it cannot be extended further, as the Child Protection Act, chapter 4, Division 3A, does not provide for successive provisional approvals of the same carer applicant.

If the carer’s substantive carer application to be a foster or kinship carer has not yet been approved, the child cannot continue to be placed in their care under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1).

Make other amendments

The CSSC and PSU manager are delegated to make additional amendments to a provisional certificate of approval. This can occur in response to the carers request for a specific amendment to be made (refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 138) or in other circumstances, such as:

  • The carer has agreed to an amendment.
  • The carer is not meeting the statement of standards or a condition of the certificate of approval.
  • The carer has contravened a provision of the Child Protection Act 1999.
  • The certificate was issued because of a materially false or misleading representation or declaration, orally or in writing.
  • Further information has been obtained about the carer’s application.
  • It is considered necessary or desirable because of a circumstance prescribed under a regulation.

If the delegated officer decides that an amendment is required and the provisionally approved carer has not applied for the amendment:

  • meet with the provisionally approved carer to discuss the reason for the amendment
  • provide written notice to the provisionally approved carer, stating:
      • the proposed amendment and the reasons for the amendment
      • the carer is unable to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for a review of the decision to amend a provisional certificate of approval.

Following provision of the written notice the CSSC or PSU manager will:

  • Issue the carer with a new Certificate of Approval—Provisionally approved carer.
  • Attach a copy of the new certificate of approval to the carer’s file using the ICMS/iDOCS hyperlink functionality.

The amendment of a provisional certificate of approval does not affect the carer’s pending application for approval as a foster or kinship carer.

If the CSSC manager decides not to proceed with the amendment, provide written notice to the provisionally approved carer of their decision not to amend the certificate of approval.

Cancel or suspend provisional approval

A provisionally approved carer’s certificate of approval will be suspended or cancelled in any of the following circumstances:

  • The CSU manager has decided that a carer or adult household member is not a suitable person, with respect to their criminal history, domestic violence and traffic history, and child protection checks, and this information is provided after the regional director or duty executive officer has provisionally approved the applicant.
  • The substantive application for approval as a foster carer or kinship carer has been refused.
  • The provisionally approved carer or an adult household member has withdrawn their application for a blue card or exemption card.
  • Blue Card Services has taken any of the following actions in relation to the carer or an adult household member:
    • issued a negative notice or negative exemption notice
    • suspended or cancelled a current blue or exemption card.

If the delegated officer decides to suspend or cancel a provisionally approved carer’s certificate of approval:

  • meet with the carer to discuss the reason for the suspension or cancellation
  • provide written notice to the provisionally approved carer using the Letter of suspension/cancellation (PAC) template from the M&S event in the approval tab in ICMS, outlining:
    • the reasons for the decision to suspend or cancel the certificate of approval
    • that the action does not affect the carer’s application for approval as a foster or kinship carer
    • there is no right to seek review by QCAT
      and
    • as required by the Child Protection Act 1999, section 141 request the carer to return the provisional certificate of approval to the CSSC manager in no less than 2 days after this written notice.

Complete the following additional actions:

  • update the carers approval status in ICMS to reflect the suspension or cancellation decision
  • record an ICMS alert in the carer entity Carer certificate of authority cancelled/suspended’
  • provide a copy of the written notice to the CSU manager
  • return the certificate of approval to the carer, if the certificate of approval was suspended, at the end of the period of suspension.

Note

Someone who has been a provisionally approved carer will not be referred to Queensland Foster and Kinship Care (QFKC) for an exit interview, as their substantive application is still to be assessed and decided.

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