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Renewal assessment requirements
The legislative requirements for the renewal of a foster or kinship carer's certificate of approval are outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999, the Child Protection Regulation 2023, and the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000. These include:
Lodgement of carer application forms before the expiry date on the carer’s certificate of approval.
|Approved carer||Child Protection Act 1999, section134(1).|
Evidence of a current blue card or exemption card.
|Approved carer and each adult household member||Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, schedule 1, section 14.|
|A suitability assessment of the applicant and each adult household member with respect to checks of their child protection, domestic violence and traffic history.||
Central Screening Unit (CSU)
|Child Protection Act 1999, section 135(1).|
An assessment of carer applicant’s demonstrated capacity to meet the standards of care; to help in appropriate ways towards achieving plans for the child’s protection; their commitment to the principles for administering the Child Protection Act 1999.
Completion of required training that will help the carer to care for children placed in their care.
|Lead trainer or foster and kinship care service provider||Child Protection Regulation 2023, section 23 (foster carers), or section 24 (kinship carers).|
|An assessment of the physical safety of the applicant’s residence and premises.||Assessor||Child Protection Regulation 2023, section 27.|
|Other information that may be relevant to deciding whether the applicant is suitable.||As determined by the CSSC manager.||Child Protection Regulation 2023, section 27.|
A long-term guardian or a permanent guardian of the child does not need to renew their certificate of approval to continue caring for that child. A renewal application is only required if the approved foster carer has a current certificate of approval and intends to provide a care arrangement for other children in care.
A member of the child’s family, who has been granted custody of the child by the Childrens Court under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 61(1)(d)(i), is not an approved carer and is not subject to carer assessment requirements for that child.
Make sure the kinship carer meets the changed definition of kin
At least 3 months prior to the expiry date on a kinship carer’s certificate of approval, determine if the kinship carer is affected by the changed definition of kin (that came into effect on 21 May 2023), as this may affect a change to carer type. In these circumstances, the carer application, type of carer assessment and their certificate of approval is impacted.
For a kinship carer who is currently approved to care for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, the carer must be either:
- a member of the child’s family group who is of significance to the child—this includes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relative as well as a non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relative
- a person under Aboriginal tradition who is regarded as kin of the Aboriginal child, or for a Torres Strait Islander child, a person who under Island custom is regarded as kin of the Torres Strait Islander child
- another a person who is recognised by the child or the child’s family group as a person of significance to the child who also has a cultural connection to the child.
If it is not clear whether the carer meets the changed definition of kin, involve the child and their family in this decision and be led by their knowledge and views. Refer to Contact the child and their family group.
When contacting the child, ensure that communication with them is carried out in a way that is appropriate to the individual child, having regard to their age, maturity, capacity, culture and circumstances (refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 5E.)
If the kinship carer meets the changed definition of kin, refer to Invite an application for renewal of approval.
If the kinship carer does not meet the changed definition of kin:
- discuss the information provided by the child and family with the CSSC manager or PSU manager
- advise the PSU and the foster and kinship care service provider of the change in carer type
- explain to the affected carer they no longer meet the definition of kin, and support them to understand this change—refer to Support the affected carer
- clarify their interest in continuing to care for the child and explain they can lodge an initial application to be assessed as a foster carer—refer to Invite the affected kinship carer to submit a foster carer application.
PSUs and foster and kinship care service providers share responsibilities to ensure that carers lodge the carer renewal forms prior to the expiry of their certificate of approval, in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 134(8).
The PSU monitors the certificates of approval expiry date for carers affiliated with Child Safety, and 3 months prior to the expiry date of their current certificate of approval, provides the carer with the ICMS Letter inviting applications for renewal of approval and the relevant renewal application forms (or access to the online versions):
the Application for renewal of approval—Form 3B (APA renewal)
- the Addendum for additional household members—Form 3C (used only when an applicant has more than 2 household members)
- the Carer applicant health and wellbeing questionnaire (not routinely required for renewal applicants for whom the streamlined carer assessment process applies—refer to Use a streamlined renewal assessment for specific carers.)
If the renewal application (or the initial application for kinship carers who are affected by the changed definition of kin) is not lodged before the carer’s certificate of approval has expired, they are no longer an approved carer. Any child placed in their care by Child Safety will either need to be removed, or the applicant will need to lodge an Application for initial approval—Form 3A and be urgently assessed as a provisional carer to the child. Refer to Provisional assessment and approval.
Blue cards and exemption cards (issued by Blue Card Services) must be renewed by approved carers and their adult household members every 3 years, to ensure the legislative requirements of the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, are met.
Blue card renewal dates will not necessarily line up with the carer renewal application and assessment process. Blue Card Services send their card holders a reminder to renew their blue card before it expires.
The PSU monitors the blue card expiry and lodgement dates of Child Safety affiliated carers and their adult household members, using the Blue Card Services organisation portal. Where required the PSU will:
- support to the applicant or adult household member to complete their blue card or exemption card renewal application
- provide the carer with information particular to their circumstances, such as:
- links to Blue Card Services ‘how to’ videos and fact sheets
- other targeted resources, such as those developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples or resources in other languages
- information to assist a person living interstate or in a remote Queensland location to obtain a customer reference number (CRN) from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads if they don’t already have one (refer to Getting a customer reference number.)
If the blue card renewal application is not submitted before its expiry date, the carer will be unable to continue in their carer role. Any child placed in their care under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1) will not be able to remain in the care arrangement. Refer to Suspension or cancellation of a foster or kinship carer’s certificate of approval—failure to apply for a blue card or exemption card or renew a blue card.
If the blue card renewal is not actioned before its expiry date it will be automatically delinked in the blue care portal.
As long as the blue card renewal application is submitted to Blue Card Services by the card holder before their current blue card expires, the carer can continue to provide foster or kinship care—even if the new blue card has not been issued by the time the previous one expires.
Respond when a paper application for a blue card is submitted
Blue Card Services prefer applicants to submit an online application, where possible. If a paper application is preferred by the carer or their adult household member:
- provide the Volunteer foster/kinship carer or adult member blue/exemption card application form (one for each person)
- tell the applicant they also need to submit proof of identity documents (as specified in the Blue Card Services application form) which may be either:
- a certified copy of their customer reference number (CRN) confirmation letter issued by the Department of Transport and Main Roads
- a certified copy of an identification document
- a certified copy of their customer reference number (CRN) confirmation letter issued by the Department of Transport and Main Roads
- make sure the applicant submits the required documentation with sufficient time for it to be processed and submitted to Blue Card Services, before the expiry date on the blue card.
If a new adult household member is applying for a blue card for the first time, they may require ongoing assistance. If so, provide the Consent to discuss information form to enable Blue Card Services to discuss their application with a person they specify (which may be someone from their personal support network or a Child Safety staff member).
The Child Safety staff member receiving the carer application forms will make sure the application is ‘properly made’ by completing the following actions:
- confirm lodgment of the following documents:
- the Application for renewal of approval—Form 3B
- the Addendum for additional household members—Form 3C (only required for applicants with more than 2 household members)
- Carer applicant health and wellbeing questionnaire (one form per applicant.) This form is not routinely required for renewal applicants for whom the streamlined carer assessment process applies—refer to Use a streamlined renewal assessment for specific carers
- check that all questions have been answered or a N/A entry provided
- make sure the consent sections within the forms have been signed by the applicant (including the applicant’s signature in the Carer health and wellbeing questionnaire)
- make sure the adult household members have also signed the consent section of the Application for initial approval—Form 3A
- confirm the carers and adult household members information includes the blue card or exemption card number (for current blue card holders) or the online account number for blue card applicants
- if a blue card is being applied for using a paper application, sight the certified form of identification as outlined in the Volunteer foster/kinship carer or adult household member blue/exemption card application.
If the application has not been properly made, ask the carer to provide the required information before accepting and dating the application as properly made.
When the application documents are properly made:
- complete the Child Safety section of the form, and record the date properly made
- send the forms to the PSU.
The renewal application must reflect the current carer entity as recorded in the carer’s current certificate of approval. If there has been a change to the carer entity, request the applicant lodge an Application for initial approval—Form 3A. If this carer is currently caring for a child placed with them under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1), immediately complete a provisional assessment and submit to the delegated officer for their decision making. Refer to Provisional assessment and approval. If approved as a provisional carer, this will enable the child to remain in the care arrangement.
When it is determined that the carer application is properly made, follow regional arrangements to ensure the carer application is immediately entered in ICMS:
- create an EOI/application for renewal from the carer entity record
- record the application lodgement and verification of identity details, including that of any new adult household members, in the lodgement/withdrawal tab
- attach all relevant forms and other documents to the EOI/application using the iDOCS hyperlink in ICMS.
Most carers are affiliated with foster kinship care service providers, who are funded by Child Safety to complete the renewal assessments of carers in a timely way (including the assessments they have decided to outsource to a fee-for-service assessor).
Child Safety is responsible for allocating and managing renewal assessments relating to carers affiliated with Child Safety.
Child Safety is also responsible for approving or refusing the carer’s application to renew their certificate of approval, regardless of the carers affiliation or who completes the assessment.
Commence and complete the carer renewal assessment with sufficient time to enable the delegated officer to decide the application—that is, within 3 months of the carer renewal application being properly made.
In some circumstances, the 3-month assessment completion timeframe may not be able to be met. For example, when:
- the carer is absent from the care role due to a time-limited break for health, wellbeing, personal or employment reasons—refer to Respond to a carer’s request for a time-limited break
- additional assessment information is required (such as carer medical information or the need to complete interviews of multiple children in the care arrangement) and this may extend the 3-month completion timeframe
- there are unavoidable delays to the completion of an investigation and assessment of a harm report
- Blue Card Services identifies concerns as part of their checks and invites the card holder to provide a written submission—which delays the blue card decision process
- an interstate or New Zealand jurisdiction has agreed to complete the assessment and requests more time (refer to the Interstate child protection protocol)
- Childrens Court proceedings to vary or revoke the current child protection order are imminent and it is advisable to wait the final outcome of the court (as the carer may not need to renew their approval.)
Advise of changes to renewal completion timeframes
If the 3-month timeframe is unable to be met and more time is required, advise the CSSC manager or PSU manager of the circumstances and when the assessment will be completed. They may request the assessor to:
- contact the carer to explain that the renewal assessment cannot not be finalised within 3 months and the reasons for this
- add a case note to the EOI/application outlining the reasons for the delay, the new proposed timeframe, and when the carer was advised.
The renewal assessment of a carer affiliated with Child Safety will be allocated to a CSO or senior Child Safety practitioner, or in consultation with the PSU manager, to a fee-for-service assessor (following approval by the appropriate financial delegate.) For carers living interstate, refer to Initiate interstate carer renewal assessments.
For carers affiliated with a foster and kinship care service provider, the carer’s service provider is responsible for allocation decisions, including meeting the additional costs arising from their decision to outsource the assessment to a fee-for-service professional.
Make sure the assessor has the relevant information to complete the assessment, or they are able to access the necessary information from their record keeping systems. Refer to Provide information to the assessor. Relevant information for the assessor includes:
- carer renewal application documents
- copy of the previous carer assessment report and current certificate of approval
- the Foster carer agreement (for foster carers)
- Change in carer circumstances forms and New adult household member forms, submitted since the last carer assessment and approval
- assessment information from standard of care reviews or harm reports, from the current approval period
- Advice to regional director form and the Conflict of interest declaration form for an applicant who is also a Child Safety employee
- the reviewed CSU outcome report when obtained, (and if it is to be provided to an assessor external to Child Safety, after ensuring that information that may identify a notifier, or information relating to a person’s youth justice history (unless exempt) is removed or concealed)—refer to The application is eligible to progress)
- additional child protection history about the carer or household members from ICMS, if not already included in the CSU outcome report
- decisions made by the CSSC manager or PSU manager about the assessment—refer to Manage assessment requirements and Vary assessment requirements.
A different assessment process applies in the following limited circumstances:
- a foster carer who meets the four criteria listed in Use a streamlined renewal assessment for specific carers
- an approved kinship carer who requires assessment for another child—refer to Respond when an approved kinship carer requires assessment for another child.
Plan the assessment
The allocated officer will prepare for the assessment by reviewing the information relevant to the carer’s current approval period, including:
- the CSU manager’s suitability assessment, in particular the information from personal history checks that may require further exploration with the carer
- health or lifestyle issues raised in the Carer health and wellbeing questionnaire or otherwise known to Child Safety
- changes to household membership (both adult members and children living in the care arrangement), as the impact of these changes will need to be explored in discussion with the carer and the child in care
- conditions to their existing certificate of approval (so that these can be reviewed with the carer as part of the current assessment)
- completion of mandatory and other training.
Completion of the Starting out training modules (including the Hope and healing trauma informed training) is mandatory for foster carers and must be completed during their first year as an approved carer.
It is not mandatory for foster carers who were previously approved as the child’s kinship carer, but are now approved foster carers with a condition limiting their care to the specific child to complete the Getting ready to start training.
Water safety awareness training is mandatory for both foster and kinship carers including approved carers residing interstate—it is to be completed within the first 12 months of being approved.
Identify if additional assessment information is required
The Child Protection Regulation 2023, section 27, enables the CSSC manager or PSU manager to request additional information to assist them to determine if the carer continues to be a suitable person. Refer to Determine the need for discretionary information. This information may be identified after reviewing the carer application documents, or at any other time throughout the assessment process. The request must relate to the current assessment period (that is, the period since the carer’s last approval date) and may include:
- medical information about the carer’s physical or mental health and wellbeing—refer to Consider requesting medical information and Request a GP medical check or medical information
- information from a former Queensland foster and kinship care service provider, such as when the carer has transferred to a different service provider—refer to Consider requesting information from a foster and kinship care service provider
- a character reference from a person who knows the applicant well (other than a Child Safety or Foster and kinship care service provider staff member)—refer to Consider requesting referee checks.
It is likely that the foster and kinship care service provider or the CSO for the child will identify the possible need for additional assessment information, due to the nature of their regular and ongoing contact with the carer. In these circumstances, that worker will bring this to the attention of the delegated officer as soon as possible.
The CSU manager is the delegated officer to decide if the carer applicant and their household members are suitable persons under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 135—only with respect to checks of their child protection and personal history (domestic violence and traffic history.
When the carer application documents are properly made (refer to Ensure the application is properly made) and accessible in iDOCS via the EOI/application tab in ICMS (refer to Record the renewal in ICMS), then:
- email the CSU mailbox, csces_csu_process@Communities.qld.gov.au
- include in the email subject line the EOI number of the carer entity.
If the CSU manager determines that the application is not suitable to progress, the CSU manager will:
- refuse the application under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 136
- advise the applicant of the decision in writing within 10 days, outlining a statement of reasons for the decision, and information about review rights
- attach a copy of all written advice in ICMS.
Take prompt action to make sure the renewal assessment of Queensland approved carers who reside interstate or in New Zealand can be commenced and completed within the required timeframe—refer to Follow renewal assessment timeframes.
Check that the carer has completed the carer application documents (refer to Ensure the renewal application is properly made), and that they and all adult household members have a current blue card or exemption card issued by Blue Card Services (or new adult household members have applied for a blue card)—refer to Support carers supported by Child Safety to renew a blue card.
Provide the CSSC manager with information to inform any additional assessment decisions including:
- the need for any additional assessment information (such as a GP check, a request for additional medical information, referee checks)—refer to Determine the need for discretionary information
- the completion of the Household safety study by the interstate assessor
- how to best include the child’s views and wishes about their care arrangement.
Make sure the carer application documents are accessible in iDOCS via the EOI/application tab in ICMS (refer to Record applicant details in ICMS) and request the CSU to commence the suitability assessment:
- email the CSU mailbox, csces_csu_process@Communities.qld.gov.au
- include in the email subject line the EOI number of the carer entity.
In line with the Interstate child protection protocol, the Interstate liaison team, Court Services will negotiate the assessment request with the other jurisdiction and:
- contact the team to discuss the request
- provide any additional decisions made by the CSSC manager regarding the assessment
- confirm the need for the interstate jurisdiction to complete a Household safety study
- complete the Request for interstate assessment—renewal of approval assessment, when requested by the Interstate liaison team, Court Services.
If the receiving state or jurisdiction needs to outsource the carer assessment to a fee-for-service assessor, the requesting CSSC or the relevant PSU will meet the costs of the assessment.
Complete the renewal assessment
The renewal assessment is concerned with the period since the carer was last issued with a certificate of approval. Arrange to complete interviews or discussions with:
- the carer applicant, or for a joint carer, with both applicants
- the CSO for the child placed under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1)
- the child—in line with the advice from the CSO and the child’s safety and support network on who is best placed to talk directly to the child
- the applicant’s own children living in the household
- other members of the applicant’s household, as appropriate.
The assessor may seek information from additional sources, including a community visitor, school staff or early childhood centre staff who have contact with the child currently in the care arrangement, and (where appropriate) a previous foster and kinship care service involved in supporting the carer since the previous carer approval.
If relevant, consider seeking information from a child previously in the care arrangement, and include their views and experiences.
Use the appropriate guidelines to assist with the assessment—refer to Guidelines for completing an assessment report—Renewal of approval (for a foster carer) or the Kinship carer renewal assessment report guidelines.
A more thorough and detailed carer assessment may be required when there has been:
- concerns about the carer’s ability to meet and maintain the standards of care
- limited or infrequent direct contact with the carer
- changes in their circumstances during the approval period that may impact on providing care to a child in care.
If the applicant is not responding to repeated outreach by the assessor to commence or complete the assessment, but has not withdrawn their application, complete an assessment with the information that is available. The delegated officer is required to decide the application even if the assessment is incomplete—refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 135.
Infomation from the child
Provide the child in care with meaningful opportunities to communicate their views in a way that is appropriate for the child—refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 5E.
The child’s CSO and their safety and support network will, in consultation with the child, provide advice on who is best placed to seek the child’s views, and identify areas to explore when talking with the child. This is likely to be a person the child knows or nominates.
Information from the CSO and community visitor
Ask the child’s CSO and their community visitor to provide information the child may have told them about this care arrangement. Ask them to also provide their views about how the carer demonstrates their capability to keep the child in care safe from harm, how they meet the standards of care (refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 122) and assist in achieving case plan goals relating to the child’s care.
The Child Safety assessor may also seek information from additional sources, including school staff or early childhood centre staff who have contact with the child currently in the care arrangement, and where appropriate, a previous foster and kinship care service involved in supporting the carer since the previous carer assessment approval.
For assessments being completed by a foster and kinship care service provider or a fee-for-service assessor, the assessor may directly request information from the child’s CSO. Respond in a timely way to their request, and if required, seek the advice of the senior team leader about the provision of relevant sensitive information.
The household safety study
Complete the Household safety study with the applicant, preferably in their own home, and if:
- areas of non-compliance specific to part 1 of the assessment are identified (the mandatory safety requirements) make sure these are met prior to progressing the application to the delegated officer
- other concerns (specific to part 2 of the assessment) are identified, document what needs to be addressed in the Household safety study report.
Take into account changes to a carer’s circumstances
Advise the CSSC manager or PSU manager if the carer provides information about new adult household members or other relevant changes to their circumstances, not already advised to Child Safety through the carer's completion of a Change in carer circumstances form.
During assessment interviews with the carer, include a focus on any changes since their last carer assessment. Include other information, such as the provision of regulated care services, or changes to health or employment demands, into the assessment. (Refer to Provision of other regulated services from the home.)
If the assessor becomes aware of new adult household members:
- tell the carer of their legal obligation to immediately complete a Change in carer circumstances form and provide this to the CSSC or PSU
- provide information about the adult person’s proposed contact with the carer’s household, to the CSSC manager, for their decision about whether this person meets the legislative intention of an adult of an adult household member. Refer to Ensure adult household members are identified, and to the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, section 176A.
Revise conditions on an existing certificate of approval
The Child Protection Act 1999, section 134(7) enables the delegated officer to renew a certificate of approval and include the conditions stated in the existing certificate of approval. In these circumstances, the assessor will:
- seek the carer’s views about the condition ceasing or continuing
- assess the impact of ending or continuing the condition
- consider alternative proposals if appropriate, such as incorporating the condition into the Foster carer agreement (for a foster carer)
- provide a clear rationale for the proposed action to cease or continue the conditions, including the views of the carer in the carer assessment report.
The CSSC manager or PSU manager can amend the carer’s certificate of approval at any time. This action may be initiated by the carer (refer to Consider an amendment requested by a carer), and if refused by the delegated officer, the applicant has the right to apply to QCAT for a review of the decision.
As part of the renewal assessment, commence the process to review the Foster carer agreement—for foster carers only. Use the current agreement and the information obtained during the carer assessment to prompt the review, making sure to include in the discussion:
- areas they may find challenging and reasons for any difficulties
- the skills and knowledge requiring further development
- strengthening their support plan and network
- changes to the original agreement in relation to the type of care and age range of children placed.
Document the assessment
Use the appropriate templates to document the assessment:
- for foster carer renewal assessments—Foster carer applicant assessment and recommendation form—Renewal of approval; the Household safety study; and a new Foster carer agreement
- for kinship carer renewal assessments—Kinship carer renewal assessment report and the Household safety study.
Provide the completed assessment reports to the carer applicant for their review and signature, to enable them to identify errors and document any areas of disagreement or other comments.
If a streamlined assessment is used, refer to Use a streamlined renewal assessment for specific foster carers.
Provide the final assessment reports and the partially completed Foster carer agreement (for a foster carer) to the PSU. If the applicant is a Child Safety employee, include the Advice to regional director form and the Conflict of interest declaration form. (Refer to Arrange for the assessment of an employee’s carer application.)
The PSU progresses the assessment to the delegated officer for an outcome decision, which includes the administrative functions to:
- attach the final assessment documents to the EOI/application in ICMS
- create a Form 4: Approval decision, adding information from the suitability checks, and for a kinship carer applicant, the details of the child in or proposed to be placed with the carer
- record the quality assurance details and the assessment recommendation details in the assessment tab in ICMS
- inform the CSSC manager that the assessment report and relevant assessment information is available in ICMS and provide the Form 4: Approval decision to the CSSC manager, or regional director if the applicant is a Child Safety employee.
A streamlined assessment can be used in limited circumstances for specific foster carers affected by the changed definition of kin in the Child Protection Act 1999, only if all the following criteria are met:
- The foster carer was approved as a kinship carer for the child currently in their care and they did not meet the changed definition of kin, and were therefore unable to apply to renew their certificate of approval as a kinship carer.
- They were subsequently assessed as a foster carer for the child and issued with a certificate of approval as a foster carer, which included a condition they care only for the specific child.
- The current application for renewal was lodged prior to the expiry of the certificate of approval as a foster carer.
- This is their first renewal assessment.
In these specific set of circumstances:
- Review the renewal application documents lodged by the carer, to identify if there are any changes in the carer’s circumstances since the initial foster carer application and assessment, such as changes to:
- the carer entity
- adult household members
- the currency of blue cards or exemption cards relating to the applicant and adult household members
- residential address (if this has changed, a new Household safety study will be required)
- the provision of other regulated child-care from the carer’s home
- self-disclosures relating to criminal history, traffic offences, domestic and family violence matters
- significant health changes of the applicant, which may be known by the foster and kinship care service provider or CSO for the child, or outlined in a Change in carer circumstances form.
- Request CSU to complete a suitability assessment of the applicants and their household members (refer to Refer to Central Screening Unit for a suitability assessment)
- Complete a brief report for the delegated officer including:
- information about whether there are any changes to the carer’s circumstances since their initial foster carer assessment that may affect the support they require, or impact on the approval decision
- confirmation that the applicants and all adult household members hold a current blue card or exemption card.
Decide the outcome of the application for renewal
The Child Protection Act 1999, provides for the CSSC manager and the PSU manager (or the regional director for an applicant who is a Child Safety employee) as the delegated officer to:
- grant the carer’s application for the renewal of approval for a further 3 years, if satisfied that all the legislative requirements are met—Child Protection Act 1999, section 134(5)
- refuse the application if any of the legislative requirements are not met—Child Protection Act 1999, section 135.
Where possible, the renewal decision should be made within 3 months of the date the application was properly made—refer to Follow renewal assessment timeframe requirements.
The CSSC manager in this context means the manager of the CSSC in the geographical area where the applicant resides. There are two exceptions:
- If a kinship carer applicant resides in another geographical area, then the CSSC responsible for case management of the child is responsible for approving or refusing the application.
- If the applicant is a Child Safety employee, then the regional director is responsible for the outcome decision in line with the policy Placement of children with Child Safety employees.)
Consider if the legislative requirements are met
The delegated officer must consider if the application to renew the certificate of approval meets the following legislative requirements:
- the applicant and all their adult household members have a current blue card or exemption card from Blue Card Services (unless the household member relates to a child living in the carer household who has just turned 18 years, and their application for a blue card is yet to be decided—refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, section 148D)
- the applicant and all their adult household members are suitable persons with respect to checks of their child protection, domestic violence and traffic history, as assessed by the CSU manager
- the applicant, as outlined in the carer assessment reports:
- is able to meet the standards of care
- is able to help in achieving plans for the child’s protection
- does not pose a risk to the safety of the child in care (which includes information from the Household safety study)
- is able and willing to protect the child from harm
- understands and is committed to the principles for administering the Child Protection Act 1999 and
- for a foster carer applicant, has completed the mandatory training
- for a kinship carer applicant, are kin to the child to whom the approval relates (refer to the Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 3.
The approval decision may be informed by the convening of an assessment panel. (Refer to Convene a carer assessment panel.)
Approve the application for renewal
To approve the application to renew a certificate of approval, the delegated officer completes the delegated officer section of the Form 4: Approval decision in ICMS, documenting any conditions to the approval, and makes sure the carer and their Foster and kinship care service provider are advised of the decision.
Issue the carer with a:
- Letter of renewal as a foster carer or Letter of renewal as a kinship carer created in ICMS
- Certificate of Approval—Foster carer or a Certificate of Approval—Kinship carer, generated from the carer entity EOI/application tab in ICMS, with an expiry date of 3 years from the date of expiry on the previous certificate of approval.
Complete the administrative actions by making sure the above forms and letters are accessible from the carers EOI/application in ICMS.
When issuing a certificate of approval to a foster carer whose stated preference is to provide care to only a specific child or children with whom the carer has a significant relationship, the delegated officer will include a condition in their certificate of approval specifying the child or children the carer will provide care for. For example,”Your approval as a foster carer limits you to providing care to the following child/ren”. Insert the child/ren’s name and date of birth, and include any other conditions.
Refuse the application for renewal
To refuse the application to renew a certificate of approval (refer to Consider if the legislative requirements are met), the delegated officer will:
- Provide the applicant with written notice of the decision within 10 days of making the decision.
- Complete the Letter of refusal of renewal applicant to be a foster carer, or the Letter of refusal of renewal to be a kinship carer to explain the reasons for this decision and to advise the carer applicant of their right to seek a review of the decision through QCAT.
The PSU will complete the following actions:
- Record the refusal decision in the Approval/refusal tab in ICMS.
- Record an alert on each applicant’s person record (refer to Procedure 1 Information that requires an Integrated Case Management System alert) with the start date as the date the decision was made to refuse the application.
- Advise CSU of the refusal decision.
If the applicant applies for the decision to be reviewed by QCAT, reopen the closed EOI/application and record reviewable decision details in the approval/refusal tab in ICMS.
If QCAT amends the decision and the carer is subsequently approved:
- Provide relevant approval documentation to the approved carer, and the foster and kinship care service provider. Refer to Approve the application for renewal.
- Record the QCAT decision in ICMS.
- Advise the CSU of the amended decision.
- Close the alert that was created when the application was refused.
Finalise the reviewed foster carer agreement
When the Foster carer agreement has been signed by the carer and the relevant CSSC manager (refer to Review the foster carer agreement):
- provide the foster carer with a copy
- attach the document to the carer’s renewal EOI/application in ICMS.
Consider an additional, early review of the foster carer agreement
If there are there are ongoing concerns in relation to the quality of care provided to children, arrange for an early review of the carer’s foster care agreement, or for a carer affiliated with a Foster and kinship care service provider, request they complete an early review of the foster carer agreement. This may be considered when:
- it is assessed that the carer has not met the standards of care, following the outcome of a standards of care review or the investigation and assessment of a harm report
- there is a change in carer circumstances that may require a review, for example, a change to personal history for the foster carer or an adult household member, such as a new criminal charge or conviction
- the foster carer intends to provide care for other children, for example, by becoming a family day care provider
- the carer requests a review of their Foster carer agreement.
Attach a copy of the final foster carer agreement to the carer’s monitor and support screen in ICMS. Activities identified in the review of the foster carer agreement may be recorded as follow-up activities in the carer’s monitor and support screen in ICMS.
Respond when the spousal relationship ends during the renewal
A carer’s joint renewal application ceases to be valid if the couple separates after the renewal application has been lodged and is in progress and:
- the expiry date of their previous certificate would have lapsed had the renewal application not been properly made prior to its expiry
- only one carer wishes to continue caring.
To obtain approval for the carer who wishes to continue as a carer:
- Ensure the carer submits an initial application to be a carer.
- Progress urgent provisional approval of the carer to enable the placement of any children to continue, where applicable.
- Progress the initial application in accordance with the usual assessment process (the carer will not need to repeat mandatory training they have previously completed.)
- Leave the joint renewal EOI/application open in ICMS until the carer is granted provisional approval and withdraw the renewal EOI/application once the carer is provisionally approved.
The approval decision for the carer will include an assessment of how their new circumstances will affect their ability to meet the safety, belonging and wellbeing needs of any children in their care. Previously gathered assessment information can be used in the new approval decision, so there should be no need to gather new initial assessment information.
If the application is approved:
- Issue the carer with a new initial certificate of approval.
- Complete a new foster carer agreement (for foster carers).
- Review the placement agreement for any child in the care of the carer, where applicable.
Respond to specific matters during the renewal period
The renewal period commences when the carer lodges the required carer application forms—refer to Ensure the renewal is properly made.
Respond to inactive carers
If a carer chooses not to accept any care arrangements under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1), the CSO (for a kinship carer affiliated with Child Safety) or the PSU (for a foster carer affiliated with Child Safety) will contact the carer to clarify their intentions, as they:
- may wish to withdraw their application to renew their certificate of approval—refer to Respond when a carer decides to cease being a carer
- may want a break from accepting new care arrangements—refer to Respond to a carer’s request for a time-limited break
- may require additional supports to continue in the care role—refer to Provide support to the carer.
A short break from the care role may help a carer’s physical and mental wellbeing, and assist with carer retention. The CSO or service provider responsible for the carer’s support will respond promptly to a request and:
- discuss the circumstances of their request
- negotiate a commencement and end
- period for their break from caring, taking into account the transition needs of any child currently placed in their care.
When the break starts, the PSU will amend their carer entity profile in ICMS to ‘operational but temporarily unavailable to accept further placements’—to ensure they are not offered care arrangements during this time.
Navigate to the carers EOI/application tab in ICMS to access the current EOI. Then open the carer entity profile to change their status to inactive. When saved, the Periods of activity field becomes editable to enable the expected inactive period to be recorded, as well as the inactive reason.
For a carer affiliated with Child Safety, the PSU or CSSC will follow local regional arrangements to determine who will contact the carer prior to the end of this negotiated break period to:
- explore their readiness to resume the care role
- discuss any additional supports they may require
- seek information about changes to their circumstances that may have occurred—refer to Respond to changes in a carer’s circumstances
- amend their carer status to reflect the outcome of the discussion—which may be to change their carer status to ‘active’ via the ICMS carer entity
- consider completing a review of the Foster carer agreement (for foster carers only) to update their learning and support needs—refer to Consider an additional, early review of the foster carer agreement
- address a kinship carer’s learning and development needs in readiness for their return,
If the carer reassessment is due or overdue (Follow renewal assessment timeframe requirements), develop a clear plan with the carer for its timely completion, taking into account their personal circumstances.
Respond when a carer ceases being a carer
The Child Protection Act 1999, section 141A, enables approved foster and kinship carers to surrender their current certificate of approval at any time prior to the expiry date on their certificate of approval. For instance, when:
- a foster carer decides they no longer wish to provide care arrangements as a foster carer
- a kinship carer ceases providing care to the child specified on their certificate or approval (as either the primary or short break carer) and they are not approved to care for any other child.
For a carer to cease or resign their role as an approved carer, the Child Protection Act 1999 requires the carer to take the following actions:
- tell Child Safety in writing of their decision to cease being a carer
- return their certificate of approval.
If the carer initially provides this decision (either verbally or in writing to the CSO) immediately tell the PSU of the carer’s decision. The PSU will co-ordinate the following actions to ensure they are completed in a timely way—these may be completed by the carer’s foster and kinship care service provider, the CSSC responsible for the kinship carer or the PSU), and include:
- arrange for the most appropriate person to contact the carer to acknowledge and thank them for their commitment to the child or children they have cared for
- request return of the certificate of approval to Child Safety (if it has not already expired)
- for a foster carer, within 21 days following the carer’s written notice, or if a later date is specified, then that date
- for a kinship carer, the day of the carer’s written notice or if a later date is specified, then that date
- request return of the Carer Business Discount Card
- advise CSU that the carer has ceased being a carer, so that they can update their records and if appropriate, withdraw or delink blue cards in the blue card portal
- make sure that QFKC are notified of the carer’s exit by completing the Advice to QFKC: End of carer approval form in ICMS and explain that QFKC will be in contact with them to invite feedback on their experience as a carer.
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Respond to specific carer assessment and approval matters
Version historyBack to top
Revised content. Includes expanded information on renewal assessment timeframe requirements, and new content on responding to inactive carer's and those on a time-limited break from the care role.
Legislative amendments uploaded
New key step created to improved accessibility and navigation. The content was previously in the key step 'Assess and approve carers'.