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Support a care arrangement

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This page was updated on 07 June 2022. To view changes, please see page updates

Work in partnership

Child Safety, foster and kinship care services, approved carers and non-family-based care service providers have common responsibilities for children in care.  

Child Safety will work in partnership with the child’s care arrangement to implement and achieve the agreed goal and outcomes of the child’s case plan. This may include collaborating to:

  • Establish the child's safety and support network, if one is currently not in place. Refer to the practice guide Safety and support networks and high intensity responses.
  • Ensure the carer, their support worker or a representative from the non-family-based care service provider is included in the membership of the child’s safety and support network.
  • Schedule placement meetings to occur at least every 6 months, or as required if there is a change in the child’s care needs or care arrangement. Refer to Arrange the placement meeting.
  • Co-ordinate service delivery and network responsibilities to provide the best response to the child.
  • Identify and address concerns about the child or care arrangement, should they arise. Refer to Respond to concerns about the child’s care arrangement.

Arrange to meet with the carer, their support worker or non-family-based care service providers at regular intervals to ensure the placement agreement:

  • provides those responsible for the child’s daily care with the most recent information about the child’s needs
  • responds to the need for additional supports to meet the child’s needs or to assist those caring for the child to meet the child’s needs
  • reflects the changing family contact schedules and cultural contact arrangements
  • shares responsibility for meeting the child’s needs
  • helps the parties to be clear about their role and responsibilities, and that of others in the child’s safety and support network.

Further reading

The Statement of commitment to Queensland's foster and kinship carers outlines Child Safety's commitment to the work in partnership with Queensland's family-based carers.

Fulfil legislative requirements in relation to placement agreements

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 84, requires Child Safety and an approved carer to enter into a written agreement regarding a child's care when a child is subject to a: 

  • care agreement, assessment order or temporary custody order
  • a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive
    and

  • the child is placed with, or is to be placed with:  

The Child Protection Regulation 2011, section 2, prescribes the information that must be included in the written placement agreement. The following table below sets out these requirements.

 

Placement agreement inclusions Further information

The intended length of the care arrangement

Provide the authority to care form
The information provided to parents, or proposed to be provided, about where and in whose care the child is living.

Advise parents where the child is living

Information from the child’s case plan that involves or affects the care arrangement. Procedure 5 Child wellbeing and belonging
The arrangements for family contact, including transportation requirements. Procedure 5 Decide the level and nature of family contact
The responsibilities of Child Safety, the carer (or service provider) in meeting the child’s dental, medical, therapeutic, and schooling needs.

Procedure 5 Arrange health follow-up and Respond to a child’s education needs

The responsibilities of Child Safety, the carer (or service provider) in meeting other special needs of the child, and the resources required to meet these needs. Procedure 5 Respond to a child’s disability need and Develop a positive behaviour support plan and Procedure 4 Develop a cultural support plan
Information about caring allowances and other specific financial supports for the care arrangement. Carer payment policies and procedures, Foster and kinship care

Negotiate the placement agreement

The placement agreement is developed in collaboration with the child’s carer and their support worker from the foster and kinship care service, or for a child placed in a non-family-based care arrangement, with the manager or coordinator of that service. Where possible, arrange a placement meeting to negotiate and develop the placement agreement.

Consider inviting the young person to attend or contribute to the placement meeting, particularly if they are transitioning to adulthood (refer to procedure 5 Support a young person’s transition to adulthood.)

If one of the parties is unable to attend the placement meeting in person, advise them that arrangements can be made to enable them to take part using audio or video conferencing, or by telephone.

Prepare for the placement meeting

Before holding the placement meeting, gather the following information to help develop the placement agreement:

  • actions outlined in the child’s case plan that are relevant to the care arrangement (family contact arrangements, cultural support, educational needs, medical and therapeutic services accessed etc)
  • the child’s level of support needs  as referenced in the care arrangements referral—refer to Determine the child’s level of support needs
  • the Child strength and needs assessment in ICMS, taking in to account any changes to the child’s needs since its completion
  • any worries the child may have about the care arrangement—refer to Prepare child for the care arrangement
  • information provided about the child by the former care arrangement (if applicable)—refer to the Conclusion of care arrangement form
  • the supports and strategies requested by family-based care service provider or the non-family-based care service provider as part of their offer to care for the child—refer to Review offers from service providers
  • issues that may have emerged since the time the child’s care arrangement was negotiated that need to be shared with meeting participants.

Tip

Wherever possible, discuss requests for Child Safety to provide financial or other supports with the delegated officer prior the placement meeting.

If the child has complex or extreme support needs, consider asking the region’s Investment and partnership team for information about the nature of the service providers funding, such as the funding to provide high-plus places, wrap-around supports, flexible funding or intensive foster care services. Ask the service provider what additional supports they are providing to the care arrangement or could provide from such funding.

If the placement meeting is to review a placement agreement for an ongoing care arrangement, refer to Prepare for the placement meeting to review the placement agreement.

Arrange the placement meeting

Arrange a suitable time and location for the placement meeting, preferably before the child’s care arrangement commences.  If it is not possible to complete the placement agreement before the placement commences, arrange a placement meeting within 3 business days of the care arrangement commencing.

If a placement meeting cannot be held within 3 business days, make sure the carer and their foster and kinship care service provider, or the non-family-based care service provider, has been provided with all the necessary information and documentation to meet the child’s daily care needs, including the:

  • authority to care form
  • child information form
  • child health passport folder
  • medicare card or medicare care card number
  • information from the child’s case plan relevant to the care arrangement
  • Conclusion of care arrangement form, if provided by the former care arrangement.

Arrange a placement meeting even if there is limited available information about the child and their needs – such as when a child has come into contact with Child Safety in urgent circumstances. Schedule another placement meeting to review the placement agreement within a short timeframe, when more information is known about the child’s care needs. Refer to the When to undertake an early review of the placement agreement.

Tip

If agreed to by the parties, the placement meeting may be arranged or facilitated by the family-based or non-family-based care service provider. Child Safety’s participation in the meeting is still required.

Develop the placement agreement

Provide the carer and the family-based or non-family-based care service provider with the opportunity to:

  • raise any concerns for the child’s safety or the safety of others in the care arrangement
  • seek additional information about the child’s health, particularly any immediate health care needs, immunisations, allergies, and prescribed medications
  • discuss the management of the child’s high-risk behaviours, if applicable
  • suggest additional supports that may assist the child or them to meet the child’s specific needs in the care arrangement.

In addition, discuss as relevant:

  • each of the matters specified in the Child Protection Regulation 2011, section 2. (Refer to Fulfil legislative requirements in relation to placement agreements.)

  • for a carer who is a member of the child’s family, any support needs associated with their dual role

  • information from other agencies involved with the child, including education services, therapeutic services, and the child’s NDIS service providers

  • the frequency and purpose of the CSOs contact with the child in the care arrangement

  • the additional supports to be provided by the service provider—such as those associated with an intensive foster and kinship care program, high-plus funding or the payment of child related costs directly to the service provider.

Attention

During the placement meeting maintain the confidentiality of personal information about the child or parents that is not directly relevant to ensuring the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing, or the safety of other members of the carer's household.

Record the placement agreement

Create a Placement agreement in the child’s placement event in ICMS and record the details of the placement meeting.

Provide a copy of the placement agreement to the carer and their support worker from the family-based care service, and for a child in a non-family-based care arrangement, to the manager or coordinator of the service. Make sure this occurs in a timely way so that the participants have immediate access to the information in the agreement to help them work with the child and support the care arrangement.

Tip

If a carer is using the Carer Connect App, the carer can directly access their placement agreement recorded in ICMS—refer to Carer Connect

Review the placement agreement

The placement agreement will be reviewed, with the carer and their support worker from the family-based care service provider, or the non-family-based service provider, at least every 6 months.

The review ensures the placement agreement provides up to date information, reflects the current supports needs and is consistent with the child’s case plan. This review may occur before, during, or after a family group meeting or a review of the child’s case plan. (Refer to Procedure 5 Case planning.)

The placement agreement may need to be reviewed before 6 months if a child’s needs or case plan significantly changes. An early review may be triggered for a range of reasons, including those outlined in the table below.

When to undertake an early review of the placment agreement

Reason Explanation
One of the parties to the agreement requests an early review. The carer, service provider or Child Safety identifies the current agreement no longer adequately supports the care arrangement.
The current agreement was developed in urgent circumstances when limited information was available. More information becomes known about the child's circumstances that needs to be provided to the carer or service provider so that the child's needs can be supported in the care arrangement.
There is a low match between the child’s needs and the current care arrangement’s skills and experience in meeting the specific needs.  Additional supports or strategies may be required to enhance the care arrangement’s ability to meet the child’s needs.
The care arrangement is not subject to licensing or to HSQF certification. Care arrangements made with another entity (refer to Place a child with another entity), or the Emergent accommodation procedure, may require additional oversight.
The care arrangement is under stress and needs support to be maintained. To identify and coordinate additional supports in a timely manner to reduce the likelihood of an unplanned ending to the care arrangement.
There are continuing concerns about the quality of care the child is receiving. To collaboratively determine how best to respond where the provision of routine casework, support and training has not been sufficient to bring about the desired changes.
A standard of care review has determined the family-based carer did not meet the standards of care. A review must occur to determine how the child will be provided with care that meets required standards of care. Refer to Review the placement agreement for a child placed with a carer.

Attention

If the care arrangement ends and the child is placed in another care arrangement, a placement agreement will be negotiated with the new care arrangement—refer to Negotiate the placement agreement.

Prepare for the placement meeting to review the placement agreement

Before arranging the placement meeting to review the current placement agreement, gather relevant information needed to inform the discussion. This includes information about:

  • the tasks identified in the current placement agreement, and the progress made to complete these
  • the effectiveness of supports and strategies provided to the care arrangement under the existing placement agreement
  • matters that have emerged since the current placement agreement was developed that need to be shared with meeting participants
  • any worries the child may have about the care arrangement
  • changes to child’s case plan that may impact on the care arrangement (family contact arrangements, cultural support, educational needs, medical and therapeutic services accessed etc)
  • outstanding requests for additional supports or services made by the carer or service provider
  • actions taken, or yet to be taken, to address concerns arising from a standard of care review or an investigation and assessment of a harm report that has arisen since the last placement agreement—refer to Respond when the standards of care are not met, or for a harm report, Develop an action plan for a carer or Ensure an action plan is developed by the non-family-based care service provider.

Schedule the placement meeting with the carer and their support worker, or for a child in a non-family-based care arrangement, with the coordinator or manager. Refer to Develop the placement agreement, and  Record the placement agreement.

Further reading

For information about the funding Child Safety provides to family-based and non-family-based care services, and the service delivery requirements, refer to Child protection (placement services) investment specifications.

For information about the role of family-based care service providers, refer to the practice kit Care arrangements, Foster and kinship care support agencies.

Provide support to the carer

Approved carers should have the majority of their support needs met by their funded care service provider. During visits to the child's care arrangement, consider the carers need for: 

  • practical supports—arrange timely referrals to specialist services in line with the child’s case plan
  • financial supports—facilitate the carers access to carer payments, including high support needs allowance, complex support needs allowance, and reimbursements from child related costs.
  • emotional and psychological supports—ask the carer if they need additional support, particularly at times of stress (such as when challenging behaviours are escalating, or when a child is leaving the care arrangement.)

Further reading

Practice kit Care arrangements, Home visits

Carers require additional support during times of stress. They are more likely to experience stress:

  • when they are struggling to deal with a child’s high risk behaviours, including a child who has experienced trauma, or is displaying violent or sexually reactive behaviours, or has a mental health or neuro-developmental disability
  • if there have been several stressful events over the past 6 months
  • where supports, services or strategies are required to enhance the carers ability to meet the child’s specific needs—refer to Decide on supports for the proposed care arrangement.

Advise foster and kinship carers that they can access:

Further reading

For practice guidance on engaging with carers, refer to the practice kit Care arrangements:

Respond to the support needs of kinship carers

Kinship carers' support needs may be different and more completx than foster carers, due to family dynamics and history,

Note

Kinship carers, particularly grandparents, may have little time to prepare for a request for a care arrangement.  They may already have raised a family to adulthood, be older, have chronic health or other conditions, or have a limited income at the time they agree to provide kinship care.

Although the kinship carer may have an existing relationship with the child, meeting the needs of a child who has experienced trauma may present significant challenges and may significantly alter relationships with the child’s parents and other relatives.

Recognise the knowledge the kinship carer has about the child and the family system and support their participation in case planning and family group meetings or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Led Decision Making, if applicable.

Discuss the specific challenges and the additional supports the kinship carer may require to manage familial issues—refer to Develop the placement agreement.

Consider a referral to the foster and kinship care support line

If a carer is likely to require after hours support to meet the needs of a child in their care, make a referral to the Foster and kinship care support line using the Foster and kinship care support line referral form from the carer entity Monitor and Support screen ICMS.

A referral to the Foster and kinship care support line will be appropriate when the carer is likely to require additional support outside of Child Safety business hours, and they cannot access this support from their foster and kinship care service provider. For example, when:

  • a child or sibling group have been newly placed
  • a child has complex needs due to their behaviour or other special needs
  • a child has high support needs due to a specific event or issue
  • they are a provisionally approved or a newly approved kinship carer and need advice.  

Note

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

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

Advise the carer that they can access the Foster and kinship care support line directly, regardless of whether the CSSC has made a referral. Provide the carer with the contact details and operating hours.

Attention

The Foster and kinship care support line can be contacted on 1300 729 309. It operates Monday to Friday 5.00pm–11.30pm and on weekends 7.00am–11.30pm. 

Provide support to non-family-based care services

Non-family-based service providers are responsible for recruiting, supervising, training and supporting their staff to ensure they meet the required standards of care. Non-family-based care includes include:

To work in partnership with non-family-based care service provider:

  • ensure the service provider has the information they need to care for a child, including information about:
    • the case plan
    • the child’s family and cultural background, health and educational needs,
    • NDIS plan, if applicable
    • a copy of the Child’s strengths and needs assessment form
    • the abuse or neglect the child has experienced, including sexual abuse, and whether the child demonstrates sexually reactive behaviours
  • support the child placed in the care arrangement
  • work with staff who are caring for the child to implement the case plan
  • ensure referrals are consistent with the service agreement and funding agreement of the specific non-family-based care service provider.

Respond to a request for short break care 

Short break care can be provided to support the child and their primary care arrangement. Its purpose is to:

  • enhance the child’s wellbeing
  • assist in meeting case plan goals, including those relating to building and maintaining cultural connections
  • support the carers to continue as primary carers for the child
  • help sustain the caring relationship.

Short break arrangements can be used for diverse reasons, to respond to the child’s needs and the carer’s needs and circumstances. These can be a one-off arrangement in response to a carers emergent need to address a personal matter, or can be a planned and ongoing arrangement.

Short breaks may be an informal arrangement providing care for the child for a few hours or overnight, or can be a more formal arrangement for the child’s care for more than 3 nights.

If short break options are being discussed at the placement meeting:

  • consider how a short break would support a child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs or whether it may be contrary to the child’s best interests
  • the type, frequency and duration of short break care that is most suitable for meeting the child’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs
  • any additional supports the carer requires
  • document the agreed dates and arrangements in the placement agreement,
  • discuss whether dual payments of carer allowances will be requested. Refer to the policy Dual payment of carer allowances  and the procedure Dual payment of carer allowances.

In some instances, short breaks may not be in the immediate best interests of the child—it may negatively affect an infant's opportunity to form a secure attachment and bond with a primary carer, or destabilise the adjustment of a child who has experienced significant disruption and trauma.

When considering short breaks under these circumstances, discuss the child's need for security and whether the carer feels able to meet the child’s need to experience a stable placement without short breaks. Where there is conflict between the interests of the child and the carer’s needs, the child's needs will be prioritised. This may result a planned care arrangement not going ahead or for short breaks to be delayed, to enable the child to form a secure attachment.

Tip

If short break care is to be a regular arrangement involving overnight stays, it is important to provide the child with continuity and certainty. If possible, the child should be cared for by the same person to provide them with continuity and stability.

Consider the preparation needs of the child before, during and after the short break care—particularly where it involves overnight stays in a new and unfamiliar environment.

Depending on the funding agreement with the specific family-based care service provider and the availability of carers within their service, the CSO may be required to complete a PSU referral to request a short break care arrangement for the child.

Informal short breaks

Carers can make decisions to allow the child to stay with another person for up to 2 nights—refer to the practice kit Care arrangements, Short breaks. Usually this would occur with a person the child has an existing relationship with, such as a trusted person in the carers support network or by a member of child’s social, cultural or family network.

Ask the carer to provide the CSSC with the name, address and phone number of the person they are proposing will provide short break care, and the dates of the proposed care.

These arrangements are not subject to the requirements of the Child Protection Act 1999. 

If the length of the proposed short break is for 3 nights or more, the child’s guardian will make the decision about whether to proceed with a proposed arrangement. Depending on the type of child protection order, the guardian will be either the child’s parents, or for a child subject to a child protection order granting long term guardianship to the chief executive, the delegated officer—refer to Procedure 5 Facilitate decision making— guardianship matters.

Other short break arrangements

Recreational camps, vacation care and after-school care programs can also be considered as short break options for the child. Refer to the procedure, Child related costs - education and child care support.

When a child is to stay overnight with kin, either in Queensland or in another state, territory or New Zealand, (for example, during school holidays), the CSSC manager will determine whether the person proposed to provide the short break arrangement will be subject to a carer assessment and approval process, or whether the arrangement will proceed as a family contact visit or holiday. (Refer to procedure 5, Decide the nature of overnight contact with kin).

Visit the child in their care arrangement

The CSO will have a minimum face-to-face contact with a child, in their care arrangement, once a month. (Refer to Procedure 5 Child Safety contact requirements for ongoing intervention.) If the care arrangement is not monitored via a licensing arrangement or a carer approval process, more regular face-to-face contact with the child will be required—refer to Place a child with another entity.

Other factors may trigger more frequent contact with the child, such as when:

  • the child has asked to have more contact with the CSO or with the cultural practice advisor
  • higher levels of support are indicated due to the complexity of the child’s needs and behaviours
  • the child may be unsettled by changes to or within their care arrangement
  • other members of the child’s safety and support network, or the carer’s support network, are temporarily unavailable to support the child.

If possible, arrange to talk with the child alone, to provide them with the opportunity to raise any worries they may have—refer to the practice guide Home visits to children in care. During discussions with the child make sure to:

  • be child focused
  • explore the child’s worries about the care arrangement, their family or the future
  • help them to feel safe.

Further reading

For practice guidance on engaging with a child in care, refer to the practice kit Care arrangements:

During these visits:

  • create opportunities for age appropriate participation and listen to the child’s views about decisions being made on their behalf
  • be alert to changes in their views or behaviour. 

Conclude the child’s care arrangement

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

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

Use the checklist Conclude a care arrangement to assist in completing the range of actions and requirements.

Plan for a care arrangement to end

To support a child who is leaving their care arrangement discuss the following with the young person, their carer or service provider, and encourage the involvement of the child’s safety and support network. Focus on: 

  • The supports the child requires during the period of transition—refer to the practice kit Care arrangements, Transitions.
  • Arrangements for the child to say good-bye to household members, and where appropriate, to school friends and staff.
  • The nature of involvement the carer will have with the child, if an ongoing relationship with the carer is important for the child’s emotional wellbeing.
  • The child’s personal belongings are identified and any different views about ownership are resolved.  

Manage an unplanned end to a care arrangement

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

  • to ensure the child’s immediate safety and wellbeing
  • when a  carer’s blue card or exemption card has expired or been cancelled
  • due to the level of the child’s support needs
  • when requested by the care arrangement due to a personal or other crisis.

Child decides to leave

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

If the child refuses to return to their care arrangement:

  • Talk with the child about moving to an alternative care arrangement.
  • Discuss other options with the child and the child’s parents.
  • Consult with the Aboriginal community controlled organisation about safe, culturally appropriate care arrangement options, if the child is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person.
  • Explore whether the child has any kin or community members who may agree to be assessed as provisionally approved carers for the child. (Refer to Enable kin to apply to be a kinship carer and  Consider the provisional approval of a carer applicant.)

Continuation of custody not granted by the court

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

  • an existing child protection order to continue for up to 28 days
  • the child to more gradually transition from their care arrangement to their parents’ full-time care. (Refer to procedure 3 Develop a transition plan.)

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

Attention

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

Meet with the child to:  

  • talk to them about the reasons for their request
  • give them an opportunity to talk about how they feel
  • gather all relevant information and talk through any worries they have to:  
    • ensure their need for safety, belonging and wellbeing is met
    • identify strategies to resolve the worries and maintain the child’s care arrangement. 

Seek the views of all relevant parties, including the child’s safety and support network, their parents, and the carer or or the co-ordinator of the non-family-based care service, to identify strategies for resolving the issues and maintaining the care arrangement.

  • Consider whethr the provision of additional supports, services or strategies may provie stability for the care arrangement.
  • Decide if a review of the child’s case plan is necessary.

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

Respond to a young person’s request to live independently

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

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

Further reading

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

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

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

  • the child, if appropriate
  • a senior team leader
  • the carer and their support worker, or staff member from the non-family-based care service.

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

  • any concerns identified by the carer and the child
  • stressors in the care arrangement
  • any support, training or resources that may help to reduce the stressors experienced by the care arrangement 
  • safety issues associated with the care arrangement, including the impact on or risk to other children in the care arrangement and the carer’s family.

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

Remove a child from a care arrangement

The Child Protection Act 1999, section 89, allows for the removal of a child from the child’s carer, if satisfied that this is in the best interests of the child. A CSSC manager, regional director or CSAHSC manager or CSAHSC senior team leader is delegated to make this decision, and may take such action: 

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

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

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

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

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

Practice prompt

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

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

  • the child, if age and developmentally appropriate
  • the carer and their foster and kinship care service provider 
    or
  • the coordinator or manager or the non-family-based service.

Attention

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

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

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

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

Remove a child in urgent circumstances

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

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

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

If the child is subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive, the carer has the right to seek a review of the decision by QCAT to remove the child from their care, regardless of the reason for the removal (Child Protection Act 1999, section 91).

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

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

Practice prompt

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

Complete end of care arrangement requirements

As soon as possible after the care arrangement ends, make sure the following actions are completed:

Further reading

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

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

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

  • Tell the child, their parents, the carer and their service provider, of the decision and the reasons for the decision.
  • Give the child, their parents and the carer information about accessing the Child Safety complaints process, should they wish to have the decision reviewed.
  • Give the child written notice of the removal decision, including reasons for the decision, and tell them they have 28 days to seek a QCAT review of the removal decision.
  • Give the child and their family information about the new care arrangement and further planned actions, unless a decision has been made to withhold all or some care arrangement information from the parents. (Refer to Inform the parents and child of the care arrangement decision.)

Implement actions relating to the carer

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

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

Organise for the child’s personal belongings and relevant documents to be collected, including the:

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

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

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

Practice prompt

If relevant, talk with the agency support worker about whether the foster carer agreement should be reviewed and amended, based on the experience the carer has gained from the care arrangement.

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    Maintenance
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    Expanded content on preparing for placement meetings and reviewing placement agreements. Additional content outlines the importance of working in partnership with the child's care arrangement, and responding to requests for short break care.
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    'Support a care arrangement' is a new key step to improve accessibility and navigation. This content was previously in the key step 'Place a child in care'.
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    Addition of new practice prompt and link to new practice guide Children with gender and sexual and gender diversity.
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    Additional information on placing a child with another entity under section 82(1)(f) of the Act, to introduce the new assessment form and guide.
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    Maintenance -New paragraph added under 'Respond to a child's request to leave a care arrangement' referring to independent person involvement.
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