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1.2.3 Establishment payment to informal relative carers

Last Modified: 14-Oct-2019 Review Date: 01-Feb-2021

Purpose

To provide child protection workers with information and guidelines on the Establishment Payment that may be provided to a grandparent or other relative who take on the care of a child in their family where there has been involvement due to concerns for the child's safety and wellbeing.

For the definition of 'relative' refer to s.3 of the Children and Community Services Act (the Act).

Practice Requirements
  • You must have undertaken a child safety investigation (CSI) and developed a safety plan with the family using the Signs of Safety Child Protection Practice Framework taking into consideration the family's proposed living arrangement for the child.

  • The child's parents must agree to the informal living arrangement.

  • Safety planning must include steps and actions to be taken if the situation changes after the child has moved into the care of their relative. For example, if the parents withdraw their support of the living arrangement, or the relative is unable or unwilling to continue to provide care for the child.

  • Decisions and actions must be recorded in the case plan in Assist.

  • A decision to provide an Establishment Payment for a child that is going to reside with their relative in response to the family's decision must be made in consultation with the team leader and approved by the district director before the payment can be made.

Process Maps

Refer to the flowchart Establishment payment to informal relative carers.

Procedures

  • Overview
  • Additional considerations for the child safety investigation and safety plan
  • Approval and payment to the relative
  • Other assistance and supports
  • Overview

    The Establishment Payment is a one-off payment of $1000, which is paid to a relative for each child residing in the informal arrangement. The payment is intended to help with the initial costs of setting up accommodation to meet the child's needs such as furniture, bedding, clothing and age appropriate toys and equipment.  

    If the child moves in and out of the informal arrangement, the payment will only be paid the first time the arrangement is made with that relative.

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    Additional considerations for the child safety investigation and safety plan

    If a family is deciding on an informal arrangement for the child to reside with another relative, you should assist them to consider the child's views and wishes in the process, having regard to his or her age and capacity.

    You need to consider the child's needs, including whether they display trauma-based behaviours and have any other additional needs which will present challenges for those providing care. The relative who is intending to care for the child should be supported to consider whether they have the capacity to care for the child and address their additional needs as required.

    It's important that discussions occur with the relatives to consider any issues they may face when taking on the care of the child including:

    • how their home will accommodate the child
    • whether their health will cope with the rigours and demands of caring for the child
    • the challenges associated with a child who has difficult behaviours or disability, and whether the family has the capacity to address this – for example, accessing services for the child as required
    • disruption to other family members in the household, and  
    • costs involved.

    You can provide the relatives with a copy of the fact sheet Establishment Payment for relatives to support the informal arrangement.

    You should consult with an Aboriginal practice leader or other Aboriginal officer when working with an Aboriginal family to help  consider whether the arrangement is in the child's best interests, and/or develop an appropriate safety plan that takes account of the informal arrangement with the child's relatives.

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    Approval and payment to the relative

    Funding for the Establishment Payment is submitted to the team leader and district director through the funding component in Assist.

    A cost item for each child is recorded with a cost type of 'case support costs' and the expenditure item as 'establishment payment'. The planned cost is $1000, and an end date, equal to the start date, must be recorded. Record the relative in the 'family group'.  You must record their bank account name, BSB and account number  in the person details screen of Assist. 

    Once approved, the district director must forward an email to the Subsidies Processing Unit, Business Support and Coordination at subsidies@communities.wa.gov.au. The email should include the name and ID number of the child and recipient.

    Subsidies will arrange for a one-off EFT payment (or cheque) for $1000 to be made to the relative.

    Further details can be found in the Assist User Guides - Establishment Payments.

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    Other assistance and supports

    When a child lives with the family you should provide information on local services and support agencies in the community that the family can use, such as:

    • playgroups and child care centres
    • community centres and carer support groups
    • counselling services
    • education and training services,
    • Ngala Family Services – Parenting Line, and
    • Wanslea Family Services.

    Where a child has particularly challenging behaviours or additional needs, you should assist the family to plan how to address those  needs and provide support to ensure that appropriate referrals have been made.

    The relative may be eligible for Family Assistance and other support payments and allowances from the Australian Government. 

    You should advise them to visit their local Department of Human Services (DHS) office or visit the Family Assistance website for information and eligibility criteria. DHS Grandparent Advisers are also available to offer advice and help with accessing payments and services. The number for the Grandparent Adviser Line is 1800 245 965.

    The booklet Grandfamilies: A Resource Guide for Western Australian Grandparents Raising Grandchildren is a practical guide that includes telephone numbers and websites of relevant government and non-government agencies and support groups. Download this booklet from the Department of Local Government, Communities' website.

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