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1.2.3 Establishment payment to informal relative carers

Last Modified: 18-Jul-2019 Review Date: 01-Feb-2021

Purpose

To provide child protection workers with information and guidance about the Establishment Payment to informal relative carers. This payment may be provided to family members where it has been assessed by the Department of Communities (the Department) that it is in the child's best interests to reside with those family members.

For the purposes of these guidelines 'informal relative carer' refers to a relative who assumes responsibility for the care of a child in their family, when we have been involved with a child and assessed that no legal or court action was required to promote and safeguard their wellbeing. A  child safety investigation (CSI) must have been undertaken and a plan developed (under s.32(1)(b) of the Act) with the family members to allow the child to live with them.  

Practice Requirements
  • You must undertake a CSI and develop a plan with the family using the Signs of Safety.

  • One of the child's parents must agree to the family care arrangement.

  • All decisions and plans must be made in consultation with, and be approved by, your team leader.

  • The decision to agree to the child living with a family member must be endorsed by your team leader and approved by the district director before the Establishment Payment is made. 

Process Maps

Refer to the flowchart Establishment Payment to Informal Relative Carers in related resources.

Procedures

  • Overview
  • The child safety investigation and plan
  • Approval and payment to the relative
  • Other assistance and supports
  • Additional Child Care Subsidy (grandparent)
  • Overview

    The Department has an establishment payment for relatives, where a CSI has been undertaken and a plan developed with the family members to allow the child to remain with them. This payment recognises the initial costs involved in caring for children and the role of those family members who care for children who might otherwise be taken into the Chief Executive Officer's (CEO's) care. Parental responsibility remains with the parents.

    The establishment payment is a one off payment of $1000, which is provided for each child residing with the family member. The establishment payment is only paid to the family member once, the first time the child moves into the care arrangement, even if the child moves in and out of the care arrangement.

    Refer to the definition of 'relative' in s.3 of the  Act.

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    The child safety investigation and plan

    The CSI aims to assess if the child has suffered significant harm or is likely to, whether the parents are protective and if a safety plan is required.

    The safety plan should set out what actions are necessary to provide a safe living arrangement for the child. For more information, refer to Chapter 2.2 entries: Signs of Safety - child protection practice framework and Conducting a Child Safety Investigation

    Where it has been assessed that there are no protective concerns, you should consider long term planning to promote the stability and emotional wellbeing of the child including:

    • accommodation for the child

    • whether the family member's health will cope with the rigours and demands of caring for the child

    • the challenges associated where a child has difficult behaviours or disability

    • disruption to other family members, and  

    • costs involved.

    You can provide prospective family members with a copy of the brochure Establishment Payment to informal relative carers - information for grandparents and other relatives in related resources.

    After completing a CSI, you must develop a plan with the family using the Signs of Safety Assessment and Planning forms (Form 254 or 255). The plan must set out what actions are necessary to provide a safe living arrangement for the child in the family's care

    All decisions must be made in consultation with, and be approved by, your team leader. You must document the decisions and actions in the case plan in Assist.

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    Approval and payment to the relative

    Before making a payment, the decision for the child to live with a family member must be endorsed by your team leader and approved by your district director.

    The Establishment Payment to Informal Relative Carers is recorded as a Case Support Cost item in the Funding page, using a specific cost item.  Although raised as a Case Support Cost in the Funding Page, an order for payment is not made by the district.  When approved, the district director requests Subsidies to initiate the payment.   

    Record:

    1. A cost item for each child with a cost type of 'case support costs' and the expenditure item as 'establishment payment'.

    2. The planned cost - $1000. 

    3. An end date equal to the start date.

    4. include the family member in the 'family group', and

    5. The informal relative carer's bank account name, BSB and account number in the person details screen of Assist.

    When approved, the district director must forward an email with the name and ID number of the child and recipient to the Subsidies Processing Unit by email: subsidies@cpfs.wa.gov.au

    Subsidies will arrange for a once off EFT payment or cheque for $1000 to be made to the relative carer.

    Further details can be found in the Assist User Guides - Establishment Payments (also in related resources).

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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, and
    • Parenting WA.

    Relative carers may be eligible for Family Assistance payments and other support payments and allowances from the Commonwealth Government. You should advise them to visit their local Department of Human Services office or visit the Family Assistance website for information and eligibility criteria.

    Information on services and supports is also available from the Department of Local Government and Communities – (08) 6279 1200 or 1800 654 432.

    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 and Communities' website.

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    Additional Child Care Subsidy (grandparent)

    ​The Additional Child Care Subsidy (grandparent) is a payment from the Australian Government to help grandparents on income support who are the principal carers of their grandchildren with the cost of child care.

    The ACCS (grandparent) should only be applied for children not on a protection order. Refer to Chapter 3.4 Child care attendance for children in the CEO's care for information of applying for Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) for children in care.

    To access ACCS (grandparent), grandparents must:

    • receive income support
    • be the principal carer with 65% or greater carer responsibilities
    • have substantial autonomy for the day-to-day decisions about the child's care, welfare and development

    Grandparents can apply for the subsidy through myGov via their Centrelink online account or by visiting a Centrelink office and applying in person.

    Grandparents can call the Grandparent Advisor Line - 1800 245 965 for assistance or visit the following website for further information:

    Department of Human Services - Grandparent Advisers

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