To provide child protection workers with information and guidelines on 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 where we have had prior involvement and no legal or court action is required to promote and safeguard their wellbeing. A safety and wellbeing assessment (SWA) 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.
Child protection workers can refer to the flowchart Establishment Payment to Informal Relative Carers - available from related resources.
The Department has an establishment payment for relatives, where a SWA has been undertaken and a plan developed with the family member(s) 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 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. If a child moves in and out of the care arrangement, the establishment payment will only be paid the first time the care arrangement is made with that family member.
Refer to the definition of 'relative' in s.3 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act).
Child protection workers can also refer to the fact sheet Establishment Payment to informal relative carers - Information for child protection workers in related resources.
The SWA 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 Assessment and investigation processes.
Where it has been assessed that there are no protective concerns, long term planning should be considered to promote the stability and emotional wellbeing of the child including:
Child protection workers 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 SWA, the child protection worker must develop a plan with the family using the Signs of Safety (Form 254 or 255 Signs of Safety Assessment and Planning forms may be used). The plan will 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, the team leader. The decisions and actions must be documented in the case plan in Assist.
Before making a payment, the decision for the child to live with a family member must be endorsed by the team leader and approved by the district director.
The 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. The family member will need to be included in the 'family group', and their bank account name, BSB and account number recorded by the child protection worker 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The email should include the name and ID number of the child and recipient.
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 Guide – Establishment Payments in related resources.
When a child lives with family the child protection worker should provide information on local services and support agencies in the community that the family can use, such as:
Relative carers may be eligible for Family Assistance payments and other support payments and allowances from the Commonwealth Government. Child protection workers 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 the booklet from the Department of Local Government and Communities website.