To guide child protection workers in assisting individuals, families and children who are homeless or who have incurred a strike or strikes through the Disruptive Behaviour Management Strategy.
Disruptive Behaviours Management Strategy Referrals Flowchart
The Department is committed to supporting individuals, families and children in crisis, and in the case of homelessness, provides a range of options. Primary homelessness is defined as those that are sleeping rough without a roof over their head.
We can provide support to children, young people, individuals and families in circumstances where there are no other service providers and vulnerability is significant. This may be via referral to a homelessness accommodation and support service, and/or assessing suitability for financial assistance through a one-off payment for low cost overnight accommodation.
The Homeless Assistance Policy is based on the premise that we are not a housing provider and do not have access to ongoing accommodation. We fund a range of homelessness accommodation and support services that assist people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Assistance to acquire more stable or longer term accommodation is the responsibility of these agencies, and Housing. Information about services provided by Housing can be found on its website. Homelessness services funded by the Department are listed in the Directory of Specialist Homelessness Services by Department Districts (in related resources).
When a family with children presents to district office as homeless, assistance can be provided in cases where all of the following three conditions are met:
If an eligible family requires our assistance with accommodation, a referral to a homelessness accommodation and support service is made. Financial support may also be provided through the Family Crisis Program.
The Perth, Mirrabooka and Fremantle Districts and the Crisis Care Unit (CCU) assist eligible families to find accommodation or allocate financial support relating to homelessness through Entrypoint Perth.
An immediate referral should be made to an appropriate service for assistance to access medium or long term accommodation - refer to the Directory of Specialist Homelessness Services by Department Districts. Where ongoing accommodation is required, a referral to a housing agency is appropriate. Housing has a single entry portal for affordable housing information at www.affordablehousing.wa.gov.au.
Where there are no vacancies for homelessness accommodation and support services, alternative assistance options include:
Entrypoint Perth, operated by Centrecare, is funded to support individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness referred by the Perth, Mirrabooka and Fremantle district offices and the CCU. All metropolitan districts direct referrals to Entrypoint Perth.
Entrypoint Perth’s target group includes:
Entrypoint Perth delivers the followings services:
Entrypoint Perth is not a case management service.
The referral process is as follows:
The CCU must refer to the MOU - Entrypoint Perth for information about the referral process.
Assessments can be made over the phone or at a location suitable to the client, including in a Perth, Cannington, Gosnells, Joondalup, Midland and Mirrabooka Centrecare office.
The Department retains responsibility for:
More information can be found in MOU - Entrypoint Perth (in related resources).
Family Crisis Program – homelessness - families
Where a family with children presents as homeless they may be eligible for a one-off payment for emergency accommodation through the Family Crisis Program. Financial assistance may be provided for one to three nights. Team leader approval is required for more than one night and district director approval for more than three nights.
For families with children to be considered eligible the following conditions must be met:
An ‘unforeseen crisis’ is where a family is experiencing circumstances beyond their control. This situation has negative consequences that threaten the family’s social and emotional wellbeing. Where a person knowingly or repeatedly worsens their financial situation, this is not considered an unforeseen crisis.
Excluded circumstances include situations where:
A financial assessment determines if a family with children is eligible for financial assistance. The financial assessment can include verification of:
Please refer to Family Crisis Program – Financial Assessment (in related resources) for further information.
As a guide it is suggested that an individual in normal circumstances may be eligible for up to $250. However, there may be exceptional circumstances where a child protection worker assesses that the case warrants up to $1,000. As long as the total is not greater than $1,000 the child protection worker can provide the assistance.
Where child protection workers determine that the level of assistance required is greater than $1,000 (for either individual or multiple categories of assistance under the Family Crisis Program) the coordinator Client Support Services must approve the funding before assistance is issued. The coordinator Client Support Services, the director Business Support and Coordination and Executive Director can approve up to their delegated budget levels.
Assist data entry
To record the assessment and allocation of Family Crisis Program funding in Assist, child protection workers must create a new interaction using the 'Homelessness – Families' category:
Please refer to the Assist User Guides - Financial Assessment in related resources for more information on data entry.
In line with Chapter 2.2: Assessment and investigation processes, where a family presents on multiple occasions for financial assistance in a short period of time, an assessment must be undertaken. This involves accessing previous records (Assist and Objective), making further enquiries from other agencies and professionals, and engaging directly with the family.
Where an assessment is not undertaken, the rationale for that decision must be recorded and approved by the designated senior officer. At every subsequent contact by the family, the decision to undertake an assessment must be reviewed, and the decision and the rationale recorded and approved by the designated senior officer.
Housing introduced the Disruptive Behaviour Management Strategy (DBMS) to address community concern about antisocial behaviour by tenants in public housing. Housing has defined three levels of disruptive behaviour - Dangerous, Serious and Minor. Tenants found to have engaged in dangerous behaviours will have immediate action taken against them to terminate their tenancy. Those found to have engaged in serious breaches will receive a strike - if another strike for a serious breach is earned in a 12 month period, they will face eviction. For proven minor behaviours, three strikes in 12 months will result in termination of the tenancy. For more information refer to the Disruptive Behaviour Management Strategy Brochure (in related resources).
Districts are encouraged to develop and maintain local relationships with their corresponding Housing officers, particularly Housing officers with responsibility for the DBMS.
To assist a family with children to prevent eviction, we have requested that Housing share information at ‘first strike’. The Department’s role with these families is to assess what supports (in addition to those provided through Housing) could be provided to limit the likelihood of further strikes or eviction. Where families face immediate eviction under the DBMS and Housing has assisted the family to access other options but none are available, this information can be provided to us.
We assess whether the eviction will impact the safety and wellbeing of the children, and what referral or services may be offered.
In the first instance, Housing provides this information by telephone or via email to the duty officer. This information is not provided for us to to take responsibility for the actual or possible accommodation needs of families and children facing eviction.
In situations where there is an open case and information about a family is received from Housing, the duty officer must complete a duty interaction and inform his or her team leader and the family's case manager to decide if any supports will be provided to address any identified issues. For further information refer to Chapter 2.2: Assessment and investigation processes.
When a duty officer receives information about a child or family who do not have an open case from Housing, they must initiate a duty interaction to determine whether we have an ongoing role in offering support services and the child’s safety, wellbeing and/or protection.
If it is assessed that we have an ongoing role, time-limited, targeted support may be provided to address homelessness through:
In situations where there are concerns for a child or young person’s wellbeing, child protection workers must intake and conduct initial enquiries to determine whether we have any further role.
If it is assessed that there are significant concerns regarding harm or a significant risk of harm, a Safety and Wellbeing Assessment must be conducted to determine what actions need to taken to safeguard the child or young person’s wellbeing. For further information refer to Chapter 2.2: Assessment and investigation processes.
Children in CEO's care
In cases where a general or family carer is at ‘first or second strike’ duty officers should complete an interaction and inform the family's the case manager. The case manager must assess if additional support services are required to prevent escalation of further crisis through eviction, and if safety and wellbeing issues require assessment.
Where assessed as appropriate, we and non-government homelessness accommodation and support services will work in partnership with Housing to provide tenancy support in cases of vulnerable families with children at risk of eviction or who have been evicted under DBMS. This may be in the form of referrals to family support services such as Parent Support or Best Beginnings, or referrals to accommodation and homelessness services - refer to the Directory of Specialist Homelessness Services by Department Districts (in related resources).
Families not facing immediate eviction
We expect that Housing continues to case manage the client and contribute towards improving the circumstances that threaten the tenancy. The supports provided by Housing should be listed on the Disruptive Behaviour Management Strategy Information Sharing Form.
We are required to report on information received through the DBMS. Information must be recorded on Assist in a new interaction with the following values recorded in the relevant areas of the interaction:
Individuals and families who present with the following are eligible for assistance under other programs: