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3.5.7 Procedure for initiating a subsidy payment

Last Modified: 22-Jan-2019 Review Date: 01-Sep-2020

Purpose

To provide child protection workers with information about the procedures for initiating a subsidy payment.

Practice Requirements

  • Department of Communities' (the Department) foster carers (including family and significant other carers) must be approved before they can have a child placed and receive a subsidy.
  • To initiate the subsidy payment to a foster carer, the senior child protection worker placement services or team leader must enter the foster carer status on Assist.
  • Making a care arrangement and funding a care arrangement are both decisions approved by the assistant district director or district director.
Process Maps

Not applicable.

Procedures

  • Overview
  • Payment by Business Support and Coordination
  • Commencement of a subsidy payment
  • Cessation of a subsidy payment
  • Short break support
  • Overview

    When a child enters the Chief Executive Officer (CEO's) care, child protection workers seek approval for a care arrangement and funding for the care arrangement from the assistant district director or district director through the case plan.  This approval must be sought immediately following a court order, or when the child protection worker seeks approval under the Children and Community Services Act 2004 for:

    • an intervention action under s.32(1)(e)
    • a placement service provided under s.32(1)(a), or
    • a negotiated placement agreement under s.75.

    Where a child is being taken into provisional protection and care under s.37 after verbal approval from the district director, child protection workers must follow up with written approvals as soon as practicable.

    In the case plan submitted to the assistant district director/district director for approval, the child protection workers must record the child's name and seek approval for:

    • the intervention or other action under s.32 warranting a placement arrangement
    • making a placement arrangement (s.79), and/or
    • payment for care under a placement arrangement (s.82).

    Suggested wording requesting approval from the district director is:

    “Re: (name of child/ren). District director/assistant district director​approval is sought for (describe intervention or other action). District director/assistant district director​ approval is also sought to make s.79 placement arrangements and, where appropriate, standard subsidy payments under s.82”.

    When the assistant district director/​​district director approves the case plan the care arrangement can be made. Approval is current whilst the child remains in the CEO's care, unless otherwise directed.

    Foster carers must be approved before a child is placed with them and in order to receive the subsidy. 

    The subsidy payment is initiated by recording the child’s living arrangements with the approved foster carer in Assist.  The child protection worker must complete all sections, for example, type of care arrangement, etc. 

    Approved foster carers must provide their bank details to receive the subsidy by Electronic Funds Transfer.  This information must be recorded in Assist by the SCPW-PS.

    Assist should be updated when a child:

    • enters care for the first time
    • moves from one care arrangement to another
    • moves from a care arrangement​ to a temporary location (for example, for respite), or
    • leaves care.
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    Payment by Business Support and Coordination

    Business Support and Coordination process and pay the subsidy requested. The type of subsidy is affected by the child’s care arrangement​.

    Where the information in Assist is incomplete or contains an error, Business Support and Coordination will contact the responsible child protection worker or team leader for clarification.

    Assist must be updated to show all movements, including temporary movements.

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    Commencement of a subsidy payment

    Subsidy payments commence once the Living Arrangement details have been completed in Assist and the information is quality assured by Business Support and Coordination.

    It is critical that the information is recorded in Assist immediately after the child has been placed.

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    Cessation of a subsidy payment

    To discontinue a subsidy payment child protection workers must update the Living Arrangement details in Assist within two working days of a child changing his or her care arrangement

    Failure to update Assist can lead to substantial overpayments which  then need to recovered.  

    If there is no chance of recovery and the overpayment is due to neglect, Communities' officers can be charged under the Public Sector Management Act 1994 and Financial Management Act 2006. 

    When a subsidy ceases, child protection workers must inform the foster carer that the subsidy will not be paid any longer and the reasons for this (for example, the child has moved care arrangements or reached the age of 16 and is eligible to receive Commonwealth benefits or allowances). 

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    Short break support

    Please refer to Chapter 3.1: Short break care.

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