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3.1.3 Family day care providers as foster, family or significant other carers

Last Modified: 28-Jun-2018 Review Date: 01-Oct-2018

Purpose

To guide child protection workers in the application, assessment and approval processes for a foster, family or significant other carer (carer) applicant who is also a family day care educator who owns or runs a Family Day Care Service at their residence. For the purposes of these guidelines, a family day care educator is referred to as a ‘family day care provider’.

Practice Requirements

  • A family day care provider who wishes to become a foster carer with the Department of Communities must be assessed and approved in accordance with the Children and Community Services Regulations 2006 (the Regulations).
  • The family day care provider must advise the local Family Day Care Scheme (FDCS) of any change in circumstances that may have an effect on the provision of family day care. This includes notifying the local FDCS of their intention to become a carer.
  • A family day care provider who has become known to the child through the child’s attendance at the Family Day Care Service must not be assessed as a family or significant other carer; they must be assessed as a foster carer.
  • A care arrangement must not be made if the child may pose a risk to other children or be at risk from children in the Family Day Care Service.
  • A child in a care arrangement with a family day care provider must not be placed in alternative day care arrangements.

Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities.

Process Maps

A amily Day Carer Providers as a Foster Carers 
A amily Day Carer Providers as a Family or Significant Other Carer for a Child in Care 

Procedures

  • A family day care provider is interested in fostering a child in the CEO's care
  • The assessment
  • Approval of the family day care provider as a carer
  • Discussion with the family day care provider before placing a child in their care
  • Advice to the Family Day Care Scheme
  • Care arrangements with the family day care provider
  • Obligations of the family day care provider when a serious incident, including an allegation of abuse of a child, in the Family Day Care Service occurs
  • A family day care provider is interested in fostering a child in the CEO's care

    Foster carer

    A family day care provider must submit an expression of interest to the Department of Communities to become a foster carer.

    Family or significant other carer

    1.  A family day care provider advises us that they would like to become a carer for a child in the CEO's care, and they are a family member or significant other known to the child and/or their family.

    Or

    2.  We have identified a family member, who is also a family day care provider, as a possible carer for a child in the CEO's care and the family member is interested in caring for the child.

    A ‘significant other’ is not defined in the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act) but includes an adult who:

    • would be included in a child’s ecomap
    • has known the child and/or their family for a significant period
    • visits the family home
    • is known to the parents not just the child
    • has demonstrated an active interest in the child and their family’s welfare over an extended period of time, and 
    • belongs to the same cultural group.

    A 'significant other' is not someone who:

    • became known to the child at the time they required a care arrangement
    • knows the child outside the context of the family, for example: a school receptionist, teacher, coach etc., and 
    • is not known to the parents, and does not visit the home.

    A family day care provider, who is only known to the child and their parent/s through the child’s attendance at the Family Day Care Service, must not be assessed as a significant other carer; they must be assessed as a foster carer.

    Initial interview/home visit

    An assessor or child protection worker from the relevant district will undertake a home visit (or a telephone interview may occur where the person resides in the country). The initial home visit - or telephone interview - is an introductory meeting to begin the assessment process and to provide information to the family day care provider about fostering.

    The family day care provider must be advised that if they wish to be assessed and approved as a carer they must notify their local FDCS of their intention. The meeting/contact must include a discussion about the family day care provider’s ability to undertake both roles simultaneously, and Communities' procedures should an allegation of abuse of a child in the CEO’s care be made against them. Refer to Chapter 2.1: Responding to safety and wellbeing concerns for children in the care of the CEO against approved carers.

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    The assessment

    Foster carer

    If the family day care provider is interested in becoming a foster carer, they must submit an application to the Child and Carer Connection Hub (the Hub) along with the completed documentation provided in the application pack.

    An assessor will complete the assessment where the applicant resides in the metropolitan area, and the relevant district office will complete the assessment if the applicant resides in a rural or remote region.

    Family or significant other carer

    The family day care provider advises us that they want to be assessed as a family or significant other carer for a child in the CEO's care. The district office case managing the child will complete the assessment.

    Note: Where we have identified the family day care provider as a possible family or significant other carer for the child in an emergency, the care arrangement can occur with district director approval. Refer to Chapter 3.1: Family or significant other carer.

    Advising the local Family Day Care Scheme

    The family day care provider must advise the local FDCS of their intention to become a carer for the Department of Communities.

    Assessment

    The family day care provider must be assessed against the competencies set out in the Regulations. The assessment must also take into account the person’s understanding of the requirements of being both a family day care provider and carer, and their capacity to manage both roles.

    For full details on the assessment process for applicants refer to the relevant sections in Chapter 3.1: Assessment, Review and Support to Carers (Temporary and Permanent Care).

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    Approval of the family day care provider as a carer

    Foster carer

    The assessment report must be quality assured before being submitted to the Cross-sector Foster Carer Panel (the Panel). The Panel will endorse/not endorse the recommendation and the Director of the Child and Carer Connection Hub is the final decision-maker.

    For full details of this process, refer to the relevant entries in Chapter 3.1:  Assessment, Review and Support to Carers (Temporary and Permanent Care).

    Family or significant other  carer

    The assessment report must be sent to the district director for approval of the family day care provider as a family or significant other carer. The family day care provider must be advised of the outcome. For full details of this process, refer to Chapter 3.1 Family or Significant Other Care.

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    Discussion with the family day care provider before placing a child in their care

    If the family day care provider is approved as a carer, the senior child protection worker placement services (SCPWPS) and/or child protection worker must meet with them to discuss the child's needs and behaviours.

    The meeting must include a discussion about any potential risks presented by the child and/or posed to the child in the CEO's care should the care arrangement be approved. It must also identify any reduction this may have on the carer's capacity to provide a Family Day Care Service. 

    The possible decisions from the meeting:

    • The  carer is capable of undertaking both roles simultaneously, and there are no identified risks to the child in the CEO's care and other children, or 
    • Risks are identified and the  carer's capacity to provide care and/or a Family Day Care Service is compromised. In this instance, the care arrangement would not normally proceed, however if it is the preferred option for the child in the CEO's care, the following must occur:
      • consultation with the district director, relevant team leader  and SCPWPS to discuss how to manage the identified risks and develop a safety plan, and  
      • a copy of the plan must be provided to the relevant Executive Director  as part of case management.

    If the care arrangement is approved, the child protection worker or SCPWPS must advise the family day care provider that the child cannot be placed in alternate day care arrangements.

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    Advice to the Family Day Care Scheme

    The child protection worker must write to the local FDCS before placing the child with the family day care provider (approved carer). The FDCS must be:

    • advised of the planned care arrangement of the child, and
    • advised that we have considered  that the child will not pose a risk to other children in the Family Day Care Service or have identified risks and developed a plan to manage them.

    If there is a change to the care arrangement or the care arrangement ends, the child protection worker must advise the FDCS.  

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    Care arrangements with the family day care provider

    Care arrangements with the family day care provider will occur as per the normal care arrangement processes. Refer to the relevant entries in Chapter 3: Children and Young People in the CEO's Care.

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    Obligations of the family day care provider when a serious incident, including an allegation of abuse of a child, in the Family Day Care Service occurs

    The approved provider of a Family Day Care Service is required to keep an incident, injury, trauma and illness record pursuant to r.87 Education and Care Services National Regulations 2012 (ECSN Regulations). A family day care provider must record the relevant details of any incident, injury, trauma or onset of an illness at the service as soon as practicable but not later than 24 hours after the event.

    Under r.86 of the ECSN Regulations, if a child is involved in any incident, injury, trauma or illness while being educated and cared for by the service, the approved provider of the Family Day Care Service must notify the parent as soon as practicable. Notification must be made no later than 24 hours after the event.

    The Department of Communities has a two tiered response to standard of care concerns and abuse in care allegations in relation to approved carers. If a child protection worker becomes aware of such concerns or allegations in relation to a family day care provider who is an approved foster carer, they must refer to the procedures outlined in the relevant entries in Chapter 2.1 Assessing and Responding to Child Protection Concerns for Children in Care.

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