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3.5.6 Case management costs - special purpose funding: major, extraordinary and capital costs

Last Modified: 07-Aug-2019 Review Date: 30-Jun-2010

Purpose

This entry outlines the circumstances in which the expenditure of a large amount of money is appropriate to support a child in the CEO’s care, and the processes for requesting such a payment.

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

Practice Requirements

 
  • All submissions for special purpose funding must be approved by the relevant Executive Director before the purchase of goods and services.
  • A request for retrospective special purpose funding approval may be considered in exceptional circumstances where emergency placements are required and there are no alternative placement options available through the Child and Carer Connection Hub.
  • Submissions for special purpose funding must be completed via the Submission for Funding Approval for a Child template in Assist, and saved in accordance with the Naming Guide for Client Documents in Objective (see related resources).
  • When submissions for special purpose funding receive final approval, child protection workers record the details in the child's care plan in Assist and generate a Payment Authorisation Form.  Payments are made by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or Government Purchasing Card (GPC). For detailed information refer to the Assist Users Guide - Special Purpose Funding in related resources.
  • Carers (general, family and significant other carers) who are eligible for a grant:
    • for home modifications must sign an Advice to Carer Agreement with the Department and agree to repay a pro-rata payment if the children leave the care arrangement within a specified period, or to
    • assist them to purchase a vehicle must sign an Advice to Carer Agreement with the Department detailing the conditions on which the grant has been provided.

 

Process Maps

Special Purpose Funding Submission and Approval Flowchart

Procedures

  • Overview
  • 1. Placement support
  • 2. Boarding school attendance
  • 3. Vehicles
  • 4. Home modifications
  • 5. Major and extraordinary events
  • Preparation, endorsement, approval, payment and recording of a special purpose funding submission
  • Overview

    A child in the CEO's care may occasionally require the expenditure of a large sum of money in circumstances other than those outlined in Chapter 3.5: Case management costs - case support costs.

    Children who are not in the care of the CEO do not attract special purpose funding.

    Expenditure for children in the CEO’s care that falls within any of the categories outlined below must be approved at the Executive Director level. The expenditure is provided from the special purpose funding  budget.

    Five categories of special purpose funding may be considered for children who are in the CEO’s care. These categories and supporting guidance are outlined below.

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    1. Placement support

    This category may be used to support a care arrangement with a Department approved carer (general, family or significant other carer). Supports include, but are not limited to, major costs associated with providing services from third parties. For example:

    • mentors to provide the child with planned activities at regular times to offer support to the carer
    • the provision of a short break care arrangement by specialist agencies to support carers
    • in home domestic support for large sibling groups.

    Where a child requires a specialised, transitional high needs or disability placement support, referrals must be made to the Central Referral Team. More information can be found in Chapter 3.4: Placement referral - Child Information Form.

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    2. Boarding school attendance

    The Department generally views boarding schools as inappropriate for out-of-home care arrangements for children in care. Exceptions are limited to the specific educational or developmental needs of the child, or the country location of the care arrangement. 

    Child protection workers must submit a thorough justification to allow for informed decision making when seeking approval. Further guidance can be found in the related resource Boarding School - Key Considerations Information Sheet

    Note: arrangements for boarding school attendance must be approved by the relevant Executive Director before the child's enrolment, even if special purpose funding is not being sought.

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    3. Vehicles

    Sometimes carers may need a particular type of vehicle to cater to the needs of a child in the CEO's care that they are providing care to.  Child protection workers should be confident that the care arrangement will be stable and long-term. 

    Approval for leased or rental vehicles is limited to:

    • a vehicle modified to transport a wheelchair to meet the special needs of a child with a physical disability
    • a large vehicle for the use of a group of four or more children when no other option is available (for example, a contribution towards a vehicle with greater seating capacity).

    Vehicle rentals are only a short-term option, and only available through the Government’s mandatory contract provider. For detailed information, refer to Vehicle Rental (in related resources) or on the Procurement intranet site.

    The Department does not purchase vehicles for the use of carers, or lease vehicles long term for children in care who do not have a physical disability. However, in circumstances where four or more children have been placed together at the same time, consideration will be given to a request for a one-off grant to assist carers to purchase a vehicle with a higher seating capacity.

    The one-off grant will take the form of a financial contribution paid to a registered motor vehicle dealer. Carers must sign an Advice to Carer Agreement where they agree that the vehicle meets the requirements of an appropriate safety and mechanical assessment, and that the Department has no responsibility for the running costs, maintenance or replacement of the vehicle. This agreement must be accepted by the carers before the grant is made.

    All payments for vehicles are made directly to the service provider on submission of a tax invoice addressed to the Department.

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    4. Home modifications

    There can be special circumstances where it may be necessary to assist carers to modify their home to provide for the particular special needs of a child in care. These require thorough consideration, as this often involves adding value to the carer’s asset (their home).

    Approval for home modifications are limited to:

    • modifications to meet the special needs of a child with a physical disability, and 
    • modifications to accommodate a sibling group of four or more children.

    Prospective funding is not and cannot be used as a condition for the carer taking on a large sibling group.

    The Department funds the modifications through a grant paid directly to the service provider.  Carers must sign an Advice to Carer Agreement with the Department where they agree to make a pro-rata repayment of the grant if the children leave the care arrangement within a specified period.

    These provisions must be clearly set out in a written advice to the carers, and must be accepted by the carers before funding is provided.

    Payments are made directly to service providers on submission of a tax invoice addressed to the Department.

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    5. Major and extraordinary events

    Occasionally a situation may arise in a child’s life that requires expenditure of a large sum of money that is outside the normal resources of the Case Support Costs budget and is not covered in the categories above.

    In such cases, the district director determines if the expenditure is justified before seeking the relevant Executive Director’s consideration for funding from the special purpose funding budget as a major and extraordinary event.

    This category of funding does not cover ‘normal’ large expenditure items, such as computers, day care, private practitioners, counselling or orthodontic treatment.

    This category covers extraordinary situations, but is not limited to:

    • admission of a child to a Residential Treatment Program
    • private schooling
    • purchase of disability or mobility equipment
    • high cost services related to reunification and/or contact
    • high cost specialist services for parenting capacity assessments, forensic and extended assessments for children with dysfunctional behaviours
    • provision of teachers’ aides
    • travel fares and/or accommodation associated with a child attending holidays with their carers (refer to Chapter 3.2: Interstate and overseas travel)
    • religious, cultural, school and sporting tours
    • extensive dental treatment for children living in country regions where the travel and accommodation costs to attend an Oral Health Centre are cost prohibitive.

    Payments are made directly to service providers on submission of a tax invoice addressed to Department. 

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    Preparation, endorsement, approval, payment and recording of a special purpose funding submission

    Payments for special purpose funding are approved in Assist.  A Payment Authorisation Form is generated in Assist and payments are made via EFT or GPC.

    Steps to apply for a special purpose funding:

    • Child protection workers complete the Submission for Funding Approval for a Child (Special Purpose Funding) via the 'Templates' tab in the child's 360 Degree View in Assist. The submission must include the start and cease dates and a thorough justification for the funding.  For detailed information refer to the Assist Users Guide – Special Purpose Funding in related resources.
    • Child protection workers send an email with the submission attached to their team leader and district director for endorsement.
    • When endorsed by the team leader and district director, an email with the endorsed submission is forwarded to the Coordinator Client Support Services for review and feedback to the district if required.
    • When endorsed by the Coordinator Client Support Services the submission is forwarded to the relevant Executive Director for their consideration. 
      • If the submission is rejected, the Coordinator Client Support Services advises the child protection worker or case worker.
    • When approved by the Executive Director, the Executive Assistant scans the submission and forwards it and a covering memorandum to Senior Client Support Officer.
      • If approval has conditional requirements (for example, building contracts or vehicle grants) the document with approval must be returned to the child protection worker / case worker.
      • The child protection worker / case worker obtains the relevant documents and signatures requested.  When the conditions are met and the documents are signed, the child protection worker / case worker return the documents to the Coordinator Client Support Services for acceptance.
      • Once Coordinator Client Support Services is satisfied all conditions have been met, the completed documentation is forwarded to the Senior Client Support Officer.  
    • When all conditions are met and/or the funding is approved the Senior Client Support Officer scans all documentation into Objective then enters the expenditure lines and links approved documentation in to Assist. No end date is recorded in Assist to allow the district to make payment via Assist (default 12 months from approval).
    • The Coordinator Client Support Services approves the funding line on Assist. 
    • Senior Client Support Officer emails the submission and memo with final approvals to the district director, district business manager and case manager, along with advice that expenditure line is open.
    • Child protection worker or case manager records the details in the child's care plan in Assist and generates a payment Authorisation Form from the opened funding line.
    • Special funding payment is made via EFT or GPC.
    • Corporate Support Officer prepares weekly reports to monitor payments. 

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