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3.4.17 Placement referral - Child Information Form (Review underway - has been replaced with Care Arrangement Referral)

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

Purpose

To guide child protection workers in the referral and placement processes required to arrange an appropriate placement for a child in the Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO’s) care. The entry focusses on Communities' placements, placements arranged with non-government agencies (including foster care), and residential care services.

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

Practice Requirements

  • When making a placement arrangement for a child, as in performing all functions under the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act), child protection workers must regard the best interests of the child as paramount – refer to Chapter 3.4: Child placement principle.
  • All children in the CEO's care must have a placement plan, documented and reviewed in the care planning process, which is recorded in the Child Information Form (CIF) referral in Assist.
  • The CIF referral must contain as much relevant and appropriate information about the child and their birth family as possible and the requirements of the placement, in order to support the provision of quality care.
  • The content of the CIF referral must provide as full a description as possible of the health needs of the child and clear procedures governing consent for the child to receive medical treatment. If full details of the child's health needs are not available at the time of the placement, a high priority must be placed on obtaining that information and providing it to the child's carer as soon as possible after the placement is made.
  • The CIF referral must include relevant information for the support of Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) children to meet their additional needs.
  • Before making a placement arrangement for an Aboriginal child, child protection workers must consult with at least one of the following:
    • the Aboriginal practice leader (APL) or other relevant Aboriginal officer
    • an Aboriginal person who has relevant knowledge of the child, the child’s family or the child’s community, or
    • an Aboriginal agency that has relevant knowledge of the child, the child’s family or the child’s community.
  • All placement arrangements must be made in consultation with the team leader and the senior child protection worker placement services (SCPWPS), and ideally, be planned.
  • The CIF referral must be sent to the SCPWPS via the Assist referral process, and a copy given to the service provider.
  • If the child is going into family or foster care, the carer must be given a copy of the CIF referral.
  • Child protection workers must notify the SCPWPS when the CIF referral is available to access a placement arrangement for a child in the CEO’s care (with the exception of children placed with family carers).
  • A home visit must be conducted within one week of a placement; child protection workers must familiarise themselves with the case file before conducting the visit.
Process Maps

Placement Flowchart - Central Referral Team.

Procedures

  • Overview - placement arrangements
  • Placement plan - Child Information Form (CIF) referral
  • Placement of children in the CEO's care outside the case managing district
  • Referrals to family and significant other care arrangements (Communities)
  • Referrals for general foster care placements
  • Referrals to CSO foster care placement services
  • Referrals to CSO family group home placements
  • Referrals to CSO high needs placement - specialised fostering program (fee for service)
  • Referrals to residential group home placements
  • Referrals to CSO high needs placement - disability placement and support program (fee for service)
  • Referrals to CSO high needs placement - transitional high needs placements
  • Referrals to the At-Risk Youth Accommodation service (ARYA)
  • Referrals to all CSOs and residential group home placements
  • Overview - placement arrangements

    There is a range of different types of organisations who provide placement services - in general, placements are arranged by us, by community sector organisations (CSO) and placements in residential care services.

    Placement options:

    1. Family and significant other carers
    2. Foster care
    3. CSO foster care
    4. CSO family group homes
    5. CSO high needs placement - specialised fostering program
    6. Residential group homes
    7. CSO high needs placement - disability placement and support program
    8. CSO high needs placement - transitional high needs placements, and
    9. CSO At-Risk Youth Accommodation (ARYA) 

    For more information about these placement options refer to the related resource document Placement Options Available to Children in Care.

    Note the following:

    • ARYA referrals are made on a daily basis. The service is not intended for ongoing placements. 
    • Secure care arrangements are a therapeutic intervention and are not considered a placement option. Referrals to the secure care facility requires a separate process. For more information refer to Chapter 3.3: Secure care arrangements.  
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    Placement plan - Child Information Form (CIF) referral

    Placement arrangements apply to children in the CEO’s care as defined in s.30 of the Act.

    All children in a placement arrangement must have a placement plan. The CIF referral records the placement plan and is used as both a referral form and as information to be given to the carer/s. Information from last approved Quarterly Care Report auto-populates into the CIF referral, but this information must be reviewed and edited by child protection workers to check that it is purposeful, relevant and is legally available for release (for example, that it does not identify a notifier).

    The CIF referral must be completed and include information in the following domains:

    • child information
    • reasons for referral and current care arrangements
    • critical and safety information 
    • professional contacts
    • health
    • education 
    • social and family relationships
    • recreation and leisure   
    • emotional and behavioural development, and 
    • identity and culture.

    The CIF referral should be written in a way that will assist the SCPWPS, Central Referral Team (CRT) and CSOs to identify appropriate care services for the child. Specific information about the child (such as their likes and dislikes, fears, level of mobility, bedtime routines and concerning behaviours) should be included, as this informs the carer about the child's day-to-day needs. The CIF referral should also include the child's strengths aimed to provide and guide the carer about the child's current behaviours and their potential to achieve.  

    If seeking a placement arrangement with an CSO or in a Communities' residential group home, the CIF referral should be completed and sent to the CRT via the Assist referral process. The CIF referral is automatically sent to the CRT once approved by the SCPWPS or team leader at the district office.

    If the child is going into family or foster care, the carer must be given a copy of the CIF referral as soon as the child enters the placement.

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    Placement of children in the CEO's care outside the case managing district

    Carers belong to a particular district or placement service provider.  Carers cannot be approached to accept a placement other than through the responsible work unit.

    Where a district is placing a child in care outside the case managing area and/or with a carer with another district or service, child protection workers must consult with the responsible work unit. The relevant team leaders and SCPWPS from both districts and/or equivalent non-government organisation workers must be involved in the decision-making process regarding the choice of carer.

    This consultation must occur before a placement is made, as placement arrangements need to include the participation and endorsement of the SCPWPS from both district offices.

    Case management should not be transferred if the carer is with another district. Case management remains with the referring district until a request to transfer a case is approved. For further information refer to Chapter 2.2: Case allocations, management, transfer, requests for co-working or services and case closure.

    The purpose of placement must be stated clearly in the CIF referral and understood by staff in both districts, the carer and by other relevant stakeholders. If the placement is for respite purposes, timeframes must be identified and adhered to, and if necessary, a formal review of the case plan should take place before the end of the respite period.

    If a number of siblings are concurrently placed in out-of-home care with different carers across districts by necessity, then a co-work relationship should be established between the case managing districts to provide an integrated service to the family. Discussions and agreements in such cases must involve the relevant team leaders, SCPWPS and child protection workers. For further information refer to Chapter 2.2: Case allocations, management, transfer, requests for co-working or services and case closure.

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    Referrals to family and significant other care arrangements (Communities)

    If a placement with a family or significant other carer is being considered, child protection workers must refer to Chapter 3.1: Care arrangements with a family or significant other carer regarding the assessment and approval process. 

    Where a placement with a family or significant other carer is to proceed, child protection workers must make the necessary practical arrangements and provide the carer with a copy of the Care Arrangement Referral (CAR) at the time of placement.

    The care arrangement must be approved by the assistant district director or district director before it occurs.​

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    Referrals for general foster care placements

    The CIF referral is provided to the SCPWPS to seek an appropriate placement with a foster carer. SCPWPSs then contact foster carers to determine their ability to provide a placement for the child. 

    Where a placement is to proceed, child protection workers must make the necessary practical arrangements and provide the foster carer/s with a copy of the CIF referral at the time of placement.

    District directors must approve the placement arrangements.

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    Referrals to CSO foster care placement services

    Following endorsement from the team leader and approval from the assistant district director or district director, a child may be referred to a CSO placement service after Communities' foster care options have been exhausted. The referral must be via the SCPWPS and sent to the CRT via Assist. 

    The CAR, which serves as the referral for the service, the documented placement plan and record of information about the child for the carer, must be sent to the SCPWPS. The SCPWPS liaises with the CRT to identify an appropriate service. The CRT is aware of available placement services with funded CSOs.

    The CRT liaises with the nominated CSO and provides feedback to either the SCPWPS or child protection worker.

    Before a care arrangement commences with a CSO, a meeting should be convened with the service provider or carers to discuss the individual placement requirements, the care plan and contact arrangements between agencies and/or significant others for the child. The assistant district director or​ district director must approve the placement with the CSO.

    Once a placement service is confirmed, the CSO carer must be given a copy of the CAR.

    Note: When a child is placed with a CSO carer, child protection workers must record the placement as being with the named carer, not with the CSO.  This ensures that we have a record of where children are placed at all times.

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    Referrals to CSO family group home placements

    Child protection workers must complete the CAR for CSO family group homes. Suitability of the care arrangement is assessed on the information contained in the referral and on the presenting needs of the child or sibling group. 

    The referral process is dependent on the location of the CSO family group home.

    • For metropolitan CSO family group homes - referrals are made via the SCPWPS and approved by the assistant district director or district director, and then forwarded to the CRT via Assist. The Assistant Director Residential Care approves the care arrangement.  
    • For country CSO family group homes - the referrals are made via the SCPWPS and approved by the assistant district director or district director. 
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    Referrals to CSO high needs placement - specialised fostering program (fee for service)

    Where the district considers that the child requires a specialist fostering service the SCPWPS contacts the CRT to discuss the case and initiate a referral via Assist to the CRT.

    To support the Assist referral for a specialist fostering program, the child protection worker, via the SCPWPS, must provide the Executive Director, Service Standards and Contracting, the following:

    • sufficient information in the CAR to demonstrate the reasons the placement is required (1 page or less), and
    • a provisional care plan or care plan/care plan review that includes any specific standards of care required, the case history, psychological reports, the care arrangement goals, an estimated timeframe for the care arrangement, the assistant district director or​ district director's endorsement for the funding required and any other relevant supporting information (refer to Chapter 3.4: Care planning - provisional care plans, care plans and Viewpoint).

    Funding approval is through the Executive Director, Service Standards and Contracting.    

    In consultation with CRT, record the care arrangement as 'CRT Approved HNP - SFP (Specialised Fostering Program)'.

    For more information refer to the related resource Placement Flowchart – Central Referral Team.

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    Referrals to residential group home placements

    Child protection workers must complete the CAR for residential group home placements.  Referrals must demonstrate “best fit” (that is, that the service is the most appropriate for this child at this time). 

    Referrals are made via the SCPWPS and approved by the assistant district director or the district director. The referral is then sent to the CRT via Assist.  The Assistant Director Residential Care must approve the care arrangement.​  Additional information must also be provided with the referral. This includes an up-to-date care plan, cultural and identity plan, safety plan, and any other available assessments.

    Referrals for country residential group homes are made via the SCPWPS and approved by the assistant district director or the district director.

    For more information refer to the related resource: Placement Flowchart - Central Referral Team.

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    Referrals to CSO high needs placement - disability placement and support program (fee for service)

    To be referred to this program the child must be in the CEO's care, registered with the Disability Services Commission (DSC), and eligible for DSC funding programs.     

    To refer a child with high needs disability, the SCPWPS or child protection worker must first contact the senior intensive support officer in the CRT.  Psychological reports must be provided for a referral to be considered, and all clinical reports must be included in the referral to the CRT for assessment purposes.

    Funding for a care arrangement for a child with a high needs disability must be supported by the assistant district director/district director through the care plan.  The Executive Director, Service Standards and Contracting must approve funding.  

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    Referrals to CSO high needs placement - transitional high needs placements

    A CSO high needs placement - transitional high needs placement (HNP - THNP) can provide intensive intervention for a short to medium term (ranging from six to 18 months).  The intention of a HNP - THNP is to transition the child into less intensive services as they respond to the therapeutic intervention. Usually these children are well known to Communities, therefore, all clinical reports must be attached to the initial referral to the CRT for assessment purposes.

    Psychological reports must be provided for a referral to be considered. 

    Children aged 11 years and younger are not considered appropriate for referral. 

    Child protection workers need to work in partnership with the service provider to establish a therapeutic environment that builds on and develops the strengths of the child and their family. A key principle of the partnership between Communities and the service provider is information sharing to meet the best interests of the child.

    In consultation with CRT, record the placement as 'CRT Approved HNP - THNP (Transitional High Needs Placements)'.

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    Referrals to the At-Risk Youth Accommodation service (ARYA)

    Before making a referral to ARYA, the child protection worker or SCPWPS must check that the service is appropriate for the young person, that there are no other suitable accommodation options available, and/or that the young person refuses to engage with other Communities' accommodation services.

    The young person must be between 14-17 years old and in the CEO’s care, or 15-17 years old and not in the CEO’s care but an open case to Communities. For more information regarding criteria, refer to the related resource Placement Options Available to Children in Care

    Referral during work hours

    When making a referral to ARYA during work hours, child protection workers must complete a CIF referral for ARYA and send it to the SCPWPS.  The SCPWA sends the referral to the CRT via Assist. 

    Referral outside of working hours

    The Crisis Care Unit (CCU) is able to refer an eligible young person directly to ARYA outside working hours. The following steps apply for a referral to ARYA by CCU:

    1. CCU contacts ARYA directly to check availability of beds and alert them of the impending referral.
    2. CCU faxes a completed Child Details Form, and where possible a CIF referral, to ARYA (Child Detail Forms are for use by CCU staff only).
    3. CCU alerts the relevant child protection worker or district office of the referral via Assist.  

    Note: Referrals made on a Friday apply to the weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday night). Referrals made before a public holiday apply to the evenings of the entire public holiday period (for example, a referral made on a Thursday before Easter applies Thursday night through to Easter Monday night).

    When referring a young person to ARYA child protection workers must:

    • provide information in the CIF referral to support the assessment that ARYA is a suitable accommodation option for the young person
    • advise ARYA of any risks that the young person might pose to themselves or others
    • make sure the young person has the address of the service and access to transport to arrive at the service
    • check that the young person is aware that he or she must not arrive at the service before 5pm and that they must leave the next morning
    • make arrangements with the young person for the following morning and record these arrangements in the referral so the service provider can direct the young person accordingly
    • make sure that a young person at high risk of suicide is not referred to the ARYA service but instead receives required medical attention, and
    • avoid instructing the young person to contact CCU after hours for a referral to the ARYA service.

    ARYA will forward basic information regarding a young person’s overnight stay (for example, issues observed and details of any critical incidents) to the duty officer at the district office the following day. The child protection worker may, on occasion, contact ARYA about a particular young person during assessment, planning and review processes.

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    Referrals to all CSOs and residential group home placements

    When referring a child to a non-government placement or a residential group home, child protection workers are expected to:

    • accompany the child to the placement
    • participate in a collaborative planning meeting with the service group home.  The meeting must occur within 10 working days of a child commencing in a placement or within two working days of a child commencing an emergency placement at short notice (these placements are referred to as Tier One placements)
    • attend all subsequent review meetings on a regular basis
    • negotiate work roles and frequency of reporting at the planning and review meetings
    • visit the child at least once a month, or at times negotiated with the group home
    • negotiate with the group home to receive a copy of the child's Individual Plan (prepared by the service provider)
    • receive a Progress Report (prepared by the group home), on the child’s progress against his or her Individual Plan and/or individual reviews at times negotiated with the service provider, and 
    • work collaboratively with the group home to locate an appropriate alternative placement and assist in the transition of the child to the new placement in the specified time.  
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