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).
Placement Flowchart - Central Referral Team.
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.
For more information about these placement options refer to the related resource document Placement Options Available to Children in Care.
Note the following:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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)'.
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:
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:
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.
When referring a child to a non-government placement or a residential group home, child protection workers are expected to: