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3.1.8 Insurance for foster carers

Last Modified: 06-Feb-2019 Review Date: 05-Apr-2021

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation

Purpose

To guide child protection workers in the process of making an insurance claim through RiskCover for the Department of Communities (the Department) general, family or significant other foster carers and voluntary non-government placement agency foster carers who provide care in their home for a child in the CEO's care.

Note: CEO refers to the Department of Communities' Chief Executive Officer, and care arrangement refers to child placement.

Practice Requirements

  • Child protection workers must advise foster carers of the parameters of our insurance coverage (refer to ‘RiskCover policy” below).
  • Child protection workers must forward all insurance claims to Client Support Services in head office within 30 days of the date of an incident.
  • If there is an immediate security or safety risk to the home (such as damaged glass or broken external door), carers (Department and non-government placement agency) must notify us immediately and arrange for the damage to be repaired as soon as possible.
  • Insurance claims under $250 must be paid through Case Support Costs. Child protection workers and non-government placement agencies should be aware that if any insurance claim is considered to be a result of criminal activity or damage, the Western Australia Police (WA Police) must be notified.
Process Maps

Not applicable

Procedures

  • RiskCover policy
  • Notification of the incident
  • Responsibility of the child protection worker
  • Completing an insurance claim form
  • Quality assurance and assessment of the insurance claim
  • Where an insurance claim will not be paid
  • RiskCover policy

    Eligibility of Department and volunteer non-government agency foster carers

    All approved Department carers, non-government placement agency foster carers who provide volunteer care in their own home, foster carers with 'Group Home Carer' status, and any person permanently residing with the foster carer or foster carer with 'Group Home Carer' status has insurance cover provided by Communities with RiskCover. 

    The cover includes any event that has resulted from specific incidents (defined events) caused by the actions of a child in the CEO's care placed by Department.  General wear and tear is defined as damage that naturally and inevitably occurs as a result of normal use or aging, and is not included as part of this cover.

    The RiskCover policy excludes non-government placement agencies where foster carers are in a paid arrangement to care for children in the CEO’s care.

    Non-government placement agencies that provide 'fee for service' care arrangements need to contact the Department's Client Support Services on 9222 2555 to determine eligibility.

    Property

    Includes property of every description (excluding motor vehicles and their accessories) owned by or in the care, custody and control of the foster carer that is lost or damaged as the result of fire, wilful or malicious acts, theft or attempted theft, vandalism or accidental damage caused by a child in the CEO’s care or the child’s natural family. This does not include property of the non-government organisation.

    General liability

    Includes the legal liability of the foster carer as a result of an occurrence caused by a child in the CEO’s care or the child’s natural family.

    Professional liability

    Includes any claim made against the foster carer arising from any negligent act, error or omission committed or alleged to have been committed in respect of a child in the CEO’s care whilst the child is placed with the foster carer and notified to RiskCover.

    Motor vehicles

    Includes motor vehicles and their accessories owned by, or in the care, custody or control of the foster carer, lost or damaged as the result of fire, wilful or malicious acts, theft or attempted theft, vandalism or accidental damage caused by a child in the CEO’s care or the child’s natural family.

    This includes the legal liability of the foster carer as a result of an accident arising out of the use of the motor vehicle and caused by the child or child’s natural family.

    Personal accident

    Includes any bodily injury sustained by a foster carer that resulted directly from caring for a child in the CEO’s care whilst the child was placed with them.

    This includes illness directly resulting from medical or surgical treatment rendered necessary by the injury within twelve calendar months from the date of the accident when the bodily injury occurred.

    This does not include injury to any staff of the agency.

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    Notification of the incident

    Department approved carers need to inform the child protection worker of the child concerned of the details immediately following an incident that may result in an insurance claim.  Non-government agency foster carers must inform the relevant placement agency. The non-government placement agency must advise the child protection worker of the child concerned of the details of the incident in writing when informed of the incident. 

    Child protection workers should advise the foster carer that the Department is not responsible for arranging for quotes and/or repairs. The foster carer must advise the repairer when arranging the quote that the incident will be an insurance claim through RiskCover, and ask that the quote be made out in the foster carer’s name.   

    The carer or non-government placement agency should obtain two quotes for the damage and/or repairs.  Quotes may include brochures giving the purchase price of a comparable item. The foster carer or non-government placement agency should retain the receipts if immediate repair and/or replacement is necessary. Any damaged items should be retained until the child protection worker has visited and insurance claim forms have been completed.

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    Responsibility of the child protection worker

    Child protection workers must view any damage, ascertain the facts of the incident and implement strategies so that re-occurrence of such incidents is minimised. 

    Child protection workers need to determine whether an Incident Notification is required. Refer to Chapter 4.2: Notification of death, serious injury or critical incident.

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    Completing an insurance claim form

    Insurance claim forms are available via e-mail from Client Support Services. Insurance claim forms should be printed as required, as forms are updated from time to time.

    Child protection workers must complete the insurance claim form, providing full details of the incident and the full name, address and date of birth of the primary foster carer.  Details of the child, including name, identification, date of birth and the dates of the care arrangement with the foster carer should be attached to the insurance claim form. All sections of the insurance claim form must be completed in full.

    Child protection workers have the authority to sign the form. A separate insurance claim is required for each incident if more than one incident occurred within a short timeframe.

    Child protection workers must forward the completed insurance claim form and any quotes or receipts to the coordinator Client Support Services for quality assurance of the claim and liaison with RiskCover. The child protection worker must forward the insurance claim within 30 days of the date of the incident.

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    Quality assurance and assessment of the insurance claim

    Client Support Services will check that the documentation is complete and strategies are in place to meet duty of care requirements and avoid further insurance claims.

    Client Support Services will forward the insurance claim form and all documentation to RiskCover for their assessment of liability under the cover provided to the Department.  Any forms sent directly to RiskCover by a foster carer, child protection worker or non-government placement agency will be returned to Client Support Services for quality assurance.

    RiskCover will assess the insurance claim using the parameters of a commercial insurance provider and will deal directly with the foster carer. The child protection worker should inform the foster carer or non-government placement agency that insurance claims are subject to the insurer's assessment and payment will not necessarily be paid at a new for old rate.  The time taken to assess the insurance claim will depend on the claim itself and the insurer’s workload.

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    Where an insurance claim will not be paid

    If RiskCover assesses that the claim will not be paid, they will liaise with the coordinator Client Support Services who will, in turn, inform the Department carer or non-government placement agency. Child protection workers will receive copies of any correspondence.

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