Ability Links

The Ability Links NSW program provides the foundation for reshaping and improving the way people with disability are supported by placing them at the centre of decision making. Ability Links coordinators, known as “linkers”, work with people with disability, their families and carers to help them plan for their future and develop networks in their own communities to access supports and services to meet their needs and interests. Ability Links is supporting the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in NSW. 

Aboriginal Community Housing Provider (ACHP)

An organisation registered with the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) to provide subsidised rental accommodation for Aboriginal people. 

Aboriginal Housing Office

The Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) is a FACS cluster agency. It is a statutory body established under the NSW Aboriginal Housing Act 1998 to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to affordable, quality housing. The AHO is funded by the NSW and Australian Governments to administer the state’s Aboriginal community housing assets.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Placement Principle

The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 recognises the importance of placing Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young people with family or other Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. The preferred order specified in section 13 of the Act is (subject to the safety of the child): the child's extended family or kinship group; the child's Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community; or other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, whenever possible.

Active Ageing

See Life Choices and Active Ageing

Adoption Order

An adoption order is made by the Supreme Court of NSW to legally transfer all parental rights and responsibilities, guardianship and custody from the child's parents to the adoptive parents.

The main factor considered by the court in deciding whether to grant an order is the “best interest” of the child – adoption must be considered to be a better option than any other action that could be taken by law in relation to the care of the child.

Advance Rent

Advance Rent is form of financial assistance available under Rentstart for eligible clients to help them set up or maintain a tenancy in the private rental market. Advance Rent is provided to approved clients as a grant and is not repaid to FACS.  Clients who can demonstrate severe difficulty in meeting the establishment costs of a tenancy may be eligible for help through the provision of Advance Rent.

Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC)

ADHC is a cluster agency of FACS which provides services and support to older people, people with disability and their families and carers. The Home Care Service of NSW (Home Care) is a statutory authority administered by ADHC. ADHC also provides administrative support to the Disability Council of NSW and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Ageing (MACA).

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Bond loan

A Bond Loan is a form of financial assistance available to eligible clients under Rentstart to help them with private rental tenancy costs. A Bond Loan is a loan of up to 75 per cent of the rental bond, which is repayable to FACS. Payments are returned at the end of the tenancy if there is no claim made by the landlord or real estate agent.

Brighter Futures

Brighter Futures is an early intervention program targeting the families of children who are at high risk of entering the statutory child protection system. Prior to July 2014, the target group was focused on those families who do not meet the “risk of significant harm” (ROSH) threshold. From July 2014 the target group expanded to include eligible children and families where the ROSH threshold has been met.

Brighter Futures is designed for families who have children aged under nine years or who are expecting a child. Priority of access is given to families with children under three years of age. Families participate in the program on a voluntary basis. The Brighter Futures program is voluntary delivered by non-government agencies.

  • Engaged or participating in the Brighter Futures program

    The engagement stage applies when a Brighter Futures worker has been allocated to work with a family and is building trust and rapport to obtain the cooperation of the family and encourage participation in the program.  A family is considered “in program” once the family has formally agreed to participate.

  • Referral pathway for Brighter Futures

    This refers to the source of the referral to the Brighter Futures program, such as referrals from the Child Protection Helpline, a non-government agency or an individual.

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Case plan/planning

Case planning is a participatory process of identifying required goals, objectives and tasks to protect and support children, young persons and their families. The case plan is a central tool in case management – it outlines steps and responsibilities to help meet children and young people’s day-to-day and longer-term placement and support needs. This includes ways to keep a child or young person connected with their family and community, their health and wellbeing, education, emotional and social development. A case plan clearly identifies goals and outcomes, key actions, the roles and responsibilities of all relevant people and how the plan will be monitored.  Every child or young person who is to receive a field response is required to have a case plan. 

In KiDS, case plans are an accurate and up-to-date record of the goals, objectives and tasks for the child, young person and their family/carers involved in an intervention. A case plan may be closed when the case plan goal has been achieved. Wherever possible, a decision to close a case plan is made in consultation with the people who contributed to its development and implementation. 

Child and Young Person Concern Report

A child and young person concern report relates to the initial contact made via the Child Protection Helpline from mandatory and non-mandatory reporters who have reasonable grounds to suspect a child or young person is at risk of significant harm and has current concerns about the safety, welfare or wellbeing of the child or young person. Child and young person concern reports are then assessed to determine whether the threshold of significant harm is reached. A child may be subject to multiple concern reports.

Child Protection Helpline

The Child Protection Helpline is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, state-wide call centre staffed by professionally qualified caseworkers to receive and screen all reports concerning children or young people at risk of significant harm. Child and young person concern reports are then assessed to determine whether the threshold of significant harm is reached.

Client Information Systems and Data Warehouse/Repositories

FACS operates a number of client information systems and associated data warehouses/repositories to store key performance data used to meet the needs of internal and external stakeholders. These include:

  • Key Information and Directory System (KiDS): The KiDS system is the FACS child protection electronic records system. The repository for information from the KiDS is the Corporate Information Warehouse (CIW). KiDS data is uploaded on a daily basis;

  • Housing Operations Management and Extended Services (HOMES) system: HOMES captures operational data for the management of housing clients, vendors and assets. The Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) is the repository for information uploaded from HOMES. HOMES data is uploaded monthly;

  • Community Housing Information Management ‘E’ System (CHIMES): The CHIMES is a customer relationship management system used to capture information about community housing. The system is used to monitor and manage contractual arrangements with community housing providers, capture information about properties the sector owns and/or manages, and record interactions. CHIMES is a cloud-based system which is live; and

  • Client Information System (CIS): The CIS is the integrated client information management system for disability clients. Client and service statistics are sent to the Disability Services Minimum Data Set (DS MDS) repository each quarter.

Community Care Supports Program

The Community Care Supports program provides funding for a range of community care services for younger people who have a permanent functional disability and their carers. The services are provided to people who live in the community and are at risk of premature or inappropriate admission to residential care. In this context, ‘younger people’ refers to people who are under 65 years of age, or 50 for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

The services provided under this program include basic maintenance and support services to the needs of people in the community who have impaired functional capacity. Basic maintenance and support services are defined as those essential to a person’s well being, for example nutrition, home help or personal care.

Community Housing

Community housing is rental housing provided to low–to–moderate income and/or special needs households which is  managed by community based organisations that either lease properties from government, or have received a capital or recurrent subsidy from government.

Community housing organisations typically receive some form of government assistance, such as direct funding or the provision of land and property, but a number of community housing organisations are entirely self–funded.  

The NSW Government’s Property Transfer Program has seen the transfer of the management and/or ownership of over 5,000 public housing properties to community housing providers.

Community Housing Information Management ‘E’ System (CHIMES)

See Client Information Systems and Data warehouse/repositories.
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Direct Payment Agreement (DPA) 

Direct payments are one of the options available to choose and control the supports available to me disability-related needs. Direct payments can be made to clients who have the capacity to self-manage supports. Direct payments means funding is transferred directly to a client’s bank account so they control the purchase of the supports and services they require. A DPA with FACS is required to enable payment. Under the DPA, the client is required to agree to spend the funding according to the terms and conditions set out in the DPA. The client may nominate another person to enter a DPA on their behalf. 


Disability is a broad term which refers to people with all kinds of impairment, whether from birth or acquired through illness, accident or the ageing process. It includes cognitive and intellectual impairment as well as physical, sensory and psychiatric disability (or a combination). 

Under the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014, FACS can provide services, supports and/or individualised funding to a person in the “target group”.  A person is in the target group if they have a permanent – or likely to be permanent – disability that means they need support with communication, learning, mobility, decision making and/ or self care, recognising that their need for support may be greater at some times than at others. Services are also available for families and carers of people with disability. The legislation also prescribes that FACS can provide funding to eligible entities to enable them to provide supports or services to people in the target group.

Disability Services Minimum Data Set (DS MDS)

The Disability Services Minimum Data Set (DS MDS) is a national data collection which includes information about funded disability services and service users. The DS MDS is managed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and consists of a set of nationally agreed data items and information that are collected by all Australian jurisdictions, and an agreed method of collection and transmission.

Disability Severity of Limitation

Disability severity of limitation refers to need for assistance in key tasks of everyday living, and is defined in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers. It includes four levels of limitation associated with core activity tasks (self-care, mobility and communication) or restrictions in schooling or employment:

  • Profound: the person is unable to do, or always needs help with, a core activity task
  • Severe: the person:
    • Sometimes needs help with a core activity task;
    • Has difficulty understanding or being understood by family or friends;
    • Can communicate more easily using sign language or other non-spoken forms of communication.
  • Moderate: the person needs no help, but has difficulty with a core activity task.
  • Mild: the person needs no help and has no difficulty with any of the core activity tasks, but has difficulty with other activities (such as public transport, walking, uses aids and equipment etc).

Domestic violence

Domestic violence, or family violence, is violence between people who are, or have been in the past, in a domestic relationship, whether a family member or intimate partner. The violence does not have to occur within the home. Domestic violence is about power and control and there are many ways this control can be expressed. The perpetrator of this violence can cause fear, physical, emotional and psychological harm, or the violence can take the form of financial, verbal, social sexual or spiritual or cultural abuse. Being a witness to domestic violence can have a profound negative effect on children and young persons. 

Domestic Violence Line

The Domestic Violence Line is a state-wide free-call number and is available 24 hours, seven days a week. The Domestic Violence Line provides telephone counselling, information and referrals for people who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence.

Trained female caseworkers are sensitive to the needs of people who have experienced domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Line makes referrals to women's refuges and as well as family support services, counselling, the police and courts, lawyers and hospitals. It helps with transport, emergency accommodation and other relevant support.

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NSW Elder Abuse Helpline

The NSW Elder Abuse Helpline was established as part of the NSW Ageing Strategy to help intervene and prevent incidences of elder abuse. Elder abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action which causes harm or distress to an older person, and occurs within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person. It can take various forms such as physical, psychological or emotional, sexual and financial abuse, and can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect. The NSW Elder Abuse Helpline offers a free service that provides information, support and referrals relating to the abuse of older people living in the community across NSW. The service is confidential and callers remain anonymous. 

Engaged or participating in the Brighter Futures program

See Brighter Futures.

Enterprise Data Warehouse

See Client Information Systems and Data Warehouse/Repositories.

Escalated transfer

When applying for a transfer to another property, social housing providers undertake an assessment of the urgency of the tenant’s need to move out of their current property or location. This assessment will generally occur: when considering an initial transfer application; or if the tenant’s situation worsens after having been approved for a transfer. If there is sufficient risk to the tenant or members of their household, the transfer applicant will be escalated and given priority housing applicant status on the NSW Housing Register.

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Face-to-face assessment

A face-to-face assessment is a child protection process involving a Safety, Risk and Risk Reassessment (SARA) or Secondary Assessment Stage 2 (SAS2) that results in decisions about protective action to protect the child or young person from harm of abuse and neglect.  See also Safety Assessment, Risk Assessment and Risk Reassessment (SARA) and Secondary assessment.

FACS Service Charter

The FACS Service Charter is a department-wide service commitment to FACS’ clients. The service charter outlines the service standards clients can expect to receive from FACS, and what FACS requires from clients to be able to provide the best possible service.

Funding Management System (FMS)

The Funding management System (FMS) is an information technology system used for the funding management of non-government organisation disability sector service providers.

Foster Care

Foster care is a general term used informally to refer to the care of children or young people in out-of-home care by authorised, unrelated carers. Children are placed in a family setting, where the carer’s own children may also be living.

Foster carers can provide short or long-term care, including offering respite and crisis care. Foster carers are provided with ongoing support such as training, peer support and financial assistance. Some specialised services provide an intensive level of service for children and young people with high needs, significant disabilities, or large sibling groups.

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Going Home Staying Home 

The Going Home Staying Home reforms aim to achieve a better balance between crisis responses and prevention and early intervention while also improving crisis responses and post-crisis support. The reforms have a focus on ensuring the system can respond as early as possible to prevent people becoming entrenched in a cycle of homelessness.  

Guardianship order

From October 2014, a guardianship order can be made for a child or young person who is in statutory out-of-home care or supported out-of home care if the Children's Court is satisfied that:

  • There is no real possibility of a child or young person returning to the care of their parents;
  • The prospective guardian will provide a safe, nurturing, stable and secure environment for the child or young person until at least 18 years;
  • Written consent is given by the child or young person if they are 12 years of age or older and capable of giving consent; and
  • If the child or young person is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, their permanent placement under a guardianship order follows the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Young Person Placement Principles.

Under a guardianship order, a guardian takes on full parental responsibility of the child or young person, making all decisions about their care until they reach 18 years of age. A child or young person under a guardianship order is not considered to be in foster care or out-of-home care but in the independent care of their guardian.

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The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare defines “homelessness” status as those clients who are living in any of the following circumstances:

  • No shelter or improvised dwelling: this includes where the dwelling type is no dwelling/street/park/in the open, motor vehicle, improvised building/dwelling, caravan, cabin, boat, tent; or the tenure type is renting or living rent-free in a caravan park;
  • Short-term temporary accommodation: the dwelling type is boarding/rooming house, emergency accommodation, hotel/motel/bed and breakfast; or the tenure type is renting or living rent-free in boarding/rooming house, renting or living rent-free in emergency accommodation or transitional housing; and
  • House, townhouse or flat (couch surfing or with no tenure): tenure type is no tenure, where conditions of occupancy are living with relatives fee free, or couch surfing.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) classifies households as a person living alone or as a group of people who usually live in the same dwelling.

Households in Rental Arrears

Households in rental arrears refers to the number of households (as at 30 June) with a debt balance in their rent account.

See Rent arrears.

Housing Operations Management and Extended Services (HOMES)

See Client Information Systems and Data Warehouse/Repositories.

Housing Pathways

Housing Pathways is a housing application system designed to streamline and coordinate client access to the full suite of social and affordable housing assistance products and services. The Housing Pathways initiative:

  • Simplifies the application process for clients;
  • Standardises assessment processes across organisations;
  • Delivers a single waiting list for the NSW social housing system; and
  • Reduces administrative costs and duplication.

This initiative increases access and improve opportunities for clients and offers a more efficient assessment processes for housing providers.

NSW Housing Register

The NSW Housing Register is a single list of approved clients waiting for social housing. The NSW Housing Register lists clients in order according to their required housing location, their approval category and approval date.

When a social housing provider approves a client for social housing, the provider will place the client on the NSW Housing Register. This register is used to offer housing when a suitable property becomes available. The time that a client will wait on the NSW housing register depends on:

  • The number of vacancies;
  • The supply of social housing in the area, including the number of social housing providers;
  • The number of people waiting for the same type of housing in the same area who have been waiting longer;
  • The willingness to accept offers of both public and community housing;
  • The number of people who have demonstrated a high need to be housed; and
  • The number of applicants leaving the NSW Housing Register.
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Independent Living Services

Independent living services may be provided to prepare eligible young people leaving statutory care for independent living through the provision of transitional accommodation, case management and support services. FACS works in partnership with relevant government service providers, such as the NSW Ministry of Health and the NSW Department of Education, to help young people gain timely access to the required services identified in the young person's leaving care plan.

Individualised Funding

Individualised funding is funding that is allocated to an individual (rather than to a program, place, support or service) and enables them to have control over what, how and when supports and services are provided. The individualised funding arrangement comprises a high level support plan, a breakdown of estimated support costs and the approved funding amount.

Individualised Services

Individualised services are services tailored to meet a person's disability support needs. Individualised services have a focus on enabling people with disability to exercise choice, flexibility and control over their support options.

Intensive Family Preservation (IFP)

The primary intended outcome of an Intensive Family Preservation (IFP) service is that children at risk of significant harm and imminent risk of placement in out-of-home care are able to stay at home with their family in a safe, stable and nurturing environment. The IFP program is up to 12 months duration, with high intensity support provided within the first 12 weeks. Caseworkers have low caseloads to enable them to work intensively with families, and have access to a broad spectrum of support services, including brokerage funds for a variety of practical support, counselling, and skills training that meet the assessed needs of parents and/or children.

Intensive Family Support Service (IFSS)

Intensive family support services aim to prevent imminent separation of children from their primary caregivers due to child protection concerns, and to reunify families where separation has already occurred. A range of services are provided as part of an integrated strategy focusing on improving family functioning and skills, rather than just one type of service, such as emergency or respite care. The services are intensive in nature, averaging at least four hours of service provision per week for a specified short-term period (usually less than six months). Service delivery is coordinated and provided by non-government agencies primarily in the home or community.

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Joint Investigation Response Teams (JIRT) provide services to children and young people in response to serious child protection reports which may involve a criminal offence. It comprises three equal partners – NSW Police, NSW Health and FACS – and operates throughout NSW.

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Leaving Care and After-Care Services

Leaving care and aftercare services refer to the case planning and support provided to young people leaving statutory out-of-home care (OOHC) from 15 years and until the age of 25 years to assist in the transition to independent living and adulthood.  This support may be provided by the same agency that supervised the OOHC placement or by an after care service provider..

The Minister also has discretion under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 to provide or arrange for the appropriate after care assistance for a care leaver over 25 years of age.

Life Choices and Active Ageing

The Life Choices and Active Ageing programs are day programs funded by FACS to:

  • Provide contemporary day programs within a continuum of supports for adults with 
  • Offer options for service users to enhance their quality of life through meaningful day program activities, including participating in community life, where relevant;
  • Provide greater flexibility and choice in terms of individual goals, needs, values, age, life stage, health, interests and other priorities;
  • Provide 18 hours of support per week with reference to the provisions outlined in program guidelines; and
  • Offer supports and activities that can be customised to the goals and expectations of each participant in the programs.

Living Life My Way

The Living Life My Way framework is guiding the expansion of individualised funding arrangements across NSW, providing more opportunities for individuals with disability to build their skills to plan, manage and negotiate how their supports are delivered. This may be by using a support planner or moving to an individualised funding arrangement where they have more control and choice over when, how and who delivers supports.

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Mandatory Reporter

A mandatory reporter is a person who, as part of their professional or paid work, or as the supervisor/manager of a person who as part of their professional or paid work, delivers health care, welfare, education, children’s services, residential services or law enforcement to children. Mandatory reporters are required under section 27 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 to make a report to FACS if they suspect that a child is at risk of harm (as detailed in section 23 of the Act).

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National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) reform is aimed at delivering a national system of disability services focussed on the individual needs of people with a disability.  The reforms aim to enable people with disability to make their own decisions and exercise choice and control. The NDIS is being rolled out progressively. NSW became the first state to sign an agreement with the Commonwealth Government for the NDIS on 6 December 2012.

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Out-of-home care (OOHC)

This term refers to the “out-of-home care” of children and young people in need of care and protection that is necessary for their safety, welfare and wellbeing. OOHC is the care of a child or young person who is in the parental responsibility of the Minister, or a non related person, residing at a place other than their usual home, and by a person other than their parent, as a result of a Children's Court order that lasts for more than 14 days, or because they are a protected person. OOHC is defined in section 135 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (the Act).There are three types of OOHC: statutory out-of-home care; supported out-of-home care; and voluntary out-of-home care. OOHC placements can be emergency, short-term, or long-term (including foster care, permanent care, independent living or those for whom adoption is planned).

In October 2014, the Act was amended to specify that any care of a child or young person provided by a person who has parental responsibility for the child or young person under a guardianship order is not considered OOHC.

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Placement Type

This term refers to the type of placement in out-of-home care (OOHC). For administrative and reporting purposes, the following major categories are used to differentiate placements in OOHC:

  • Foster care;
  • With parents (in the case of re-unification processes or instances of self-restoration) where the Minister has parental responsibility);
  • Relative kinship care;
  • Non-related person;
  • Supported accommodation;
  • Residential care (may include group homes for those with challenging behaviour or high support needs, and Juvenile Justice centres);
  • Independent living; and
  • Other.

Premier’s Priorities

In September 2015, the NSW Premier released Making it Happen, which outlined 30 State Priorities including 12 personal priorities of the Premier (known as Premier’s Priorities) that commit the government to improving outcomes to create a ‘stronger, healthier and safer NSW’. FACS is the lead agency responsible for several these priorities, including: 

  • Decreasing the percentage of children and young people re-reported at risk of significant harm by 15%
  • Increasing the proportion of young people who successfully move from Specialist Homelessness Services to long-term accommodation by 10%
  • Increasing the number of households successfully transitioning out of social housing by 5% over three years, and
  • Successful implementation of the NDIS by 2018

Prenatal Report

This term refers to reports made for an unborn children where there are concerns that the child may be at risk of significant harm after his or her birth. 

Primary reported issue

The primary reported issue is the main reason cited for concerns about the safety, welfare or well-being of the child or young person reports to the Child Protection Helpline. See also reported issue and child and young person concern report.

Priority Approved Housing Applicants

Priority housing aims to meet the urgent housing needs of applicants with complex housing needs who require long-term housing assistance. To be eligible for priority housing, applicants must meet all three of the following criteria:

  • Eligible for social housing; and
  • In urgent need of housing; and
  • Unable to resolve that need themselves in the private rental market.

Private Rental Assistance (PRA)

Private rental assistance refers to the range of options provided under Housing Pathways to assist eligible clients to secure a private rental property. It includes assistance provided through schemes such as Rentstart, Tenancy Facilitation, Tenancy Guarantee, Temporary Accommodation and the Private Rental Brokerage Service.

Private Rental Brokerage Service (PRBS)

The Private Rental Brokerage Service helps people with complex needs who have support arrangements in place to find and sustain accommodation in the private rental market. People who have a physical or mental illness, drug or alcohol problems, a physical or intellectual disability or other complex needs may be eligible for this service. 

The Private Rental Brokerage Service helps clients to: find private rental housing; overcome the barriers that prevent them from securing private rental housing; access a range of private rental products and services; sustain their tenancy; and actively participate in decisions and live independently.

Private Rental Subsidy (PRS)

A private rental subsidy provides eligible clients with medium-term accommodation until an offer of social housing can be made. To be eligible for a private rental subsidy a client must:

  • Meet social housing eligibility criteria; and
  • Be approved for priority status on the NSW Housing Register; and
  • Have a recognised disability or medical condition; and
  • Be able to demonstrate they are also ‘at risk of harm’ in their current housing which is not suitable for them to live in while they are waiting for social housing.

See also Start Safely, Private Rental Subsidy for people escaping domestic or family violence.

Public Housing

Public housing is housing managed by the NSW Government through FACS. Public housing is long-term, affordable housing for people living in NSW on low incomes and/or those with special needs who are unable to rent privately. Public housing comprises those dwellings owned or leased by the Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC), and the Aboriginal Housing Office, cluster agencies of FACS. The aim is to provide a choice of housing location, physical type and management arrangements.

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Ready Together

Ready Together, which was launched in December 2013, continues the NSW Government's Stronger Together reforms, and expands individualised support and funding as part of the Living Life My Way framework which aims to give people choice and control over their supports and funding arrangements. Ready Together also prepares NSW for transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Referral Pathway for Brighter Futures

See Brighter Futures.

Relative/kinship Care

Relative/kinship care is provided by an extended family member, friends or persons of significance to the child or young person.  Placement of children or young people in the care of relatives or next of kin is increasing.  This acknowledges the importance of the child or young person’s identity and maintaining their links with family, culture and community.

Relative care means care provided by a parent, parent’s spouse, grandparents, brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, cousin, niece, nephew, uncle or aunt (whether by blood or marriage) of the child or young person; or a person having parental responsibility for the child or young person or care responsibility under the Adoption Act 2000 (but not including the Minister, the Director-General or a person having parental or care responsibility other than in his or her personal capacity).

Kinship care refers to care by a person who is not a relative of the child, but who shares cultural, tribal and community connection that is recognised by that child's community. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young people are often placed with relatives or kin in statutory or voluntary arrangements in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Young Person Placement Principle.

Rental Subsidies

Rental subsidies refers to the collective rental subsidies granted to FACS-managed tenancies during the year The level of subsidy is determined by the market rent and household income.

Rent arrears

All public housing and Aboriginal housing tenants are required to pay rent charges as part of their tenancy agreement. Rent arrears refers to missed payments. Whenever a tenant's account goes into arrears, FACS works together with the tenant to try to resolve the problem. A number of factors are considered when determining how to manage accounts in arrears, such as payment patterns, willingness to make repayments, reason for the missed payments, and involvement of support services. These factors inform FACS decision making in relation to negotiating a repayment arrangement, or taking further action. 


Rentstart provides financial assistance for eligible clients to help them set up or maintain a tenancy in the private rental market. There are a number of schemes available through Rentstart, including Bond Loan, Advance Rent and Tenancy Assistance.

Reported Issue

A reported issue is matter raised for attention about a child, young person, parent, carer or significant other. When a report is made about concerns that a child is at risk of significant harm, the Child Protection Helpline caseworkers record the issues associated with the risk of significant harm. Up to three issues are recorded at contact with the Helpline.

Reporter (general)

A reporter is any person who conveys information to FACS concerning their reasonable grounds to suspect that a child, young person or unborn child (once born) is at risk of harm, as defined under section 23 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.

Residential Care

Residential care is provided to a small number of children and young people who have challenging behaviours and high support needs. This level of care is provided for as long as required in a property owned or rented by an agency. It is staffed by direct care workers. Residential care units are small community-based residences for two to four young people, supported by rostered residential care staff.

Residential care is a placement option for older children and young people with medium to high needs. Such a placement aims to stabilise behaviour and address the complex needs of the young person so they can move on to other care types, restoration or independent living.

Response priority

The response priority assists with the decision as to how soon the department must respond to a RoSH report. The response priority tool determines the urgency of a case after a matter has been screened and has been determined to meet the RoSH threshold. The options are less than 24 hours, less than 72 hours and within 10 days.


 A restoration is when a child or young person returns to live in the care of a parent or parents for the long term. Care plans are prepared to support the restoration process, and must include a permanency plan. The plan should include a description of the minimum outcomes that the Secretary believes must be achieved before it would be safe for the child or young person to return to his/her birth parents and/or caregivers, details of the services FACS or other agencies are able to provide or arrange to facilitate restoration, and a statement of the length of time during which restoration should be actively pursued.

Risk of Significant Harm (ROSH)

Risk of significant harm status refers to the outcome of the screening at the Child Protection Helpline. 

  • ROSH

    A child or young person is assessed as at ROSH if the circumstances that are causing concern for the safety, welfare or wellbeing of the child or young person are present to a significant extent. This means it is sufficiently serious to warrant a response by a statutory authority, irrespective of a family’s consent.

    From 24 January 2010, reports to the Child Protection Helpline must meet the threshold of ‘risk of significant harm’. Where concerns of harm do not meet the significant harm threshold, the referring agency should offer and coordinate assistance or make a referral to other services, using normal referral networks.

  • Forwarded for information/action

    Reports that have been assessed as not requiring a child protection response are forwarded on to a Community Services Centre (CSC)/Joint Investigative Response Team (JIRT) or Brighter Futures assessment unit for information or further action. A proportion of these reports may relate to ROSH matters, however, they do not require a child protection response for reasons such as: they contain information which has been previously reported (and classified as a ROSH report); or they relate to an historical event and the person causing harm no longer has access to the child or young person.

  • No response required

    This refers to reports that do not meet the ROSH threshold and are assessed as requiring no response at that point in time.

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Safety Assessment, Risk Assessment and Risk Reassessment (SARA)

The Safety Assessment, Risk Assessment and Risk Reassessment (SARA) are three distinct tools used at FACS Community Services Centres by caseworkers:

  • The safety assessment tool is used to determine whether there are any immediate dangers of significant harm to a child and what interventions should be put in place to provide immediate protection.
  • The risk assessment tool is used to classify families into low, moderate, high and very high risk groups to determine the likelihood of future abuse or neglect of a child. This information is used to guide decisions about whether cases should be opened for ongoing services or not.
  • The risk reassessment is used periodically to assess any changes to the family’s risk level in order to guide decisions about whether the case can be closed or if services should continue.

Screening and Response Priority Tools (SCRPT)

Screening and response priority tools (SCRPT) are used at the Child Protection Helpline by caseworkers to determine whether a report meets the risk of significant harm threshold and if so, to determine how quickly FACS should respond to the report.  

FACS uses the Structured Decision Making (SDM) system to assess reports. The SDM ensures consistency, accuracy and timeliness in decision making and utilises a number to tools to assist staff in making key decisions.

Secondary Assessment

A secondary assessment follows an initial assessment where it has been determined that a child or young person is believed to be at risk of harm and may be in need of care and protection.  The secondary assessment employs the Secondary Assessment Framework. The framework is a professionally guided practice model which provides clear guidance and support to caseworkers and guides practice by structuring the assessment process. Secondary assessment is usually conducted by the local FACS Community Services Centre (CSC), or the Joint Investigation Response Team (JIRT).

Seniors Card

The Seniors Card is a free, discount card available to people aged over 60 who live permanently in NSW, and work no more than 20 hours a week. NSW Seniors Card members are eligible for discounts and special offers from thousands of participating businesses in NSW. Some additional discounts are also available in other states and territories. NSW Seniors Card members are also entitled to special concession rates on NSW public transport and half fare travel on many other government and private transport services. The Seniors Card is administered by Ageing, Disability and Home Care, a cluster agency of FACS. 

Social Housing

Social housing is the collective term for community and public housing. Social housing is secure, affordable housing for people on low to moderate incomes who have a housing need. It includes public housing properties owned or managed by FACS (through the cluster agencies of the NSW Land and Housing Corporation and the Aboriginal Housing Office) and community housing properties owned and/or managed by not-for-profit, non-government registered community housing organisations.

Specialist Homelessness Services

Specialist homelessness services provide accommodation and support to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including families in crisis, women and children affected by domestic violence, young people and single adults. It operates through a case management approach. Services provided include accommodation, general support (advice, advocacy, living skills, and court support), personal support for families and relationships, financial and employment support and basic support (meals, showers and transport).

Start Safely

Start Safely is a subsidy to provide short to medium term financial help to eligible clients who have experienced domestic or family violence so they can secure private rental accommodation and do not have to return to the violent situation. 

Statutory out-of-home Care

Statutory out-of-home care is out-of-home care that is provided in respect of a child or young person for a period of more than 14 days: (a) where parental responsibility is transferred because of an order of the Children’s Court ; or (b) by virtue of the child or young person being a protected person (i.e., a child or young person who is a ward of the Supreme Court, awaiting adoption, under the guardianship or custody of the Minister or Director-General by order of the Family Court or the Supreme Court, or a non-citizen in respect of whom the Director-General exercises the functions of guardianship).

Staying Home Leaving Violence

The Staying Home Leaving Violence program aims to prevent homelessness by working with NSW Police to remove the perpetrator from the family home so that women and children can remain safely where they are.  The program places accountability firmly on the shoulders of the violent offender and ensures women and children are not driven to homelessness or uprooted from their families, friends and schools.

It also provides a range of support for victims such as safety planning, improving home security, assistance in managing finances, supports for children and assistance to help families with complicated legal processes.

Stronger Together and Stronger Together 2

Stronger Together: A new direction for disability services in NSW 2006-2016 was the ten year plan to provide greater assistance and long-term practical solutions for people with disability and their families. It involved major reforms and service expansions to ensure a more sustainable disability system that could deliver the best social and economic outcomes for people with a disability, their families and carers, and for the broader community.

Stronger Together 2, which commenced in July 2011, was the second phase of the 10-year plan. Ready Together was recast from the final three years of Stronger Together 2 to continue the reform process, expand individualised support, provide people with more flexibility and control, and prepare people for the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Refer also Ready Together.

Supported Family Group Home Care

Supported family group home care refers to medium to long term out-of-home care provided for a specific group of children or young people who have low to moderate support needs, including sibling groups and adolescents transitioning to independent living.  It is provided in regular houses in the community in a family-like environment by carers who live in the home seven days a week.

Supported Independent Living Services

Supported independent living services are provided to young people with low to moderate support needs who are transitioning to independent living.  The client group is young people aged 16 to 18 years in the parental responsibility of the Minister.

Supported out-of-home Care

Supported out-of-home care (OOHC) refers to OOHC in respect of a child or young person that is a result of the Director-General forming the opinion that the child or young person is in need of care and protection which is arranged, provided or otherwise supported by the Director-General.  Supported care arrangements can occur with or without a court order.

Supported OOHC placements can be:

  • kinship care: where the Minister does not hold any aspects of parental responsibility for residency;
  • Temporary care arrangements: this refers to a voluntary agreement negotiated and signed between the parent or guardian and FACS for a period of up to three months, with the aim to return the child or young person to the family. The child or young person is placed with an authorised carer, and parental responsibility remains with the parents. If the child or young person subject to a temporary care arrangement is assessed to still be in need of care and protection at the end of this period, FACS may renew the arrangement for a further three months. Temporary care cannot be arranged for more than six months in any 12 month period. Non-government organisations use this term for a variety of voluntary care arrangements; or
  • Children’s court orders of less than 14 days duration.

FACS supports these care arrangements through payment of a Supported Care Allowance to the carers.

The NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian registers and monitors agencies that provide, arrange or supervise supported OOHC.

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Temporary Accommodation (TA)

Temporary accommodation is short-term assistance provided to homeless people who can demonstrate they have nowhere safe to stay that night. FACS provides temporary accommodation in low cost hotels, motels, caravan parks and similar accommodation for a small number of nights.

Tenancy Facilitation (TF)

Tenancy facilitation provides short-term assistance to help people understand renting in the private market, to search for properties, collect appropriate documentation, make applications, and deal with landlords and real estat e agents.

Under tenancy facilitation, information is provided on paying a deposit, paying a bond and advance rent, setting a tenancy start date, signing the tenancy agreement, completing the property condition report, paying rent, and related information on moving into the property, such as organising telephone, gas and electricity connections.

Tenancy Guarantee (TG)

A tenancy guarantee is intended to encourage private landlords and real estate agents to rent properties to people who are having difficulties entering the private rental market. 

A tenancy guarantee is available to landlords and real estate agents to cover possible rental arrears and/or property damage over and above the rental bond

Tenure length

Tenancy length is an estimate of the continuous period that the tenant has been in social housing.


Social housing tenants, including public housing tenants, may apply for a transfer to another property if their current property is no longer suitable for their needs. The social housing provider with whom the tenant is currently housed is responsible for assessing a tenant’s application for transfer.

Transition to work

Transition to work is a two year program that helps young people with disability gain employment after leaving school.

Types of care

When a child or young person enters out-of-home care (OOHC), case planning decisions focus on achieving permanency and stability for the child or young person.  Permanent placements for children in OOHC can be achieved by:
  • Restoration to the care of a parent or parents;
  • Adoption;
  • Guardianship order;
  • Placement with a member or members of the same kinship group as the child or young person (relative/kinship care); and
  • Long-term placement in foster care with an authorised carer.

OOHC placements may be provided on a short or long-term basis depending on needs and circumstances.  The FACS Permanency Planning Policy is designed to achieve a permanent and stable home for every child.  If this cannot be achieved with the birth family, decisions about alternative long term placements must occur as early as possible.

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Universal Services

Universal services – also referred to as ‘mainstream’ services  include primary health care, school and early childhood education, and other supports for parents and children. These services are available and accessible to all in the community. In NSW, there are a number of programs universally available to support families and children including, universal home visiting available to every parent with a newborn baby, a quality preschool education program available to every four year old, mental health screening available to all mothers in NSW (SAFE START), parenting education (Triple P) available to all parents with children aged 3-8 years, and Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health services which are available state-wide. FACS delivered programs including FamiliesNSW, Aboriginal Child Youth and Family Strategy, and Community Builders.

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Voluntary out-of-home care

Voluntary out-of-home care (VOOHC) is an arrangement made voluntarily by the parents or guardian of a child or young person with a placement provider.  In these cases there is no court order from the Children’s Court reassigning parental responsibility. VOOHC is provided by an individual in a private capacity, i.e., an individual who is not acting on behalf of, or through an arrangement with, a body or organisation. FACS may assist in making these arrangements where the child or young person is at risk of significant harm or there are no other service providers, such as in rural/remote areas.

A child or young person must not remain in VOOHCfor more than a total of 90 days in any period of 12 months unless the care is provided by or supervised by a designated agency, or  supervised by the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian.  A child or young person must not remain in VOOHC for more than a total of 180 days in any period of 12 months unless the designated agency responsible for providing or supervising the care of the child or young person, or the Children’s Guardian, has ensured that a plan has been prepared that meets the needs of the child or young person under the arrangement.

The NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian registers and monitors agencies that provide, arrange or supervise voluntary out‑of‑home care (VOOHC).

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Young Person

A “young person” means a person who is aged 16 years or above but who is under the age of 18 years.

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