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Rights and responsibilities

Children, young people, their parents and carers have certain basic rights and things that they can reasonably expect under the law. Each person’s rights are important. However, it’s occasionally necessary to balance one person’s rights and expectations with another’s, which can be challenging for all involved.

Children and young people’s rights

You play a vital role in promoting and protecting the rights of the child or young person in your care. With your help, they can learn what their rights are and how to stand up for them. Children and young people in care have the right to:

  • their own beliefs and way of life
  • be treated fairly and with respect
  • have contact with their family and community
  • do things they enjoy
  • take part in making important decisions affecting their life.

Caseworkers and carers must support these rights.

There is a Charter of Rights that outlines the general rights of every child or young person in care in NSW. Your child should have a copy of the charter. If they don’t, contact your foster care agency to request a copy.

Parents’ rights

While parents may not be responsible for the day-to-day care of their child, they’re still the child’s parent and retain certain legal rights. This includes the right to:

  • be kept informed of the whereabouts of their child, unless Community Services believes this information will endanger the safety and wellbeing of the child, their carer or their carer’s family
  • be informed of their child’s progress and development during the placement and be given information about the placement, including information about the carers
  • seek assistance from Community Services to access services that will enable their child to return to the care of their family, if this is appropriate.

Carers’ rights

As an authorised carer, you are one of the most important people in the child’s life. You have rights too, including to:

  • be treated fairly and with respect
  • be given information about the child or young person in order for you to decide whether you can accept the placement
  • say ‘no’ to a proposed placement
  • participate in the decision-making process
  • make certain decisions regarding the day-to-day care and control of the child or young person
  • be informed about the process for having agency decisions reviewed and making a complaint
  • be paid an allowance to address the needs of the child
  • have an annual review to identify your strengths and areas where skill development may be necessary, and be given training opportunities
  • have regular contact with your caseworker to support you and your family during a placement
  • receive information about services that can support you in your role as a carer and help with accessing these services
  • access any records relating to your role as a carer, such as your assessment report and approval as an authorised carer
  • be compensated, in some circumstances, if the child or young person causes deliberate or accidental loss or damage to property or personal injury
  • apply for sole parental responsibility after two years of continuous care with the consent of the parents/person who had responsibility for the child prior to them coming into care.

See also the information on foster carer rights and responsibilities

Code of Conduct

The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Regulation 2012 provides for the Minister to issue a Code of Conduct for Authorised Carers PDF, 146.18 KB and requires authorised carers to comply with the Code of Conduct as a condition of their authorisation. The Code of Conduct aims to foster stable and positive relationships between the child or young person, their carer and the designated agency.

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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019