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Other case management functions

When case management of an Aboriginal child, their parent and family/kin transfers to an Aboriginal funded service provider, responsibility for day to day contact with the child, their parents and family/kin rests with that service provider, which provides permanency support services and helps them achieve the child’s case plan goal.

Where no such agency has capacity, case management is allocated an accredited non-Aboriginal funded service provider on the approved register of non-Aboriginal partner organisations maintained by AbSec. Such organisations have a stated ongoing commitment to case management by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and demonstrated evidence of supporting actions to achieve this goal.

When case management of an Aboriginal child, their parents and family/kin transfers to a non-Aboriginal funded service provider, responsibility for day to day contact with the child, their parents and family/kin rests with that service provider. The service provider demonstrates and documents any significant decisions or actions concerning the child have been made through Aboriginal Family-led Decision Making processes and through engagement with recognised or accredited Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation, in lieu of transfer of functions to an accredited Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation once capacity is available.

Identification and de-identification of Aboriginal children and young people

FACS is responsible for making reasonable inquiries to determine whether a child or young person who is the subject of a report may be an Aboriginal child (Section 32). This includes direct engagement with the child, their parents, extended family and community, recording all information provided about the child’s family and cultural background.

A child is to be considered an Aboriginal child and the Aboriginal Case Management Policy and Rules and Practice Guidance applied if the child is of Aboriginal descent. This requires engagement with Aboriginal communities through relevant Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanisms. The Care Act empowers the Children’s Court to make such a determination (Section 5).

Key points to consider include:

  • early identification to minimise the potential for delays in decision making and disruptions in the future, safeguarding the rights of Aboriginal children and families and
  • proactive efforts commence early, including the mapping and initiation of family finding processes, identifying the cultural background of members of their extended families as preliminary cultural planning for all children.

Any child of Aboriginal descent is to be identified as an Aboriginal child and treated and respected as an Aboriginal child. This includes engagement with family/kin and community in all decision making and the development of comprehensive cultural support planning as early as possible.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations assist caseworkers to identify Aboriginal children and families to protect and promote their cultural rights, including the development of a strong cultural identity that promotes child well-being. Caseworkers seek out the advice and guidance of the representative of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism where there may be uncertainty in determining a child’s Aboriginal status.

The de-identification of a child identified as an Aboriginal child is a serious matter as this decision fundamentally impacts on the cultural rights of Aboriginal children. If de-identification is being considered, this is always discussed with the representative of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism, noting clearly the evidence supporting the view that the child is not an Aboriginal child. Decisions about whether a child is an Aboriginal child are determined through an Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism. Delegation within FACS is at the Director level, with data about such processes shared with Aboriginal accountability mechanisms.

Safety review and risk re-assessment

Following case management transfer, FACS may review the initial safety assessment if new (non-ROSH) information is received and may:

  • jointly review the initial safety assessment and safety decision with the funded service provider who holds case management responsibility
  • conduct a risk re-assessment through Aboriginal Family-led Decision Making processes ensuring that the family is involved in all stages of the safety decision making
  • consult with relevant Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation or where this is not possible, consult with an Aboriginal representative through Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism
  • liaise with the funded service provider to mutually contact the child, their parents and family/kin in order to continually assess risk.

Funded service providers continue to provide services during the safety review and risk re-assessment, sharing all information that would help inform FACS assessment.

Changes to a case plan goal

When a case plan goal needs to be changed due to significant change in circumstances, the funded service provider with case management responsibility:

  • notifies the Child and Family District Unit and Permanency Coordinator of the proposal to change and jointly consider the change
  • provides evidence that Aboriginal Family-led Decision Making processes have occurred to inform the proposed change
  • endorses (jointly with FACS) the decision to change or discontinue the case plan goal, following an Aboriginal Family-led Decision Making process.

Changes to case plan goals are oversighted by the Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism, particularly when, as a result, the child or young person will enter statutory OOHC.

Case management transfer

Case Management of Aboriginal children and young people in OOHC is transferred to a funded service provider that is an accredited Aboriginal community controlled agency in the first instance.

Where no such agency has capacity, case management is allocated to an accredited non-Aboriginal funded service provider on the approved register of non-Aboriginal partner organisations maintained by AbSec. Such organisations have a stated ongoing commitment to case management by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and demonstrated evidence of supporting actions to achieve this goal.

FACS districts and funded service providers initiate and respond to Case Management Transfer (CMT) as providers of preservation casework (non-OOHC) and as accredited child-safe providers of OOHC.

Caseworkers:

  • include the child (where appropriate), their parents and family, in discussion about changes to case management
  • work collaboratively to help achieve a child’s case plan goal.

What is case management transfer?

CMT involves the transfer of responsibility for case management from a ‘transferring provider’ (FACS or a funded service provider) to a ‘receiving provider’ (most often a funded service provider):

  • in relation to children that have a case plan goal of preservation, restoration, Aboriginal guardianship, or Aboriginal long term care
  • on a specific case management transfer date – CMT does not occur across a range of dates or over a period of time.

In relation to Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC), the Central Access Unit (CAU) is responsible for determining where case management sits.

Where possible, FACS transfers case management of the child and family to a funded service provider that is an accredited Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation within their community of belonging; and is responsible for building service capacity, alongside AbSec, of accredited Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations delivering the Permanency Support Program, in a timely manner. If this is not possible, FACS informs the relevant Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism and AbSec of the intention to transfer case management to a non-Aboriginal funded service provider on the approved register maintained by AbSec. FACS also notifies the Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism of any changes to the case plan goal resulting in entry to OOHC.

Case management transfer date (‘CMT date’)

Unless another date is agreed, the CMT date is:

  • the date of commencement of preservation casework, that is the date the receiving provider first makes contact with the child, their parents or family/kin or
  • the date of commencement of OOHC placement of the child with a receiving provider.

The transferring provider always convenes a CMT meeting prior to, or within 10 business days of case management transfer date.

This section does not apply to Temporary Care Agreements (TCAs).

Initial case management transfer

Most CMT initiallyoccurs from FACS to a funded service provider, when FACS decides a funded service provider will have responsibility for achieving a child’s case plan goal.

For children in OOHC, initial CMT only includes children subject to a care application (in the care responsibility of the Secretary of FACS); or children in statutory OOHC as a result of an interim or final care order (in PR of the Minister).

CMT may occur before or during an interim order, or after final orders are made. CMT is unaffected by whether or not there are interim or final orders in place.

Case management transfer occurring during case management

CMT occurs during case management if a different funded service provider will have responsibility for achieving a child’s case plan goal.

CMT is avoided when it means change (or abrupt change) in a child’s caseworker, weakens continuity of case management and/or decreases the likelihood the child’s case plan goal can be achieved. Specifically, a change in caseworker can have an adverse impact upon the child and their parents or family/kin.

In minimising CMT, funded service providers consider innovative approaches to adapting service delivery to changed circumstances. For example, can additional services be purchased in another city or town where the child has relocated?

An unavoidable transfer of case management may include the following scenarios:

  • the person caring for a child (either family or authorised carer) moves to a different city or town, or a child is restored to a parent in a different city or town; requiring CMT to a different provider operating in the child’s new location
  • a change in a child’s case plan goal occurs and the funded service provider decides – in consultation with FACS, the child and their parents or family/kin – another funded service provider is more able to help achieve the new goal
  • fulfilling the commitment to case management of Aboriginal children and young people by accredited Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations
  • a child’s carer changes funded service providers by changing their authorisation (as carer) from their existing funded service provider to a funded Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation.

FACS:

  • where possible, transfers case management of an Aboriginal child, their parents and family/kin to an Aboriginal funded service provider within their community of belonging or if this is not possible
  • informs the relevant Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism and AbSec of the intention to transfer case management to a non-Aboriginal funded service provider on the approved register maintained by AbSec or of the intention to place a child outside their community of belonging
  • demonstrates to the Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism what attempts will be made to return the child to their community of belonging and how their cultural connections will be maintained through usual case planning
  • establishes a strategy to transition case management to an accredited Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation in the future as part of ongoing capacity building work
  • notifies the Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism (from their community of belonging) of any changes to a case plan resulting in entry to statutory OOHC
  • works to build service capacity so that Aboriginal children transfer to a funded service provider that is an accredited Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation delivering the Permanency Support Program in a timely manner.

Responsibility for case management transfer tasks

FACS, the transferring provider and receiving provider have important complementary roles in CMT:

  • For placement of a child in foster care or Aboriginal foster care, the FACS CFDU makes a broadcast seeking a new OOHC placement.
  • In the case of an OOHC placement in Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC), the FACS CAU makes a broadcast seeking a new Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) placement.
  • The transferring provider convenes a CMT meeting prior to, or within 10 business days of CMT date. This includes all administrative tasks such as:

- updating the case plan or preparing a new case plan and circulating the meeting minutes and case plan within 5 business days (unless a different timeframe is agreed)

- providing all documents listed in PCMP Resources – Checklist: Documents required for CMT to the receiving provider.

Note: Responsibility for obtaining any documents not yet available at the time (for example birth certificate, Medicare Card, court orders) is transferred to the receiving provider (including related costs). CMT is not disrupted due to documents that are not yet available or do not exist at the time.

  • The receiving provider:

- ensures attendance at the CMT meeting by a casework practitioner with decision making delegation

- begins case management on the CMT date (whether before or after the CMT meeting).

Internal FACS transfer

FACS carries out an internalCMT when – as a result of a CMT between funded service providers – a different FACS district or nominated FACS Unit is required to:

  • manage contractual arrangements between FACS and the receiving provider
  • complete SARA, risk re-assessment and/or closing safety assessment (preservation and restoration)
  • make any future court application (in the case of guardianship or adoption)
  • exercise the powers and functions of PR.

Internal CMT is addressed separately in the FACS Casework Practice Mandate, Transfer of a child or family between teams, Community Services Centre (CSC)'s and JIRT.

Approval of case management transfer

Prior approval is sought from FACS for CMT between funded service providers noting FACS is:

  • the agency that commissions case management provided by a funded service provider (whether or not the child is in OOHC)
  • the agency exercising PR for children in statutory OOHC.

Case management transfer back to FACS

CMT from a funded service provider to FACS occurs in exceptional circumstances when FACS and the funded service provider agree the funded service provider cannot provide the child with safety and/or can no longer achieve the child’s case plan goal.

Delegation for accepting CMT to FACS is set at Category 5, FACS Manager Client Services (and above)in consultation with the FACS Contract Manager.

CMT from a funded service provider to FACS may include:

  • the person caring for a child (either family or authorised carer) moves to a different city or town where there are no funded service providers operating or providing an outreach service and no other services can be purchased by the funded service provider
  • an Away from Placement (unplanned absence) period has expired and no further funding has been provided by FACS
  • circumstances in relation to an interstate movement of a child are so complex that they fall outside the scope of Interstate Movement of Children in OOHC
  • a critical organisational incident (for example, suspension or cancellation of Child Safe Accreditation) has occurred and FACS and the funded service provider agree that the funded service provider can no longer provide case management or
  • a child exits statutory OOHC and enters supported OOHC as the result of a court order (the Minister no longer holds PR).

FACS determines that CMT back to FACS is required (as commissioning agency, FACS may withdraw any child from case management of a funded service provider).

Responding to new ROSH reports

FACS has statutory responsibility for assessing safety and risk in relation to a child (section 30).

ROSH reports about a child in the home of the parent or relative/kin – following case management transfer, FACS may conduct a new SARA assessment if a new ROSH report is received about a child and if the report concerns the child in the parents’ home or another home. Refer to Safety And Risk Assessment.

ROSH reports about a child in OOHC – following case management transfer, FACS may conduct a risk of harm assessment (this is different to a safety and risk assessment) if:

  • a new ROSH report is received about the child that does not raise allegations about the conduct of an authorised carer
  • the report concerns the child in an authorised carer’s home.

FACS may:

  • liaise with the funded service provider to seek direct contact with the child, their parents and family/kin in order to conduct the assessment
  • consult with the relevant Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism, or where this is not possible, consult with an Aboriginal representative through an Aboriginal-led process
  • follow Aboriginal Family-led Decision Making processes when conducting the assessment.

Funded service providers continue to provide services during the risk of harm assessment, sharing all information that would help inform FACS assessment.

Collaborating in assessing Reportable Conduct

When the new ROSH report contains allegations of reportable or criminal conduct by an authorised carer or other employee of the funded service provider, FACS and the funded service provider have additional complementary roles.

  • Whilst FACS is responsible for conducting an Alternative Assessment, the funded service provider is responsible for assessing reportable or alleged criminal conduct of their employees, including the conduct of authorised carers
  • FACS and the funded service provider each inform the other when an assessment is to commence
  • FACS and the funded service provider conduct joint pre-assessment and post assessment consultation (where appropriate)
  • FACS and the funded service provider coordinate joint interviews of the child and other children, and the carer (where appropriate)
  • FACS and the funded service provider exchange information with the other throughout the assessment that relates to:
    • the safety of, risk of harm, or actual harm to the child and other children
    • the child and other children’s ongoing care and
    • the assessment and outcome of the assessment
  • Within 10 business days after the conclusion of each assessment, FACS and the funded service provider provide each other with:
    • a copy of their respective assessments or
    • only relevant information about the assessment (not a copy) if a decision is made (Chapter 16A) to withhold the full assessment, for example, if legal advice is received that providing the full assessment would compromise the safety, welfare and well-being of a child.

Interstate movement of children in OOHC

Interstate movement of a child is not the same as interstate transfer of an order.

  • Interstate movement of a child concerns a physical movement of the child to an address in another jurisdiction that becomes their usual place of residence (for example, for the purposes of enrolment in school).
  • Interstate transfer of an order concerns transfer, or registration, of a NSW care order in another jurisdiction, effectively transferring the order to the other State and altering the child’s legal status.

Requirement for permission & compliance with Interstate Protocol

Whether children in parental responsibility of the Minister are case managed by FACS or a funded service provider, all proposed interstate movements require:

  • permission of a FACS Principal Officer, 42 days prior to any interstate movement
  • involvement of Aboriginal children and young people, their family, community and relevant community organisations, and endorsement from the local Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanism as part of normal case planning processes
  • consultation with FACS Interstate Liaison and
  • compliance with obligations and responsibilities articulated in the Interstate Child Protection Protocol.

The funded service providers role in requesting permission

When interstate movement of a child in case management of a funded service provider is proposed, the funded service provider:

  • makes a request for permission from the FACS principal officer for the proposed interstate movement, using templates and guidance provided by FACS Interstate Liaison to plan for an interstate movement
  • provides written information about how they propose to:
    • support birth family contact, relationships and identity
    • maintain support of the child and carer in the placement and
    • support achievement of the child’s permanency goal
  • provides information about how the child’s Aboriginal family and community have participated in this decision, clearly noting how these groups were proactively supported to participate and state their views
  • provides information about a new placement (if a change to the placement is proposed) including evidence of the proposed carer’s authorisation as a carer in NSW
  • notifies of any proposed change in funded service provider (if a change in funded service provider is required – see Case management transfer)
  • initiates a ‘proposal to change the case plan goal’ (if a change to the goal is proposed) providing evidence of prior casework and pre-assessment – see Changes to a case plan goal
  • documents the outcome of the request for permission.

FACS role in giving or declining permission

The decision to give or decline permission for a proposed interstate movement is made by FACS as:

  • the agency that commissions case management by a funded service provider
  • the agency exercising PR for children in statutory OOHC.

The FACS principal officer:

  • uses the Interstate Child Protection Protocol, relevant FACS Casework Practice Mandates and the Aboriginal Case Management Policy and Rules and Practice Guidance to consider requests for permission
  • requests or gathers further information, or obtains legal advice from the FACS Child Law Legal Officer (as required) to inform the decision
  • gives or declines permission for interstate movements using templates and guidance provided by FACS Interstate Liaison and
  • ensures the rationale for permission; conditional permission or declining permission is documented in ChildStory.

Requirement for a nominated FACS unit to hold secondary responsibility

Although the Minister transfers case management to funded service providers, funded service providers are not delegated any powers and functions of PR (PR)3 in relation to interstate movements of children in statutory OOHC and cannot make these decisions.

It is a requirement that a nominated FACS unit holds decision making responsibility for a child that has moved or will move interstate.

The nominated FACS unit makes all decisions in relation to:

  • movement of the child interstate
  • interstate requests of the other jurisdiction
  • all PR decisions while the child resides interstate (until/unless transfer of orders) and
  • arranging transfer of orders.

The nominated FACS unit:

  • liaises with the FACS Principal Officer
  • ensures the Interstate Child Protection Protocol, FACS Casework Practice Mandates and the Aboriginal Case Management Policy, (ACMP) have been followed and
  • documents all decisions on ChildStory.

Key steps - principal officer gives permission

When a FACS principal officer gives permission for interstate movement of a child, FACS and the funded service provider have important complementary roles:

  • FACS’ principal officer provides the funded service provider with written advice of:
    • the decision to give permission and any reasons for it and
    • any additional conditions that are to be met subject to permission taking effect.
  • The funded service provider submits an updated OOHC case plan to the nominated FACS unit, at least 21 days prior to the proposed interstate movement.
  • FACS Interstate Liaison provides advice and support to the principal officer and nominated FACS unit (as required).
  • The funded service provider convenes an interstate movement meeting with the nominated FACS unit and any other relevant stakeholders. This includes all administrative tasks such as updating the case plan or preparing a new case plan and circulating the meeting minutes and case plan within 5 business days (unless a different timeframe is agreed).
  • An officer of the nominated FACS unit with decision making delegation (grade nine or above) attends the meeting.
  • The purpose of the meeting is to identify roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder, considering:
    • actions prescribed by relevant legislation and regulations in the receiving jurisdiction
    • what requests are to be made of the interstate child protection department under the Interstate Child Protection Protocol
    • how the funded service provider will respond to possible placement breakdowns, allegations against the proposed carer, reportable conduct, and quality of care concerns
    • how FACS will assess possible ROSH reports and what support will be required of the funded service provider and
    • how interstate transfer of the child’s care order will be facilitated.

Key steps - principal officer declines to give permission

When a FACS principal officer declines to give permission for interstate movement of a child, FACS and the funded service provider have important complementary roles:

  • The FACS principal officer provides the funded service provider with written advice of the decision to decline to give permission and the reasons for this decision.
  • FACS Interstate Liaison provides advice and support to the principal officer and nominated FACS unit (as required).
  • The funded service provider convenes a case meeting with the nominated FACS unit, the child’s current carer and/or proposed carer, the child, their parents or family (where appropriate) and any other relevant stakeholders. This includes all administrative tasks such as circulating the meeting minutes within 5 business days (unless a different timeframe is agreed).
  • An officer of the nominated FACS unit with decision making delegation attends the meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to:
    • provide the carer with information and the rationale for the decision
    • listen to the carers views and wishes and
    • explore alternatives that meet the child’s needs and how these are to be funded.
  • The funded service provider prepares and submits to FACS an updated OOHC case plan that addresses the child’s needs in the context of the child remaining in NSW. For example, it may include regular visits to interstate family/kin under an interstate travel authority.

Key steps - interstate movement of a child occurs without permission

When FACS learns there has been an interstate movement of a child without permission, FACS and the funded service provider have important complementary roles.

  • The FACS principal officer writes to the funded service provider and requests they provide, within seven days, written information about:
    • the circumstances that led to the interstate movement including key dates, residential address, school in which the child is enrolled, persons involved and
    • the reasons why permission for the interstate movement wasn’t obtained.
  • The funded service provider provides information requested by the FACS principal officer. Additionally the funded service provider provides information about how they are currently:
    • supporting birth family contact, relationships and identity
    • maintaining support of the child and carer in the placement
    • supporting achievement of the child’s permanency goal and
    • engaging with the child’s Aboriginal family and community regarding this decision, clearly noting how these groups are proactively supported to participate and their views.
  • FACS Interstate Liaison provides advice and support to the principal officer and nominated FACS unit (as required).
  • FACS Commissioning and Planning provide advice to the nominated FACS unit (as required).
  • The funded service provider convenes an urgent interstate movement meeting, within 14 days, with the nominated FACS unit and any other relevant stakeholders. This includes all administrative tasks such as circulating the meeting minutes within 5 business days (unless a different timeframe is agreed).
  • An officer of the nominated FACS unit with decision making delegation (grade nine or above) attends the meeting.
  • The purpose of the interstate movement meeting is to:
    • explore what case-specific, systemic or other issues brought about the interstate movement without permission
    • consider any contractual or funding issues arising from the movement
    • inform the funded service provider that funding (foster care package only) will temporarily cease because it has become an unauthorised arrangement
    • consider whether any party has acted in breach of the Care Act, Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012, or other statute and
    • discuss and record minimum requirements (including timeframes) for resolution.
  • In some circumstances, the nominated FACS unit convenes a legal consultation with the FACS Child Law Legal Officer to obtain additional legal advice. For example, advice in relation to:
    • issuing a direction under section 154(2)(b) or 232 or
    • seeking a warrant under section 233.
  • FACS’ principal officer, having considered all of the information and advice, makes a decision to give, or decline, permission for the interstate movement of the child.
    • If permission is given, refer to Principal officer gives permission.
    • f permission is not given, refer to Principal officer declines to give permission.
  • In addition when permission is not given, the nominated FACS unit convenes a follow-up interstate movement meeting with the funded service provider and other relevant stakeholders. This includes all administrative tasks such as circulating the meeting minutes within 5 business days (unless a different timeframe is agreed).
  • The purpose of this meeting is to identify roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder, considering:
    • how the funded service provider intends to address the minimum requirements for resolution
    • what actions are prescribed by relevant legislation and regulations in the receiving jurisdiction
    • what actions are to be taken by FACS, arising from legal advice and
    • what requests are to be made of the interstate child protection department under the Interstate Child Protection Protocol.

Key steps - funded service provider becomes aware of ROSH

When a funded service provider receives information that indicates a child that has moved interstate is at ROSH, the funded service provider makes a report to:

  • the statutory child protection authority in the interstate jurisdiction and
  • the NSW Child Protection Helpline.

If a funded service provider receives information that indicates a child has moved interstate as a result of being forcibly abducted, the funded service provider immediately makes a report to:

  • NSW Police and police in the interstate jurisdiction
  • the statutory child protection authority in the interstate jurisdiction and
  • the NSW Child Protection Helpline.

Reviewable decisions

The decision by FACS to give or decline permission for a proposed interstate movement of a child is not a reviewable decision (section 245).

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Last updated: 26 Mar 2019
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