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Providing children and young people with safe and permanent outcomes to reach their potential is central to the work of DCJ and the non-government agencies (NGOs) that provide permanency support services.

The objectives of the Permanency Support Program are to:

  • maintain children and young people at home, minimising entries and re-entries into care
  • find permanent homes for children and young people currently in care by increasing the number of children and young people either being restored to their family, moving into guardianship arrangements, or being adopted
  • address the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the care system through developing and maintaining connections with family and kin, community, language, culture and country
  • invest in higher quality support and provide more targeted and therapeutic support to address individual needs

Program description

The Program Description provides an in-depth overview of the Permanency Support Program.

Appendices to the Program Description:

Family Preservation and Restoration

The delivery of Family Preservation and Restoration services are a key component of the Permanency Support Program. Read more on Family Preservation and Restoration Services

Open Adoption

When a child or young person cannot return to the care of their parents, and a guardianship order is not appropriate, open adoption should be considered. Although legislation does allow for the adoption of Aboriginal children, as the last option within the permanent placement principles hierarchy, Aboriginal people do not support open adoption for Aboriginal children and young people for cultural reasons. Adoption is not considered suitable for Aboriginal children. Read more on open adoptions.


Guardianship orders aim to give children and young people greater stability after a Children’s Court decision that they cannot live with their parents. Read more on guardianship orders.


Agencies funded by DCJ must operate in accordance with their contractual requirements, legislation and DCJ policies and guidelines. DCJ contracts for the provision of Permanency Support Services include:

  • the Funding Deed (governs overall terms and conditions of the contractual agreement)
  • the Permanency Support Program Level Agreement (governs the delivery of services for the Permanency Support Program)
  • Schedules one (1) through to six (6) of the PLA (govern specific aspects of service delivery detailed below).

PLA Schedules one (1) to six (6):

  1. Permanency Support Program Service Requirements
  2. Performance and Outcomes Data Reporting
  3. Payment Provisions
  4. Legislation and Policies
  5. Implementation Plan
  6. Additional Terms

Service Prices from the Service Start Date (1 July 2018 to 30 June 2022)

The subsequent four sections of this Appendix set out the component parts of the Permanency Support Program’s Service Price:

  • Funding Package;
  • Placement Capacity Payment;
  • Placement Establishment Payment; and
  • Emergency Establishment Payment

which apply subsequent to the Service Start Date for Foster Care, and at the Commencement of the Term for Intensive Therapeutic Care and Intensive Therapeutic Transitional Care Service Providers (as appropriate).

During the term of the service start date, service payments are paid up-front on a quarterly basis. These payments are for three months in advance.  The Department is working towards reconciliation for the period of the service start date.

Abatements for performance failures

The new contracts for foster care and Aboriginal foster care are intended to shape the system to better respond to the individual needs of children and young people, deliver more permanency outcomes and enable DCJ and providers to track performance against agreed key performance indicators.

DCJ is implementing both incentives for the achievement of outcomes and abatements for performance failures under the Permanency Support Program contracts.

DCJ’ intention is to work with the sector during this period to finalise the operational business rules. Where there are instances of performance failures during the interim period, DCJ will raise the matter with providers and discuss the issue.

Until the operational rules are finalised after consultation with the sector, DCJ will not apply Abatements.

The Contracting Arrangements and Business Rules further set out the guidance in relation to payments and costing for the Permanency Support Program.

Legislation, policies and guidance relevant to management of PSP contracts

Schedule 4 of the Permanency Support Program PLA details service providers’ obligations in respect of legislation, policies and practices.

Residential Care Program Level Agreements and the transition to Intensive Therapeutic Care

Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) includes services previously known as residential care. ITC  is a core component of services delivered within the Permanency Support Program. This new model of care is currently undergoing a 2-stage tender process with a stronger focus on therapeutic service delivery for children and young people.

Given that the ITC recommissioning process has not yet been finalised, current Residential Care service providers who progressed from the EOI have been offered an extension of their current Out-of-Home Care Contracted Care Program Level Agreement. This Residential Care PLA will operate from 1 October 2017 up to 30 June 2018.

View the standard Residential Care PLA.

View special conditions attached to the PLA.

Read more on the Intensive Therapeutic Care Recommissioning process.


Leaving and aftercare services are important aspects in the provision of services for young people transitioning from care to independence. If an agency provides case management, the responsibility to provide assistance for leaving care lies jointly with the agency and DCJ.

These guidelines explain the eligibility criteria for aftercare assistance for young people leaving care.

Agencies can assist young people transitioning from care to independent living to apply for the Transition to Independent Living Allowance and to complete the application.

Your Next Step and YOU provide young people who are about to leave care for independent living or who have left care, with contact details for a range of services and support.

Caring For Kids (leaving care section) and Leading The Way help carers in their role supporting young people in care.

More resources for caseworkers and carers to support leaving and aftercare can be found here.

Contact us

For more information, please contact

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Last updated: 21 Aug 2020