Reform in Permanency Support (Out-of-home-care) is a priority for the NSW government.
Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) recommissioning is the first stage of a longer term vision for the government’s recommissioning of services within a broader child permanency framework that will create a pathway for successive contract changes over time. The new Permanency Support Program contracts promote safety, permanency and wellbeing outcomes for children and raise the bar for OOHC services in NSW.
Providing children and young people with safe and permanent outcomes to reach their potential is the driving force behind the work of FACS and the agencies that provide OOHC services.
Permanency Support Program
New Permanency Support Program (PSP) contracts for Foster care and Aboriginal Foster care commenced on 1 October 2017. The commissioning of new PSP contracts has given FACS the opportunity to improve outcomes for children and young people in OOHC. It also provides an opportunity to build on the successes of the current system by aligning with the principles of the Safe Home for Life reforms and the move towards outcomes-based contracting over the life of the contract.
The Permanency Support Program is designed to improve safety, permanency and wellbeing outcomes for children and young people who are in, at risk of entering, care. The objectives of the Permanency Support (OOHC) Program are to:
- maintain children and young people at home safely with their birth parents, 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, or adopted (ideally, within two years of placement)
- invest in higher quality support in care children and young people with their safety and wellbeing being the amount objectives
- provide support to diverse client groups to address and meet specific needs through targeted services addressing individual needs
- address the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in care. develop or maintain connections with family and kin, community, language, culture and Country for Aboriginal children and young people
- maintain cultural connections for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) children and young people.
The Permanency Support Program includes the simultaneous implementation of a number of reform areas including the introduction of:
- new program and operational guidelines that incorporate the delivery of therapeutic care, including new service requirements and a new focus on delivering services to families, children and young people across the continuum of care to achieve safety, permanency and wellbeing outcomes
- new service packages that are tailored to support a child or young person’s case plan goal
- a new performance and management framework that requires mandatory data gathering and reporting against key performance indicators
- contracting which supports an investment approach for identified cohorts of children and young people, with a focus on early intervention and family preservation
- a progressively larger focus on outcomes for children and young people, including the introduction of incentives linked to performance, and
- new assessment and monitoring tools that will facilitate reform across the sector.
Intensive Therapeutic Care
Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC), which includes services previously known as residential care, is currently undergoing a two-stage tender process with a stronger focus on therapeutic service delivery. New contracts will commence on 1 July 2018.