OOHC resources and tools
Charter of Rights, Section 90 applications, conversation guide for children and young people, and common principles for contact
Charter of Rights resources
People working with and caring for children and young people in out-of-home care are responsible for ensuring that children and young people have access to the Charter or Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and where relevant the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
As a caseworker, you have an obligation to ensure the children and young people you work with know and understand their rights. You also have a responsibility to uphold these rights and comply with them in your work with children and young people in out-of-home care.
It's not always easy to engage children and young people in these conversations. These bright, colourful resources have been created to help you explain the Charter of Rights in a way that is easy to understand, engaging and age appropriate:
General out-of-home care resources
Common principles for contact
The contact principles are a component of the Safe Home for Life Reform, which have been developed as a best practice guide to support child centred contact planning. They were developed by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) as a co-design project with the input of relevant peak bodies, our OOHC partners, representatives of the legal profession and carers.
Through the 2 co-design workshops with the Out-of-Home Care sector 6 common principles for contact were developed and then designed by the workshop facilitators, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI). These 6 Common Principles for Contact are designed with the purpose of supporting our practice across the sector to be a consistent and child focussed approach to contact for children and young people in OOHC.
This paper reviews the consultation and research journey that has occurred throughout the development of the Common Principles for Contact project. The issues paper outlines the contact principles, how we can improve contact in the best interest of the child, the co-design workshops, the challenges of contact and transforming practice.
Practice resources are specific contact tools developed by the Office of the Senior Practitioner (OSP) and are also included to assist front-line workers to support kids in care. These resources include links on the Case Work Practice site that focus on ‘working with kids in care’, and will be available to whole of sector staff in 2017.
When a child or young person is placed in OOHC practitioners might find that ‘Safe Contact’ promotes a collaborative approach with parents, children and safety network members to plan for safe contact. The purpose of Safe Contact is to build a practice framework for enduring safety.
Family Group Conferencing (FGC) is a family-focused, strengths-based form of alternative dispute resolution. It brings family and professional together to talk about concerns for children and young people, identify available supports and decide the best way forward. Participation by a family in a family group conference is voluntary. The process is confidential and is facilitated by an impartial facilitator.
If a contact dispute arises for a child or young person in OOHC the NGO should work with FACS to follow the required Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) process for resolution. The use of ADR in contact disputes seeks to create a less adversarial practice that is more focused on the child or young person and their family.
As part of case planning identifying important people related to the contact experience is important. Decisions about the type, level and frequency of contact should also reflect the case plan goal and be in the best interest of the child.
Ideally, contact visits should be held in an environment that is safe, comfortable and relaxed without to many distractions. It is important to involve the people having contact in decisions about the venue. When contact occurs monitoring the effectiveness of arrangements is necessary. This may include observations, but also includes talking to the child or young person, their family and their carer.
Services for children and young people in OOHC
Free Safer Drivers Course for young people in OOHC
The Roads and Maritime Services Safer Driver Course is now available, free, to young people in OOHC and care leavers up to the age of 25.
Completion of the Safer Drivers Course will provide young people in care the opportunity to become safer drivers and earn 20 bonus hours of log book credit.
Learning to drive gives young people confidence and encourages independence by enabling access to education, job opportunities and social networks, especially for those in rural and regional communities.
Young people in OOHC and young people who have left OOHC who have obtained their learners driving permit and completed at least 50 hours of log book driving time are eligible to enrol in a Safer Drivers Course under the Roads and Maritime Services disadvantaged learner initiative for free (usually $140).
FACS Safer drivers course factsheet outlines the 5 steps for enrolment into the course.
Fee-free training for children and young people in out-of-home care
Children and young people aged 15 – 17 in out-of-home care (OOHC) and young people aged 18 – 30 who have previously been in OOHC are now eligible for Smart and Skilled Fee-Free Scholarships.
The scholarships will be in place for four years and people who meet the Smart and Skilled Fee-Free Scholarship eligibility criteria will be able to choose from more than 580 qualifications from Certificate I to Certificate IV, including apprenticeships and traineeships.
To be eligible for a Fee-Free Scholarship, students must be:
- 15 years old or over, no longer at school, living or working in NSW
- aged between 15 and 30 years old when they start training
- an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen
- wanting to study a Smart and Skilled course listed on the NSW Skills List.
For further information
Post Care Education Financial Support
Young people due to transition to independence from out-of-home care at the same time that they finish school are at risk of not attaining their HSC or equivalent if they need to establish independent accommodation at this time.
The Post Care Education Financial Support is a non-means tested payment aimed at helping young people aged 18 to 25 complete their NSW Higher School Certificate. This payment provides financial support to their carer to maintain the current living and support arrangements.
How to apply
The financial support is paid directly to the carer by their managing agency - either FACS or a non-government agency. FACS carers will receive a Post Care Education Financial Support application form in the mail. These carers should complete the application form and return it to FACS. Carers with a non-government agency will need to apply through their agency. Further information about the application process will be provided to carers by their agency.
Alternatively both FACS and non-government agency carers can complete the application form, and return it to their agency if they would like to initiate the process.
For more information read our Post Care Education Financial Support FAQs.