The authorisation of Community Services foster care applications is managed by the Carerlink system.
Carerlink is a web-based system that allows potential carers to apply online and helps Community Services staff process foster care applications.
The Carerlink system tracks and monitors applications from initial contact to authorisation. It commenced in March 2009 and provides Community Services staff with high-level administrative support associated with receiving and processing carer applications.
Community Services is responsible for final assessment and authorisation of carers.
The transition of OOHC services from the government to the non-government sector will require developing non-government capacity in carer authorisation.
Developing non-government capacity in carer authorisation
The transition of out-of-home care (OOHC) from the government to the non-government sector will require development of NGO capacity in carer authorisation.
The ability of non-government agencies to authorise and maintain a pool of carers will need to increase substantially as the need for Community Services carers diminishes.
While the non-government sector continues to build capacity, Community Services will continue to authorise foster carers in the transition period, to ensure placements are available. However, the majority of placements will be with NGO carers.
Carerlink will continue to have a role in the recruitment of carers in regions where Community Services continues to require foster carers.
It is expected the system will no longer be required as NGOs begin to provide all foster care placements for children entering care.
Managing Carerlink during transition
During the transition, the Transition Program Office (TPO) was responsible for overseeing the functions and scope of the Carerlink system.
The TPO changed the Carerlink screening process to ensure carers are directed to NGOs where there is capacity.
People interested in becoming a carer should contact the agency directly – a list of local agencies is available at the Fostering NSW website.