In March 2017, the NSW Government announced major long-term and more immediate changes to the child protection system.
The more immediate changes, designed to give more children a permanent home where they can thrive, are brought together under the Permanency Support Program.
One of four key components of the Permanency Support Program is Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) system reform, which is focused on transitioning the current residential care service model to a new ITC system progressively from 1 October 2017. ITC aims to reduce the length of time young people need to spend in intensive OOHC services by supporting them to recover from trauma, abuse and neglect and providing clear pathways to permanency.
The new ITC service system outlines how services and supports are to be delivered in line with the TCF.
The TCF promotes a holistic, individualised, team-based care approach for children and young people in OOHC system. The TCF focuses on evidence-informed, culturally respectful and responsive Therapeutic Care practice. This is necessary to address the complexities of trauma, adversity, attachment and developmental needs; and improve outcomes for children and young people in care.
The TCF is not prescriptive, but rather outlines a consistent framework for delivering evidence-informed Therapeutic Care programs and practice in NSW that can lead to change, growth and healing.
The TCF will guide quality practice by encouraging:
Supporting activities such as training and education across the OOHC sector (i.e. carers, caseworkers, practitioners, service providers and stakeholders) will be considered as reform work continues. The TCF will drive best practice and supports the reforms underway as part of the Permanency Support Program.
Building sector capacity is essential to delivering quality Therapeutic Care to children and young people in OOHC in NSW. Training, support and supervision are integral to good outcomes and are being considered in the development of an overall sector change strategy.
Activities to support practice and culture change in FACS and the sector are being developed as part of work on the new Intensive Therapeutic Care service system.
In taking a holistic approach to Therapeutic Care, consideration of the cultural context of children and young people is extremely important. A culturally informed perspective affects how we understand underlying issues such as attachment, and recognises that cultural connection is critical to identity and wellbeing. The TCF highlights the importance of promoting safe, healing relationships between children and young people and their family, kin and community, noting that these relationships are important for family, social, community and cultural connections.
The TCF recognises culture as an integral aspect of a child or young person’s wellbeing. Children and young people will be active participants (where appropriate) in the development of their care and case plans, and this includes cultural plans.
The capacity to measure outcomes will support efforts to ensure relevant agencies and individuals are held accountable for improving outcomes for children and young people in OOHC in NSW. By collecting more consistent data and information for each child, caseworkers will be able to use a more targeted approach to casework, including the provision of services and supports.
Going forward, these outcomes will be measureable through the Quality Assurance Framework (QAF). The QAF will capture information across the three key outcome domains of: Safety, Permanency and Wellbeing. The QAF is one element of the broader Human Services Outcomes Framework.
The QAF will provide OOHC caseworkers with access to reliable and comprehensive information about the safety, permanency and wellbeing of children in statutory OOHC. This information will be collected from various sources including: FACS, NGOs, Health, Education, carers and young people. The QAF will also provide a central point where information and data will be held.
The QAF will support caseworkers by providing them with a more comprehensive picture of what is happening in a child or young person’s life. It will ultimately be integrated into ChildStory, a new IT eco-system which will be accessible to both FACS and NGO caseworkers.
Information about the TCF is available on this website and will be updated as required.