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Restoration is about a family coming back together. It is a time of challenge, discovery and adjustment for both the child and the parents. This process needs to be planned and supported in order to be safe and sustainable.
Your role is develop a strong case plan with the child, their family and support services which prepares everyone for the changes to expect during the journey home; and addresses any worries about the child's safety. When preparing a child or young person to exit OOHC through restoration, collaboration with the school is important to ensure information sharing and continuity of education support.
When restoration is being considered, contact with the school must occur at a number of points:
It is important to advise the school when it is apparent that a restoration application will be filed, as a restoration order will:
When preparing a child or young person to exit OOHC through guardianship, collaboration with the school is important to ensure information sharing and continuity of education support.
It is important that prospective guardians are provided with the most recent evidence of the child or young person’s Personalised Learning and Support Planning or Personal Learning Pathway (PLP). Additionally, the school should be informed of the impact of a guardianship order; by exiting OOHC all casework support from DCJ or the Funded Service Provider will cease and the guardian(s) will have full decision making responsibility in regard to the child or young person’s education. Guardianship support payments for non-general education costs (e.g. private tutoring) may be accessed by guardians, where approved in the Financial Plan and where confirmed by the school that the child is attending that these resources are unavailable to the child through the school.
The Guardianship Financial Plan must include future non-general education costs. The school’s assessment of the child’s future needs will inform costing projections for the Financial Plan. For children in the year prior to kindergarten commencement, Best Start interviews and assessments may help determine the educational needs of the child.
When adoption is being considered, contact with the school must occur at a number of points:
In order to make an evidence-based assessment, an adoption assessor requires recent school reports about the child. You may be asked to provide assistance in the event that the child’s file does not contain recent reports.
If an adoption application is subsequently prepared, the adoption caseworker (DCJ or Funded Service Provider) may make a further request for a school report, since the two most recent school reports must be included in the application. In addition, the adoption caseworker will seek evidence of the current PLaSP or PLP for the child, if a PLP has been prepared.
It is important to advise the school when it is apparent that an adoption application will be filed, as an adoption order will:
Adoption orders are not made unless each carer is able to meet the child’s needs, including educational needs. On occasion, DCJ approves exception funding requests in order to meet specific support needs post-adoption. These requests may include speech therapy or tutoring that support educational outcomes. In these cases, the school must be advised.
It is important that as part of transition from OOHC to adoption, prospective adoptive parents are provided with the most recent copy of the child or young person’s Personalised Learning and Support Plan.
When a child is turning 15 years old, contact the school Principal to commence leaving care planning. Leaving care plans are developed for each young person prior to leaving care and planning for leaving care begins when the child or young person reaches 15 years of age.
The period of transition from care is worrying and scary for many care leavers. Young people leaving OOHC face enormous challenges and disadvantages compared with their peers.
Start case planning for leaving care when a child reaches 15 years of age. Although young people leaving care are particularly vulnerable, leaving care planning should be focused on the young person's strengths and resources, looking to build resilience and community with them. Work in collaboration with the child, their carer and the school to understand what the child’s educational needs are and incorporate this into the planning. It is important to provide a long, well planned preparation period so that care leavers are given the chance to maximise their opportunities, feel ready and prepared to leave care, and are able to reach their potential into their future.
Questions about the OOHC Education Pathway should be directed to your manager in the first instance.
01 Feb 2023
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.