Automatic language translation
Our website uses an automatic service to translate our content into different languages. These translations should be used as a guide only. See our Accessibility page for further information.
The Department determines what type of placement is to be arranged for a child in OOHC, guided by:
Placements may be arranged by local districts, other parts of the department or PSP providers – which are accredited to provide foster care, residential care and/or adoption services by the Office of the Children’s Guardian.
However, under PSP, all placements are arranged and supervised by PSP providers.
PSP providers pay their carers an allowance to provide foster care placements for children in OOHC.
Each PSP provider determines the allowance paid to their carers. However, the minimum allowance paid is the standard rate published annually by the Department.
PSP providers consider paying an establishment payment to carers for new placements where needed.
The Department and PSP providers seek to arrange placement of Aboriginal children within their family/kin, community and culture, consistent with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principles. This means practitioners:
The placement of an Aboriginal child is with an Aboriginal PSP provider that is an Aboriginal Community Controlled organisation (ACCO). If this is not possible:
The placement of an Aboriginal child is with an Aboriginal carer. If this is not possible, case planning includes goals and tasks to support the non-Aboriginal carer to:
Non-Aboriginal carers of Aboriginal children and young people are made aware they will be transferred over time to ACCOs .
The placement of an Aboriginal child is with their siblings. If this is not possible, case planning supports lifelong connections by setting out arrangements which enable the child and their siblings to participate in family time and cultural activities as a sibling group.
Also see Case Planning for siblings in OOHC.
The placement of an Aboriginal child is on Country of their family’s Aboriginal nation, lands or mob; or a placement located in the child’s Aboriginal community of belonging. If this is not possible, case planning sets out:
Also see Aboriginal child safety, Aboriginal family-led decision making (glossary) and Placement decision making.
Also see Understanding and Applying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.
In most circumstances, placement with family/kin who are safe is the best possible placement for the child as:
PSP providers work with urgency and persistence to identify family/kin that can care for the child, in consultation with the child, their parents and family/kin. There are a number of resources and tools to support caseworkers with this work, including Family Finding© , genograms and the circle of safety resource.
Where appropriate, provisional or full assessment and authorisation is carried out in a timely manner to ensure placement options are available when required, and to meet court requirements.
PSP providers receive a baseline service package including funding for recruitment, assessment and authorisation of relative/kin carers (in addition to foster carers).
(Note: Family Finding© the department’s preferred model, aims to locate, connect and engage parents, siblings, family/kin or other supportive persons to build a child’s lifetime support network and enhance placement permanency, whether through restoration, guardianship or long term care.)
PSP providers have a critical role to play in sustainably growing the capacity of the OOHC sector to provide foster care placements. Provider’s recruit, assess, authorise and maintain a pool of foster carers, including carers who can accept immediate placements, based on local demand and supply of foster carers.
Foster carers are supported to provide:
Prospective foster carers are provided information about permanent placement principles (section 10A). Providers explain at the recruitment stage, that assessment and authorisation of foster carers to support restoration, guardianship and adoption is prioritised in preference to long term care.
PSP providers conduct recruitment campaigns to attract prospective foster carers capable of supporting the full range of permanency goals under PSP as well as short-term, emergency and respite care. PSP providers also recruit carers, including potential respite carers from a child’s family and kinship network.
Foster carers are recruited, trained, and supported to:
Providers also recruit, train, and support Aboriginal foster carers to:
This includes, where possible, recruitment of Aboriginal foster carers who are recognised as members of the same local Aboriginal community as the child, and are custodians of the land where the child resides. Otherwise, providers recruit Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander foster carers from other communities or lands, who are residing locally.
The Department and the PSP provider have complementary roles in arranging immediate placements.
PSP providers recruit and maintain a pool of foster carers, enabling the arrangement of immediate placements (sometimes referred to as ‘emergency placements’).
When a PSP provider arranges an immediate placement, they commence primary case responsibility. Also see Transfer of primary case responsibility.
An immediate placement is arranged when:
Also see Collaborating in arranging foster care placements.
At the conclusion of an immediate placement:
Where possible, any potential relative/kin carer should be authorised by the PSP provider that provided the immediate placement. If a new relative/kin carer or foster carer is authorised by another PSP provider, the existing provider:
In some cases, a child’s emergency carer may become their permanent carer when:
Also see resolving disputes.
The Department has the primary role in assessing and authorising relative and kin carers and providing ongoing case responsibility to the children of those carers. In limited circumstances, when this does not occur, the Department and a PSP provider have complementary roles in arranging relative/kin placements. PSP providers assist the Department to recruit, assess and authorise a relative/kin carers (in the first instance).
When arranging a relative/kin placement, the Department:
When arranging a relative/kin placement in response to a request by the Department, a PSP provider:
The Department and the PSP provider have complementary roles in arranging foster care placements if a member of a child’s family/kin cannot be identified.
Arranging foster care placements occurs through the ChildStory placement broadcast system. This does not prevent the Department and PSP providers using telephone calls and emails to facilitate good relationships, information sharing and placement matching.
When requesting a foster care placement, the Department broadcasts a Placement Referral through ChildStory, seeking a placement arranged by a PSP provider .
PSP providers, following receipt of a Placement Referral (broadcast), reply to the Department confirming Placement Referral Acceptance or Placement Referral Decline.
PSP providers consider all measures that can be put in place to mitigate risk, help the carer to care for the child and support Placement Referral Acceptance. Providers provide a clear rationale and evidence for declining a Placement Referral. See PLA Schedule 1 for examples of when a Placement Referral may be declined.
When broadcast of a placement request occurs:
When arranging a foster care placement, a PSP provider:
Placement matching is the process of matching a child with suitable foster carers to promote the successful establishment of the placement and achievement of the child’s case plan goal. PSP providers support carers to provide care to a range of children with different characteristics, including, age, behaviour, disability and interests.
Placement matching relies on the placement needs assessment (PNA) and client information forms (CIF) Part A & B. Neither the PNA nor the CIF forms replace professional judgement regarding placement matching. Rather, they help the Department and PSP providers make informed decisions based on a structured assessment of the child’s needs.
Placement matching also addresses other factors such as:
A placement needs assessment (PNA) supports placement matching and results in a Client Information Form (part A and part B). It is an assessment compiling known information about a child across the domains of:
The CAT supports placement matching. It is informed by the information contained in the PNA (Client Information Form, part A and part B). The CAT:
Also see PCMP Resources - List: Frameworks, Standards, Guidelines & Assessment Tools.
A PSP provider can request a review of the CAT outcome if:
A CAT review is completed by the nominated unit* in collaboration with the PSP provider:
(* Barnardos is delegated certain aspects of parental responsibility under a deed entered into by the Minister and Barnardos. This delegation allows Barnardos to conduct its own CAT reviews.)
Practitioners ensure a placement is physically safe when placing a child with carers for the first time.
The PSP provider arranging the placement (‘authorising provider’) provides a copy of the latest OOHC Home Inspection Checklist** (if practicable) to the caseworker responsible for placing the child (‘placing caseworker’).
The placing caseworker:
If there are any immediate or ongoing safety issues identified, the placing caseworker:
For example, if a swimming pool at the placement was without secure fencing and a working gate, the child would be assessed as unsafe (as well as any other children in the placement) by the placing caseworker.
At the case transfer meeting, the placing caseworker raises any immediate or ongoing safety issues with the authorising provider, including outstanding issues from the last home inspection.
The authorising provider considers a joint home inspection with the placing caseworker to ensure the child is safe in the placement. This recognises:
(** Practitioners are not required to conduct a new Home Inspection Checklist however they check for non-compliance based on their awareness of the standards.)
For changes in placement involving a change in primary case responsibility from one PSP provider to another, see transfer of primary case responsibility.
PSP providers advise the nominated unit of internal changes to primary placements (excluding respite placements) between their carers within five business days.
PSP providers immediately advise the nominated unit of:
A restoration placement occurs when a child:
A restoration plan is considered to be approved when:
Under a restoration plan accepted by the court, a child may go home for short periods or longer periods at any time up to 12 months before the date of restoration (section 136).
A restoration placement before the expiry of the STCO allows the child’s parent:
The date restoration is legally achieved is the date parental responsibility returns to the parents. This occurs when an STCO expires. It may also occur when the court rescinds a long term care order previously allocating parental responsibility to the Minister.
The Department and PSP provider have complementary roles in restoration as part of a restoration plan accepted by the court.
Also see changing the case plan goal.
The PSP Away from Placement Policy forms part of the PCMP. It provides rules and practice guidance for responding to an away from placement event when:
The policy supports collaborative case management by PSP providers and the Department in reporting, responding and managing a child or young person that experiences an away from placement event.
PSP providers refer to the PSP Away from Placement Policy when responding to an away from placement event.
Occasionally a child in the parental responsibility of the Minister may present at a Specialist Homelessness Service. For the process followed by the Specialist Homelessness Service, Department and PSP provider see: Unaccompanied Children 12–15 Years Accessing Specialist Homelessness Services Policy.
A TCA may arise when:
TCAs are supported OOHC, not statutory OOHC, arrangements. Restoration from a TCA is different from restoration from Statutory OOHC because there are no court proceedings and no court order.
When considering entering into a TCA, the Department:
Under a TCA, the child is placed with carers, in the care responsibility of the Secretary (section 151). Parental responsibility remains with the parents.
The period of a TCA is up to three months (section 152) and may extend for a further period of up to three months (in same 12 month period). The maximum period for a single or multiple TCAs is six months in any 12 month period (section 152(4)(a)).
During a TCA, a case plan (with a goal of restoration) is prepared within 30 days of the child entering supported OOHC. The case plan requires review if the period of the TCA exceeds three months (section 155).
The TCA ends when:
The Department always considers whether placement of a child subject to a TCA, may be with a relative/kin carer. Only the Department arranges a relative/kin care placement necessary for a TCA.
A foster care placement may be arranged by a PSP provider for a TCA, if a member of a child’s family/kin cannot be identified. When this occurs, the Department broadcasts a Placement Request seeking a foster care placement (TCA placement), arranged by a PSP provider. Case responsibility during the TCA is not transferred to the PSP provider and the Department continues to exercise case responsibility.
Supervision of a TCA placement is different to supervision of a statutory OOHC placement.
The Department clarifies what information will be reasonably required from the PSP provider to satisfy the Department the TCA is safe, nurturing, stable and secure (section 9(e))*. This includes information obtained by the PSP provider:
The Department and PSP provider clarify how decisions will be made during a TCA placement including:
* In circumstances when primary case responsibility is with a service provider as part of the PSP preservation service, the Preservation service provider also takes part and collaborates.
The Department and PSP providers have complementary roles during a TCA placement.
During the entire period of the TCA, the Department facilitates a family-led process to achieve restoration. The Department:
During the entire period of the TCA, the Department:
During the entire period of the TCA, the PSP provider is funded to supervise the TCA placement including:
04 Apr 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.