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The Department is a statutory agency with powers conferred upon it by the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (the Care Act), allowing it to:
Also see PCMP Resources – List: statutory powers exercised by the Department.
The powers of parental responsibility exercised by the Department include all the powers, duties, responsibilities and authority, which by law, parents have in relation to their children. This means making all the decisions parents would normally make in relation to children, when they are in statutory OOHC.
The Minister delegates particular functions of parental responsibility to the Secretary of the department (section 249 and section 250). In turn, the Secretary delegates particular functions to various positions in the Department via an internal delegations schedule.
Currently through a deed of agreement (PDF, 360.3 KB), the Minister has delegated powers to Barnados Australia to exercise particular, but not all, functions of parental responsibility. All other PSP providers are not delegated functions of parental responsibility.
PSP providers are commissioned by the Department to provide PSP services, including preservation and statutory OOHC, under a PSP Program Level Agreement. PSP providers are funded via the PSP Packaged Service Model. (PDF, 688.7 KB)
Also see PCMP Resources – List: Functions of parental responsibility exercised by the Department.
Case management is comprised of two types of case responsibility, primary case responsibility and secondary case responsibility. On ChildStory, secondary case responsibility, exercised by a nominated unit, is called ‘internal primary case responsibility’.
When a PSP provider has primary case responsibility, the primary casework relationship is between the provider and the child, their carer, parents and family/kin.
Primary case responsibility includes:
For children in statutory OOHC, primary case responsibility includes:
* The decision to enrol a child or young person in a school or change schools, regardless of whether the school is government or private, is exercised by the PSP provider. The PSP provider is responsible (with the carer) for any costs associated with school attendance.
For children who have achieved their case plan goal of restoration, adoption and guardianship, primary case responsibility is limited to:
For young persons who have attained the age of 18 years and exited long term OOHC, primary case responsibility is limited to:
Secondary case responsibility,* when exercised by the Department, is responsibility for:
* On ChildStory, secondary case responsibility (exercised by a nominated unit) is referred to as ‘internal primary case responsibility’.
When a PSP provider exercises primary case responsibility, the Department nominates which of their units will exercise secondary case responsibility. In most cases this is the Child and Family District Unit (CFDU) for children on final orders. For a child on interim orders, the nominated unit is usually the Community Services Centre (CSC).
The DCJ unit (usually the CSC) arranging case management transfer:
Commissioning and Planning teams in each local district work to improve the capability of the service system. They do this by:
Contract Managers also work closely with specific PSP providers, using a strengths based approach, to ensure:
Contract Managers collaborate with Permanency Coordinators to:
Contract Managers collaborate with CFDUs to:
See PSP Packages: Eligibility Rules and inclusions (PDF, 640.7 KB) and DCJ website: Funding and Financial Support.
Permanency Coordinators (PCs) are permanency consultants, advocates and advisors to the Department and PSP providers. They help embed a culture that values and prioritises relational, physical, cultural and legal permanency for children and young people. They provide consultation and support to casework teams when considering different permanency pathways and how they can be achieved.
Permanency Coordinators monitor progress towards permanency outcomes within required timeframes. See permanency progress reviews.
Permanency Coordinators adopt an approach that:
Also see Permanency Coordinator role scope (PDF, 453.4 KB)
Child and Family District Units (CFDUs) act as the key interface between PSP provider practitioners and the Department. CFDUs exercise secondary case responsibility as the nominated unit.
CFDUs are also the point of contact for PSP providers, especially when there has been a significant change in relevant circumstances for the child, their parents, siblings or family/kin requiring review by the Department. A PSP provider may:
* Barnardos Australia have been delegated aspects of parental responsibility, to exercise some, but not all, functions of parental responsibility.
** Barnardos Australia has been delegated aspects of parental responsibility, to exercise some, but not all, functions of parental responsibility. Barnardos Australia can approve changes to case plan goals for non-Aboriginal children with a final order, without proposing the change to DCJ.
OOHC Adoption and Permanency Services has oversight, preparation and management of applications for adoption in the Supreme Court.
OOHC Adoption offers PSP providers access to Adoption Caseworkers in local districts, who have extensive knowledge about adoption. Adoption Caseworkers are not contract managers or decision-makers. Rather, their role is to:
PSP providers can email OOHC Adoption and Permanency Services at email@example.com
The CAU acts as a centralised referral pathway for children entering the Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) or being placed in residential care. It is responsible for suitability assessment, referral management and outcomes reporting.
ITC helps children over 12 years with high needs who are recovering from severe forms of trauma, neglect or abuse. These children:
ITC draws on the NSW Therapeutic Care Framework and provides a range of therapeutic placement types.
The Joint Child Protection Response Program (JCPRP) involves the Department, NSW Police Force and NSW Health working together in responding to child protection reports of serious child abuse which may constitute a criminal offence.
The coordination of a tri-agency JCPRP response (in relation to accepted referrals) is managed within the JCPRP Local Planning and Response Procedures.
When there is a JCPRP response, the PSP provider (with primary case responsibility):
The PSP provider’s legal and contractual role does not change, that is the provider continues to supervise the child’s placement and have case responsibility for achieving the child’s case plan goal within two years.
The requirement to accept JCPRP direction is time-limited and only continues until the JCPRP SARA is completed.
The Department offers a Panel of Independent Assessors to help practitioners determine the best permanency option for a child, when objective independent advice is required to support decision making. The Department has taken this approach to:
Independent assessors are subcontracted by PSP providers to conduct assessments in relation to particular case plan goals, on a fee for service basis, including:
PSP providers can access the NSW Police Force iASK database. As a prescribed body, a PSP provider can share relevant information from the iASK database with an independent assessor, under a contractual arrangement. Information may only be shared for the purpose of conducting an assessment, when it supports the safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child, under section 245F of the Care Act.
PSP providers are required to ensure each independent assessor deals with information from the iASK database in accordance with the information protection principles set out in the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. Also see key privacy obligations for DCJ contractor’s factsheet (PDF, 156.4 KB).
PSP providers contact their DCJ contract manager to request endorsement to obtain access to the iASK database. This requires endorsement from a DCJ contract manager (delegation level 5 or above).
The DCJ contract manager emails the iASK administrator to:
When access has been granted by the iASK administrator, a PSP provider manager submits a New User Form for each casework practitioner requiring access.*
* PSP providers email the iASK administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the New User Form.
29 Mar 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.