News from the Accreditation and Monitoring team, April 2021
Aboriginal Deputy Children’s Guardian begins new role
The Office of the Children’s Guardian welcomes Richard Weston who started in January 2021 as the first Deputy Children’s Guardian for Aboriginal children and young people in NSW. More information about Richard and his new role.
COVID-19: Safety adjustments for onsite assessments
Thank you to the statutory out-of-home care and adoption sectors for working with us during these difficult times and being flexible with changing accreditation assessment dates and locations where necessary.
Thank you also to those agencies that have met our requests for COVID-19 safety plans where assessors have visited agencies onsite during the pandemic. We appreciate agencies’ commitment to Work Health & Safety and working collaboratively with us during this time. We will continue to work with the sector to progress all necessary assessments.
COVID-19: Accreditation extensions for designated agencies
In response to COVID-19, in May 2020, the Children’s Guardian extended the accreditation period for 6 agencies by 6 months. In September 2020, the accreditation periods for a further 16 agencies were extended by 12 months. Given the current changing environment we have scheduled assessments to allow enough time to progress each agency through accreditation renewal assessments within these extension periods.
Joint Protocol announces a new eLearning series now available
The Joint Protocol is a partnership between the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), non-government service providers and the NSW Police. The Joint Protocol aims to reduce the contact by young people in residential out-of-home-care with the criminal justice system and is in place across all residential out-of-home care, Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) and Interim Care Model (ICM) providers across NSW.
A new eLearning series was developed to support the implementation of the Joint Protocol in a more accessible format. It is free, self-paced and publicly available.
The series has nine modules and includes short video presentations, a case study, resources, weblinks, youth diversionary programs, a workbook section on information sharing using Section 16A and a quick reference guide.
The Joint Protocol eLearning series is available on the Centre for Excellence Therapeutic in Care website. We encourage all agencies to make use of this great new online material.
Empowerment and participation
In March 2021, the Office of the Children’s Guardian released a new guide to help organisations implement key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Empowerment and participation: A guide for organisations working with children and young people (this publication is being updated) was produced by the Office of the Children’s Guardian, Victoria’s Commission for Children and Young People and the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia.
Residential Care Workers Register
Preparation for the introduction of the Residential Care Workers Register has reached a key milestone. Consultation on the draft Children’s Guardian Regulation 2021 is underway and will be open for public submissions until 3 May 2021. The proposed Regulation will provide for the key information entry and probity checking requirements for the register. It details the information to be recorded on the register, who must record information on the register, the mandatory probity checks that must be undertaken for certain applicants who are being considered for employment as a residential care worker, how the outcome of those checks is to be recorded and how the register may be used.
The Regulation and development of the register have been informed by a working group of sector representatives, including designated agencies. Thank you again for the ongoing involvement of those agencies. The consultation period is an opportunity for all designated agencies to consider the proposed Regulation and provide comment via a submission to the Office of the Children’s Guardian. The draft Regulation is available here on the Have Your Say website.
A letter has been sent to the Principal Officer of each designated agency as well as the head of several key stakeholders regarding the consultation.
Questions about the register can be directed to the Registration Systems Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions about the proposed Regulation can be directed to RCWRFeedback@ocg.nsw.gov.au
NSW Legal Aid new guidance about Aboriginal children and adoption
Following several recent cases where the Supreme Court has considered adoption for an Aboriginal child, Legal Aid has published a bulletin highlighting some of the additional requirements and complexities of adoptions of Aboriginal children. The bulletin is available on Legal Aid’s website here.
Portal for accredited agencies
The Accreditation and Monitoring team has a new agency online portal and we are gradually rolling out access to all designated agencies and adoption service providers. The first agencies to access the portal are those where accreditation renewal has commenced and then for all other agencies as other assessment activities commence.
Some agencies have already accessed their portal to update their agency details, lodge their application for accreditation renewal and make notifications to the Children’s Guardian. When all agencies have accessed the portal, we will no longer need the Word-based notification forms for these functions.
We will be in touch with each agency to seek the name and details of the person nominated as its Primary Administrator for agency online portal users. We are also updating our website pages to host information and resources about how the portal works.
Hints and tips
Coming soon we will be providing hints and tips on a particular standard or part thereof to assist the sector. We will provide resources and best practice examples where we can.