Updates for statutory out-of-home care agencies from the Accreditation and Monitoring team.
Residential Care Workers Register is live
The Residential Care Workers Register went live on Monday 18 July 2022. There is a news story on our website about the register.
Lots of work has gone into preparing for the register in the past few months:
- Training on the functionality of the register and the management of reportable allegations. Thank you to everyone who made time to attend one of our sessions. The modules are now on our website for reference and for use with new staff. We’ve also provided user guides to go with these modules to agency Primary Administrators and they’ll be on our website soon.
- Guidance materials for designated agencies are available on our website. There is also information about the new probity check, the Other Agency Check.
- Guidance for designated agencies about recording reportable allegations on the register and the exchange of information is also available on our website.
- All agencies have completed their online registration. Thank you for your cooperation.
What happened on the go-live date
The agency registration form went live on the morning of 18 July 2022. Each agency’s nominated Primary Administrator received an email with their login details allowing them to create other agency users in line with the user matrix sent to all agencies.
All users can access the register from the Residential Care Workers Register page.
Support in the first weeks
We know agencies have been busy preparing for go-live. We’ve run an open forum each morning for agencies to make contact and seek any technical support or to ask any general questions. We can run more sessions if you continue to find them helpful. Invitations to these sessions were sent to all Primary Administrators.
We’re committed to supporting all agencies in rolling out the register.
If you have any questions, please contact the Registration Systems team by phone on (02) 8219 3888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Office of the Children’s Guardian Out-of-home Care Regulation Directorate will soon advertise for several Senior Accreditation Officer and Senior Project Officer positions in the Registration Systems Team and the Accreditation and Monitoring Team. We’re looking for candidates who have sector experience and are interested in working in a regulatory environment.
Positions will be advertised on https://iworkfor.nsw.gov.au. For more about these positions, please contact email@example.com
Consultation on proposed amendments to the Working with Children Check – penalties for offences
The Office of the Children’s Guardian is asking for feedback on proposed amendments to the Working with Children Check penalties for offences. The consultation ends Friday 22 July 2022.
You can find more information on the proposed amendments and how to provide your feedback at NSW Have your say.
Changes to notifications of alternative care arrangements
The Office of the Children’s Guardian and the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) consider an Alternative Care Arrangement (ACA) to be an emergency and temporary arrangement for a child or young person in, or entering, statutory or supported out-of-home care after every effort has been made to place the child or young person with a designated agency and are either:
- cared for in a hotel, motel or other temporary accommodation that can be terminated at short notice
- directly cared for and supervised solely by sub-contracted staff from an ACA service provider who have been authorised to provide care under clause 31B of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Regulation 2012.
All designated agencies should refer to the Guidelines for the engagement and authorisation of staff and contractors in an emergency or when sourced from a labour hire agency (PDF) which apply to all ACA placements. We have updated these guidelines to reflect the start of the Residential Care Workers Register.
Previously, designated agencies had to complete and provide three notifications to our office when the placement of a child in ACA commenced, transitioned and ended.
Now there's only one notification for each placement of a child in ACA.
The new process is being finalised. We’ll notify designated agencies of the changes in more detail. We’ll also publish information about the changed process on our website once it’s finalised.
In the meantime, please send your comments or questions about the ACA process to ACA-ChildandFamily@facs.nsw.gov.au or your DCJ contract manager. You can also contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Changes to our legislation
Our website’s legislation page provides a log of changes to the legislation we administer.
Recent changes include:
- Child Protection (Working with Children) Regulation 2013
Amendments to the Child Protection (Working with Children) Regulation 2013 will impact who needs a Working with Children Check and how certain applicants will need to provide proof of identity.
- Children’s Guardian Regulation 2021
Changes were made to the Children’s Guardian Regulation 2021 as part of the introduction of the Residential Care Workers Register.
The following changes apply from 18 July 2022:
- Only applicants who have reached the referee checking stage of a recruitment process are required to have their information recorded on the residential care workers register.
- Alignment of the definition of ‘applicant’ with the definition in the Children’s Guardian Act 2019.
Children’s Guardian Act 2019 - Amendment Bill 2022
The Children’s Guardian Amendment Bill 2022 was introduced into NSW Parliament in May 2022 and debated and passed in June.
The Bill consolidates all our Accreditation and Monitoring functions into the Children’s Guardian Act 2019 and brings the statutory out-of-home care and adoption sector into the Child Safe Scheme.
We’ll provide more information about the impact of the Bill to statutory out-of-home care and adoption services in coming months. We’ll also consult with you further about implementing the Child Safe Standards.
Consultation summary: Review of the Children’s Guardian’s accreditation and monitoring functions
In November and December 2021, we ran a consultation in the statutory out-of-home care and adoption sector on the review of the Children’s Guardian’s accreditation and monitoring functions. We published a consultation paper and ran two webinars providing an overview of the consultation paper. A summary of sector feedback is available on our website.
The consultation summary includes feedback on:
- proposed legislative amendments to clarify and strengthen the Children’s Guardian’s accreditation and monitoring functions
- proposed policy responses to the use of short-term emergency care arrangements for children and young people in statutory out-of-home care and
- proposals to bring the statutory out-of-home care and adoption sector into the Child Safe Scheme.
We’ll be in touch with designated agencies and adoption service providers again later this year to consult further about the new accreditation and monitoring framework.
Child Safe webinars
It was good to see designated agencies participating in our webinars on developing a risk management plan, developing a code of conduct and the Child Safe Standards, delivered by our Child Safe team.
Please browse our website for Child Safe training and resources including upcoming training sessions.
Consultation on the statutory review of the Children’s Guardian Act 2019
The Office of the Children’s Guardian is reviewing the Children’s Guardian Act 2019.
The focus for this statutory review is on areas that have not had recent review or consultation:
- the Reportable Conduct Scheme
- the role of the Deputy Children’s Guardian
- the Official Community Visitors Scheme.
Go to the NSW Have your say website for more information.
Responses to the discussion paper need to be made by 19 August 2022.
The consultations will inform a report to parliament due by 1 March 2023.
Changes to the Reportable Conduct Scheme 30-Day Interim Report form
The Reportable Conduct Scheme’s 30-Day Interim Report form is now a web-based form rather than PDF..
Please use the new form to send your interim report. Entities can no longer submit reports using the old PDF form or email them to our 30-Day Report inbox.
A guide on our website will help you complete new form.
Entities need to:
- delete any copies of the old PDF 30-Day Interim Report form you may have saved.
- use the link to our new 30-Day Report on the Reportable Conduct Notification Forms web page.
If you have any issues with the 30-day Interim Report form, please make sure you're using the latest version of your web browser. If you continue to have issues, please email the Reportable Conduct Scheme at email@example.com
The new form means we’ll receive and respond to submitted information faster. If entities submit a notification between 9am and 4pm weekdays, they can expect to receive a copy of the information within an hour.
Please enter all information and attach all documentation relating to the 30-Day Interim Report before you submit the form.
The system will email the address supplied at the ‘Person submitting the Interim Report’. It will also be sent to the HRE or approved delegate and copied to the contact person named. The email will include a reference number and the information provided on the form.
Please note: It’s important the email address provided is correct and sufficiently confidential as the information sent in the confirmation email can be highly sensitive.
Online safety resources for carers, children and young people in care
In June 2022, the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) announced the completion of its online safety resources for children and young people in care and their caregivers.
The resources include a series of short videos for children and young people in out-of-home care, fact sheets and an online training course for caregivers. The resources are available on the ACWA website. Please view and share.
FACSIAR lunch and learn webinars
The Department of Communities and Justice - Family and Community Services Insights, Analysis and Research (FACSIAR) hosts free, one-hour Lunch and Learn webinars.
Topics earlier this year included:
- infants entering out-of-home care: health, developmental trajectories and services
- inclusive practices with LGBTQIA+ children and young people, their parents and carers, family and kin
- trauma-informed supports for children and young people
- improving educational outcomes for children and young people with child protection contact.
The next webinar on 26 July 2022 is about improving mental health for children and young people in out-of-home care.
Register and find upcoming webinars and recordings of past webinars on their website. Please share with your colleagues.
My Forever Family NSW – Carer Survey 2022
My Forever Family NSW helps Permanency Support Program providers and delivers recruitment, training, support and advocacy to carers. To support ongoing improvement in policy and practice across the sector, they ran two carer surveys in 2019 and 2020, and will release another before the end of July 2022.
Survey results are a snapshot of carer perceptions of services for the children and young people in their care, their own experiences and their views about possible improvements to practice.
Information about previous carers surveys
In past surveys, agency carers have generally used the link to the survey, but this year My Forever Family is asking for extra support from designated agencies to encourage relative kin carers, Aboriginal carers, and carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to complete the survey.
My Forever Family wants your help to gain a more representative sample of the 12,000 caring households in NSW. If you’re a caseworker or manager working in out-of-home care, please help promote the survey by sending it to your carers.
To find out other ways to help, please sign up to their community newsletter.