Updates for statutory out-of-home care agencies from the Accreditation and Monitoring team.
Farewell to Children’s Guardian Janet Schorer
Janet will complete her appointment as NSW Children’s Guardian on 23 October 2022 having come to the end of her five-year term. She is moving to a role at NSW TAFE as Chief Delivery Officer. Deputy Children’s Guardian, Richard Weston, will be Acting Children’s Guardian until the new Children’s Guardian commences.
Janet worked with a great passion and commitment to making sure the most vulnerable members of our communities were recognised as an integral part of society and has had a significant impact on out-of-home care.
Consultation on the code of practice
On 1 September 2022 we emailed Principal Officers a consultation paper on the code of practice for statutory out-of-home care and adoption service providers. We’d appreciate you sharing the consultation paper with your colleagues as we are seeking broad sector input. We need any feedback by Friday 18 November 2022 emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like another copy of the consultation paper, please email us.
About the code of practice
From our previous review late in 2021, there was broad support to move the sector into the Child Safe Scheme and replace the current NSW Child Safe Standards for Permanent Care with the Child Safe Standards.
Agencies noted that there are clear benefits in having one set of child safe standards across all child-related sectors in NSW. However, the sector also raised that sector-specific practices need to be reflected in the new accreditation requirements to ensure the needs of children and young people in statutory out-of-home care and adoption arrangements continue to be met.
We now seek feedback on a proposed code of practice. It will set out how the sector implements the Child Safe Standards. When the code commences, it will become the new accreditation criteria, replacing the NSW Child Safe Standards for Permanent Care.
Previous consultation raised that our engagement with agencies needs a stronger focus on continuous improvement. This will be taken into consideration with how we monitor the new code.
Unlike the NSW Child Safe Standards for Permanent Care, the code of practice will be set out in the Children’s Guardian Regulation 2022. It will be very different in structure and form to the current Standards. After the sector consultation we will work with Parliamentary Counsel’s Office to prepare a consultation draft code of practice. This will be circulated for final comment in early 2023.
We do not anticipate that the code of practice will commence until the end of 2023. Closer to that time, we will publish guidance material to support the transition to the new accreditation criteria.
Children’s Guardian Act 2019 summary of accreditation functions
The consultation paper also sets out recent legislative amendments, which transferred the Children’s Guardian’s accreditation functions from the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Regulation 2012 and the Adoption Regulation 2015, into the Children’s Guardian Act 2019. The consultation paper includes a summary table.
If you have any questions about the consultation paper, please contact the accreditation team by email to email@example.com or phone (02) 8219 3796. If you call, please leave a message and your phone number and we will return your call as soon as possible.
There have been many changes to legislation affecting designated agencies and adoption service providers recently. The framework of legislation under which our office operates is described on our website legislation pages.
Our website also includes a legislation page where you can view a log of legislation changes. You can search our legislation changes page to find information relevant to your agency.
Child Safe Resources
We have released videos on each of the Child Safe Standards on our Resources page. The search and filter functions will help you find resources relevant to your agency.
Residential Care Workers Register
Thank you to all designated agencies who have worked hard to enter their residential care workers since the Residential Care Workers Register commenced on 18 July 2022. Thank you to agencies for being very responsive to the contact from the Registration Systems team. There have been many questions about functionality, the legislation and general policy which demonstrates the sector’s commitment to making the register work.
Here are a few points to note.
Back capture period closing
Over the first 90 days following the register’s introduction, agencies were required to record all of their existing residential care workers. The timeframe for this was reached on Saturday 15 October 2022. The back capture functionality has now been switched off on the register for all agencies.
All agency Primary Administrators have been contacted about this. Thank you to those agencies who have notified the RS team about their completion of this process.
Entering reportable allegations
If a reportable allegation is made against a residential care worker, your agency has 7 days to record this on the register. This aligns with the timeframe to complete the 7-day notification form to the OCG’s Reportable Conduct Directorate.
There are no longer any Class or Kind Agreements as these all lapsed on 31 August 2022. As a result, all reportable allegations must be reported to the OCG and must be recorded on the register against the allegation type of Reportable to the Children’s Guardian.
Logging onto the register
When logging onto the Residential Register, your username will commence with RRA. If you are logging onto the Accreditation portal for your agency, your username will start with ACC. Please make sure you use the correct username for each.
Guidance materials and training
As agencies are becoming more familiar with the register, new users are being created. The links below are to the guidance materials on the Residential Care Workers Register. Please pass this on to anyone who works in residential care and has a responsibility managing the register.
OCG domain name reminder
The redirects we have had on our old @kidsguardian emails no longer work. Please check and update your records and contacts.
Our email addresses all finish with @ocg.nsw.gov.au
While you are doing this, please also check any old bookmarks you may have to our website as this has also changed to www.ocg.nsw.gov.au.
Changes to the Notice of Conditions of Accreditation
The Children’s Guardian accredits agencies to provide statutory out of home care or adoption services in NSW under provisions in Schedule 3A and Schedule 3B to the Children’s Guardian Act 2019.
When an agency is accredited, we issue several documents including a Notice of Conditions of Accreditation which appears as part of each agency’s record on our website’s list of accredited agencies.
Recently issued notices have changed in style and content. They now only display conditions that are additional to the general conditions in Schedule 3 and Schedule 5 of the Children’s Guardian Regulation 2022.
For most agencies, the notice will be relatively brief and for many will show only the types of services the agency is accredited to provide (foster care, residential care, adoption services).
Most accredited agencies now have access to the accreditation portal.
Primary Administrators and Principal Officers should use the portal to update records when there is a change to the agency's details or Principal Officer details.
The accreditation portal should also be used for making notifications to the Children’s Guardian when:
- there is a death of a child or young person in statutory out-of-home care placed with the agency
- a child under 12 years of age is placed in residential statutory out-of-home care with the agency, and if the placement with the agency ceases before the child turns 12.
Only use the notification forms on our website, if your agency does not have access the portal or if your agency is temporarily unable to access the accreditation portal.
WWCC and proof of identity
Changes to the Child Protection (Working with Children) Regulation 2013 affect how some applicants provide proof of identity.
- if authorised carers and household members are physically incapable of going to a Service NSW to show their proof of identify documents, they can do it in a manner approved by the Children's Guardian. Further information is on our website
- all residential care workers will be required to pay the Working with Children Check application fee
- members of governing bodies who reside interstate will be required to go to a Service NSW centre to show proof of identity documents.
If you have questions about these changes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org