About statutory out-of-home care and adoption

Last update: 26 July 2023

The Office of the Children's Guardian accredits agencies so they can provide statutory out-of-home care and adoption services in NSW. 

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    As the Office of the Children’s Guardian, we oversee the accreditation process. In doing so, we assess the quality and effectiveness of an agency’s services based on acceptable standards. 

    Statutory out-of-home care and adoption

    Statutory out-of-home care is when the Children’s Court has made an order allocating parental responsibility for a child or young person to the Minister for Community Services. The order requires the child or young person to live with a person who is not their parent in a place which is not their parental home, such as foster or residential care. 

    Adoption is where an adoption order has been made by the Supreme Court of NSW to legally transfer all parental rights and responsibilities, guardianship and custody from parents of a child or young person to adoptive parents. 

    Why accreditation matters

    The accreditation process requires agencies to focus their work on meeting the needs of children and young people in out-of-home care, so they experience similar levels of service. It helps them identify areas where they meet current standards of good practice, as well as areas where they need to change or improve. 

    The accreditation process also allows agencies to:

    • share a common understanding of good practice
    • work towards continuous quality improvement
    • systematically review their performance against standards
    • encourage greater scrutiny of outcomes and quality.


    Agencies: designated and adoption

    Agencies that are accredited by the Children's Guardian to provide statutory out-of-home care services are known as designated agencies. Only designated agencies accredited by the Children's Guardian can provide out-of-home care in NSW. 

    Non-government agencies providing adoption services in NSW must be accredited by the Children’s Guardian. Designated agencies providing out-of-home care can also be accredited to provide adoption services. 

    There are 2 types of accreditation: Provisional accreditation (3 years) and full accreditation (1, 3 or 5 years). Learn more about accreditation.

    The NSW Standards for Permanent Care

    NSW Child Safe Standards for Permanent Care form the basis for how we assess agencies for accreditation. Every agency looking to become accredited must provide evidence proving they meet these standards. We also monitor accredited agencies as they provide services to make sure they continue to meet them.

    Browse all statutory out-of-home care and adoption resources for guides and templates to help you meet the standards.

    The Children’s Guardian Act 2019

    Since March 2020, out-of-home care and adoption in NSW have been governed by the Children’s Guardian Act 2019

    This Act consolidates our registration, accreditation and monitoring functions when it comes to voluntary and statutory out-of-home care and adoption service providers. It also gives us greater oversight to help agencies create safer environments for children in NSW.

    The Act expanded our previous functions to include the Official Community Visitor Scheme and the Reportable Conduct Scheme.

    The Act operates in conjunction with the Children's Guardian Regulation 2022

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