If a child or young person is in specialised substitute residential care for 90 days or more in any 12-month period, they must be placed with a designated agency or have their placements supervised by a designated agency.
The role of supervision
Children and young people who spend more than 90 days in a 12-month period away from the family home need additional planning and support.
At this point, the care must either be provided by or supervised by a designated agency.
This is to make sure that the child’s health, social, emotional and developmental needs continue to be met. It also includes the opportunity for continued skill development and continuous improvement of child safe practice.
Specific requirements applicable to agencies supervising specialised substitute residential care are set out in section 8ZA of the Children’s Guardian Act 2019 and Part 5 of the Children’s Guardian Regulation 2022.
Requirements applicable to specialised substitute residential care providers arranging supervision are set out at section 20 of the Code at Schedule 4 to the Children's Guardian Regulation 2022.
We expect that a supervising agency will be in place in the lead-up to a child having been in care for 90 days. Ideally, supervision would be in place from around 60 days so that appropriate supervision is in place once 90 days is reached.
Supervision allows agencies that have been accredited to provide long-term statutory out-of-home care to support specialised substitute residential care providers.
The supervising agency must monitor the number of days a child or young person is in care. To do this they use the placement history function on the Specialised Substitute Residential Care (SSCR) Register and any other records relating to the child’s care.
If a designated agency supervising or providing care for a child becomes aware that the child has been in overnight respite care for more than 90 days in a 12-month period without supervision, they must notify the Children’s Guardian as soon as practicable.
When a child or young person has been in care for 60 days in a 12-month period, the Children’s Guardian will notify the principal care agency, or the agency who provides the majority of a child or young person’s specialised substitute residential care.
If the principal care agency confirms that the child or young person is likely to reach 90 days in care, the principal care agency is then responsible for arranging for supervision by a designated agency.
The designated agency must:
- arrange a meeting with all care providers involved in the care of the child or young person before the 90-day timeframe
- draft a supervision agreement which includes roles, responsibilities and review dates prior to the 90-day timeframe
- determine who is the principal care agency if there are multiple agencies providing care
- enter the supervision notification on the SSRC Register within 5 days of supervision beginning
- send all involved a copy of the finalised supervision agreement.
Specialised substitute residential care providers must:
- participate in the supervision meeting and sign the supervision agreement
- ensure the parents of the child or young person are aware of the supervision arrangement.
Responsibilities within the supervision agreement
Both the designated supervision agency and care provider must:
- participate in supervision meetings
- keep records of supervision meetings, discussions and correspondence
- continue to monitor the number of days a child or young person spends in care so that case planning begins before the child or young person reaches 180-days in care in a 12-month period.