A child’s relationship with their carer is essential for supporting their safety and stability. When children form strong relationships with their carers, they are in the best position to heal from past hurts.
On 26 February 2018 the first phase of legislative changes for the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 came into effect. The second phase will commence 22 October 2018.
This page outlines the changes that affect carers from February.
The new Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 allows carers to participate in any decision making process relating to the health, safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child in their care.
Decisions are made within the context of the child’s care team. Carers are key members of the care team and will be supported to express their views, and contribute information they have about the child.
There are many decisions that carers can make in the day to day care of the child, and the new legislation does not change this. Refer to ‘Who can say OK?’ for more details.
New legislation also requires the department to actively seek and consider the views of children and young people. Carers can help DCP decide whether children are ready to participate in decision making.
Read more about collaborating with carers in decision making (PDF 367KB) for comprehensive guidance.
Information sharing and decisions need to be made on the basis of the child’s safety and best interests.
Together, carers, the child’s social worker, and placement supports are responsible for the ongoing exchange of information about the child.
Carers are encouraged to share information with the DCP worker about their observations of the child and their needs, behaviours, strengths and challenges.
Information about a child
Carers will receive known information about a child or young person to enable them to make informed decisions about their capacity or ability to provide care for the child or young person.
Information about the child can include:
- Age, date of birth, gender and culture (clan / language)
- Health needs – including medications, treatment plans and medical contacts
- Disability of the child – including significant developmental delays
- Information about the impact of abuse and neglect on the child – including known behaviours and potential triggers
- Child’s schooling arrangements, routine, strengths, interests and significant items
- Family connections and contact arrangements.
Children and young people can identify information they do not wish to share with carers – providing there is no impact on the safety or care of the child.
Information about a carer
The new legislation also requires the child or young person to be provided with information about their new carer.
- the name and age of the carer
- Address where the child will reside if placed with the carer
- Nature of carer’s employment
- Details about any other people residing with the carer
- Details of any relevant experience the carer has had caring for other children and young people.
This information will be gathered from carers and provided in ways that are easy for a young person to understand – verbally, in writing or with photos.
Read more about information sharing (PDF 487KB) for comprehensive guidance.
The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 outlines that in any proceedings for an order in the Youth Court, children and young people must be given an opportunity to personally present their views related to their ongoing care to the Court.
Read more about views of the child or young person (PDF 313KB) for comprehensive guidance.
The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 allows for any ‘interested person’ to make a submission to the Youth Court.
This can include:
- members of the child or young person’s family
- a person who has cared for the child
- a person who has counselled, advised or aided the child.
Making a submission
Carers should speak with the child’s caseworker about making a submission to the Youth Court. The department will then consult with the Crown Solicitor’s Office to complete an application for your submission to be heard.
Submissions can include (but are not limited to):
- The impact family contact has on the child or young person
- The impact returning home would have on the child or young person
- Any ongoing safety concerns or risks
- Observations of the child’s behaviour
- Your assessment of the child or young person’s needs.
If you feel you have not been given the opportunity to make a submission to the Youth Court, you should raise this with the child’s DCP caseworker in the first instance.
Read more about the right of other person to be heard (PDF 329KB).
If you have a complaint about a child or young person’s caseworker, it is important to first speak with their supervisor or manager.
If this does not help to resolve your concerns, you can contact the Department for Child Protection Central Complaints Unit.
The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 also provides for an internal review of decisions in certain circumstances.
Read more about internal reviews.
Legislation Implementation Team
Email: DCP.Legislation [at] sa.gov.au