Under the new laws, any person employed in a children’s residential facility established or licensed by the Department for Child Protection must undergo a psychological assessment, of a kind determined by the department.
In order for carers to provide a child safe environment, the new laws stipulate that all carers providing out of home care must meet approval requirements. Carer approvals relate to agencies and people providing out-of-home care, such as:
- foster carers (application through their foster care agency)
- kinship carers (application through the Department for Child Protection)
- specific child only carers (application through Department for Child Protection)
- family day care (guardianship) carers (application through Department for Education)
- agency carers (application through employing commercial care agency).
The Carer Approval and Review Unit determine final approval for carers including ensuring regular review and assessment of all agencies on an ongoing basis.
Operators of children’s residential facilities must hold a license granted by the Department for Child Protection. The license may be valid for up to 3 years and subject to conditions as stipulated by the department. The license will specify the maximum number of children that may reside in the licensed facility at any time, which will not be more than 12.
In addition, the new laws also require directors of foster care agencies to have a working with children check to work within the industry providing care and support for children and young people.
The Act provides for more stringent record keeping requirements. The Department for Child Protection has powers in relation to inspection of licensed facilities with the Department for Child Protection having the right to cancel a license should the operator appear to no longer be meeting the necessary requirements.