This page was last updated 1 June 2020.

Aboriginal Kinship Care

Aboriginal Kinship Care is an out-of-home care placement option providing family based care to Aboriginal children and young people who have been removed from the family home.

Family based care placements are determined by the level of supports needed to care for and support children and young people in care. The supports required are influenced, but not solely determined, by the Complexity Assessment Tool (CAT) which is used to assess the behaviour and special needs of the child or young person.

Culturally responsive support services from a licenced kinship care service provider will be provided to approved kinship carers to enable the provision of family-based care in their own homes for Aboriginal children or young people under guardianship or custody of the Chief Executive, with the assistance of a regular subsidy.

To ensure Aboriginal children and young people who have been removed from the care of a person under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA) (the Act) are placed in a culturally responsive, safe, nurturing, stable and secure environment.

The Service Provider will provide family based care services to Kinship Carers of Aboriginal children and young people aged 0 – 17 years who are under Guardianship or Custody of the Chief Executive or other order or authority.

Young people over 18 years may continue to receive family based care services for assistance with transitioning to independence until 21 years of age.

Children and young people placed with approved carers who have been granted long-term guardianship are not eligible service users, except where the long-term guardian experiences a crisis or emergency which temporarily impacts on their ability to provide direct care and there is no other option available within the long-term guardian’s existing support network.

Service requirements

The following sets out the program requirements for delivering Aboriginal Kinship Care.

The Service Provider must:

  1. Hold a kinship care agency licence.
  2. Comply with this service specification at all times.
  3. Comply with DCP’s Service Provision Requirements.
  4. Have appropriate governance and management structures, appropriate policies, procedures, service models, staffing models, rostering arrangements, and programming required for the delivery of the service in line with this specification and service provision requirements.

The Service Provider must:

  1. Ensure Service Provider personnel hold and maintain relevant working with children checks at all times. Refer to DCP’s Carer and Personnel Requirements.
  2. Ensure the staffing model, roles, responsibilities, qualifications, recruitment and selection processes, will be fully documented and include a focus on the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal staff.
  3. Provide ongoing supervision and guidance to Service Provider personnel in respect to their performance and work-related activities.
  4. Report any suspicion that a child or young person may be at risk in accordance with the Act.
  5. Provide training to personnel in accordance with DCP’s Carer and Personnel Requirements.
  6. Ensure service provider personnel promote the need for children and young people to be safe from harm and report any suspicion that a child or young person may be at risk in accordance with the Act.
  7. Make relevant courses of training available to Service Provider personnel – to consolidate or improve knowledge, develop or build skills, promote wellbeing and to address identified issues as they arise.
  8. Provide support to Service Provider personnel during and following critical incidents, care concerns and/or special investigations into allegations of abuse made against them.
  9. Maintain a policy to provide access to an Employee Assistance Program for Service Provider personnel.
  10. Have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of child development and trauma informed care.
  11. Have extensive experience working with Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities.
  12. Have capacity to undertake assessment and care planning processes including carer reviews.
  13. Have capacity to undertake assessment and demonstrate competence in the Winangay tool (or approved equivalent).
  14. Have capacity to understand current services, programs and networks for carers.
  15. Implement performance and development plans for all Service Provider personnel.
  16. Review performance and development plans for Service Provider personnel as part of an annual review process.
  17. Maintain records of all training undertaken by Service Provider personnel.
  18. Provide an opportunity for exited personnel to complete an exit interview.

Family finding is the process of locating potential carers for Aboriginal children in out of home care or at risk of entering care. This process can include identifying and mapping extended family for the child.

DCP is responsible for finding and scoping family to support a child in their initial placement.

The Service Provider must:

  1. Be willing to work in partnership with DCP to continue family finding and scoping in line with the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle.
  2. Where appropriate, ensure family mapping is a collaborative process between children, their families, local and regional Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, kinship care staff and Local Cultural Authorities (LCA).

Children and young people in care must be placed with approved kinship carers who have undergone a full carer assessment. There may be circumstances where it is necessary for a child to be placed urgently and where it is not reasonably practicable for them to be placed with an approved carer or where an approved carer is available but there is a preference to place with a person with whom they have an existing relationship.

In these circumstances, a non-approved kinship carer may be authorised to provide care for the child using a Temporary Placement under Section 77 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017. A Temporary Placement must not exceed a period of three (3) months.

The Service Provider must:

  1. Accept the referral for carer assessment and support within two (2) days of receiving the referral package.
  2. Meet with the temporary carer within seven (7) days of accepting the referral to discuss their needs, complete initial mandatory training and begin the full carer assessment process.
  3. Undertake a thorough Temporary Placement Assessment focusing on the carer’s competencies using Winangay (or equivalent approved by DCP) as the primary Assessment Tool for Aboriginal children and young people placed in a Temporary Placement. DCP is responsible for approving the placement of the child or young person with the temporary carer and arranging administration and payments.
  4. Ensure the full carer assessment is completed and submitted to DCP Carer Approval and Registration Unit (CARU) within 60 days from the carer application date and no less than two (2) weeks prior to the end of the temporary placement.
  5. Include assessments of all adult household members.
  6. Identify, record and address any actual or potential risks in the household that may impact on the carers’ ability to provide a safe, nurturing, stable and secure home environment.
  7. Complete relevant working with children checks for all members of the carer household and regular visitors. Refer to DCP’s Carer and Personnel Requirements.
  8. Meet any conditions of approval imposed by DCP.
  9. Undertake regular assessments of the provision of care by approved kinship carers.
  10. Advise CARU of any change of circumstances of approved kinship carers.
  11. Notify CARU of any person who begins an assessment process to become an approved kinship carer who is screened out, or who subsequently withdraws from the assessment.

The Service Provider must:

  1. Provide a minimum number of kinship care placements specified in the Service Agreement (excluding respite) at all times during the term of the Service Agreement.
  2. Accept and respond to referrals from the DCP Kinship Care Assessment Unit during business hours and DCP Crisis Response Unit (CRU) outside of business hours.
  3. Involve carers in decision-making processes.
  4. Support DCP to complete and implement placement agreements for Aboriginal children and young people.
  5. Support DCP to place sibling groups together (where appropriate) and/or ensure that connections between siblings are supported as per the Case Plan.
  6. Work cooperatively with the DCP case manager, the child or young person, their family and all other parties concerned, in order to ensure smooth transitions in or out for the child or young person.
  7. Provide any information to approved kinship carers that may be relevant to:
    • the kinship carers’ decision about their capacity and ability to care for a child/sibling group
    • provide appropriate care to the child or young person in all of their circumstances
    • to ensure the safety of the approved kinship carer and any other member of the approved kinship carer’s household), with regard to any wishes expressed by the child or young person relating to the disclosure of such information
  8. Consider the views of children and young people in day to day care and the decision-making processes.
  9. Provide prescribed information to the children or young person in relation to the approved kinship carer.
  10. Ensure the approved kinship carer is able to effectively nurture and care for the child or young person and respond to their needs through the actions outlined in the case plan, taking into account the age and developmental level of the child or young person and their cultural needs.
  11. Work with the DCP case manager, Kinship Care and Placement Services Unit to seek alternative family based care arrangements where placements break down and/or where a child or young person is unable to be placed with the Service Provider.
  12. Communicate with DCP Kinship Care and Placement Services in regards to alternative care options such as Respite Care before initiating any placement.
  13. Regularly advise DCP of placement capacity and kinship carer capacity and availability.
  14. Not exceed the approved number of placements for the kinship carer household without seeking express approval from the Chief Executive.
  15. Where there are indicators that a placement might be disrupted, work with DCP case managers to implement strategies to stabilise and secure the existing placement.
  16. Ensure any placement end/change occurs in a way that is sensitive to the needs of the child or young person, ensuring they are involved in the process wherever possible.
  17. Where a placement change occurs, ensure all relevant information concerning the child or young person is communicated to staff, carers and case managers at the new placement.
  18. Ensure all of the child or young person’s personal belongings and other materials are safely transferred to the subsequent placement.

The Service Provider must:

  1. Access and provide ongoing training to approved kinship carers in accordance with the DCP Carer/Personnel Qualifications, Training & Competencies service provision requirements. Refer to DCP’s Carer and Personnel Requirements.
  2. Ensure approved kinship carers promote the need for children and young people to be safe from harm and report any suspicion that a child or young person may be at risk in accordance with the Act.
  3. Implement learning and development plans for approved kinship carers within 6 months of approval.
  4. Make relevant courses of training available to approved kinship carers – to consolidate or improve knowledge, develop or build skills, promote wellbeing and to address identified issues as they arise.
  5. Review learning and development plans for approved kinship carers as part of the annual review process.
  6. Ensure all training is addressed within 3 months of training needs being identified.
  7. Maintain records of all training undertaken by approved kinship carers.

The Service Provider must:

  1. Ensure approved kinship carers have the necessary information about the child or young person to meet their caring responsibilities.
  2. Promote placement preservation to sustain the continued placement of a child or young person within a current kinship carer household.
  3. Provide ongoing support and guidance to approved kinship carers necessary to meet the needs of the child or young person.
  4. Ensure approved kinship carers have access to 24-hour telephone support with Service Provider during business hours and DCP Crisis Response Unit outside of business hours.
  5. Allocate a Placement Support Worker for each approved kinship carer and ensure the Placement Support Worker to Active Carer household ratio is less than 1:18 per annum.
  6. Have regular contact with the approved kinship carer in the form of personal face-to-face visits (within 7 days of any placement commencement and then a minimum of every eight weeks) and regular home visits, phone contact, and emails as required.
  7. Support approved kinship carers to ensure children and young people are provided with a safe, nurturing, stable and secure home environment.
  8. Support approved kinship carers to respond to the needs of children including the health, safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child or young person.
  9. Assess any requirement of the approved kinship carer for financial or other assistance (the Act 102(b)).
  10. Provide ongoing support and guidance to approved kinship carers necessary to work with DCP case management and contribute to planning and delivery of services in accordance with case plans. This may include:
    • preparation and maintenance of the child's Life Story collection
    • reunification
    • contact arrangements to establish or maintain attachment relationships
    • formulating or reviewing the child or young person’s case plan (at least once in each 12-month period)
    • working as part of the care team to develop an Education Support Plan or NDIS Care Plan
    • meeting requirements to communicate on issues, including reporting all suspensions and exclusions
    • implementing Transition Plans, including transitioning from care and transitioning to long-term guardianship
  11. Support approved kinship carers to participate in any decision-making process relating to the health, safety, welfare or wellbeing of the child or young person.
  12. Provide respite service in accordance with DCP’s Respite Requirements.
  13. Support approved kinship carers with contingency care arrangements where needed, including where the child or young person is unable to attend school due to illness, suspension or exclusion.
  14. Support approved kinship carers to draw on and build upon strengths, available resources and social supports to increase the child or young person’s safety and enhance parenting capacity.
  15. Encourage approved kinship carers to develop and participate in peer support networks and self-care activities.
  16. Provide additional support to approved kinship carers during the reunification or transition of a child or young person from their household.
  17. Provide or arrange support and advice to approved kinship carers in relation to health and wellbeing, parenting, household management (including budgeting), practical support and social integration.
  18. Provide or arrange specialist support and advice to approved kinship carers to assist them in their role (i.e. speech pathologist, psychologist, medical specialist, cultural advisor, etc.).
  19. Provide or arrange support and advice to approved kinship carers in relation to helping young people gain independent living skills, enhance their education and/or seek employment opportunities.
  20. Provide support to approved kinship carers during and following critical incidents, care concerns and/or special investigations into allegations of abuse and/or deficits in care.
  21. Provide support to approved kinship carers to help resolve carer related problems.
  22. Provide information to approved kinship carers about raising issues, making complaints and accessing carer advocacy services.
  23. Conduct Carer Reviews regularly and within the review period identified for the approved carer. A Carer Review of a kinship or SCO approved carer must occur every two (2) years. A Carer Review should occur sooner than two (2) years in any of the following circumstances:
    • A serious Care Concern has been substantiated or is in progress and therefore remains active.
    • A pattern of care concern/s that have been assessed to have a significant impact on the quality of care and risk to a child and impact on a child’s wellbeing.
    • The approved carer requests a review.
    • Change of circumstances and the service provider in partnership with the DCP case worker identify that a review is necessary.
  24. Meet reporting and record keeping requirements.
  25. Manage cancellations of kinship carer approvals.
  26. Provide an opportunity for exited kinship carers to complete an exit interview.

Respite

Service Requirements

Placement funding is inclusive of the primary placement and respite arrangements.

Service providers must scope family/recruit sufficient active carers to provide respite for all kinship carers, to provide immediate and out- of-hours placements.

Respite may be provided by an approved carer as per the child and young person’s approved DCP Case Plan.

In the first instance priority should be given to respite being provided by someone in the carer's / child's network wherever possible.

As a last resort, consideration of a respite placement through another service provider will be considered as arranged and agreed by DCP.

Support for carers is outlined in the DCP document Who can say OK? (PDF, 4.0 MB)

Aboriginal specific care requirements: be responsive to the immediate needs of Aboriginal Children and Young People in need of care through the recruitment of immediate and short-term Aboriginal carers that will contribute to an Aboriginal respite carer network.

Respite for each child is to be provided by the same carer household wherever possible.

  • nights - access to up to 24 nights of respite per year applied flexibly and based on the assessed needs of the child or young person, their family and carers
  • Respite Carer payments are administered via DCP carer payment processes
  • DCP authorisation will be required to provide respite beyond 24 nights