This page was last updated 28 October 2020.
The child protection system encompasses several different types of care for children and young people under the guardianship of the Chief Executive, aged from birth to 18 years of age who can no longer live safely with their parents.
Children and young people may live in a family setting, with either kinship carers or foster carers or are supported by other types of care, including residential care and immediate care response.
For children and young people in care with disability who need a residential care placement, an individualised and flexible disability, developmental and trauma informed response is required to ensure children are able to reach best life outcomes.
The broad objectives of residential care disability placements are:
- That children and young people receive a therapeutic disability, developmental and trauma informed care response which addresses their disability, behavioural and environmental support needs
- To ensure Aboriginal children and young people with disability receive a therapeutic disability, developmental and trauma informed care response that is culturally safe and responsive and incorporates the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (ACPP) key elements of – Prevention, Partnership, Placement, Participation, Connection and Identification (as the precursor).
- Children and young people experience quality placements that support their safeguarding in alignment with the NDIS Practice Standards.
- Where eligible, children and young people are able to access NDIS specialist disability supports that appropriately suits their support needs.
- Where eligible, young people transition seamlessly to a NDIS funded post care option.
- Young people transition from care experiencing improved social, economic, health and wellbeing outcomes.
Children and young people with a disability aged 0 - 17
Characteristics and/or needs
Children and young people in residential care with a disability will have a range of diagnoses underlying their disability. The most frequent diagnoses are Autism Spectrum Disorder, intellectual disability, developmental delay, physical disability, hearing loss, or a combination of these.
Autism Spectrum Disorder may affect children and young people in the following areas:
An intellectual disability may affect a child or young person’s functioning in a number of areas including -
Developmental delay may affect children and young people in the following areas:
Children and young people with delays in their development are more likely to have experienced a disrupted education, and have limited readiness for accessing employment opportunities
A physical disability may affect children and young people in the following areas:
Aboriginal children and young people aged 0 - 17
Characteristics and/or needs
Aboriginal children and young people are over-represented in all areas of the child protection system, including the residential care population. They have a range of complex cultural and social needs that may include the following:
Positive social interactions
Carers like the child or young person and interact frequently with them in ways that the child or young person enjoys and understands (i.e. speak, sign, physically, visually) .
When positive interactions are provided unconditionally, it lessens the likelihood that the child or young person needs to engage in behaviours to obtain these social interactions.
Children and young people want and actively seek positive social interactions from those around them.
Support for communication
Carers communicate in ways the child or young person understands and are able to notice, interpret and respond to the child or young person's own communication style; i.e.
Communication support is provided across all areas of their lives and is shared across environments and with others, including unfamiliar communication partners; i.e. communication diaries, iPad, visuals etc.
Children and young people are supported in rich communication environments.
Children and young people want to communicate with those around them and need to be effectively supported to do so.
Support for participation in meaningful activity
Carers provide tailored assistance to enable children and young people to engage in meaningful activities and social interactions.
Carers utilise the child or young person’s communication style to assist with this engagement.
Carers employ the concept of Person Centred Active Support to enable the child or young person to engage in meaningful activities – do with, not for.
Carers implement a developmental approach – with an understanding of the child or young person’s areas of strength and areas that need additional scaffolding and support.
Consistent and predictable environments which honour personalise routines and activities
Carers support the child or young person consistently so that the child or young person’s experience is similar no matter who is providing the support.
Carers use a range of communication and other approaches tailored to the child or young person (e.g. visual timetable, calendars, regular routines) to ensure that they are able to understand as much as possible about what is happening in their day/week/month.
Support to establish and/or maintain relationships with family and friends
Carers understand the lifelong importance of relationships (i.e. family, kinship, friends, peers) and actively support the maintaining and building of these.
Carers understand the importance of peer relationships for children and young people and actively explore ways to provide these opportunities in safe and meaningful ways.
Provision of opportunities for choice
Carers ensure that the child or young person is involved as much as possible in deciding how to spend their time; i.e. from the relatively mundane (choice of breakfast cereal) to the more serious (e.g. who supports them).
Children and young people value the opportunity to make decisions for themselves.
Providing regular and genuine opportunities for choice enables the child or young person to have some control over their life and environment within a context where they have little control.
Encouragement of more independent functioning
Carers support the child or young person to learn new skills, to try new experiences and to take more responsibility for their own home, care and safety.
The development of new skills and independent functioning enables the child or young person to have more control over their life.
Personal care and health support
Carers are attentive to the child or young person’s personal and healthcare needs, identifying pain/discomfort and accessing supports where needed.
Carers support the child or young person to comply with healthcare requirements; i.e. medication, personal hygiene in ways that are supportive and reflective of their developmental functioning.
Acceptable living environment
Carers support the child or young person to access and maintain environments which meet their individual needs / preferences, and include consideration around sensory, developmental, trauma / attachment needs.
Children and young people need to feel a sense of belonging, that allows them to personalise the space in which they live.
Environments need to be homely and inviting, a place where the child or young person wants to be.
Mindful, skilled carers
Carers understand the child or young person and are able to successfully meet their range of needs; i.e. developmental, emotional, physical, behavioural and cultural.
Carers are able to draw on expert knowledge to develop their understanding and, reflect and adjust their support as the child or young person’s needs change.
Carers are able to understand the impact of disability and trauma on the child or young person and have the knowledge and skills to support them successfully.
Effective management and support
Carers are led and managed by senior staff with the skills to lead service delivery.
Carers are provided with the necessary support and skill set required to work competently with the child or young person.
Effective organisational context
Support provided by carers is delivered and arranged within a broad understanding of the child or young person that recognises the need to ensure safety and quality of care for both the individual and carers.
Stability in staffing, as far as possible.
Service Providers must comply, abide by, and provide all Residential Care: Disability services (this Service Specification), in conjunction with DCP’s broader Service Provision Requirements and Licensing requirements.
Service Providers must also provide evidence of their National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Provider Registration against the Practice Standards Core Modules and the following Supplementary Module:
- Implementing behaviour support plans, and NDIS provider registration to provide:
- Assistance in coordinating or managing life stages, transitions and supports
- Assistance with daily personal activities
- Specialist positive behaviour support (including implementing positive behaviour support plans)
- Assistance with daily life tasks in a group or shared living arrangement
- Development of daily care and life skills
The following sets out the program requirements for delivering Residential Care: Disability supports.
DCP Residential Care: Disability services are defined as residential care and immediate care disability placements, and form part of DCP’s in care services for children and young people (primarily aged 10 - 17 years, though may also accommodate younger children).
Approximately a third of the children and young people in care with disability requiring a residential care response are Aboriginal.
DCP Residential Care: Disability services must be consistently therapeutic, culturally supportive and responsive to children and young people’s needs to improve their experience in care and their life outcomes, and:
- address the needs of children and young people in 24/7 care, with appropriate consideration given to disability, developmental, trauma and behavioural needs, and cultural appropriateness.
- deliver a flexible model that appropriately accounts for the individual disability support needs and children and young people in care with disability.
- address the specific interfaces between residential care, out of home care, DCP Disability and Development Program, and the NDIS.
Service Providers will provide a licensed residential facility that must:
- replicate a family / home environment;
- be solely used for DCP Residential Care Disability Services;
- provide a consistent and predictable living environment with clear routines and minimal disruptions to everyday living;
- support a therapeutic approach to facilitate recovery from the impacts of physical, psychological and emotional trauma; and
- meet the individual needs of the children and young person taking into consideration their unique sensory, developmental, disability needs.
Children or young people may be placed in groups of 2, 3 or 4 placements and within a variety of housing configurations.
There may be a mix of children and young people requiring active or passive nights. For any children and young people requiring passive nights, one room in the property may need to be allocated to a carer for an overnight stay, therefore reducing the number of placements available in the property.
Service Providers must also provide a suitable vehicle for the child or young person’s transport needs including school attendance (where required), medical appointments and shopping/recreation requirements.
Due to the importance of continuing each child or young person’s attendance at school, and their difficulty in coping with change, the individual residential locations must be within convenient access to the suburb where each school is located. Locations must also consider access for family visits and medical/therapy appointments.
Residential Care: Disability placements include specific levels of worker support to provide care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including public holidays and when children and young people are unable to attend school).
For children and young people who are eligible for the receipt of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funded specialist disability supports, the DCP case manager is the parental representative and is responsible for the NDIS Access Request, planning, plan implementation and review processes.
The DCP case manager will attend the planning meeting and will coordinate the attendance of other important people in the child or young person’s life.
Children and young people with disability will be referred to placements through the department’s Placement Services Unit, in consultation with the DCP Disability and Development Program.
The aim of Residential Care: Disability placements is to provide therapeutic disability, developmental and trauma informed support and accommodation. This includes:
- Ensuring the voice of children and young people is at the centre of all decision making
- Responding to the diversity, including Aboriginal diversity, of children and young people’s needs
- Tailoring support to children and young people’s individual developmental needs, capabilities, and strengths
- Providing consistency of workers and continuity of care over time
- Ensuring workers have the necessary cultural understanding and competence to provide culturally safe and responsive care for Aboriginal children and young people with disability
- Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and young people and the development of life skills similar to that of a child or young person of a similar age and similar disability living within a family setting
- Providing additional support to stabilise placement or meet increased need when required
- Having well-developed service systems to facilitate the provision of a broad range of services, including specialist disability supports funded by the NDIS
- Delivering supports accordance with the NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators
- Being culturally responsive and incorporating culturally safe approaches as part of the therapeutic foundation
- Supporting children and young people’s connections to family, where this is in line with the case plan
- Assisting children and young people to access and participate in education and maximise educational outcomes
- Assisting young people to develop practical life skills such as self-care, home management, budgeting and financial literacy and confidence for independent living
The role of residential care Service Providers
Service Providers are required to demonstrate knowledge of best practice and service delivery capability in engaging and working with children and young people with disability using a strengths-based approach that is disability, developmental and trauma informed, culturally safe and responsive.
Service Providers will be responsible for developing an articulated service delivery approach in line with the target group characteristics, needs and service approach (see ‘Target Group Characteristics, Needs and Service Approach’ section), which must be communicated to DCP. At a minimum, this must include:
- A disability, developmental, and trauma informed residential care model that:
- provides specific levels of worker support to provide care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including public holidays and when children and young people are unable to attend school)
- provides a single care team that has capacity to operate with the various levels of support
- involves intensive care, in a therapeutic environment, to facilitate recovery from the impacts of physical, psychological and emotional trauma resulting from their experience of harm or risk of harm
- provides a safe predictable, homelike, culturally safe, and responsive environment where staff have positive and strong relationships with the child or young person to support healing and emotional development (see ’Capable Environments’ section).
- provides in the least restrictive environment, which is physically designed to minimise the risk of self-harming and violence
- aims to meet the individual care and support needs of the child or young person, which will be assessed, planned for, and reviewed in partnership between DCP and the Supplier, who will actively facilitate participation of the child or young person, family and community, relevant support services, and other significant persons; such as school staff, support workers (including NDIS support coordinators if relevant) and previous carers, in these processes
- assists the child or young person to build relational, behavioural, developmental and emotional capacity
- assists the child or young person to develop life skills to decrease the risk of future placement instability
- supports connection or reconnection with family, community and culture (where appropriate and consistent with the case plan)
- supports the child or young person to engage in educational, recreational and community based activities, provided in a cost effective manner, and to access other services and support as required
- embeds a culturally safe and responsive approach that supports the foundation of the therapeutic framework
- embeds a strong clinical framework and an environment that is appropriate to the developmental and disability support needs of the cohort
- embeds monitoring and evaluation mechanisms
- provides individual, flexible support based on the child or young person’s individual disability support needs as they are assessed by DCP.
2. Support the delivery of specialist disability supports with the child or young person’s NDIS plan:
- Prior to NDIS planning meetings, the Service Provider will provide the DCP case manager with relevant information required to inform the NDIS planning conversation. Information provided by the Service Provider will be related to the child or young person functional capacity and specialist disability support needs. The information may include but is not limited to:
- The supports and services the child or young person already uses each week and the supports and services that are required in the future
- The child or young person’s goals and aspirations for the next 12 months
- How the child or young person’s disability or developmental delay affects their:
- Ability to undertake the tasks of daily living (e.g. showering, dressing, eating meals, getting ready to leave the house)
- Accessing the community
- Any disability specific supports that would help to better understand the child or young person’s needs and be able to better care for the child or young person.
- Where a child or young person receives NDIS funding for core supports, and the DCP case manager nominates the Service Provider to be the NDIS support provider of the core supports, the Service Provider will:
- Create a NDIS Service Agreement in accordance with the instruction received by the DCP case manager as soon as practicable
- Deliver the specialist disability supports in line with the goals to be achieved in the child or young person’s NDIS plan
- Report on the child or young person’s disability and developmental progress as a result of the NDIS funded supports
- Ensure the NDIS service delivery is reconciled and billed accordingly against the child or young person’s NDIS plan in a timely manner
- Notify the DCP case manager in a timely manner of any reports made to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission as part of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards mandatory reporting requirements
- Respond to DCP contract variations in a timely manner
- Where a child or young person has NDIS funding for other specialist disability supports, the Service Provider will support other NDIS funded providers to access the child or young person for the purpose of NDIS service delivery.
Service requirements for all children and young people with disability:
- Supply accommodation that meets the needs of children and young people with disability
- Deliver services in line with the baseline assessment of needs, strengths, interests, and capabilities of the child or young person
- Deliver a person centred approach to care with the aim of empowering and enabling the child or young person in their individual development
- Provide training to staff based on best practice in providing care and support services to children or young people with a range of disabilities
- Provide a safe, least restrictive environment, which is physically designed to minimise the risk of self-harming and violence
- For Aboriginal children and young people - provide culturally safe and responsive placements that support connection with their family, community and culture, which facilitates the provision of a strong sense of cultural identity, by ensuring the service is aligned to the ACPP key elements of Prevention, Partnership, Placement, Participation, Connection and Identification (as the precursor)
- Provide services in line with the DCP Practice Approach and DCP’s Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Service Provision Requirements.
Care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people with disability – specific service requirements:
In addition to the service requirements for all children and young people, the Service Provider will operate in accordance to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (ACPP) key elements of – Prevention, Partnership, Placement, Participation, Connection and Identification (as the precursor):
- Build a workforce that is culturally competent and responsive to the cultural needs of Aboriginal children and young people, including ensuring all staff successfully complete Aboriginal cultural competence training
- Practice in accordance with the ACPP key elements - Prevention, Partnership, Placement, Participation, Connection and Identification (as the precursor)
- Supply Residential Care: Disability placements that are culturally safe and responsive and meet the needs of Aboriginal children and young people and the ACPP key elements including the Identification precursor
- Provide culturally safe and responsive placements that comply with Section 12 (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle) of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 including supporting the child or young person’s connection to their family, culture, community and identity
- Collaborate with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and Principal Aboriginal Consultants (PACs) to support connection to family and culture including activities such as cultural camps, excursions, connections to extended family and community activities, youth leadership and mentoring
- Provide additional information and/or training concerning specific cultural issues, as required, and work in partnership with DCP regional offices and PACs to develop and maintain Cultural Maintenance Plans (Aboriginal Cultural Identity Support Tool) and Aboriginal Life Story Book as per section 28 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 and in line with the ACPP key elements including the Identification precursor
- Provide flexible and tailored support and skills development opportunities to Aboriginal children and young people in their communities, including the use of appropriate Aboriginal interpreters.
Care of children and young people with an approved NDIS plan:
The following requirements apply in situations where the child or young person in a placement has an approved NDIS Plan:
- Where the Service Provider is a provider of supports under a child and young person’s NDIS Plan, the Service Provider must be registered as an NDIS Provider, and comply with the National Disability Insurance Agency’s Terms of Business and the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission’s registration requirements, including the NDIS Quality Safeguards Framework. Refer to https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au
- Provide the NDIS funded services in accordance with the NDIS service agreement between the Service Provider and the child and young person’s DCP Case Manager
- Allow NDIS Service Providers to provide other services to the child and young person if the service is part of the child and young person’s approved NDIS plan
- Not use DCP Funding for the provision of specialist disability supports provided for by the child and young person’s approved NDIS plan
- Provide services in accordance with DCP’s Disability Service Provision Requirements
Care of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Children and Young People
The Service Provider must:
- Provide culturally suitable placements that support connection with culture and a strong sense of cultural identity, utilising a hierarchy of placement principles including cultural, ethnic, language and religious matching
- Ensure the service is provided under DCP’s Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Service Provision Requirements.
At transition into care, the Service Provider must:
- Support DCP to match children and young people to placements in a timely manner, based on the child or young person’s assessed needs, capabilities and strengths
- Follow and participate in DCP transition processes and be referred through DCP Placement Services Unit (PSU)
- Ensure transition processes take into account appropriate regard to supporting continuity of care
- Accept and respond to referrals from PSU
- Consider the views of children and young people in decision-making processes
- Provide prescribed information to the children or young person in relation to their placement, including general information about the other children or young people they will be living with
- Ensure the staff team is able to effectively support the child or young person and meet the case plan, taking into account their individual needs
- Work with DCP case manager and PSU to seek alternative care arrangements where placements break down and/or where a child or young person is unable to be placed with the Service Provider
- Regularly advise DCP of placement capacity and availability for the approved number of placements.
At transition out of care or change of placement, the service provider must:
- Provide assistance in the development of a detailed transition plan for children and young people in placements at the end of or change in the placement
- Work cooperatively with the DCP case manager, the child or young person, their family and all other parties concerned, in order to ensure a smooth transition for the child or young person
- Ensure transition processes take into account appropriate regard to supporting continuity of care where possible
- Ensure the 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. Where a placement change occurs, Service Provider personnel will ensure all relevant information concerning the child or young person is communicated to staff and case managers at the new placement
- Ensure the child or young person is provided with all relevant information required to safely transition from the placement
- Prior to the termination of a placement, consultation must take place with PSU and other stakeholders to ensure appropriate transition and continuity of care
- Ensure all of the child or young person’s personal belongings and other materials are safely transferred to the subsequent placement/accommodation.
A pre-qualified list for Residential Care: Disability is due to commence 1 January 2021 and will be valid for a maximum of 9 years (to December 2029).
Pre-qualification will be required for all future Residential Care: Disability placements required by DCP. It is important to note that work is not guaranteed by appointment to the pre-qualified list.
The pre-qualified list will remain open with DCP retaining the right to remove and add Service Provider during the term subject to the Service Provider ability to meet and maintain compliance with the pre-qualification criteria.
DCP also reserves the right to conduct more frequent review and amendment of the pre-qualified list as required.
Future advertisement of the pre-qualified list will be subject to DCP requirements, and will occur via the SA Tenders and Contracts website.