This page was last updated 13 December 2021.
The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (CYPS Act) requires all carers, including foster carers, kinship and specific child only (SCO) carers to be approved to provide family based care in their own homes, for children under custody or guardianship of the Chief Executive (CE).
In accordance with section 73 of the CYPS Act, all approved carers must be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that:
- regular assessments are undertaken of their provision of care;
- relevant courses of training are made available to the approved carer;
- ongoing support and guidance is provided to the approved carer;
- proper assessments are made by the support worker to ensure that the carer receives appropriate assistance for the children in their care.
Carer review periods are outlined within the service specifications.
1.1 Practice principles
Carers and their families are key stakeholders and partners in the care of children and young people. Ensuring that carers are supported in a timely manner and provided with the information and training they require, to meet the often complex needs of the children and young people they are caring for, will help them to deliver the best care possible.
The carer agreement is guided by the principles of the Statement of Commitment to South Australian Foster and Kinship Carers. Carers can expect to be informed, supported, consulted, valued, and respected.
A carer review should include the views and perspective of:
- Children and young people using the About Me: views of children and young people template
- DCP case worker
- Carers and household members who wish to participate
- Carer’s biological children
1.2 Carer review requirements
When undertaking a carer review, service providers must support the carer through the process by:
- Providing information to the carer about the process of the carer review assessment and any outcome and/or recommendations.
- Acknowledging and addressing carer concerns about the review process or outcome.
- Providing carers with an opportunity to provide feedback on the carer review report prior to the report being submitted to carer approval and review unit (CARU).
- Developing a new carer agreement which outlines the carers information, support, training needs, how they will be provided, and any actions required to address safety/risk factors.
- Acknowledging, and where possible resolving, any concerns carers have about the content or recommendations of the carer review before finalising the review.
When developing the carer review report service providers must:
- Include any actions that arose from the carer review meeting.
- Provide the report to the carer for their endorsement/signature.
- In the event the carer is not willing to sign the report, advise the carer that the carer review will still progress and record the carer’s decision and reasons for not signing the report.
- Ensure the carer is provided with an opportunity to provide feedback, particularly if recommendations impact on conditions or status of carer approval.
- Make recommendation about continued approval or cancellation of approval.
- If there are any issues or concerns identified in the carer review period that impact on the immediate safety and wellbeing of a child or young person, identify and address these in partnership with the DPC case worker and CARU. This information will assist to inform any conditions regarding the care or in some instances the need for cancellation of a carer’s approval.
- Complete a home safety checklist to ensure all issues/concerns affecting a child’s safety are identified and addressed.
1.3 Working with Aboriginal carers, families, children and young people
When working with Aboriginal carers, their families and children and young people, service providers must
- Be sensitive and responsive to the cultural factors that can influence communication and participation in the decision making process.
- Take into account the differing training needs of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal family members when completing a carer review and developing a carer agreement.
- When engaging with Winangay
- Utilise the Winangay carer review approach
- Include other party perspectives of care (elders, teachers, community members, and health providers)
- Use the Winangay carer review report to record the outcomes of the review
- Develop an action plan which responds to any immediate concerns and outlines the carers information, support, training needs, how they will be provided, and any actions required to address safety/risk factors.
- When using the step-by-step approach, follow the carer review requirements above.
Principal Aboriginal Consultants and Aboriginal Family Practitioners can provide advice and support, as required. For additional information refer to South Australian Aboriginal languages interpreters and translators guide.
1.4 Working with people from cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
When working with carers, their families, and children and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds service providers must:
- Give consideration to the relevant cultural perspectives and beliefs.
- If English is not the person’s first language, allow additional time or a more flexible approach to support their participation and ensure they have access to an interpreter if required.
1.5 Submitting the review to CARU
The service provider must send the completed carer review to CARU at DCPCarerRegistrationReview@sa.gov.au to enable ongoing carer approval and include the following attachments:
- Evidence of the carer’s attendance at mandatory training.
- Home safety checklist
- About me: views of children and young people
- Reflective questionnaire for foster carers
- Other supporting evidence (eg. health checks, third party referees)
Once the review is finalised, CARU will set and advise the date for the next two yearly review and send a review outcome letter.
1.6 Carer agreements
A carer agreement is an agreement developed in partnership between approved family based carers and the responsible service provider agency that sets out:
- Any imposed conditions under section 72 of the CYPS Act related to the:
- kind of care that the approved carer can provide (e.g. foster, kinship, SCO),
- maximum number of children the approved carer can have in their care.
- Any special requirements, preferences and considerations for the carer applicant or approved carer.
- Responsibilities of the approved carer, DCP and the carer support worker and agency.
- A plan for the carer’s ongoing training and support needs.
The carer agreement is guided by the principles of the Statement of Commitment to South Australian Foster and Kinship Carers.
There are two templates for carer agreements;
A carer agreement must be completed within four months for general, SCO, and kinship carers and two months for specialist carers from the date of carer approval and reviewed every two (2) years during any subsequent carer reviews.
A carer agreement may be reviewed sooner when necessary or at the request of the carer. The reasons for doing so could include:
- Changes to the type of care, eg from respite to short or long term care, or the complexity of the children in the care of the worker.
- Changes to the kind of care (general to specialist) or the number of children and young being cared for.
- A need to re-focus carer support.
- Identification of additional training needs.
Service provider responsibilities under the carer agreement include:
- Ensuring the agreement is signed by the carer and the support worker and approved by a manger or supervisor.
- Working together with the carer to make placement matching decisions based on the carer’s preferences, capacity, knowledge, skills and experience.
- Identifying the carer’s preferences including:
- Type of care (respite, immediate, short term, long term)
- Matching children to carer households and identifying best fit for a family at any point in time regarding age, gender, sibling groups, and disability.
- Monitoring the provision of information, support and training in accordance with the carer agreement.
- Reflecting with the carer at carer review on their strengths, concerns, how their needs have been met, the approach to information sharing, training, and support moving forward.
- Ensure carers have the information and support they require to develop and maintain Aboriginal children and young people’s connection to extended family, culture, and community. This requirement must be valued and actively promoted in the carer agreement.
- Manage disputes regarding placement matching, training and support, or any other aspects associated with the development of a carer agreement in an appropriate manner. This may include further discussions between the support worker and the carer or escalation through the service provider’s complaints and issues resolution process.