This page was last updated 4 October 2022.

Residential care is provided to a child and/ or young person in a residential premises (not a carer’s or young person’s own home) by paid or contracted workers where a family based placement is not suitable. Volunteers can be used in addition to paid workers.

Residential care is primarily for children and young people aged 10-17 years with CAT scores 3 or 4 and mostly involves small group care (up to 4 places), though may also accommodate children, young people or sibling groups with lower CAT scores by mutual agreement.

Residential care provides an environment that supports the child or young person in their development where it is indicated.

Residential care will include rostered workers with combinations of awake and / or sleepover shifts and on-call arrangements. Services are often expected to provide care 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including when children and young people are not attending school during holiday periods or at other times.

Residential Care is an out-of-home care placement option providing temporary, short-term, long-term or responsive accommodation and support to children and young people who have been removed from the family home.

To ensure 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 safe, nurturing, stable and secure environment.

The service provider will provide the Residential Care service to children and young people who may be aged 0 – 17 years who are under Guardianship or Custody of the Chief Executive or other order or authority.

The client group for residential care may include children and young people who display characteristics such as:

  • trauma related behaviours that are indicative of experiences of significant neglect, physical and sexual abuse, witnessed and/or has been subjected to family violence, and exposure to anti-social family cultures
  • high vulnerability to exploitation and abuse
  • vulnerability identified by a range of service systems that include mental health, criminal justice and/or education.

The following sets out the program requirements for delivering Residential Care.


The service provider must:

  1. Hold a children’s residential facility 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 which influence service delivery and ensure that the needs of children and young people are met. Organisational requirements include appropriate clear policies, procedures, service models, staffing models, rostering arrangements, programming and housing.

The role of residential care service providers

The service provider must:

  1. For each child and young person in care, meet weekly with the DCP Case Manager and review the progress in regards to the life domains established in their Case Plans
  2. Articulate and implement a model of service consistent with the trauma-informed therapeutic framework, and implement programs in ways which are consistent with the framework
  3. Demonstrate a program logic for their residential care service
  4. Develop organisational structures and define roles that best enable the performance of functions and tasks that reflect evidence informed practice
  5. Recruit, select, support and train service provider personnel in accordance with the DCP’s Carer and Personnel Requirements; and
    • match characteristics of target groups with characteristics of staff required
    • provide support and supervision to staff including an emphasis on reflective practice and self-care
  6. As required, provide access to therapeutic specialists or clinicians from within the organisation and/or externally sourced (at DCP direction)
  7. Integrate the delivery of residential care services with other relevant services provided within the organisation and with services provided by other organisations
  8. In collaboration with the DCP, implement processes to measure and report upon the quality of care provided and the outcomes achieved for young people
  9. Provide mechanisms for engaging young people and communities  in service design and review, including options to support participation in decision-making about services and to elicit feedback
  10. Engage staff in decision making processes that affect the work they undertake with young people, their families and other service providers
  11. Review Case Plans every 6 weeks
  12. Safely transfer all of the young person’s personal belongings and other material to the subsequent accommodation.

Service provider personnel

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. Provide ongoing supervision and guidance to Service provider personnel in respect to their performance and work-related activities
  3. Report any suspicion that a child or young person may be at risk in accordance with the Act
  4. Provide training to personnel in accordance with DCP’s Carer and Personnel Requirements
  5. 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
  6. Provide support to Service provider personnel during and following critical incidents, care concerns and/or special investigations into allegations of abuse made against them
  7. Maintain a policy to provide access to an Employee Assistance Program for Service provider personnel
  8. Implement performance and development plans for all Service provider personnel
  9. Review performance and development plans for Service provider personnel as part of an annual review process
  10. Maintain records of all training undertaken by Service provider personnel
  11. Provide an opportunity for exited personnel to complete an exit interview.

Residential care workers and supervisory staff providing direct care must:

  1. Create a secure and stable environment
  2. Ensure children and young people’s safety
  3. Provide nurturing care
  4. Provide developmental opportunities
  5. Provide relational healing opportunities
  6. Support Educational, recreational and community based activities
  7. Provide opportunities for children and young people to develop independent living skills
  8. Include the children and young people in household decisions where appropriate.

Placement Intake

The service provider must:

  1. Undertake an internal matching process to ensure that children and young people are appropriately matched according to contemporary matching practice
  2. Support DCP to match children and young people to appropriate placements to enable timely decision-making and permanency planning (where appropriate)
  3. Support DCP to place sibling groups together (where appropriate) and/or ensure that connections between siblings are supported as per the Case Plan
  4. Communicate with the child or young person’s DCP case worker before initiating any placement
  5. All transitions of children and young people must follow DCP process and be referred through Placement Services
  6. Accept and respond to referrals from DCP Placement Service Unit during business hours, and DCP Crisis Response Unit outside of business hours
  7. Ensure the provision of residential care services based care services to meet needs for responsive, short term, and long term placements
  8. Provide the minimum number of residential care placements specified in the Service Agreement at all times during the term
  9. Meet DCP referrals timeframes as shown below:

    Placement referrals:
    • Respond to initial referrals within 24 hours
    • Accepted or decline referrals within 5 business days
    • Commence placements within 14 days of referral acceptance (except where otherwise agreed to meet the arrangements agreed in the child or young person’s Transition Plan)
    Immediate Response referrals:
    • Respond to initial referrals within 2 hours
    • Commence placements within 24 hours of acceptance of referral
  10. Consider the views of children and young people in decision-making processes (where possible)
  11. Provide prescribed information to the children or young person in relation to their placement (age appropriately)
  12. Participate in DCP led transition planning in line with the DCP Transition Planning Principles.
  13. Ensure the staff team is able to effectively support the child or young person and meet the child’s case plan, taking into account the age and developmental level of the child or young person and their cultural needs
  14. Not exceed the approved number of placements for the registered facility without seeking express approval from the Chief Executive
  15. Work with DCP case manager and DCP 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
  16. Regularly advise DCP of placement capacity and availability for the approved number of placements.

Placement disruption

The service provider must:

  1. 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
  2. When Placement Services indicate that a placement change is required, immediately notify the DCP case manager and maintain responsibility of the child or young person until an alternative placement is found.
  3. Where a placement change occurs, work cooperatively with the child’s DCP case manager, the child, their family and all other parties concerned, in order to ensure a smooth transition for the child
  4. Where a placement change occurs, ensure the change occurs in a way that is sensitive to the needs of the child, ensuring they are involved in the process wherever possible
  5. Where a placement change occurs, service provider staff from both placements concerned will ensure all of the child’s personal belongings and other materials are safely transferred to the subsequent placement
  6. Where a placement change occurs, service provider personnel will ensure all relevant information concerning the child is passed on to staff, carers and case managers at the new placement.

The PaSP Panel is comprised of approved providers who have the capacity and ability to provide individualised, responsive placements for children and young people, in a residential care facility, for up to 90 days when no other appropriate option is available at time of placement.

The model is intended to provide individualised, targeted “support packages” based on the specific needs of the child or young person as assessed. The required support packages will be identified by DCP.

The primary objectives of the PaSP are to:

  • Ensure placements are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
  • Ensure children and young people in PaSP are provided individualised support packages based on specific, identified needs as assessed.
  • Provide placement management that includes a pro-active Placement Review and Escalation process to exit children and young people within 90 days.
  • Ensure placements do not exceed 90 days.
  • Encourage the use of dual or multiple occupancy facilities to improve placement efficiency where possible.

The benefits expected from the PaSP include:

  • Improved individualised care for children and young people.
  • Better outcomes for the children and young people who exit from PaSP placements into suitable alternative longer term placements.
  • Providing PaSP panellists with greater scope to propose innovative placement solutions.

In situations where a PaSP placement is meeting all requirements during the initial 90-day placement, the PaSP panellist may be offered the opportunity to convert the PaSP placement into a longer term contracted placement if it is considered the best available option for the child or young person.

Operation of the PaSP Panel

PaSP Panellists will be approached for a placement for a child or young person when there is no suitable alternative placement available in a contracted or DCP delivered service at the time of placement need.

This requires:

  • Panellists to have available placements that can be accessed at short notice including dual occupancy arrangements.
  • Panellists to rapidly stand up a compliant service:
    • Including having the required staffing model and staff;
    • In an appropriate location; and
    • In licensed properties as required.
  • Consideration of transition principles so that children and young people can feel safe upon the commencement of their placement.

Selecting a panellist for a service response

When a child or young person requires a placement and DCP contracted delivered placement options are exhausted, DCP will initiate the process to use the PaSP Panel.

An overview of the PaSP process is illustrated in the following diagram:

1. Placement request sent to PaSP panellists, 2. Panellists provide care package proposal and quotation, 3. DCP evaluate proposals and quotes, 4. Panellist engaged with individual client service agreement, 5. Placement review and exit

Details on the above five steps of the process are described below;

Step 1 – PaSP Placement Request sent to PaSP panellists

Approaches to PaSP Panellists are subject to the following considerations:

  • DCP will approach the Panellists with a Placement Request via the Panellist’s nominated email address for PaSP referrals
  • The Placement Request will contain as much information as is readily available about the child or young person requiring the placement to assist the Panellist in developing their Care Package Proposal.
  • The referral will include, a placement request, pre-populated PaSP costing template, and care package proposal template.
  • The referral will also provide a potential start date for the placement and the timeframe for panellists to submit the proposal.
  • Selection of which Panellists to approach will be guided by the Capability Matrix as provided by each Panellist. A Panellist may amend their Capability Matrix during the term of the panel. Geographic and speciality areas of interest will be considered when placing an individual child or young person.

Step 2 – Panellist provide Care Package Proposal and Quotation

The email response time is based upon an individual assessment of the child/s placement needs. It is expected that the panellist/s provide a response to the Placement Request within the timeframe provided by Placement Services, unless otherwise negotiated. Responses not returned within that timeframe will be recorded as an “Unable to Place” response.

The care package proposal and the completed PaSP costing template forms your response to the referral and should be considered jointly. For example, where higher level staff are being rostered, your care package proposal needs to demonstrate how this supports the care model.

Care Package Proposal

The Care Package Proposal must aim to meet the individual care and support needs of each child and young person referred. The Care Package Proposal response from the Panellist/s will contain, but not be restricted to the following care components.

  • Service Description
    • The specialist support services that will be provided
    • A description of the service framework and practice model that will be used
    • The organisational model underpinning the services
  • Support and Intervention:
    • Behaviour support
    • Educational support
    • Health and wellbeing support
    • Family support
    • Planning tools used
  • Staffing model (staffing level required to be specified by DCP):
    • Number and type of carers
    • How carers will support therapeutic needs
    • Hours of work
  • Activity and milestone plan for placement establishment including:
    • What is to be done
    • Who is responsible
    • When it will be done


The PaSP costing template supports the Care Package Proposal and should include costs associated with the delivery of the service to the child and young person, such as:

  • Carer costs – based on the roster and carer ratio requested by DCP
  • Accommodation costs – calculated from the base daily accommodation rates
  • Additional support package services – based on the hourly rates for the support services required
  • Incidental costs
    • Payments include funding to cover the day-to-day ordinary costs, such as food, clothing, recreation, entertainment, basic medical costs, travel etc, when caring for a child or young person in a PaSP placement
    • Any DCP contributions to other child related costs will require pre-approval and be documented in the child or young person’s approved case plan
    • Please refer to the Child Related Costs Service Provision Requirements for guidance on responsibility for child related costs when caring for a young person in a residential care placement.
    • Indirect costs such as corporate expenses

Step 3 – Evaluation of Care Package Proposals and Quotations

The evaluation of Care Package Proposals and quotations will be undertaken by DCP staff and will consider the requirements of the child or young person and the specific capabilities and capacity of the Panellist/s.

Step 4 - Execution of the Individual Client Service Agreement (ICSA)

Upon approval of the quote and care package proposal the DCP Contract Manager will notify the successful panellist. An ICSA will be issued to the successful panellist via DocuSign for electronic signature. This forms the contract.

Following contract execution:

  • The DCP Regional PaSP Coordinator will contact the successful panellist to discuss placement details and transition arrangements.
  • The DCP Contract Manager will notify unsuccessful panellists.

Variation to an ICSA

An ICSA may be amended during the placement to better reflect the specific support that may be required by the child or young person during the placement period.

Variations can occur if:

  • the needs of the children or young people in placement change;
  • there is a change in the term of the placement (extension or reduction); or
  • there are any other change that affect the original approved quotation.

Variations initiated by DCP:

  • DCP will request a quote from the panellist, which will follow the standard request to quote process (see steps 1 and 2)

Variations proposed by the panellist:

  • Panellist submits request to
  • Request needs to detail what is required, the expected cost impact (new PaSP costing template will need to be completed) and how the variation will support the child or young person in placement.

A new ICSA will be executed each time there is a change in placement/s at the Residential Care Facility. The new ICSA term will be aligned to the next expected movement of a child or young person.

Purchase order and invoicing  

  • Following execution of an ICSA, a Purchase Order will be issued by DCP containing key reference information to assist with accurate invoicing and payment.
  • Invoices must reference the DCP Purchase Order number assigned to each ICSA – invoices not clearly referencing DCP Purchase Order number will not be processed for payment and will be returned to the Panellist.
  • Invoices should be issued fortnightly in arrears in the DCP prescribed format.
  • Panellists will be provided with a standard PaSP invoice template
  • Invoices should be emailed to addressed as follows:

Department for Child Protection

Service Contracts and Licensing

31 Flinders Street, Adelaide SA 5000

  • Payment will be made within 30 days of receipt of correct invoice
  • Invoices must be accurate and entirely consistent with the services provided and in accordance with the quote
  • Any invoice that is disputed by DCP will require a response within 14 working days.

Step 5 – Placement Review and Exit

There are a number of exit points that will be actively pursued throughout a PaSP placement through DCP case work with support from the Panellists, including:

  • Family scoping will continue to support ongoing connection with kin for all children and young people referred to PaSP. If kin are found, a transition plan will be negotiated with the care team including Panellists to support the success of the kin placement.
  • DCP Placement Services Unit will continue to work with Panellists to source long-term DCP delivered/contracted placements suited to the individual needs of the child or young person.
  • Where young people aged between 15 – 17 have been placed in a PaSP placement, DCP will concurrently scope a range of options for these young people depending on their individual needs, for example:
    • a contracted Supported Independent Living Service
    • a Supported Independent Living Service that operates in the adult space (depending on age)
    • a disability specific service which can continue to support them into adulthood
    • a community or public housing option