4. Conclude a care placement

4.1 Conclude the child's care placement

When a child is placed in care, the conclusion of the placement needs, as far as practicable, to:

  • be a planned event
  • occur in a way that maximises support for the child during their transition home or to a new placement
  • be consistent with the child's case plan.

For information about the roles and responsibilities of the CSSC and PSU in relation to the conclusion of a child’s placement, refer to the Conclude a placement checklist.

Plan the placement change

Planning a placement move for a child occurs within the broader context of case planning and review procedures, as outlined in Chapter 4. Case planning.

To manage the conclusion of a placement in the best interests of the child:

  • review the case plan outcomes achieved during the placement with the child and family
  • identify and articulate the specific roles of the CSO and carer in assisting the child with the transition
  • determine how and when the child will leave the placement - ensure that all the child's possessions go with them
  • ensure the views and wishes of the child are considered in the process - refer to the practice resource Participation of children and young people in decision-making (PDF, 342 KB)10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and the Children and young people's participation strategy
  • adequately prepare the child for the move, to the extent possible within existing timeframes
  • facilitate the involvement of relevant support workers for the child and the carer
  • facilitate an opportunity for the child, the carer and household members to say goodbye to each other
  • determine the level of future involvement by a carer following the placement change, if continuity of the relationship is important for the child's emotional needs.

Manage the unplanned conclusion of a placement

In some circumstances, it is not possible to plan the conclusion of a placement. Urgent placement changes may be required:

  • to ensure a child's immediate safety or well-being
  • due to the level of the child's support needs
  • when an approved carer, licensed care service or another entity requests an immediate placement change in response to a crisis situation, where the crisis cannot be immediately resolved to avoid the unplanned conclusion of the placement.

In circumstances where a child leaves a placement and self-places with parents, undertake an immediate safety assessment as outlined in Chapter 2. Investigation and assessment. If the outcome of the safety assessment is 'unsafe', the child must be immediately removed to a safe placement.

If a child refuses to return to the care placement, take the following action:

  • negotiate with the child to go to an alternative placement
  • consult with the child and the child's parents about options for the child
  • consult with relevant agencies about safe, compatible placement options for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
  • consider whether a person in the current residence, or another person who is kin to the child can be provisionally approved to care for the child - refer to Chapter 8. Regulation of care.

If the child self-places with another family member or family friend, complete an assessment of that person as a kinship carer. The child can only remain in the placement if the carer is granted provisional approval while the kinship carer assessment is being undertaken - refer to Chapter 8. Regulation of care.

Where a matter is before the Childrens Court and the court decides not to grant a subsequent child protection order or revokes an existing order, a transition order may be considered to continue the existing child protection order for up to 28 days. This will enable the child’s gradual transition from an care placement to their parent’s full-time care. Refer to Chapter 3, 2.9 Apply for a transition order for further information.

Where the child leaving placement may have been a victim of an act of violence, provide the child or as relevant, their parent, carer or guardian, with information about an application for support and assistance available from Victim Assist Queensland.

Respond to the child's request to leave a placement

Where a child requests to leave a placement, attempts should be made to resolve the issues leading to the request, unless the move is necessary for a child's immediate safety or well-being.

In other circumstances, if a child requests to leave the placement:

  • meet with the child as soon as possible to:
    • establish the reasons for the child's request
    • obtain contextual or background information on any issues raised by the child
    • allow the child an opportunity to express any feelings they may be experiencing
    • work through identified issues to achieve a positive outcome
  • seek the views of all relevant parties, including the child's parents and the carer or service, where applicable, to identify strategies for resolving identified issues and to maintain the child's placement
  • consider whether a review of the child's case plan is necessary
  • arrange for, with the child and family’s consent, an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the decision about where and with whom the child will live.

If a child, who is at or above school leaving age, expresses a wish to leave the placement with a view to living independently, the request is to be considered in consultation with the team leader or CSSC manager, taking into account:

In this circumstance, consider reviewing the child's case plan in order to include the necessary services required to prepare and assist the child for their transition to independent living.

Respond to a request by the carer for a child to leave a placement

Where a carer requests that a child leave the placement prior to the agreed date recorded in the placement agreement, attempt to resolve the presenting issues, unless the move is considered necessary for a child's immediate safety or well-being.

In this circumstance, the CSO with case responsibility will:

  • hold an emergency meeting, as soon as possible, to be attended by:
    • the child, if considered appropriate
    • the carer
    • senior team leader, a PSU staff member, foster and kinship care staff or staff of a licensed care service or another entity
    • CSSC manager, if necessary
  • consider the following matters:
    • issues identified by the carer and the child
    • stressors associated with the current placement
    • any support, training or resources that may support the placement, for example, respite or additional support funded through child related costs
    • safety issues associated with the placement, including the impact on other children in the placement and the family of the carer.

Where it is agreed that the child's placement is to continue, consider:

Manage concerns associated with the placement

Where there are concerns about the quality of care provided to a child in a care placement, and the child remains in the placement, consult with the team leader or CSSC manager to:

  • determine whether any of the issues constitute a standard of care review or harm report - refer to Chapter 9. Standards of care
  • ensure the child's safety needs will continue to be met
  • assess whether the goal and outcomes agreed in the child's case plan have been met or need to be renegotiated
  • decide whether any meetings or reviews are required, in accordance with case planning requirements - refer to Chapter 4. Case planning.

Provide information to the child, parents and the carer

When a decision is made to conclude a care placement, regardless of whether it is planned or unplanned:

  • advise the child, their parents, the carer and service, if applicable, of the decision and the reasons for the decision
  • provide the child, their parents and the carer with information about accessing the Child Safety complaints process  should they wish to have the decision reviewed
  • provide the child with written notice of the removal decision, including reasons for the decision and advising them that they have 28 days to seek a review of the removal decision, by QCAT
  • provide the child and their family (unless a decision to withhold all or some placement information has been made) with information about the new placement and further planned actions, if the child is not returning to their parents care
  • contact the child's school and other agencies undertaking casework services with the child and family, to advise of the change of placement and to provide updated placement details, if applicable.

Implement actions relating to the carer

When a child leaves a placement:

  • inform the child's carer:
    • that the fortnightly caring allowance for the child will cease
    • of their responsibility to advise Centrelink of the conclusion of the child's placement
    • of the need for them to complete a Conclusion of placement form (DOC, 578 KB)
  • arrange to meet with the carer to collect all documents of relevance to the child, including, where applicable:
    • the completed 'Conclusion of placement' form
    • the child's birth certificate
    • the child's Medicare card and health care card
    • the child health passport folder
    • the child's school reports
    • bank account details and associated documentation, including a key card, if applicable
  • collect all of the child's personal belongings and records, which must be transported to the child's next household.

Following the conclusion of the placement, contact the carer to discuss the outcomes of the placement, including:

  • identified strengths demonstrated in managing the placement
  • learning and support needs for future placements.

If required, vary the foster carer agreement, based on the experience gained through the placement.

Removal of child - right of review by carer

A carer, excluding a provisionally approved carer, is entitled to seek a review by QCAT of the decision to remove a child from their care (Child Protection Act 1999, section 91).

If a child is subject to a child protection order which grants the chief executive long-term guardianship, the carer has the right to seek a review of the decision to remove the child from their care, regardless of the reason for removal.

If a child is subject to a short term child protection order which grants the chief executive custody or guardianship, the carer has the right to seek a review of the decision to remove the child from their care only where the stated reason for the decision is that they are no longer a suitable person to have the care of the child or is no longer able to meet the statement of standards.

Where applicable, provide the carer with Letter to carer - removal of a child (section 89).

Complete administrative requirements

Ensure that the following documentation is completed or updated as soon as practicable following the conclusion of a placement, and where appropriate, filed on the child's and/or carer's file:

Request the return of the certificate of approval for a kinship carer and file it on the carers file.

For additional requirements when concluding a placement for a child subject to a care agreement, refer to Chapter 6, 3. Place a child using a child protection care agreement.