What ifs

1. What if the applicant requires provisional approval?

Under the Child Protection Act 1999 and Child Protection Regulation 2011, a person who has made an application to be a foster or kinship carer may be provisionally approved if all of the following requirements are met:

  • it is not possible, or not in the child's best interests, to be placed with an approved foster or kinship carer or licensed care service
  • the outcomes of child protection and criminal history checks, including self-disclosures, indicate the applicant does not pose a risk to the child's safety
  • the applicant is able and willing to protect the child from harm
  • all members of the applicant's household do not pose a risk to the child's safety
  • a brief assessment indicates the applicant is willing and able to meet the statement of standards.

Provisional approval is for 60 days with a possible further extension of 30 days. The substantive application to be a foster or kinship carer must be decided within this 60 day period, or where extended, 90 day period, if it is intended for the child to remain in the placement.

If the substantive application is not decided within the 60 day period, or where extended, 90 day period of provisional approval:

  • remove the child from the placement, as provisional approval cannot be extended beyond 90 days
  • negotiate an extension to the time frame for deciding the substantive application for approval, prior to the expiry of provisional approval (see below, ‘Extension of the expiry date').

Provisional approval may only be granted once. If the 60 day period, and extension of 30 days where granted, has lapsed, further provisional approval cannot be granted, even if a new application for approval is lodged.

Key steps to obtain provisional approval

To obtain provisional approval of a foster or kinship carer applicant:

  • provide a copy of Fact sheet 8: Foster and kinship care - Blue cards and Fact sheet 1: What is provisional approval? (PDF) to the applicant
  • the application as a foster or kinship carer must be 'properly made' and recorded in ICMS as outlined in 1.7 Lodge the application
  • record 'Yes' to the provisional approval sought prompt in the 'Lodgement/Withdrawal' tab in ICMS and identify the relevant subject children applicable to the application
  • immediately email the CSU to advise that the documentation required for the conduct of personal history checks is available in ICMS, refer to 2.2 Facilitate personal history checks, or the CSAHSC if urgent and after hours (see below)
  • the CSU will conduct personal history checks and record the outcome details in the CSU system, so that they populate into the ‘Assessment’ tab in ICMS
  • where an applicant or household member holds a blue card, the CSU will ‘authorise’ the validity of the blue card with Blue Card Services
  • the CSU will conduct criminal history checks on applicants or adult household members who do not hold a blue card, or hold a blue card that is not yet authorised by Child Safety
  • record the outcomes of personal history checks conducted by the CSU in the 'Form 5: Approval Decision - Provisionally approved carer' in ICMS
  • meet with the applicant at their home and:
    • undertake a brief assessment of their ability to provide care in accordance with the statement of standards and to protect the child from harm - for further information, refer to the practice resource Meeting the statement of standards (PDF, 16 KB)
    • ensure that the mandatory safety requirements will be met and complete page 1 of the 'Form 2: Household safety study', created in ICMS
    • ensure that any relevant health or medical issues of the applicant which may impact on the applicant’s capacity to provide care for a child are explored, and consider how this will be managed
    • explain to provisional applicants that they will need to undergo a full health check as part of their full carer assessment which occurs after they have been provisionally approved
  • attach the completed page 1 of 'Form 2: Household safety study' to the 'EOI/Application' and record the household safety study details in the 'Pre-application' tab in ICMS
  • consider whether the placement of the child will pose any risks to the ongoing future safety of the applicant and any other children, including the applicant’s own children, in the household - for example, the parents or family members of the child being considered for placement have been identified as a safety risk for the applicants and children in the household
  • record a brief assessment and make an approval recommendation to the CSSC manager, or regional director where criminal history results are not yet available from the CSU - the Provisional approval assessment form may be used to record the assessment
  • attach the assessment and approval recommendation to the ‘EOI/Application’ in ICMS and record the ‘Provisional assessment recommendation’ details in the ‘Assessment’ tab in ICMS
  • the CSSC manager or regional director, where applicable, will record the approval decision, along with relevant comments if applicable, on the 'Form 5 - Approval Decision - Provisionally approved carer', created in ICMS, and signs the form
  • attach the completed 'Form 5 - Approval Decision - Provisionally approved carer' to the 'EOI/Application' in ICMS and record the 'Provisional approval' details in the 'Approval/Refusal' tab in ICMS.

Additional steps are required to obtain provisional approval of a foster or kinship carer applicant who is a Child Safety employee, as outlined in 3. What if a carer or carer applicant is also a Child Safety employee?

Note: Child Safety staff must comply with the requirement under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, to inform all blue card applicants that it is an offence for a disqualified person to sign a blue card application form. This requirement applies even when a prescribed person has verified an applicant's identity. For further information, refer to the practice resource Mandatory advice to blue card applicants (PDF, 133 KB).

Request urgent personal history checks

When the conduct of personal history checks is urgent and within business hours, for example, when provisional approval is required so that a placement can be facilitated as soon as possible (within 48 hours) for a child:

  • seek approval from the CSSC manager or a senior team leader to request urgent personal and criminal history checks
  • contact the CSU via telephone and advise them of the need for urgent personal and criminal history checks
  • immediately immediately email CSU with a copy of the EOI/Application and associated ID documents refer to 2.2 Facilitate personal history checks
  • attach all completed forms to the 'EOI/Application' in ICMS.

The CSU will provide the personal and criminal history check results back to the CSSC as soon as practicable, however, where there are unforseen delays, the regional director may grant provisional approval, as outlined below.

Where, as part of the provisional approval process, an applicant or adult household member has criminal history that is obtained by the CSU, relevant details of the criminal history may be provided to an external assessor where it is considered necessary that the information needs to be considered as part of the assessment. For further information about providing personal history information to external assessors, refer to 2.2 Facilitate personal history checks.

Request urgent after hours personal history checks

Where an urgent placement is being made after hours (between 3:30pm and 8am, Monday to Friday and weekends), with a person who is applying for provisional approval as a carer, personal and criminal history checks will be conducted by the CSAHSC and will include child protection and criminal and domestic violence history checks. A rationale for why the check is urgent must be provided and meet one of the following criteria:

  • a child is to be placed with a carer/parent on the same day as the request, or
  • a TAO or TCO is taking place today, and a departmental officer requires this information to support their application,or
  • serious concerns of a criminal nature about a parent or household member likely to require a 24 hour response by Child Safety
  • a child is to be removed from a carer/parent on the same day as the request.

In this circumstance, complete all mandatory fields in the QPS - Urgent Request (After Hours) form and email, with the other necessary documentation, to CSAHSC. Phone to confirm receipt of the request and attach all completed forms to the ‘EOI/Application’ in ICMS. Decisions required after hours about a person’s suitability and subsequent provisional approval will be made by the duty executive officer.

If your request falls outside this criteria, it is to be processed as a non-urgent check. In these instances, please complete the non-urgent spreadsheet and forward to the CSU for processing.

Where the duty executive officer approves an urgent placement, CSAHSC staff will complete the following in ICMS to create the carer entity and placement:

  • create the 'EOI/Application' including all household members, where not previously created by the CSSC
  • record the 'Date application received', 'Date application properly made' and 'Verification of identity' details (where available) in the 'Lodgement/Withdrawal' tab (note: these dates must be completed even though all requirements for an application to be 'properly made' may not be met)
  • record the outcome of personal history checks and 'Provisional assessment recommendation' details in the 'Assessment' tab
  • record the 'Provisional approval' decision details, made by the duty executive officer, in the 'Approval/Refusal' tab.

CSSC or PSU staff are responsible for immediately finalising the requirements for the application to be 'properly made' and sending all required forms and identification documents, where available, to the CSU. In circumstances where a placement has been made by the CSAHSC, the 'Date properly made' will not be updated once all required documentation is completed.

Approval of applicants

The CSSC manager is delegated to grant provisional approval to a carer applicant, where the applicant or all adult household members are assessed as not posing a risk to the child's safety, taking into account:

  • the outcome of personal history checks undertaken by the CSU
  • consideration of any self-disclosures by the applicant or adult household members as recorded in the 'APA form'
  • the brief assessment of the applicant's ability to provide care consistent with the statement of standards, based on an interview in the applicant's home
  • the applicant's ability and willingness to protect the child from harm
  • any relevant information from Child Safety records
  • whether the applicant meets the mandatory household safety study requirements
  • the views of the child and family about the proposed kinship carer for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island child
  • whether the placement facilitates ongoing connections with the child's kin or community
  • whether the placement for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child provides for the optimal retention of the child’s connection to parents, siblings and other people of significance to the child under Aboriginal tradition and Island custom
  • the views of the child about the placement and, where they do not support the placement, the reasons they provide (with due regard to the child's age and developmental level).

The regional director, or the duty executive officer, if after hours, may grant provisional approval prior to the completion of personal history checks undertaken by CSU (child protection history, criminal history, domestic violence history and traffic history) in urgent circumstances, taking into consideration the factors outlined above. In such circumstances, the CSSC is responsible for reviewing ICMS and providing the regional director with any relevant child protection history information about the applicant or household members to inform the decision to grant provisional approval. When the outcome of the personal history checks is received and indicates the carer does not pose a risk to the child's safety, provisional approval continues. Where the CSU determines that the carer is not a suitable person to be a provisionally approved carer, refer to 11. What if a provisionally approved carer's certificate of approval requires amendment, suspension or cancellation?

Note: Only the regional director, or if after hours, the duty executive officer, may grant provisional approval for an applicant who is a Child Safety employee.

Actions following provisional approval of applicant

Following a decision to provisionally approve the applicant:

  • advise the applicant of the decision in writing, using the 'Letter of approval as a provisionally approved carer', created in ICMS
  • issue a ‘Certificate of Approval - Provisionally approved carer’, created in ICMS, for each child to be cared for by the provisionally approved carer
  • provide the provisionally approved carer with a copy of:
  • advise the carer that the Foster and Kinship Carer Handbook is available online
  • ensure the carer clearly understands:
    • their obligation not to disclose confidential information
    • their obligation to disclose a change in personal history for themselves or adult household members
    • their obligation to advise of any changes in carer circumstances, refer to 2. What if there is a change in carer circumstances?
    • complete the household safety study in full, refer to 1.5 Conduct a household safety study
    • complete a placement agreement for the child within three working days
    • once the placement event for the child is created in ICMS, create a vendor number for the carer by clicking Generate vendor number from the carer profile in Carepay
    • complete the online Vendor Master Data Maintenance form, using the carer’s vendor number from Carepay and forward the form to the Master Data Unit within Queensland Shared Services Finance.

The provisional certificate of approval has effect for 60 days from the date of initial approval, as recorded on the 'Form 5: Approval decision - Provisionally approved carer'. For further information, refer to the practice resource Completing the Certificate of Approval (PDF, 27 KB).

Extension of the expiry date

Provisional approval can be extended past 60 days, once only, for up to a further 30 days if:

  • the existing certificate of approval is current
  • the extension is considered desirable and appropriate to meet the needs of the child named on the certificate
  • the carer agrees to the amendment.

If the CSSC manager decides that an extension to the expiry date is warranted:

  • record the 'Provisional approval extension' details in the 'Approval/Refusal' tab in ICMS
  • provide the carer a new 'Certificate of Approval - Provisionally approved carer', created in ICMS, with all of the existing details and conditions, and the new expiry date
  • the provisionally approved carer must deliver the original certificate of approval to the CSSC manager within two days
  • attach a copy of the new certificate of approval to the 'EOI/Application' in ICMS and provide a copy to the foster and kinship carer service, where relevant.

Where an extension is granted, the new expiry date for the certificate of approval is to be no more than 30 days from the expiry date on the initial certificate.

If the 60 day period, and extension of 30 days where granted, has lapsed, further provisional approval cannot be granted, even if a new application for approval is lodged.

For information about the roles and responsibilities of the CSSC and PSU in relation to the provisional approval of a kinship carer applicant specifically, refer to the Provisional approval for kinship carer applicant checklist. Note: There may be a variance in roles across regions which are not captured in this checklist.

Interstate applicants

Where an applicant resides interstate, careful consideration must be given to the feasibility of completing all necessary assessment requirements within the specified timeframes before deciding to seek the provisional approval of an interstate applicant.

Rights of review

Carer applicants who apply for provisional approval only have review rights in relation to their substantive application to become either a foster or kinship carer. The cancellation of a provisional certificate of approval does not affect the pending application for approval as an approved foster or kinship carer. If the substantive application is subsequently refused, this decision is reviewable.

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2. What if there is a change in carer circumstances?

All approved carers, including provisionally approved carers, are required to notify Child Safety of any of the following specific changes that are considered relevant to determining their ongoing suitability:

  • a change of address
  • a change in spousal relationship, for example, separation, divorce, new partner or death of a partner
  • a change in other personal circumstances, for example, significant health problems or excessive employment demands
  • a change to the criminal or personal history of the carer or any adult member of their household (Child Protection Act 1999, section 141F and 141G)
  • a change of persons living in the carer household, excluding children care
  • an intention to provide care for other children (for example, relatives)
  • an intention to provide other regulated services from the home (for example, family day care, stand-alone care).

When any of these circumstances occur, the carer is to complete a Change in carer circumstances form (PDF) and provide it to the CSSC or PSU. Upon receipt of the information:

  • consider whether an additional, early review of the 'Foster Carer Agreement', created in ICMS, is necessary, refer to 4.11 Review the foster carer agreement
  • consider whether a review of the carer's suitability is required
  • update records in ICMS, as appropriate
  • forward a copy of the completed 'Change in carer circumstances form' to the CSU, except where the change relates to personal circumstances involving health or employment demands.

Address changes

When a carer has advised Child Safety that they have changed their primary place of residence:

  • update the new address details in ICMS
  • complete a ‘Vendor master data maintenance’ form located on the Queensland Shared Services website under ‘Master data’ and email the form to QSS Finance
  • complete a household safety study, refer to 2.3 Conduct a household safety study.

Change in carer relationships - new spousal relationship

A carer living with their spouse may only hold a certificate of approval jointly with the spouse (Child Protection Act 1999, sections 132(3) and 136B). Carers must advise Child Safety when they intend to commence living with a spouse or wish to hold a joint certificate with another adult, for example, an adult child of the carer.

Prior to the spouse or another adult joining the household:

  • ensure the carer and their spouse or other adult submit a joint application for approval as foster or kinship carers - the carer's existing certificate of approval remains in place until the outcome of a joint application is decided
  • progress the application in accordance with the usual assessment process, however, the original approved carer will not require personal history checks and will not need to repeat Pre-service training.

If the application is approved:

  • issue the carers with a new joint certificate of approval
  • request the return of the previous certificate of approval
  • update the carers details in ICMS
  • end the existing carer entity approval in ICMS with an end reason of 'Surrendered' as a new joint carer entity will automatically be created in ICMS upon approval
  • ensure any existing placements in ICMS are updated to reflect placement with the new carer entity
  • complete a new 'Foster Carer Agreement', where applicable
  • review the placement agreement for any child in the care of a kinship carer, where applicable, taking into consideration any changes to the support needs for the carer, refer to Chapter 9, 1. Provide support to carers.

Where a provisionally approved carer intends to live, or has commenced living, with a spouse, the provisional approval certificate continues to have effect until the earliest of either:

  • the expiry day of the provisional approval certificate
  • the day the provisionally approved carer is issued with a certificate as a foster or kinship carer
  • the day the provisionally approved carer is given written notice that their application has been refused.

To facilitate urgent personal history checks for the spouse:

Progress the foster or kinship application of the provisionally approved carer in accordance with the usual assessment process. However, the provisionally approved carer may only be granted approval as a foster or kinship carer if the spouse and all adult household members hold a current blue card or exemption card.

Advise the provisionally approved carer and spouse to complete a joint application for approval and create a new initial carer ‘EOI/application’ in ICMS for the applicant couple. The joint application must be 'properly made' prior to, or on the same day that the provisionally approved carer's substantive application is decided. If the provisionally approved carer's substantive application is approved, the approval remains valid only if a joint application for approval has been 'properly made' and the new spouse holds a current blue card or exemption card.

Progress the joint application in accordance with the usual assessment process, however, the original approved carer will not require new personal history checks and will not need to repeat Pre-service training.

If the joint application is approved:

  • issue the carers with a new joint certificate of approval
  • request the return of the previous certificate of approval
  • end the existing single carer entity approval in ICMS with an end reason of 'Surrendered' as a new joint carer entity will automatically be created in ICMS upon approval
  • ensure any existing placements in ICMS are updated to reflect placement with the new carer entity
  • complete a new 'Foster Carer Agreement', where applicable
  • review the placement agreement for any child in the care of a kinship carer, where applicable, taking into consideration any changes to the support needs for the carer, refer to Chapter 9, 1. Provide support to carers.

Change in carer relationships - ending of a spousal relationship

When a spousal relationship ends and only one of the carers wishes to continue as a carer, the carer must apply in writing to the CSSC manager for an amendment to their certificate of approval (Child Protection Act 1999, section 137), including situations where there is the death of a spouse. However, if a spousal relationship ends during the renewal of approval and the expiry date of the certificate would have otherwise lapsed if not for the renewal application, an amendment to the joint certificate cannot be progressed. 

Where the ending of a spousal relationship coincides with the renewal of approval for the carer couple, refer to What if question 12. What if a spousal relationship ends during the renewal of approval for the carer couple and only one carer wishes to continue as a carer?

Where a carer applies for an amendment to their certificate following the ending of a spousal relationship, Child Safety must make a decision on whether to grant or refuse the application for amendment within 28 days of receiving the request. If necessary, meet with the carer to discuss the matter before the 28 day period has lapsed. The existing certificate of approval remains in place until the application for amendment is decided.

To process the requested amendment:

  • create a new EOI/Application for ‘Amendment to certificate’ from the existing carer entity record and select the relevant carer requesting the amendment
  • assess how the new circumstances of the applicant will impact on any children in their care
  • record assessment information and the ‘Assessment recommendation’ details in the ‘Assessment’ tab in ICMS
  • record ‘Amendment submission details’ and ‘Amendment outcome’ details in the ‘Approval/Refusal’ tab in ICMS.

For an amended certificate, the new carer entity will automatically be created and the original carer entity approval status will automatically be ended with the end reason as ‘Surrendered’.

If the requested amendment is approved:

  • the CSSC manager will provide written notice to the carer using the ‘Letter of outcome of application to amend’, created in ICMS, and advise:
    • that their request for an amendment has been granted
    • that a certificate of approval has been amended
    • that the amended certificate of approval takes effect on the day the CSSC manager gives notice to the carer that the amendment has been granted, or a later day, if stated in the notice
    • that the carer must deliver the original certificate of approval to the CSSC within a specified timeframe, which must not be less than seven days from the date of the notice (Child Protection Act 1999, section 141)
  • provide the carer with a new certificate of approval - details, including date of expiry and any existing conditions, mus match the details on the original certificate of approval
  • retain a copy of the new certificate of approval on the carer's file and provide a copy, where relevant, to the foster and kinship care service
  • ensure any existing placements in ICMS are updated to reflect placement with the new carer entity
  • complete a new ‘Foster Carer Agreement’, where applicable
  • review the placement agreement for any child in the care of a kinship carer, where applicable.

If the requested amendment is refused, written notice using the ‘Letter of outcome of application to amend’ must be provided to the carer within 10 days of the decision having been made (Child Protection Act 1999, section 137). The notice must:

state the reasons for the decision

advise that the carer has the right to have the decision reviewed by QCAT and that an application can be made to the tribunal within 28 days.

Where an amendment is approved and the carers also have long-term guardianship or permanent guardians of one or more children:

  • manually recreate the joint carer entity for the long-term guardians with an approval type of ‘Long-term guardian’ or 'Permanent guardian' in ICMS
  • enter the original long-term guardianship or permanent guardianship start and end dates into the approval details in ICMS
  • include a ‘Comment’ in the approval details explaining that the long-term guardianship or permanent guardianship approval was recreated due to it being surrendered following an amendment to the carer’s certificate.

Where both carers wish to continue as approved carers, both carers must submit a separate 'Application for approval - Form 3 APA'. The existing certificate of approval remains in place until their individual applications are decided. The carers will not be required to repeat pre-service training. The approval decision will include an assessment of how the new circumstances of the applicant will impact on any children in their care.

If the application is approved:

  • issue each individual carer with a new certificate of approval
  • complete a new 'Foster Carer Agreement', where applicable
  • review the placement agreement for any child in the care of a kinship carer, where applicable.

Personal history changes

Carers are required to advise Child Safety of:

  • any changes to their personal history
  • changes or suspected changes to the personal history of any adult household member.

Changes in carer household membership

Carers are required to advise Child Safety:

  • that a person intends to become a member of the household
  • that a person has stopped being a member of the household.

If another adult intends to join a carer household, or when any child who lives in the carer household is turning 18, including children placed by Child Safety:

  • create a new EOI/Application for ‘New adult household member’ from the existing carer entity record for each adult who intends to join the carer household and manually add the person to the ‘Relevant parties’ in the application
  • request that the adult completes the New adult household member form and either a blue card application, blue card validation or exemption card application form
  • verify the person’s identity for a 'blue card application' only
  • attach the completed ‘New adult household member’ form, ‘blue card application’, ‘blue card validation’ or ‘exemption card application’ form and associated identification documents, where available, to the ‘EOI/Application’ in ICMS and immediately email the CSU to advise of the availability of documentation in ICMS so that personal history checks will be conducted
  • consider interviewing the new adult household member in relation to their views about foster care, and their role within the carer household
  • record the new adult household member application details in the ‘New AHM’ tab in ICMS
  • record the ‘Suitability decision’ details in the ‘New AHM’ tab in ICMS, following the outcome of personal history checks undertaken by the CSU.

The suitability decision for a new adult household member is based on personal history check outcomes and other matters relevant to deciding suitability, such as the person’s employment, history, physical health or mental health. The process for decision-making about suitability has a number of decision-making points and whilst overall suitability is determined by the CSSC manager, the CSU manager is delegated to determine that an adult household member is not suitable based on their personal history, or that the overall assessment of suitability is eligible to be progressed.

For further information about decision-making about the suitability of a new adult household member, refer to the practice resource Suitability decision-making for a new adult household member (PDF, 187 KB) Suitability decision-making for a new adult household member (RTF, 14 KB).

For information about the roles and responsibilities of the CSSC, PSU and CSU in relation to a new adult household member, refer to the New adult household member checklist. Note: There may be a variance in roles across regions which are not captured in this checklist.

For further information about facilitating personal history checks, refer to 2.2 Facilitate personal history checks.

Provision or intention to provide other regulated services from the home (for example, family day care or stand-alone care).

Foster or kinship carers may be approved to provide more than one regulated care services from their home, such as family day care or a stand-alone service. If a foster or kinship carer advises Child Safety that they are approved to provide another regulated services from their home, this information will be consider when assessing their initial or ongoing suitability as a foster or kinship carer.

If a carer advises Child Safety that they are approved to provide another regulated care services from their home, inform the carer that they are required to provide the following information to Child Safety:

  • the type of regulated service (family day care, stand-alone care) being provided
  • name of the Family Day Care Provider that the family day care educator is affiliated with
  • number of children at the residence and the number of children they are approved for
  • ages of children at the residence, including the ages of the children they are approved to provide care for

This information will enable the identification, assessment and discussion of any likely impacts on the quality of services provided to children and on the ability of the applicant/s to meet suitability requirements.

In relation to providing other regulated care services, applicants can be approved to provide education and care for:

  • family day care – no more than 7 children at any one time.
  • stand-alone care – no more than 6 children under the age of 13 at the same time.
  • in determining the number, no more than 4 children can be preschool age or under.

Additionally, for family day care educators, the educator’s own children and any other children at the residence are also to be taken into account if those children are under 13 years of age and there is no other adult present and caring for the children. Children being cared for in foster or kinship care would be included in these numbers of children.

When a carer has advised Child Safety that they are providing a regulated care services from the home:

  • request the carer complete a Change in carer circumstances form – Form 39 CCC
  • update change in circumstance details in ICMS
  • assess the information provided by the carer and consider whether a review of the carer’s suitability and capacity to provide quality care is required
  • contact the Family Day Care Provider that the family day care educator is affiliated with and advise them that the carer is also a foster/kinship carer and provide details of their approval status (foster or kinship carer), the number of children placed and their ages
  • review the foster carer agreement (foster carer) or placement agreement (kinship carer), if required.

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3. What if a carer or carer applicant is also Child Safey employee?

A child subject to a care agreement or an order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, including a temporary custody order or a transition order, may be placed with a departmental employee who is an approved carer, including a person undertaking employment through a traineeship or a student placement.

For information about when this may occur, refer to the Placement of children with departmental employees (PDF) policy.

A Child Safety employee who submits an application for approval, or who is an approved carer is subject to:

  • the procedures for provisional approval, where applicable
  • the relevant procedures for pre-application, assessment, approval, monitoring and support and renewal of approval, as outlined previously in this chapter
  • assessment, monitoring and support that takes into account their dual role as Child Safety employee and an approved carer (refer to ‘Monitoring and supporting Child Safety employees who are approved carers’)
  • the policies and procedures specific to public sector ethics and conflicts of interest, including the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service.

A Child Safety employee who is an approved carer must not be directly involved in the case work or decision-making in their role as an employee, for any child placed with them. However, they are able to be involved in decision-making for the child, in their role as the child’s carer. To facilitate the separation of roles, case responsibility for the child will not be held in the CSSC where the departmental employee is in a direct service delivery role, where practicable.

If an immediate placement is required with a departmental employee, they must be provisionally approved by the regional director or the duty executive officer (if after hours) prior to the placement taking place. 

A carer who is subsequently appointed to a position within the department, including a traineeship or student placement, is able to continue to provide out-of-home care.

If concerns arise about the quality of care provided to a child in out-of-home care, refer to Chapter 9. Standards of care

Key concepts

Kinship carers: any employee of Child Safety may apply to become a kinship carer, but only where they meet the legislative definition of kin. A Child Safety employee who has no connection to or relationship with the child prior to the intervention by Child Safety, does not meet the legislative definition of kin and cannot apply for approval as a kinship carer for the child.

Direct service delivery employees as foster carers: an employee in a direct service delivery role is any employee whose role, responsibilities and duties predominantly include personal, telephone or written contact with children and families in receipt of a Child Safety service.

A Child Safety employee in a direct service delivery role, who does not meet the legislative definition of kin for a specific child requiring placement, may be approved as a foster carer (including provisional approval) in exceptional circumstances, as determined, and where considered appropriate, by the regional director.  

Exceptional circumstances may include, but are not limited to:   

  • the employee’s substantive position is in direct service delivery, however, they are currently seconded to a non-direct service delivery role
  • a child in a rural and remote area has a placement identified, the placement is not immediately available and no other placement options are immediately available. An employee may undergo approval as a foster carer in order to provide short-term care for the child until the intended placement become available. 

Non-direct service delivery employees as foster carers: an employee in a non-direct service delivery role is any employee whose role, responsibilities and duties exclude, or include only limited personal, telephone or written contact with children and families in receipt of a Child Safety service.

A Child Safety employee in a non-direct service delivery role, who does not meet the legislative definition of kin, may be approved as a foster carer, as determined, and where considered appropriate, by the regional director.

For further information, refer to the practice resource Child Safety employees as carer applicants or approved carers.

CSSC or CSSC manager: Where reference is made to the CSSC or CSSC manager, this refers to the CSSC or CSSC manager in the geographical area where the carer applicant or carer resides, or the foster and kinship care service conducting the assessment is located. The exception to this is where the application is for a kinship carer who resides in another geographical area and the child’s case is to be transferred to the CSSC where the applicant resides. In this circumstance, the CSSC manager with case management responsibility for the child is responsible for obtaining an approval decision about a kinship carer applicant from their regional director, and any references in this procedure relate to the CSSC and CSSC manager with case management responsibility for the child.

Responsibility for conducting assessment, approval and support processes

The assessment, approval, renewal of approval and monitoring and support processes for a Child Safety employee will be undertaken by a foster and kinship care service or a Child Safety officer who has no personal or professional relationships with the employee.

Where this is not possible, for example in rural and remote locations, a senior Child Safety officer, for example, a senior team leader or senior practitioner, will undertake the required procedures.

In this case, the CSSC manager will put in place strategies that also enable the Child Safety officer to clearly separate their two roles and to manage conflicts of interest. For example, the CSSC manager will request that another senior practitioner within the region sits on the assessment panel where a senior practitioner, known to the Child Safety employee, has assessed the carer application.

Responsibility for completing the 'Advice to regional director' form

The person undertaking the initial assessment, or renewal of approval assessment, is responsible for completing the Advice to regional director form during the assessment process, however, the CSSC manager is responsible for contacting the employee’s line manager to negotiate the line manager’s involvement in the completion of the form.

Responsibility for completing the 'Conflict of Interest Declaration', if applicable

Where an employee identifies that a conflict of interest exists, or will exist, in their dual role as an employee and an approved carer, the employee and their line manager are responsible for completing the Conflict of interest declaration. The employee is required to complete Section 1 of the declaration and provide this form to their line manager, who will complete Section 2. For further information, refer to the Conflict of interest procedure.

Note: The completed ‘Conflict of interest declaration’ is subject to strict storage and accessibility requirements.

Classify electronic and paper files as sensitive

The Child Safety employee’s records as a carer applicant or as an approved carer will be classified as a sensitive person in ICMS.

A child placed with an employee who is an approved carer, may be classified as a sensitive person at the discretion of the CSSC manager.

If a Child Safety employee withdraws their application, is refused approval or decides to cease being a carer, or where the child in their care is subsequently placed in an alternative placement, there is no change to the sensitivity classification, however, the child’s sensitivity plan may be removed, if considered appropriate by the CSSC manager.

For further information, refer to Chapter 10.5 Recording sensitivity and the Integrated Client Management System (ICMS) Child Protection Participants Manual.

Obtain the views of the child and parents

The regional director will consider the views of the child and the child’s parents about the proposed placement, when making the decision to approve or renew the approval of a carer who is a Child Safety employee. This information will be recorded on the ‘Advice to regional director form’, where applicable.

Carer application and assessment

Application

Prior to a Child Safety employee lodging an application for approval, the employee must be fully informed by the person undertaking pre-application processes about the potential challenges, risks and processes associated with the employee’s possible future dual role. This will include, but is not limited to, a discussion of:

  • potential or actual conflicts of interest
  • confidentiality issues
  • the potential risk to professional reputation or livelihood, should a standards of care review of harm reportarise in relation to the quality of care provided to any child placed in the employee’s care.   

Relevant information to assist in undertaking this discussion is provided in the practice resource Child Safety employees as carer applicants or approved carers, the Conflict of interest policy and procedure.

Where the Child Safety employee decides to proceed with an application, inform the employee that they must inform their line manager about the application and that the line manager may be contacted as a referee - refer to 1.7 Lodge the application and 2.4 Conduct referee checks, if applicable.

Assessment

During the assessment interviews with the Child Safety employee, discuss and consider the impact of any conflict of interest, confidentiality issues and proposed management strategies, if applicable.

The CSSC manager is responsible, during the assessment process, for contacting the employee’s line manager, to negotiate the line manager’s involvement in contributing to the completion of the Advice to regional director form.

Where the CSSC manager and the employee’s line manager is the same person the senior practitioner will also participate in discussions for the purpose of completing the ‘Advice to regional director’ form.

Record the outcome of related discussions in the ‘Advice to regional director’ form. Share observations and reflections with the Child Safety employee and give them feedback about the conclusions being reached. Incorporate relevant comments and feedback from the employee in the ‘Advice to regional director’ form.

Once all carer assessment processes are completed, provide a copy of the ‘Advice to regional director’ form to the Child Safety employee, along with all other documents usually provided to the applicant - refer to 2.7 Complete the assessment report.

Approval

All assessment and approval documentation usually provided to the CSSC manager, is forwarded to the regional director andwill also include:

Ensure the completed ‘Conflict of interest declaration’, if applicable, is managed in accordance with the Conflict of interest procedure.

Where a decision about provisional approval is required after hours, CSAHSC staff will obtain a decision from the duty executive officer - refer to 1. What if the applicant requires provisional approval?

In making a decision about the employee’s application, the regional director will consider:

The regional director will record any comments specific to the employee’s proposed or actual dual role in the ‘Advice to regional director’ form. In addition, the regional director will record their approval decision, along with any relevant comments, on either the ‘Form 4: Approval decision’ or the ‘Form 5: Approval Decision - Provisionally Approved Carer’, where applicable, and sign the form. The regional director is also required to complete the Conflict of interest declaration, Section 3, where applicable.

The timeframe for deciding the application may be extended by the CSSC manager, where considered necessary - refer to 3.2 Extend the timeframe for deciding the initial application, or 1. What if the applicant requires provisional approval?

Upon receipt of the regional director’s decision, the responsible CSSC or PSU resumes responsibility for attending to all remaining procedural requirements. This includes the provision of information about review rights, should the application be refused - refer to 3.3 Approve the application or 3.4 Refuse the application, or 1. What if the applicant requires provisional approval?

In addition, following the provision of advice to the employee about the regional director’s decision:

  • inform the employee’s line manager of the decision
  • provide a copy of the Advice to regional director form to:
  • the employee and their line manager
  • the CSSC or foster and kinship care service responsible for the ongoing monitoring and support of the carer
  • the regional director will provide, if applicable, a copy of the completed Conflict of interest declaration to the employee and their line manager, in accordance with required storage and accessibility requirements - refer to the Conflict of interest procedure.

Note: Where the child requiring placement is likely to be placed with a carer applicant who is a direct service delivery employee, and the employee does not intend to provide care to other children on an ongoing basis, the employee must withdraw their application if the child is moved to another placement prior to the final approval decision being made. Refer to 1.6 Address identified concerns about suitability.

Actions required following the employment of an approved carer or carer applicant

Where an approved carer or a carer applicant becomes an employee of Child Safety, the CSSC manager will ensure that a Child Safety officer or the foster and kinship care service:

  • classifies relevant electronic and paper files as sensitive
  • advises the employee of their obligation to inform their line manager of their dual role, or possible dual role, as an employee and an approved carer
  • meets with the approved carer, or carer applicant, within two weeks of their commencement as an employee, to discuss the:
    • potential challenges, risks and processes associated with their dual role or future dual role - information to inform this discussion is provided in the practice resource Departmental employees as carer applicants or approved carers and the Conflict of interest policy and procedure
    • roles and responsibilities of the departmental employee in the work context, including any anticipated impact on the employee’s work and conflicts of interest and proposed management strategies, if applicable.

Where the employee indicates an intention to continue in their role as an approved carer, or to proceed with their application, the CSSC manager is responsible, in the first instance, for negotiating the employee’s line manager’s involvement in contributing to the completion of the Advice to regional director form. Record the outcome of all related discussions in the ‘Advice to regional director’ form.

Where the CSSC manager and the employee’s line manager is the same person, the senior practitioner will also participate in discussions for the purpose of completing the ‘Advice to regional director’ form.

If the employee identifies a conflict of interest, the employee will also complete the Conflict of interest declaration, Section 1 and provide this form directly to their line manager for their completion of Section 2. For further information, refer to the Conflict of interest procedure.

Unless the employee decides to withdraw their application, or to cease being a carer: 

  • provide a copy of the completed Advice to regional director form to the employee
  • forward the completed 'Advice to regional director' form to the regional director, either:
    • for their information only, where the employee has existing approval as a kinship or foster carer
    • to inform the final approval or renewal of approval decision
  • forward the Conflict of interest declaration, if applicable, to the regional director, for their completion (Section 3).

Ensure the completed 'Conflict of interest declaration', if applicable, is managed in accordance with the Conflict of interest procedure.

Where there is no current application to be decided, the Advice to regional director form is for the regional director’s information only. That is, an approval or refusal decision is not required. However, the regional director may recommend a review of the foster carer agreement or the placement agreement and/or the addition of conditions on the carers certificate of approval, based on the information provided. For further information, refer 3.5 Complete a Foster Carer Agreement, 2.7 Complete the assessment report or Chapter 5, 1.9 Complete a placement agreement.

Where there is a current application requiring approval or renewal of approval, the regional director will consider all relevant information and either approve or refuse the application, as outlined previously.

Following the consideration and completion of all relevant information and documentation by the regional director:

the responsible CSSC or PSU resumes responsibility for attending to all remaining procedural requirements, if applicable - refer to 4.9 Approve the application for renewal or 3.4 Refuse the application

  • inform the employee's line manager of the approval or refusal decision, if applicable
  • provide the completed Advice to regional director form to:
  • the employee and their line manager
  • the CSSC or foster and kinship care service responsible for the ongoing monitoring and support of the carer
    • the regional director will provide, where applicable, a copy of the completed Conflict of interest declaration to the employee and their line manager, in accordance with required storage and accessibility requirements - refer to the Conflict of interest procedure
    • the CSSC or foster and kinship carer service responsible for supporting the carer will implement any recommendations made by the regional director.

Where the employee decides not to proceed with an application for approval or renewal of approval, or they decide to cease being an approved carer - refer to 1.6 Address identified concerns about suitability and 7. What if the foster or kinship carer decides to cease being a carer?

Monitoring and supporting Child Safety employees who are approved carers

All approved carers who are Child Safety employees will be subject to usual monitoring and support processes - refer to Chapter 9, 1. Provide support to carers.

In addition, during the development or review of a placement agreement (where the Child Safety employee is a kinship carer) or a foster carer agreement:

  • remind the approved carer of their responsibility to ensure appropriate use and disclosure of official information - refer to the ‘Code of Conduct For the Queensland Public Service’
  • seek information from the CSSC responsible for the child regarding any identified issues or concerns regarding the approved carers dual role as an employee and an approved carer
  • review conflicts of interest and management strategies, as documented in the ‘Advice to regional director’ form, and where applicable, update management strategies. 

For further information, refer to ‘Managing the dual role, renewal of approval and monitoring and support processes’ as outlined previously.

Note: The employee and their line manager are responsible for the ongoing implementation of the Conflict of interest procedure, including, where an employee’s relevant circumstances change, the completion of an amended Conflict of interest declaration.

Assessing an application by a Child Safety employee for renewal of approval

An application by a Child Safety employee for renewal of approval as a kinship or foster carer will be invited, assessed and decided in accordance with usual procedural requirements as outlined in 4. Renewal, and as outlined previously in ‘Application for and assessment of approval as a carer’. All assessment and approval documentation usually provided to the CSSC manager is forwarded to the regional director, along with the Advice to regional director form and if applicable, the Conflict of interest declaration.

Further, when assessing the application for renewal of approval, the person undertaking the assessment is to take into account, and document in the ‘Advice to regional director’ form:

  • the approved carers management of confidentiality issues for the previous one or two year period of approval
  • the approved carers management of conflicts of interest, if applicable, for the previous one or two year period of approval
  • any other information relevant to the persons dual role as a Child Safety employee and an approved carer, for the previous one or two year period.

If the approved carer does not wish to apply for renewal of approval, refer to 7. What if the foster or kinship carer decides to cease being a carer?

Following the receipt of all relevant assessment and approval documentation, the regional director will make and record their approval decision, as outlined previously.

Upon receipt of the approval decision, the responsible CSSC or PSU resumes responsibility for attending to all remaining procedural requirements, as outlined previously.

Following the decision to grant renewal of approval, the foster and kinship care service or Child Safety officer responsible for supporting the carer will:

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4. What if a review of carer suitability is required?

A comprehensive review of carer suitability may be conducted whenever there are serious concerns about the ongoing ability of the carer to meet and sustain the standards of care.

The purpose of the review is to assess the carers ongoing suitability and ability to meet the standards of care. The review will determine either:

  • what action is required to support the carer and sustain the child’s safety, beloning and well-being on an ongoing basis, and avoid unplanned placement disruption for the child
  •  that the carer is unable to meet the standards of care and the carers approval requires suspension or cancellation.

When to initiate a review of carer suitability

A review of carer suitability may be initiated by the CSSC manager:

  • at any time when there are general and ongoing concerns about the carers capacity to meet and sustain the standards of care, including as result of a change in carer circumstances - refer to ­2. What if there is a change in carer circumstances
  • following the completion of a standards of care review or an investigation and assessment, where outcome is that the standards are ‘not met’, and a more detailed review is required.

In making the decision to review a carers suitability, the CSSC manager will:

  • take into account the expiry date of the carers current certificate of approval
  • consider previous standards of care reviews or investigation and assessments, irrespective of the outcomes
  • consider the seriousness of the concerns and the impact on the safety and well-being of the child
  • consider the presence of recurrent patterns or where the provision of supports or training has not resulted in sustained improvements to the care the child receives 
  • determine who will complete the review of carer suitability, taking into account that their availability, level of experience, and the required timeframe for completion.

Plan the review of carer suitability

Planning for the review will occur in partnership with the foster and kinship care service that the carer is affiliated with, and with the senior practitioner of the CSSC that is responsible for the carer.  As part of the planning process, decide the following:

  • the rationale for the review of carer suitability
  • how the carer or carers will be advised of the decision to review suitability
  • what information will contribute to the review, for example, seeking the views from another CSSC who has a child in the placement, or services who have provided support or intervention to the carer
  • how the views of the child will be incorporated into the review
  • any additional requirements to be considered by the reviewer.

The CSSC manager will approve the plan prior to the review commencing.

Complete the review of carer suitability

As part of the review of carer suitability, the reviewer will:

  • review the issues and concerns identified in the most current foster carer assessment report or kinship carer renewal report, including the rationale for approval
  • review previous standards of care reviews, investigation and assessment and action plans relating to either the carer or the child
  • take into account the support and training that has been or is being provided to the carer, whether the carer has achieved the required competencies, and if not, explore the factors that prevented this
  • consider the presence of extenuating factors that may be impacting on the standard of care provided to the child, such as, sudden changes in the carers household, serious illness in the carer family or a change in the service supports available to the carer.

The reviewer will prepare a report for the CSSC manager and make a recommendation about what action is required. The report will specifically identify the standards of care the carer is meeting and, if appropriate, the standards of care that the carer is not meeting.

Where difficulties are identified, the report will explore the contributing factors, the impact on the child, where appropriate, and propose what actions are required to improve the care to the child, and the capacity of the carer gain the knowledge and skills required to meet the standards of care. Where actions need to be undertaken to assist the carer, refer to Chapter 9, 5.5 Respond when the standards of care are ‘not met’.

In some circumstances a review of carer suitability may identify that the carer is unable to ensure the safety of the child or meet the standards of care, refer to 9. What if a foster or kinship carer's certificate of approval requires amendment, suspension or cancellation, other than on blue care or exemption card grounds?

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5. What if one spouse is not able to participate in the assessment and approval process?

Where the partner of a foster or kinship carer applicant is genuinely not available to be assessed and approved, along with their spouse, due to the nature and location of their employment, for example, those employed by the defence forces or mining industry and working interstate or overseas, the following process applies:

  • the available applicant lodges an application as a single applicant
  • the assessment and approval process proceeds according to the procedure
  • the single applicant, where they meet the legislative and policy requirements for suitability, is approved and issued with a certificate of approval
  • when the unavailable spouse returns to the carer household, the approved carer and their spouse immediately submit a joint application for approval, including a 'blue card application', 'blue card validation' or 'exemption card application' form - the carer's existing certificate remains in place until the outcome of the joint application is decided
  • progress the application in accordance with the usual assessment process, however, the original approved carer will not require personal history checks and will not need to repeat pre-service training.

If the application is approved:

  • issue the carers with a new joint certificate of approval
  • change the carer's details in ICMS and add the details for the carer couple
  • request the return of the previous certificate of approval
  • complete a new 'Foster Carer Agreement', where applicable
  • review the placement agreement for any child in the care of a kinship carer, where applicable, taking into consideration any changes to the support needs for the carer, refer to Chapter 9, 1. Provide support to carers.

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6. What if a carer applicant resides interstate?

When a carer applicant who is proposed to provide care for a child resides in another state, territory or New Zealand (jurisdiction), and the child is subject to a court assessment, custody or guardianship order or proceedings in Queensland, the CSO will request that the relevant interstate jurisdiction undertake a carer assessment.

To facilitate the assessment of a carer applicant in another jurisdiction the CSO will:

  • ensure that the applicant is aware of the intended assessment and has indicated a willingness to co-operate in the assessment process
  • ensure that the applicant is aware of their need to meet legislative requirements under the Child Protection Act 1999
  • provide the applicant with:
  • ensure that the applicant and all adult household members complete the 'APA form' - Part A and either the 'blue card application', 'blue card validation' or 'exemption card application' form and the 'Carer applicant health and wellbeing questionnaire' and attach completed forms to the 'EOI/Application' in ICMS - the applicant and all adult household members can have their identity verified by a local doctor, solicitor, police officer or JP
  • email the CSU to advise that the relevant forms are available in ICMS for processing, where the application has been 'properly made', refer to 1.7 Lodge the application
  • at the same time as the above is being undertaken, contact the Queensland ILO, Court Services, and obtain the 'Request for Interstate Assessment of Carer/s' template
  • complete the 'Request for Interstate Assessment of Carer/s' template and attach appropriate supporting documentation, for example, medical and psychological reports on the child and child protection and criminal history in relation to the proposed carers, if available - ensure that Section F of the template is edited and individualised to reflect all areas that require assessment
  • have the request signed by the CSO with case responsibility and the senior team leader
  • fax or post all relevant documentation to the Queensland ILO.

Note: Upon receipt of any 'blue card application' forms, contact all blue card applicants to advise that it is an offence for a disqualified person to sign a 'blue card application' form. For further information, refer to the practice resource Mandatory advice to blue card applicants (PDF, 133 KB).

The Queensland ILO will forward the request and accompanying documentation to the ILO in the other jurisdiction.

If the CSU manager subsequently advises that, based on personal history checks, the applicant is not suitable, contact the Queensland ILO immediately, who will withdraw the assessment request from the other jurisdiction.

The interstate worker will complete the 'Form 2: Household safety study' on behalf of Child Safety and provide a written assessment report, addressing the assessment areas identified on the 'Request for Interstate Assessment of Carer/s' and including a recommendation about the proposed placement.

Attach all completed forms to the 'EOI/Application' in ICMS.

Where the carer assessment relates to a family contact visit refer to Chapter 5, 2.5 Facilitate and monitor family contact.

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7. What if the foster or kinship carer decides to cease being a carer?

When a carer advises Child Safety of their decision to cease being an approved carer the PSU will:

  • ask the carer to return their certificate of approval and the carer business discount card within a specified timeframe, which must not be less than seven days (Child Protection Act 1999, section 141)
  • inform the carer about available supports, for example, counselling or referrals, where the cessation occurs due to difficult personal circumstances
  • record the reason why the carer is exiting the system and amend the carer's approval status in ICMS to 'surrendered'
  • notify the CSU
  • complete the ‘Advice to Queensland Foster and Kinship Care (QFKC).

QFKC is responsible for contacting the former carer to offer them an exit interview, which is conducted by QFKC.

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8. What if a carer requests access to their personal information?

If a carer requests access to their personal information held on the Child Safety file, inform the carer that the release of file information is managed by Right to Information and Information Privacy.

Advise the carer that their request must be made in writing, through a completed Right to Information application, a letter or other written advice, and outline the details of the personal information sought.

Provide the carer with the contact details for Right to Information and Information Privacy.

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9. What if a foster or kinship carer's certificate of approval requires amendment, suspension or cancellation, other than on blue card or exemption card grounds?

Under the Child Protection Act 1999, a carer's certificate of approval can be amended, suspended or cancelled in the following circumstances:

  • the holder of the certificate of approval applies to the chief executive for an amendment of the certificate of approval or agrees to an amendment
  • the holder is not meeting the standards required under the certificate of approval or a condition of the certificate of approval
  • the holder has contravened a provision of the Child Protection Act 1999
  • the certificate of approval was issued because of a materially false or misleading representation or declaration (either orally or in writing)
  • it is considered necessary or desirable because of a circumstance prescribed under a regulation.

Note: A certificate of approval as a kinship carer cannot be amended to change the child for whom the carer is approved.

Amendment, suspension or cancellation decisions

Child Safety will consider whether there is a need for the amendment, suspension or cancellation of the certificate of approval of a carer, in circumstances where a carer is not meeting the legislated statement of standards or a condition of the certificate of approval, or alternatively, where an amendment of the certificate of approval is requested by the carer. The amendment, suspension or cancellation of a certificate of approval is to occur in a respectful and transparent manner.

Amendment requested by an approved carer - section 137

Any application by a carer to amend their certificate of approval must be made in writing. Child Safety must make a decision on whether the proposed amendment is necessary within 28 days of receiving the request. If necessary, meet with the carer to discuss the matter before the 28 day period has lapsed.

If the proposed amendment is decided to be necessary:

  • the CSSC manager will provide written notice to the carer using the 'Letter of outcome of application to amend', created in ICMS, and advise:
    • that their request for an amendment has been granted
    • the details of the amendment that has been made
    • that a certificate of approval has been amended
    • that the amended certificate of approval takes effect on the day the CSSC manager gives notice to the carer that the amendment has been granted, or a later day, if stated in the notice
    • that the carer must deliver the original certificate of approval to the CSSC within a specified timeframe, which must not be less than seven days from the date of the notice (Child Protection Act 1999, section 141)
  • provide the carer with a new certificate of approval that incorporates the amendment - all other details, including date of expiry and any existing conditions, must match the details on the original certificate of approval
  • retain a copy of the new certificate of approval on the carer's file and provide a copy, where relevant, to the foster and kinship care service.

If the proposed amendment is not considered necessary, the application for amendment must be refused and written notice using the 'Letter of outcome of application to amend' must be provided to the carer within 10 days of the decision having been made (Child Protection Act 1999, section 137). The notice must:

  • state the reasons for the decision
  • advise that the carer has the right to have the decision reviewed by QCAT and that an application can be made to the tribunal within 28 days.

Amendment initiated by Child Safety - section 138

If the CSSC manager decides that an amendment to a carer's certificate of approval is warranted:

  • relevant Child Safety officers must meet with the carer to discuss the reason for the amendment and explain the process
  • the CSSC manager must provide written notice to the carer using the 'Letter of proposed amendment', created in ICMS, and state:
    • the proposed amendment and the grounds for the amendment
    • the facts and circumstances forming the basis for the grounds
    • that the carer may make written representations to the CSSC manager within 28 days (or longer, if determined by the CSSC manager) to show why the certificate of approval should not be amended.

If, after considering any written representation by the carer, the CSSC manager still considers an amendment to the certificate of approval necessary, the carer must be provided with written notice of the decision within 10 days of the decision using the 'Letter of amendment', created in ICMS. The notice must:

  • state the reasons for the decision
  • advise that the amended certificate of approval takes effect on the day the CSSC manager gives notice to the carer of their decision, or a later day, if stated in the notice
  • advise the carer that they must deliver the original certificate of approval to the CSSC within the requested timeframe, which must not be less than seven days (Child Protection Act 1999, section 141)
  • advise that the carer may have the decision reviewed by QCAT if an application is made to the tribunal within 28 days.

After providing written notice to the carer of the decision to amend the certificate of approval:

  • issue a new certificate of approval that incorporates the amendment and provides all of the details that were recorded on the original certificate, including the date of expiry and any existing conditions
  • retain a copy of the new certificate of approval on the carer's file and provide a copy, where relevant, to the foster and kinship care service.

If, at any stage of this process, the CSSC manager decides not to proceed with the amendment, they must provide written notice to the carer of their decision not to amend the certificate of approval.

Suspension or cancellation of a carer's certificate of approval - section 139

A carer's certificate of approval may be suspended or cancelled when there is reason to believe that the carer cannot provide care to a child that meets the statement of standards and that the issue of concern cannot be appropriately addressed through other means.

A carer's certificate of approval must be cancelled when the CSU manager advises the CSSC manager of the decision to cancel the carer's certificate of approval, where the carer is not suitable as a result of the outcome of personal history checks.

A suspension of the certificate of approval should be considered if the grounds for concern are likely to be temporary or if further assessment is required to determine whether the carer's certificate of approval should be cancelled.

Where the CSSC manager is considering the suspension or cancellation of a carer's certificate of approval, relevant Child Safety officers must meet with the carer to discuss the reason for the proposed suspension or cancellation and explain the process.

Where the decision is made, whether by the CSSC or CSU manager, that the suspension or cancellation of the certificate of approval is warranted, the carer must be provided with written notice using either a 'Letter of proposed suspension' or 'Letter of proposed cancellation', created in ICMS, which is to include:

  • the proposed action and the grounds for the proposed action
  • the proposed suspension period, for a suspension of the certificate of approval
  • advice that the carer may make written representations to the CSSC manager or CSU manager within 28 days (or longer, as determined by the CSSC or CSU manager) to show why the certificate of approval should not be suspended or cancelled.

After considering any representation by the carer, where the CSSC manager or CSU manager still considers the suspension or cancellation of the certificate of approval to be necessary, the CSSC manager or CSU manager is to:

  • suspend the certificate of approval for no longer than the proposed suspension period (where the action proposed in the notice was to suspend the certificate of approval), or
  • cancel the certificate of approval (if the action proposed in the notice was to cancel the certificate of approval).

The suspension or cancellation of the certificate of approval takes effect on the day the CSSC manager or CSU manager gives notice to the carer of their decision, or a later day, if stated in the notice. Following the suspension or cancellation of the certificate of approval, the CSSC manager or CSU manager must provide written notice to the carer of their decision within 10 days of the decision using either the 'Letter of suspension' or the 'Letter of cancellation', created in ICMS. The notice must:

  • state the decision to either suspend or cancel the carer's authority
  • state the reasons for the decision
  • advise the carer that they must deliver the original certificate of approval to the CSSC manager within the requested timeframe, which must not be less than seven days (Child Protection Act 1999, section 141)
  • advise the carer that they may have the decision reviewed by QCAT, if application is made within 28 days.

If the carer's certificate of approval has been suspended, the certificate of approval must be returned to the carer at the end of the suspension period, unless the certificate of approval has been cancelled.

Following the period of review or if the departmental decision is upheld, the CSSC manager is to ensure that the CSU is notified of the suspension or cancellation.

Record the suspension or cancellation in ICMS

Following the suspension or cancellation of a carer's certificate of approval, the CSSC manager is to ensure:

At the end of the suspension, update the carer's approval status in ICMS and where the certificate of approval is returned to the carer, close the alert. Where the certificate of approval is cancelled following the period of suspension, the alert remains in place.

Referral for an exit interview - cancellation of a certificate of approval

If the carer does not seek a review of the decision to have their certificate of approval cancelled within the required timeframe, or if they do seek a review of the decision and QCAT upholds the Child Safety decision, notify QFKC of the end of the carer’s approval so that the former carer will be contacted and offered an exit interview by QFKC.

To refer the former carer for an exit interview, complete the ‘Advice to QFKC: End of carer approval’ form, created in ICMS, and fax email the form to QFKC.

The PSU is responsible for ensuring that QFKC receives written notification of all carers who have had their certificate of approval cancelled.

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10. What if a foster or kinship carer's certificate of approval requires suspension or cancellation, on blue card or exemption card grounds?

Change in status of a blue card or exemption card

Blue Card Services issues blue cards and exemption cards and monitors the changes in criminal history of card holders on a daily basis. Blue Card Services, through the CSU, will advise Child Safety of any relevant changes to the criminal history of a carer or an adult household member, for example:

  • a blue card or exemption card holder's card has been suspended because they have been charged with an excluding offence
  • a blue card or exemption card holder has a change in their criminal history which is relevant to child-related employment.

In the case of a suspension or refusal of an existing blue card or exemption card, the chief executive must suspend an approved carer's certificate of approval, pending the outcome of any review process initiated under the the Working with Children Risk Management and Screening Act 2000.

Where Blue Card Services makes the decision to issue an individual with a negative prescribed notice or negative exemption notice, it means that the person will not be issued with a blue card or exemption card, or, if they already have one, that their blue card or exemption card will be suspended or cancelled by Blue Card Services. This is referred to as blue card grounds.

In the above circumstances, the CSSC must take immediate action to suspend or cancel the carer's certificate of approval.

The decision to suspend or cancel a carer's certificate of approval on blue card grounds will be effective immediately, and does not require that the carer be given an opportunity to provide written representations to the CSSC manager, prior to the manager deciding to suspend or cancel their approval.

The CSSC manager however must inform the carer of the decision as soon as practicable after the decision is made.

Removal of a child - carer issues

When Blue Card Services suspension or cancellation relates to an approved carer, the carer's certificate of approval must be suspended or cancelled, and any child in the placement must be removed immediately.

Should the carer subsequently be issued with a blue card or exemption card and the suspension ended, consideration will be given to whether it is in the best interests of any of the children removed, to be returned to the placement.

Removal of a child - adult household member issues

When the suspension or cancellation relates to an adult member of a carer's household, a decision must be made about whether to remove a child. In this circumstance:

  • hold an urgent meeting with the carer and adult household member to discuss what actions they are proposing to take
  • ascertain whether the household member intends to leave the household and the proposed timeframe
  • assess whether the carer had any knowledge or awareness of the criminal history or change in criminal history of the adult household member
  • assess the immediate safety of any child in the placement and determine whether a standards of care review or harm report should be recorded. For example, the adult household member's criminal acts may have resulted in harm or risk of harm to the child.

If the adult household member is not planning to leave the household immediately, any child in the placement must be removed and the carer's certificate of approval suspended.

If the adult household member is planning to leave the household immediately, the decision about whether it is in the best interests of the child to remain with the carer is to include consideration of:

  • the impact on the child, for example, is the child fearful of remaining in the placement
  • any risk posed to the child because of the relationship of the household member to the carer
  • the carer's response to the suspension or cancellation of the adult household member's blue card or exemption card and the carer's ability to protect the child in the placement
  • the likelihood of any further contact with the adult household member.

Removal of a child - review of decision

The carer is only entitled to have the decision to remove a child from the carer's care reviewed if the chief executive has custody or guardianship of the child, and the carer is an approved foster or kinship carer, and either:

  • the child is subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive
  • the adult household member has left the household, due to the suspension or cancellation of their blue card or exemption card, however, it has been assessed that the carer is no longer a suitable person or the carer is no longer able to meet the standards of care in the statement of standards.

When this applies, provide written notice of the decision to the carer and the child, and ensure that the notice incorporates the information specified in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 90.

Cancellation of certificate of approval due to a prescribed provision - carer

A carer's certificate of approval must be cancelled immediately (Child Protection Act 1999, section 140AG(1)), when Blue Card Services cancels the carer's blue card or exemption card in accordance with the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening Act 2000), sections 237 and 239- an excluding offence with imprisonment, or a disqualification order, which results in a lifetime ban from holding or applying for a blue card).

The cancellation of the certificate of approval must occur as soon as practicable after Child Safety is notified of the decision and the CSSC manager must:

  • notify the carer in writing of the decision to cancel their certificate of approval using 'Letter of cancellation - prescribed provision - carer', created in ICMS
  • notify the CSU of the decision.

There is no right of review to Blue Card Services for a cancellation of a blue card or exemption card under a prescribed provision or right of review to QCAT in relation to the decision by Child Safety to cancel the carer's certificate of approval.

Suspension or cancellation of a carer's certificate of approval due to a prescribed provision - adult household member

When Blue Card Services cancels the blue card or exemption card of an adult household member is cancelled under a prescribed provision Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening Act 2000), sections 237 and 239 under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 140AC and 140AG, one of the following will occur:

  • the carer's certificate of approval must be suspended
  • the carer's certificate of approval may be cancelled immediately, where there is no likelihood of the adult household member leaving the carer's home.

The suspension of the carer's certificate of approval is an interim measure to allow an assessment of whether the adult household member has left or is likely to leave the household.

To suspend the carer's certificate of approval, the CSSC manager will advise the carer of the decision and the reason for the suspension using the 'Letter of suspension - prescribed provision - adult household member', created in ICMS.

Where the adult household member leaves the household and the CSSC manager makes a decision to end the suspension, the carer must be provided with a 'Letter advising end of suspension', created in ICMS.

If the household member does not leave the household, or is not expected to leave in the near future, the carer's certificate of approval must be cancelled. To cancel the carer's certificate of approval (Child Protection Act 1999, section 140AG(3)), the CSSC manager must notify the carer in writing using the 'Letter of cancellation - prescribed provision - adult household member', created in ICMS, and advise the carer:

  • of the decision to cancel their certificate of approval
  • the reason for the cancellation
  • that they may apply to QCAT to have the decision reviewed, within 28 days.

Following the period of review or if the Child Safety decision is upheld, the CSSC manager must ensure that the CSU is notified of the decision.

Note: The CSSC manager must not suspend or cancel the carer's certificate of approval if satisfied that the person is no longer a member of the carer's household.

Suspension or cancellation of a certificate of approval due to a prohibiting event

A prohibiting event occurs when an approved carer or an adult member of a carer's household:

  • is issued with a negative prescribed notice or negative exemption notice (except under a prescribed provision under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening Act 2000), sections 237 and 239, or except where a suspended blue card or exemption card is cancelled)
  • has their blue card or exemption card suspended by Blue Card Services
  • withdraws an application for a blue card or exemption card or it is deemed withdrawn by Blue Card Services.

Prohibiting event - carer

If the prohibiting event relates to the approved carer, the suspension of the carer's certificate of approval must occur as soon as practicable after the CSU is notified by Blue Card Services . The CSU will advise the CSSC manager of the notice provided by Blue Card Services.

To suspend the carer's certificate of approval, the CSSC manager must:

  • notify the carer in writing using the 'Letter of suspension - prohibiting event - carer', created in ICMS, and advise the carer of:
    • the decision to suspend the certificate of approval under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 140AC
    • the reason for the suspension.

The suspension of the certificate of approval remains in place until one of the following occurs:

  • the certificate of approval expires
  • the carer is issued with a blue card or exemption card, and the department ends the suspension of the certificate of approval
  • the certificate of approval is cancelled under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 140AG.

When the certificate of approval expires, the CSSC manager is to ensure:

  • that the carer is advised in writing
  • that the CSU is notified.

Should the carer subsequently be issued with a blue card or exemption card, the CSSC manager is to ensure that the carer is advised in writing that the suspension of their certificate of approval has ended, using the 'Letter advising end of suspension', created in ICMS.

The carer's suspended certificate of approval must be cancelled if Blue Card Services issues a negative prescribed notice or negative exemption notice and:

  • the carer does not apply for a review of the decision by Blue Card Services about the blue card or exemption card, or the review period has expired
  • the carer applies for a review of Blue Card Services decision and the decision is upheld.

The certificate of approval must be cancelled as soon as practicable and the CSSC manager is to notify the carer in writing using 'Letter of cancellation - prohibiting event - carer', created in ICMS.

A carer has no right of review regarding the decision to suspend or cancel the certificate of approval in these circumstances. The CSSC manager must ensure that the carer's status and the alert is updated in ICMS and that the CSU is notified.

Prohibiting event - adult household member

If the prohibiting event relates to an adult household member, the CSSC manager must suspend the carer's certificate of approval, unless the adult member has left or agrees to immediately leave the carer's household.

The CSSC manager however must not suspend or cancel a carer's certificate of approval if they are satisfied that the person is no longer a member of the carer's household and does not pose any risk to the safety of a child.

If the household member remains in the household, the CSSC manager must:

  • immediately suspend the carer's certificate of approval and provide written advice to the carer using the 'Letter of suspension - prohibiting event - adult household member', created in ICMS. The written advice is to inform the carer of:
  • the decision to suspend the certificate of approval under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 140AC
  • the reason for the suspension.

Where the adult member remains in the carer's household, the CSSC manager cannot cancel the carer's certificate of approval until:

  • the 28 days in which the adult household member is able to seek a review of Blue Card Services decision has expired, and they have not applied for a review
  • the outcome of the review is decided.

In these circumstances, the adult household member will be advised of their review rights by Blue Card Services, in relation to the decision to issue a negative prescribed notice or negative exemption notice.

If the adult household member is subsequently issued with a blue card or exemption card, the CSSC manager is to ensure that the carer is advised in writing that the suspension of their certificate of approval has ended using the 'Letter advising end of suspension', created in ICMS.

If the household member remains in the household and the period of review expires or the Blue Card Services decision is upheld, the CSSC manager will need to provide written advice to the carer using 'Letter of cancellation - prohibiting event - adult household member', created in ICMS. The written advice is to inform the carer:

  • of the decision to cancel their certificate of approval
  • that they may, within 28 days of receiving the notice, apply to QCAT to have the decision reviewed.

Following the period of review or if the decision by Child Safety is upheld, the CSSC manager must ensure that the CSU is notified of the decision.

Suspension or cancellation of a foster or kinship carer's certificate of approval - failure to apply for a blue card or exemption card, or renew a blue card

When a carer or adult household member fails to apply for a blue card or exemption card, or to renew their blue card, the carer's certificate of approval may be suspended or cancelled (Child Protection Act 1999, section 139(5)). In this situation, an assessment of the circumstances may be undertaken to inform the decision about whether to suspend the certificate of approval, to allow time for the carer or adult household member to apply for a blue card, exemption card or the renewal of their blue card.

Prior to any decision to suspend or cancel the certificate of approval, the carer must be provided with information about the proposed action (Child Protection Act 1999, section 140) and the CSSC manager is responsible for notifying the carer in writing using 'Letter to carer - show cause notice', created in ICMS.

A carer has review rights to QCAT about the decision by Child Safety to suspend or cancel the carer's certificate of approval on these grounds.

At the end of the 28 day show cause period, if the decision is to proceed with the suspension of the certificate of approval, the CSSC manager is to notify the carer in writing within 10 days of the decision, using 'Letter of suspension- failure to apply for a blue card or exemption card, or renew a blue card', created in ICMS.

If, within the 28 days, the carer or adult household member is subsequently issued with a blue card or exemption card, the CSSC manager is to ensure that the carer is advised in writing that the suspension of their certificate of approval has ended and their approval is reinstated, using 'Letter advising end of suspension', created in ICMS.

At the end of a 28 day show cause period, if the carer or adult household member has still not applied for a blue card, an exemption card or the renewal of their blue card, or has not left the carer's home, the CSSC manager must cancel the carer's certificate of approval. The CSSC manager must provide written advice to the carer within 10 days of the decision, using 'Letter of cancellation - failure to apply for a blue card or exemption card, or renew a blue card', created in ICMS, and ensure that the CSU is notified.

Record the suspension or cancellation in ICMS

Following the suspension or cancellation of a carer's certificate of approval, the CSSC manager is to ensure:

At the end of the suspension, update the carer's approval status in ICMS and where the certificate of approval is returned to the carer, close the alert and update the blue card or exemption card details. Where the certificate of approval is cancelled following the period of suspension, the alert remains in place.

Referral for an exit interview - cancellation of a certificate of approval

If the carer does not seek a review of the decision to have their certificate of approval cancelled within the required timeframe, or if they do seek a review of the decision and QCAT upholds Child Safety’s decision, notify QFKC of the end of the carer’s approval so that the former carer will be contacted and offered an exit interview by QFKC.

To refer the former carer for an exit interview, complete the ‘Advice to QFKC: End of carer approval’ form, created in ICMS, and fax email the form to QFKC.

The PSU is responsible for ensuring that QFKC receives written notification of all carers who have had their certificate of approval cancelled.

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11. What if a provisionally approved carer's certificate of approval requires amendment, suspension or cancellation?

Child Safety will consider the amendment, suspension or cancellation of a provisionally approved carer's certificate of approval in circumstances where the carer is not meeting legislative requirements under the Child Protection Act 1999.

Amendment (other than expiry date)

A provisionally approved carer's certificate of approval can be amended if:

  • the carer agrees to the amendment
  • the carer is not meeting the statement of standards or a condition of the certificate
  • the carer has contravened a provision of the Child Protection Act 1999
  • the certificate was issued because of a materially false or misleading representation or declaration, orally or in writing
  • further information has been obtained about the carer's application
  • it is considered necessary or desirable because of a circumstance prescribed under a regulation.

A certificate of approval for a provisionally approved carer cannot be amended to change the child for whom the carer is approved.

If the CSSC manager decides that an amendment is warranted and the provisionally approved carer has not applied for the amendment:

  • relevant Child Safety officers must meet with the provisionally approved carer to discuss the reason for the amendment and the process
  • the CSSC manager must provide written notice to the provisionally approved carer, stating:
    • the proposed amendment and the grounds for the amendment
    • the decision to amend a provisional certificate of approval is not a reviewable decision
  • the amendment of a provisional certificate of approval does not affect the carer's pending application for approval as a foster or kinship carer
  • a request that the provisionally approved carer delivers the original certificate of approval to the CSSC manager. The stated period in the written notice must be no less than two days after the notice is given (Child Protection Act 1999, section 141).

Following provision of the written notice:

  • issue a new 'Certificate of Approval - Provisionally approved carer' that incorporates the amendment and provides all of the details that were recorded on the original certificate, including any existing conditions
  • retain a copy of the new certificate of approval on the carer file.

If, at any stage of this process, the CSSC manager decides not to proceed with the amendment, they must provide written notice to the provisionally approved carer of their decision not to amend the certificate of approval.

Suspension or cancellation

A provisionally approved carer's certificate of approval will be suspended or cancelled if:

  • the outcome of criminal checks conducted by the QPS indicate that the carer or adult household member is not a suitable person (including circumstances where approval was granted by the regional director prior to the outcome of personal history checks)
  • the CSU determines that a carer or adult household member, based on the outcome of criminal checks conducted by the QPS, is not a suitable person (including circumstances where approval was granted by the regional director prior to the outcome of personal history checks)
  • the carer is not a suitable person to be a provisionally approved carer for the child to whom the approval relates
  • an adult household member is not a suitable person to associate on a daily basis with the child to whom the approval relates
  • the application for approval as a foster carer or kinship carer has been refused
  • the carer or other adult household member is issued with a negative prescribed notice or negative exemption notice, an application for a blue card or exemption card is withdrawn, or a current blue card or exemption card is suspended or cancelled.

If the CSSC manager decides to suspend or cancel a certificate of approval as a provisionally approved carer:

relevant Child Safety officers must meet with the carer to discuss the reason for the suspension or cancellation

  • the CSSC manager must provide the provisionally approved carer with written notice, using 'Letter of suspension/cancellation (PAC)', created in ICMS, and include:
  • the reasons for the decision to suspend or cancel the certificate of approval
  • that the suspension or cancellation, in and of itself, does not affect the carer's application for approval as a foster or kinship carer
  • that there is no right to seek review by QCAT
  • that the provisional certificate of approval must be returned to the CSSC manager. The stated period in the written notice must be not less than two days after the notice is given (Child Protection Act 1999, section 141).

The CSSC manager must ensure that written advice of the decision is forwarded to the CSU manager.

The former carer will not be referred to QFKC at this stage, for an exit interview, as their substantive application is still to be assessed and decided.

A provisionally approved carer has no right to seek a review by QCAT, of Child Safety decision to amend, suspend or cancel their certificate of approval or to remove a child from their care. The provisional certificate of approval is a temporary certificate and the holder retains their right of appeal to QCAT if the holder's application to be a foster or kinship carer for a child is refused.

Record the suspension or cancellation in ICMS

Following the suspension or cancellation of a carer's certificate of approval, the CSSC manager is to ensure:

At the end of the suspension, update the carer's approval status in ICMS and where the certificate of approval is returned to the carer, close the alert. Where the certificate of approval is cancelled following the period of suspension, the alert remains in place.

When the substantive application to become a foster or kinship carer is decided close the alert, or change the nature of the alert if the application is refused.

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12. What if a spousal relationship ends during the renewal of approval for the carer couple and only one carer wishes to continue as a carer?

Where a carer couple separate whilst a joint renewal application is in progress and the following circumstances apply:

  • the expiry date of their previous certificate would have otherwise lapsed had the renewal application not been properly made prior to its expiry and
  • only one carer wishes to continue caring.

The carers’ joint renewal application is no longer valid due to the carers’ separation. To obtain approval for the carer who wishes to continue as a carer:

  • ensure the carer submits an initial application as a carer
  • progress urgent provisional approval of the carer to enable the placement of any children to continue, where applicable
  • progress the initial application in accordance with the usual assessment process, however, the carer will not need to repeat mandatory training that had previously been completed as a requirement for their approval as a carer
  • leave the joint renewal EOI/application open in ICMS until the carer is granted provisional approval and withdraw the renewal EOI/application once the carer is provisionally approved.

The approval decision for the carer will include an assessment of how the new circumstances of the applicant will impact on any children in their care. The assessment should not require the gathering of completely new initial assessment information as previously gathered assessment information should be used to inform the new approval decision.

If the application is approved:

  • issue the carer with a new initial certificate of approval
  • complete a new 'Foster Carer Agreement', where applicable
  • review the placement agreement for any child in the care of the carer, where applicable.

Where both individuals wish to continue caring as individual carers, refer to 2. What if there is a change in carer circumstances?

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