9. Standards of care

Purpose

This procedure outlines the legislative responsibility of Child Safety to children who are subject to the custody or guardianship of the chief executive and are placed in care under the authority of the Child Protection Act 1999 section 82(1), to ensure that they receive a level of care that is consistent with the standards of care outlined in the statement of standards (Child Protection Act 1999, section 122).

When a child is in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive and placed in care, Child Safety will work with members of the child’s care team, who share the responsibility to proactively monitor the placement and provide effective supports to the carer or care service.

When it is indicated that the standards of care may not have been met for a child, or where the child has experienced harm or it is suspected that they have experienced harm, Child Safety has a responsibility to work collaboratively with the child’s care team to ensure that the child is safe from harm, and that appropriate actions are taken to resolve the identified concerns.

These procedures do not apply to a child who:

  • resides in the care environment but is not placed in care
  • is in the custody of a relative under a short term child protection order
  • has a long-term guardian or permanent guardian.

Note: Throughout this chapter:

  • the term ‘carer’ will be used when referring to foster carers, kinship carers and provisionally approved carers
  • the term ‘foster and kinship care service’ refers to placement services, including intensive foster carer services, whose function includes monitoring and supporting carers
  • the term ‘care service’ will be used when referring to non-family based care services, such as residential care services, safe houses, placements with another entity and semi-independent living services
  • the term ‘care team’ will be used when referring specifically to the carer or care staff, the agency supporting the carer or care staff, those providing direct care, and the Child Safety Officer. These individuals may also be part of the child or young person’s safety and support network.

 Key steps

  1. Provide support to carers
  2. Monitor the standards of care
  3. Decide the appropriate response when concerns are identified
  4. Continue monitoring the standards of care
  5. Conduct a standards of care review - carers
  6. Conduct a standards of care review - care services
  7. Investigate and assess a harm report
  8. Action plans

What ifs - responding to specific quality of care issues

Standards

  1. Placements are regularly monitored to ensure that the level of care provided is consistent with the legislated standards of care.
  2. Carers and care services are provided with the level of support required to enable them to provide care that meet the standards of care.
  3. The CSO and the foster and kinship care service or care service will exchange information about the standards of care provided to the child.
  4. Standards of care responses are commenced and finalised within the required timeframe.
  5. Investigations and assessments arising from reports of harm to a child are commenced and finalised within the required timeframe.
  6. Actions arising from standards of care reviews or harm reports in relation to carers will be documented in the placement agreement for the child and where applicable, in the foster carer agreement for a foster carer, or in an action plan with a care service.

Practice skills (Key areas for reflection)

  • Have I responded to the child’s safety and support needs within the placement?
  • Have I listened to, and worked with, the carer to identify their training support and needs?
  • Have I worked proactively as part of the care team to monitor the standards of care and address issues as they arise, to prevent them escalating?
  • Have I adopted a holistic and consultative approach to the gathering of additional contextual information about the child and their care environment, to ensure that the response decision is proportionate to the seriousness of the concerns?
  • Have I actively engaged with the subject child and carer or care service in a way that enables their meaningful participation in the process?
  • Have I undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the concerns, working in collaboration with other members of the care team to ensure the safety and well-being of the child?

Authority