2. Monitor the standards of care

Children who have been removed from their family due to an assessment that they are in need of protection, have a right to expect that Chid Safety will improve their lives and provide for their safety, belonging and well-being.

The statement of standards (Child Protection Act 1999, section 122) sets out the standards by which children in care are to be cared for. These standards apply to all placements made under the authority of the Child Protection Act 1999, section 82(1). They reflect the reasonable and widely held expectations that a child in the care of the state should have their needs met in an accountable way. For further information, refer to the Standards of care (PDF, 40 KB) resource.

2.1 Develop a teamwork approach

Providing quality care to a child requires a coordinated approach to the provision of services, due to the number of professionals and services that can be involved in responding to a child’s assessed needs. A care team approach promotes service delivery cohesion and enables key stakeholders to have shared objectives, and work together to ensure that a child’s needs are identified, planned for and met.

The child’s care team is comprised of a range of different services and professionals and will change over time, as work with the child is commenced and completed. The primary purpose of the care team is to develop and implement the child’s case plan. The care team will comprise of:

  • the carer, or direct care staff from the care service, who have an integral role due to their day-to-day care of the child
  • the CSO with case responsibility, who leads the implementation of the child’s case plan to address the child’s protection and care needs
  • the support worker from the foster and kinship care service, who provides support and training to the carer
  • the co-ordinator or manager of the care service, who is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the service and overseeing the care provided to the child
  • agencies or individuals, such as the Evolve Interagency Services worker or therapeutic or specialist support workers, who are engaged with the child and their care environment, to respond to the child’s identified needs
  • other professionals, family members may also be included, depending on the case plan goal and outcomes, and their role in meeting the child’s needs
  • other professionals
  • family members may also be included, depending on the case plan goals, and their role in meeting the child’s needs.

Collaborative and respectful working relationships between care team members are critical for the provision of quality care. Regular contact between members of the care team is required to facilitate the exchange of information and build co-operation and respect amongst care team members, and to keep members informed about changes that are occurring, and the progress of the child in the placement. For information about the role of the care team in an intensive foster care program, refer to the Intensive foster care program description (PDF)

Care team members may also be part of a child’s safety and support network, working collaboratively with others to respond to the child’s ongoing safety and support needs.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Child Safety is responsible and committed to making all decisions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in active collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and their community.

Child Safety will, in consultation and with the consent of the child and their family, arrange an independent person to facilitate the child and family’s participation in decision-making processes for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child:

  •  when making a significant decision
  •  when deciding where and with whom a child will live, when the child is subject to a child protection care agreement or an order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive.

For further information refer to 10.1 Decision-making regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

2.2 Actively monitor the standards of care

Monitoring the standards of care requires the regular gathering and assessing of information about any changes in the care environment that may impact on the provision of care to the child. It requires the care team to observe and check the progress of the placement and the quality of the care environment, and to respond early to any emerging issues or concerns in order to prevent day-to-day issues escalating into concerns that result in a standards of care review or harm report.

Monitoring the standards of care is a shared responsibility carried by the Child Safety in conjunction with foster and kinship care services and care services. These services have entered into funding and service agreements with Child Safety and must comply with all relevant legislative requirements relating to care, specifically the provision of care that is consistent with the Standards of care (PDF, 40 KB) and the Charter of rights for a child in care.

It is the role of the CSO with case responsibility to oversee the quality of the care provided to the child, as part of their regular contact with the child in the care environment. This will occur:

  • during home visits and office contacts with the child or the carer, or when visiting the care service
  • when completing and reviewing the case plan and placement agreement for the child
  • when contributing information to the foster and kinship care service or the PSU, to inform a review of the foster care agreement
  • through the implementation and review of actions arising from a standards of care review or an investigation and assessment following a harm report
  • upon receipt of incident reports by the carer or care service
  • when contributing information to inform regulation of care processes for carers and care services.

The monitoring of the standards of care will continue for the duration of a child’s placement. The CSO, as one member of the child’s care team, is responsible for recording information about issues that arise in the child’s care environment that require a case work response, but are not specifically about the legislated standards of care. These might be identified by the CSO or by another member of the child’s care team, and will generally be recorded as a case note in the ‘placement’ event in ICMS.

Where case work issues indicate the need for the carer’s support and learning needs to be more thoroughly addressed and supported as part of the next review of the foster carer agreement, placement agreement for the child or the carer’s next renewal of approval assessment, record this information in the carer’s ‘Monitor and Support’ screen in ICMS. For a care service, record this information as a ‘document and communication’ in the care service record in ICMS.

Monitoring by other work units and external agencies

In addition to the responsibilities of the care team, other Child Safety work units and external services carry a monitoring function and can provide information that will inform discussions and decisions about the quality of care provided by carers and care services, such as:

  • Child Safety Licensing, who are responsible for the licensing of organisations providing care 
  • the regional team responsible for funding and contract management, that has specific responsibilities for care services, where they conduct site visits and oversee a monitoring plan
  • Office of the Public Guardian community visitors, who visit and engage with children in care. Their role is to monitor, advocate and ensure the promotion and protection of the rights, interests and well-being of children.