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Accreditation and monitoring e-newsletter – July 2020

Response to the Family is Culture Review

Over recent months the Office of the Children's Guardian has been carefully reviewing the findings and recommendations of the Family is Culture Independent Review into Aboriginal OOHC in NSW and we have now released our response.

The review provides important insights into how the child protection and OOHC system can better meet the needs of Aboriginal children and young people. The review also identifies areas where we can improve how we communicate the work that we do and the decisions we make.

Over the next 12 months, we will be implementing recommendations arising from the Family is Culture Independent Review of Aboriginal OOHC in NSW and from the Office of the Children's Guardian Response 

Aboriginal children and young people continue to be over-represented in the NSW OOHC system and the review provides rich learnings to improve the experiences of Aboriginal children and young people who come into contact with the child protection and OOHC system.

Beginning in August 2020, we will undertake a review of the NSW Child Safe Standards for Permanent Care. The review of the standards will focus on implementing recommendations of the Family is Culture review and will particularly focus on practices that promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of Aboriginal children and young people in OOHC.

The review of the standards will also implement recommendations arising from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, specifically the 10 Child Safe Standards in child-related organisations.

Residential Care Worker Register and Children’s Guardian Regulation

The Office of the Children's Guardian continues to implement other recommendations of the Royal Commission, including the development of a Residential Care Worker Register.

To develop this register, a working group of representatives from the sector, other key stakeholders and the Registration Systems Team has been supporting its preparation and development over the past two years.

The functionality of the register is reflective of the consultation and hard work of the working group.  Internal testing will continue over the coming months and the working group will be invited to view and test prior to the register being launched with the sector more broadly. 

The Children’s Guardian Regulation, which is being drafted, is required to allow us to operate the Residential Care Worker Register.

The regulation is nearing the final drafting stages.  The regulation will detail information regarding who and what is to be captured on the new register and the requirements for the sector more broadly. 

Formal consultation on the draft Regulation will occur in the coming months and this will be open to all designated agencies for comment.

Supporting information will also be provided to ensure that contextual detail is available for those who have not been involved as closely as the Working Group members.

In parallel with the Regulation consultation, we will continue developing guidance material to communicate the more detailed requirements of the register and expectations of agencies in using the register.

As the introduction of the register approaches, training and operational guidance material will be published on our website available to support agencies in using the new register.

In the meantime, any questions or concerns can be raised with the Registration Systems Team at residential-register@ocg.nsw.gov.au

New Carers Register training material

The Registration Systems Team has also developed a Carers Register Training Video Presentation comprising an overview of the Carers Register including key concepts and data requirements and screen recordings of various Carers Register functions. It is particularly relevant for staff new to using the Carers Register. The presentation is available on request to carers-register@ocg.nsw.gov.au

Also available on the OCG website are 11 training modules designed for self-paced learning.

Online portal for OOHC and adoption service providers

We have been developing a new Accreditation and Monitoring portal through which accredited agencies will be able to lodge notifications and applications and update agency details.

The new portal is now complete and we will soon be in contact with all agency Principal Officers to seek from you nomination of a person in your agency who is best suited to be your agency’s Primary Administrator for the new portal.

We will also be providing more detailed information and resources about how your agency will access the portal.

The portal will become the place where agencies:

  1. lodge applications for accreditation renewal
  2. update the program details of your agency’s statutory out-of-home care and adoption services
  3. update the public information about your agency that appears on the Office of the Children’s Guardian’s website
  4. update details of your agency’s primary contact people including the Principal Officer, Signatory and Head of Relevant Entity
  5. lodge notifications including:
    1. first placement or commence adoption service if your agency is provisionally accredited
    2. placements and transition plans for children and young people in non-home based emergency care
    3. placements of children under 12 years of age in residential care
    4. death of a child or young person in care.

Thank you to our frontline workers

Everyone at the Office of the Children's Guardian acknowledges the hard work of all frontline workers who have continued to support children and young people, their families and carers during the pandemic. The importance of the work that you do should not be underestimated. It has been an incredibly challenging time and the sector has responded with calm confidence and leadership.

As always, to ask a question or make any suggestions please email us at accreditation@ocg.nsw.gov.au.