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Leaving Care Monitoring Program and Report 2020 (COVID-19)

Updated information for designated agencies including frequently asked questions

The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) is currently undertaking a monitoring program of statutory out-of-home care leavers that turned 18 (born in 2002) and left care in 2020 for both non-government organisations (NGOs) and NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) designated agencies. This review forms part of our monitoring function. The scope of this review includes monitoring with a focus on leaving care planning for individual young people and overall agency practice.

What correspondence has been issued by the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian to Principal Officers regarding the Leaving Care Monitoring Program?

This advice should be read in conjunction with the previously issued correspondence listed below:

  • 3 June 2020: Letter informing designated agencies of the monitoring program
  • 16 June 2020 (Separate letter for DCJ and NGO Principal Officers): Follow up letter advising specifics of the monitoring program and requesting specific information from NGOs
  • 24 June 2020 (NGO Principal Officers only): Email requesting that any sensitive data required for the monitoring program be provided to the OCG using an enterprise content firewall (Accellion or similar)
  • 14 August 2020: Information (including frequently asked questions) on our fact sheet page (separate FAQ sheet for NGO and DCJ Principal Officers)

What is the scope and timeframes for the Leaving Care Monitoring Program?

The Leaving Care Monitoring Program is a big undertaking across the sector, encompassing approximately 50 NGO and 18 DCJ designated agencies. DCJ provided lists to the OCG at the start of the monitoring program for young people case managed by DCJ and NGOs turning 18 (born in 2002) and leaving care between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 (with a focus on key groups and placement types as identified in previous correspondence).

An initial review has been completed for the young people in statutory out-of-home care on these lists. This review identified if young people were part of the target groups and placement types (as identified in previous correspondence listed above) to inform the more detailed reviews. The initial review also identifies if young people have key leaving care requirements in place. NGOs also provided lists directly to the OCG that also contained young people in statutory out-of-home turning 18 (born in 2002) that left care between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020 under their case management.    

The monitoring program reviews direct evidence. A sample of records of young people for more detailed review has been allocated across the sector. Assessors from the monitoring program team have contacted NGOs as they are ready to commence the detailed reviews and will continue to schedule detailed reviews with NGOs until 31 March 2021. For the sample records of young people allocated for DCJ designated agencies, assessors have access to ChildStory to complete this work. Concerns identified for young people are raised with the agency when required for follow up.

The completion of this section of the monitoring program has taken longer than originally planned and the completion date has been extended until 31 March 2021. It may not be possible to review a sample from all NGOs across the sector within the timeframe. NGOs will be notified towards the end of the review if they were not included in the schedule for detailed reviews. Regular accreditation and monitoring processes review individual agency practice, the Leaving Care Monitoring Program is also looking at sector systemic issues. These NGOs will still benefit from the findings and recommendations of the final sector-wide report.

What happens when the OCG has finished reviewing designated agency records on 31 March 2021?

Given the extension to the timeframes for the review and the large number of designated agencies across the sector, consideration (based on the information obtained during the monitoring program) will be given as to whether individual designated agencies require a written monitoring report after the assessment phase of the monitoring program is finalised (31 March 2021). Some agencies may not require a written monitoring report.

Following the finalisation of the collation of the data from the detailed reviews, and after written feedback is provided to individual agencies (if required), the monitoring program will culminate in a final report that identifies sector systemic issues (non-identifying), with a view to further collaboration with the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) and NSW Child, Family and Community Peak Aboriginal Corporation (AbSec) to support the sector to improve practice in this very important area.

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to care leavers and young people eligible to access aftercare assistance, particularly during COVID-19. If you have any questions or require further information, please email the monitoring program team at oohcmonitoring@kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au 

If you would like to speak directly with a staff member working on this monitoring program, please send an email and a member of the team will return your call.

Note: This advice is current on 9 February 2021 and may be updated over time.