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Newsletter - 15 October

Updated Statutory Procedures and Registration and Monitoring Guide

Due to significant changes within the voluntary out-of-home care (VOOHC) sector, including the introduction of the Children’s Guardian Act 2019, we have updated the Statutory Procedures and the Registration and Monitoring Guide to reflect these changes.

Changes to the documents include:

  • The transfer of the reportable conduct scheme from the NSW Ombudsman to the OCG
  • The term ‘young person’ has been removed from the document
  • Inclusion of the Child Safe Standards Guide
  • An update to the Behaviour Support and Reportable Incidents sections to acknowledge the establishment of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

A copy of the revised Statutory Procedures and Registration and Monitoring Guide have been emailed to the Principal Officers. You can also find them on our website. 

If you have any questions about the changes, or about the role of the Procedures and Regulation and Monitoring Guide, please do not hesitate to contact the VOOHC Monitoring Team on (02) 8219 3798 or at voohc@ocg.nsw.gov.au

A guide to the Child Safe Standards

The 10 Child Safe Standards came as a response from recommendations by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Royal Commission highlighted that organisations were failing to protect children in their care from abuse. The Standards, accepted by NSW Government, provide a framework for making organisations safer for children.

The Child Safe Standards

  1. Child safety is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture
  2. Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
  3. Families and communities are informed and involved
  4. Equity is upheld, and diverse needs are taken into account
  5. People working with children are suitable and supported
  6. Processes to respond to complaints of child abuse are child focused
  7. Staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training
  8. Physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur
  9. Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is continuously reviewed and improved
  10. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is child safe

A Guide to the Child Safe Standards (PDF 7.5MB) has been developed and released to support all organisations working with children to create, maintain and improve their child safe practices. It explains the rationale behind each Standard and provides guidance on how your organisation can do to implement the Standards and measure success. We encourage you to refer to the Guide to critically reflect on your agency’s child safe practices in your unique work environments and how these align with the Child Safe Standards.

Introduction to Child Safe Standards Webinar for VOOHC agencies

The Child Safe Team in collaboration with the VOOHC Monitoring Team will be hosting a webinar to support VOOHC agencies in implementing the Child Safe Standards. There will be two sessions held which will:

  • provide an overview of the Child Safe Standards
  • briefly discuss how the standards overlap with existing Statutory Procedures for Voluntary Out of Home Care and other relevant regulatory and practice standards
  • prompt voluntary out-of-home care providers to start thinking about potential gaps in their organisational culture and safety around children.

To register, please select the time and date that best works for you and select the appropriate link:

Find out more about training and resources for child safe organisations.

VOOHC provider List

We have updated our Find a service provider near you page to make it more accessible for agencies and parents who are looking for a registered provider.

Registered and Designated agencies are now listed on the one page. You can also filter the list of providers in a particular geographical area by selecting the DCJ districts on the right side of the page.

You can also find list of Formerly registered providers on our website.

Agency surveys

The VOOHC Monitoring Team would like to thank the agencies that completed a survey during May – June 2020. The VOOHC Monitoring team found that there was a gap in current and accurate information from agencies that may have limited contact with OCG. The survey was developed to collect information about key contacts, VOOHC program, location and area of service to confirm and update our records. It is important that the information published on the OCG website is accurate and up to date for families and service providers. VOOHC agencies must notify the OCG within one business day of VOOHC Coordinator or Principal Officer changes, phone number changes, email address changes or business addresses changes. Registered agencies are required to provide information about changes in writing, as per Schedule 4 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Regulation 2012 (7).

Please check our service provider list to ensure that the details for your agency are correct.

The Quarterly Activity Report (QAR):

QAR provides information about an agency’s compliance with the VOOHC Register and the Statutory Procedures. Agencies are encouraged to use the QAR to self-monitor in order to identify areas requiring improvement. If there are discrepancies between the QAR and your agency’s records, please notify the VOOHC Monitoring Team. From the quarterly data, the VOOHC Monitoring Team captures key statistics for publication, such as:

  • number of placements
  • number of children and young people accessing VOOHC with and without a disability
  • number of VOOHC placement with or without supervision or case plan
  • compare statistics from financial year 2019-20 to 2018-19.

You can find the data for the April – June 2020 quarter on our key statistics page. The next QAR will be for the July – September quarter.

CREATE's Child-Centered Complaints Handling: Best Practices Guide

The CREATE Foundation is the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience. They have developed a new resource for Child-Centred Complaints Handling: A Best Practice Guide to support organisations to ensure that children and young people’s voices are heard and that they know how to make a complaint. The Complaints Best Practice Guide is available here – this resource can be used by sector workers in a variety of capacities. We encourage you to read, share and consider adopting these practices within your work.

DCJ has launched ‘enAble RPA’

enAble RPA is an enabling tool. It has been designed to empower and support the NSW disability sector to recognise and appropriately respond to restrictive practices. Through using this tool, you will learn more about restrictive practices and how they are regulated in NSW, including when a practice needs to be authorised before it can be used.

You will also learn about better ways to support the person to minimise and eliminate the use of restrictive practices. enAble RPA also supports you to identify the use of a restrictive practice and plan and prepare for the support of a person who may use behaviours of concern.

Access to enAble RPA is via the link: enAble RPA. No login is required, and access is free. enAble RPA can be used on mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads. A save function and a print function are also a feature of the tool. enAble does not record any identifying information about the user or their associated interest areas in the tool.

enAble RPA is for everyone, people with disability, service providers, support staff, families, employers, RPA Panel members and policy staff.

COVID-19

With the continuing of restrictions within NSW, we understand that there are still many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to be committed to supporting voluntary out-of-home care service providers to respond to this health crisis and ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people.

Please contact the VOOHC team if you have any inquires at: voohc@ocg.nsw.gov.au 

We encourage you to contact the VOOHC Monitoring Team if you are aware of an agency that is providing or arranging VOOHC and are not registered with the OCG to do so. A list of registered VOOHC agencies can be found on our Find a service provider near you page.