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Newsletter - 5 June 2020

COVID-19

With the easing of restrictions, 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.

To answer questions you may have, we have developed a COVID-19 FAQ. 

Fact sheets and revised family brochure

Ten new fact sheets have been published on our website, including a revised Information for Families fact sheet. (PDF 312KB) This new fact sheet replaces the former ‘Information for Families’ brochure and can be provided to families to help them understand the legislative requirements of voluntary out-of-home care and the data that is collected about their children. These have been developed to explain the roles and responsibilities in relation to voluntary out-of-home care, to help agencies better understand the registration and monitoring requirements and to assist agencies to achieve compliance.

The fact sheets on our website include: 

  • Children’s Guardian Act 2019
  • What is Voluntary out-of-home care?
  • Supervision
  • Case planning
  • Guidance on Information Exchange
  • Information for families - NSW voluntary out-of-home care
  • Policy self-assessment for providing agencies
  • Policy self-assessment for arranging agencies
  • Onsite monitoring process
  • Onsite monitoring checklist

VOOHC Register reporting

The monitoring team routinely runs reports to check the accuracy and timeliness of placement data entered on the VOOHC Register.

One of these reports is the ‘duplicate placement report’.

This is used to identify potential duplicate children that may have been entered onto the register. This report is run weekly and matches the first name, middle name, last name and date of birth of children, highlighting where there is a matched duplicate entry.

The monitoring team notifies all agencies who made the possible duplicate entry to determine if or where the data entry error has occurred. This notification happens by email. Each agency must respond by return email. Agencies must advise if the match is a duplicate entry or if the entries are different children or twins.

The team runs this report because the consequences of duplicate entries on the register are serious and will result in inaccurate placement history for that child. This can mean that supervision and case plan requirements are not met as required by sections 5 and 6 of the Statutory Procedures Voluntary Out-of-home Care in NSW. (PDF 1MB)

In the last 12 months, the number of potential duplicates on the register has been a concern. There has been a total of 63 duplicate children identified, entered by some 54 agencies. To resolve these, the monitoring team has sent 119 email flags to agencies to clarify details and ensure data accuracy.

How to avoid duplicate entries

When entering a child or young person on the register, ensure that you search their first, middle and last name and date of birth using the Placement History Function. This will highlight if any existing record that is on the register and will list their placements over the last 12 months. If there is no record and the child or young person is being entered for the first time, ensure that you have all the necessary details to add to the register, this includes:

  • First name
  • Middle name
  • Last name
  • Date of birth
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status
  • Disability status
  • Place of birth (suburb or city and country)

This information should be collected as part of your agency’s intake and assessment procedures and all details are required to be entered onto the register. In addition, the register is case sensitive, you must ensure that the first letter of all name fields is entered with the correct capitals. If the child does not have a middle name, simply leave blank, do not enter a middle name as “Unknown”.

If you realise that you have entered the details incorrectly, or discover that the child has a middle name that you have not previously entered on the Register, or require an amendment, you must immediately notify the monitoring team by email at VOOHC@ocg.nsw.gov.au. The VOOHC Monitoring team will make the amendment for your agency and will advise accordingly.

VOOHC Register statistics

Each quarter the monitoring team collates and reports key statistics on the information that voluntary out-of-home care agencies have entered on to the VOOHC Register. The information captured includes the:

  • number of registered agencies
  • number of children and young people accessing VOOHC with and without a disability
  • number of VOOHC placements with or without supervision or case plan.

You can find it on our key statistics web page. 

NSW Reportable Conduct Scheme

Training webinar

Thank you to those who registered and participated in the webinars run by the Office of the Children’s Guardian in May 2020.

Three webinars were held via GoTo Meeting. A total of 186 people registered with 144 people participating, representing 78 agencies.

The webinar provided an introduction to the Children’s Guardian Act 2019, information about the transfer of the Reportable Conduct scheme from the NSW Ombudsman to the Office of the Children’s Guardian, and the associated changes and implications for VOOHC agencies.

There is a training video for you to learn about the NSW Reportable Conduct Scheme and other changes under the Children's Guardian Act 2019, that came into force on 1 March 2020. If you missed out on the webinar or would like to re-visit the content, we encourage you to watch the training video on our webinars and training page.

Reporting - Important Information

It is important to note that the NSW Reportable Conduct Scheme is a separate scheme to the Commonwealth NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission’s Reportable Incidents Scheme.

When an allegation involves an employee’s conduct and a child under 18 years of age, you may need to report such allegations to both the Office of the Children’s Guardian and the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission. Making a notification of a reportable incident to the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission does not negate the need to report to the Office of the Children’s Guardian, and vice versa.

For more information about the Children’s Guardian Act 2019, please refer to the Children’s Guardian Act 2019 fact sheet. (PDF 235.6KB)

If you have any questions about the Reportable Conduct Scheme, please call the Reportable Conduct team on (02) 8219 3800 or at reportableconduct@ocg.nsw.gov.au for all other enquiries, please call the VOOHC Monitoring team on (02) 8219 3798 or at voohc@ocg.nsw.gov.au