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Newsletter - September 2021

VOOHC Compliance

All agencies that provide, arrange or supervise voluntary out-of-home care (VOOHC) must comply with the Statutory Procedures: VOOHC in NSW (the Procedures) as per Condition 1 in the Notice of Conditions of VOOHC Registration. The Procedures establish a common framework for intake and assessment, supervision, case planning and interagency coordination.

Agencies must have policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance against the Procedures. Evidence of compliance needs to be documented, and the Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) may request to see this evidence as part of compliance monitoring.

Advertising VOOHC

The VOOHC Monitoring Team encourages all agencies to review their websites and promotional material to ensure content is in line with the intent of the Procedures (see Section 3.5).

VOOHC is an arrangement between a parent and an organisation to provide overnight care to a person under the age of 18 outside the usual home. VOOHC arrangements can take many forms, such as host family respite, centre-based respite, or long term care arrangements. It is therefore a description of a particular out-of-home care arrangement, and not a program or service.

In accordance with section 3.5 of the Procedures, children must not be placed in VOOHC if appropriate services can be provided to enable them to remain with their families. Short-term occasional respite is recognised as a service that promotes children remaining with their families. The Procedures should not operate to limit the access of children to much needed respite services. Agencies must ensure that children are not placed in VOOHC if adequate services can be provided to enable them to remain with their families. Agencies should not be actively encouraging families to access VOOHC as an accommodation option or promoting VOOHC as an actual service.

If you have any question about your agency’s advertising materials, please contact the VOOHC Monitoring Team to discuss.

VOOHC Register trouble shooting

When logging in to the VOOHC Register ensure you select the select blue LOGIN WITH ONE GOV, not the red one.

loginwithonegov

Log in with your agency’s user ID which is a number starting with 1-####, not with your email address.

If this does not work, then try the “I forgot my password” option to reset your password (still using the 1-#### as the user name and not your email address). An email will be sent your agency’s nominated email address. If you do not receive this, please email the VOOHC Monitoring Team at voohc@ocg.nsw.gov.au and advise what steps you have tried.

NSW Reportable Conduct Scheme and Webinars for VOOHC agencies

The Reportable Conduct Scheme is now administered by the OCG. Therefore, it is now operated under the Children’s Guardian Act 2019 which came into force on 1of March 2020. An overview of key changes is on our Key changes in the new Act page.

Sign up for one of the OCG’s free online webinar sessions to better your understanding of how the NSW Reportable Conduct Scheme relates to your sector. Sector-specific data and case study insights, best practice guidance and a question time.

Are you employed by a VOOHC agency? Are you contracted or volunteering with a VOOHC agency in a child-related role? If you answered yes to this question, you fall under the NSW Reportable Conduct Scheme. What is reportable conduct? How does it relate to your role? What kind of reportable allegations are more common in the VOOHC sector? What have we learned about risk in the VOOHC sector? How can the VOOHC sector strengthen its reportable conduct investigations and child safe practices? Find out the answers to these questions and more, by joining the Director of the Reportable Conduct Scheme and senior reportable conduct staff for a webinar tailored for the VOOHC sector.

The VOOHC webinar is 9:30am – 12:30pm on 12 October 2021.  Participants can submit questions they would like answered during the webinar.

You can register via Eventbrite.

Child Safe and Reportable Conduct training resources

The OCG is proud to offer free access to child safe training sessions and resources for individuals who work or volunteer in child-related organisations. It is highly encouraged to review the Introduction to the Child Safe Standards for the VOOHC sector and reporting obligations webinars.

Resources include:

  • Responding to Reportable Allegations (modules 1–6 now available)
  • Child Safe eLearning - Keeping children safe in organisations
  • SAFESpace eLearning - Keeping children safe in organisations in the disability sector

You can find the eLearning and other resources on our website.

COVID-19 Working with Children Checks extended for three months

The Children’s Guardian has extended all Working with Children Check clearances due to expire between 27 September 2021 and 26 January 2022 for three months. The three-month period applies from the date of the person’s current expiry date. People who are granted an extension will be advised by email and the system will be automatically updated. Employers should update their records to indicate the change in their employee’s expiry date. More information about this extension of clearances is available in the related news story.

Working with Children Check: Proof of ID for interstate members of governing bodies

From 30 July 2021, members of governing bodies of designated agencies, registered agencies and accredited adoption service providers who reside interstate will not need to personally attend Service NSW or a motor registry to have their identity verified for a Working With Children Check. Instead, the Children’s Guardian can approve the form in which identity documents can be provided.

This has been an issue particularly for national organisations where directors are not able to travel to NSW due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • If your agency has members of its governing body who reside interstate and are due to apply for a Working With Children Check, they can complete the steps outlined on our website.
  • The steps include completing a Working with Children Check online application and then completing a Proof of Identity form.   
  • The head of your agency should forward the Proof of Identity form to the Office of the Children's Guardian at voohc@ocg.nsw.gov.au
  • Information about providing identity documents for interstate members of governing bodies is available on our website page here.

Questions?

If you have any questions about proof of ID for interstate members of your governing body, please contact our Working with Children Check Customer Service team check@ocg.nsw.gov.au or during business hours you can also use the chat function from any of our web pages.

TIP: The chat function is a fast and easy way to get answers, it looks like this:

green chat box

NDIS Commission behaviour support guide for children

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has released a new resource - Regulated restrictive practices with children and young people with a disability: Practice guide. This guide and the associated decision trees focus on the use of regulated restrictive practices (RRP) with children and young people aged under 18 years who are participants of the NDIS. The resource aims to 

  • Promote rights of children and young people with a disability
  • Identify special considerations and relevant safeguards
  • Assist NDIS providers to meet their obligations under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and relevant Rules
  • Provide practice advice consistent with contemporary evidence and a positive behaviour support framework
  • Address the questions most frequently asked by families and NDIS providers.

All VOOHC agencies must continue to comply with the behaviour support requirements outlined in section 3.10 of the Procedures.

Children’s right to participation in practice

The Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) is an independent, Australian non-government organisation committed to advancing human rights. It has created a webinar series on child rights, including one on child participation. A recording of this webinar is available here on the DTP YouTube channel. You can view the other recordings from the DTP child rights series here at the Convention on the Rights of the Child Webinar Series playlist

New domain name for the OCG

You may have noticed a recent change to the OCG’s website and our email domain name from ‘kidsguardian’ to ‘ocg’. This means:

  • our email addresses have changed from @kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au to @ocg.nsw.gov.au and,
  • our website has changed to www.ocg.nsw.gov.au

There will be redirects in place for some time, however we would appreciate if you would update your records to our new domain name.

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 agencies to respond to this health crisis and ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people.

Please contact the VOOHC Monitoring 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 the VOOHC webpage.