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Permanency Support Program
Providing children and young people with safe and permanent outcomes to reach their potential is central to the work of FACS and the non-government agencies that provide permanency support services.
The objectives of the Permanency Support Program are to:
- maintain children and young people at home, minimising entries and re-entries into care
- find permanent homes for children and young people currently in care by increasing the number of children and young people either being restored to their family, moving into guardianship arrangements, or being adopted
- address the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the care system through developing and maintaining connections with family and kin, community, language, culture and country
- invest in higher quality support and provide more targeted and therapeutic support to address individual needs.
More information on the Permanency Support Program and what it funds can be found in the Permanency Support (OOHC) Program Description.
Appendices to the Program Description are detailed below:
Family Preservation and Restoration
The delivery of Family Preservation and Restoration services are a key component of the Permanency Support Program. Further information on Family Preservation and Restoration Services can be found here.
When a child or young person cannot return to the care of their parents, and a guardianship order is not appropriate, open adoption should be considered. Although legislation does allow for the adoption of Aboriginal children, as the last option within the permanent placement principles hierarchy, Aboriginal people do not support open adoption for Aboriginal children and young people for cultural reasons. Adoption is not considered suitable for Aboriginal children. Further information on open adoptions can be found here.
Guardianship orders aim to give children and young people greater stability after a Children’s Court decision that they cannot live with their parents. Further information on guardianship orders can be found here.
Agencies funded by FACS must operate in accordance with their contractual requirements, legislation and FACS policies and guidelines. FACS contracts for the provision of Permanency Support Services include:
- The Funding Deed (governs overall terms and conditions of the contractual agreement)
- The Permanency Support Program Level Agreement (governs the delivery of services for the Permanency Support Program)
- Schedules one (1) through to six (6) of the PLA (govern specific aspects of service delivery detailed below).
PLA Schedules one (1) to five (5):
Individual to each provider – not included.
Service payments during the transition period (1 October 2017 to 30 June 2018)
During the transition period, service payments for the first two months of the Quarter will be made in advance at the start of the Quarter. Payments for the third month of the Quarter will be made after the previous Quarter’s reconciliation is made.
The service payment will consist of the following components:
- The Unit Price
- The Case Plan Goal Supplement
- The Immediate Placement Supplement
- The Case Coordination Package
- The Adoption Legal Work payment (where applicable).
Further information on service payments for the transition period can be found in Schedule 3 of the PLA.
Abatements for performance failures
The new contracts for foster care and Aboriginal foster care are intended to shape the system to better respond to the individual needs of children and young people, deliver more permanency outcomes and enable FACS and providers to track performance against agreed key performance indicators.
FACS is implementing both incentives for the achievement of outcomes and abatements for performance failures under the Permanency Support Program contracts.
FACS’ intention is to work with the sector during this period to finalise the operational business rules. Where there are instances of performance failures during the interim period, FACS will raise the matter with providers and discuss the issue.
Until the operational rules are finalised after consultation with the sector, FACS will not apply Abatements.
The Contracting Arrangements and Business Rules further set out the guidance in relation to payments and costing for the Permanency Support Program.
Legislation, policies and guidance relevant to management of PSP contracts
Schedule 4 of the Permanency Support Program PLA details service providers’ obligations in respect of legislation, policies and practices. These requirements can be found here.
Residential Care Program Level Agreements and the transition to Intensive Therapeutic Care
Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) includes services previously known as residential care, and is a core component of services delivered within the Permanency Support Program. This new model of care is currently undergoing a two-stage tender process with a stronger focus on therapeutic service delivery for children and young people.
Given that the ITC recommissioning process has not yet been finalised, current Residential Care service providers who progressed from the EOI have been offered an extension of their current Out-of-Home Care Contracted Care Program Level Agreement. This Residential Care PLA will operate from 1 October 2017 up to 30 June 2018.
Details of service models for existing Residential Care services can be found here:
FACS funds agencies to deliver a range of permanency support services that are not placement based services. These include: family preservation services, wraparound services, leaving and aftercare and adoption services. These services will be reviewed over the term of the current PLA to ensure alignment with the Permanency Support Program objectives.
Leaving and aftercare services are important aspects in the provision of services for young people transitioning from care to independence. If an agency provides case management, the responsibility to provide assistance for leaving care lies jointly with the agency and FACS.
Here are guidelines which explain the eligibility criteria for aftercare assistance for young people leaving care.
The publication, Your Next Step, provides young people who are about to leave care for independent living or who have left care, with contact details for a range of services.
For more information, please contact OOHC.Contracting@facs.nsw.gov.au.