The transition of out-of-home care from the Department of Family & Community Services to the NGO sector is progressing rapidly. Transition activities are being implemented jointly by both Community Services and the NGO sector, with an emphasis on an equal partnership – at every level, from governance to day-to-day practice.
A newly created funding system will ensure fairer funding across all NGOs. Previously, NGOs looking after children with similar needs were funded vastly differently. The new system addresses this and has flexibility built-in, so if a child has needs beyond their funded level of care, additional financial and other supports can be arranged.
Thirty-five new contracts have been signed with NGOs. These agencies will cater for their current children, young people and carers, and will have the scope to take on kids and carers from Community Services. The first transfers are now happening with kids and carers who met the eligibility criteria outlined in Community Services’ case management policy.
A Transition Program Office (TPO), staffed with government and NGO professionals, has been established. This office oversees the work around the transition and acts as the hub between the regions and the Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG). Some TPO staff will be based in the regions to help develop/monitor their Regional Transition Plans (RTP), coordinate a cultural change strategy and organise transition implementation activities. The TPO will ensure Community Services and NGO staff receive timely and relevant information.
On a regional level, Regional Implementation Groups (RIGs) have been established and meet monthly in each Community Services region around NSW. Each RIG is chaired by the Regional Director and an NGO representative. Each RIG is currently developing their RTPs.
More information is available at www.community.nsw.gov.au.