- Print this page
- Decrease the text size
- Increase the text size
- Transitional Arrangements
- Permanency Case Management
- Legal Issues
- Resolving conflict
- Other Roles and Responsibilities
- APPENDIX 1: Packaged Care Service Model
Information about a child, their parents or family/kin related to assessment and case planning is exchanged between FACS and external service providers within the provisions of relevant legislation. However, some types of information cannot be exchanged, for example the identity of (or information that could lead to the identification of) a mandatory reporter is protected under section 29 of the Care Act.
FACS and external service providers make reasonable efforts to provide relevant information requested under Chapter 16A and section 248 of the Care Act within 7 business days or within other timeframes for providing evidence.
In circumstances where case management responsibility has been transferred to a service provider before or during court proceedings, FACS and the service provider both have important complementary roles:
- FACS acts as a model litigant in the proceedings, whether or not initiated by FACS.
- FACS liaises with a service provider and seeks direct contact with a child, their parents, family/kin and carers in order to:
- continually assess risk, and
- coordinate and file evidence in proceedings based on first hand involvement with the child, family/kin and carers.
FACS informs the service provider when contact is planned, or if that is not possible, immediately after it has occurred.
- During court proceedings, service providers with case management responsibility:
- continue to provide services including convening case plan reviews as required
- facilitate direct contact by FACS casework practitioners with a child, their parents, family/kin and carers
- share all information that would reasonably affect assessment, filing of evidence in proceedings and respond to FACS requests for information exchange.
FACS may request a service provider with (current or prior) case management responsibility to provide relevant information about a child, their parents or family/kin, to be filed as evidence in court proceedings. Information may include case plans, records of contact visits, school reports, health reports or other assessments.
The service provider makes reasonable efforts to provide the information to FACS within 2 business days of a request or contacts FACS and negotiates a different time frame.
A service provider’s employee may be required to give evidence in the proceedings by way of affidavit. If so, the service provider employee may be required to attend court to give evidence at any final hearing.
FACS provides a service provider with case management responsibility (that is not a party to court proceedings) with information about the court outcomes. Reasonable efforts are made by FACS to provide the information about court outcomes within 2 business days of FACS receiving a report of the outcome from the external legal practitioner (ELP) or court liaison officer (CLO).
The information provided by FACS may include:
- the date of the court appearance and any future relevant court dates
- interim or final orders made and any notations to those orders
- any undertakings signed by any party where relevant to the placement
- any agreements between parties in relation to contact arrangements and
- any other matters that may be relevant to a child’s placement.
Information about a court outcome is important to make sure the service provider is aware of and acts in accordance with interim or final orders made by the court, to:
- put in place appropriate contact arrangements between a child, their parents and family/kin, and provide information to the carer that is relevant to the child’s placement (for children in OOHC)
- put in place appropriate arrangements to support compliance with other orders, for example parent responsibility order or supervision order.
It is not the role of service providers to provide information about court proceedings to:
- a child – this is the role of the child’s independent or direct legal representative (ILR or DLR) or FACS casework practitioner that has, or most recently had, a casework relationship with the child
- the child’s parents or family/kin – this is the role of the parent’s legal representative.
Information that cannot be provided by FACS to a service provider includes information protected by legal professional privilege, for example records containing instructions given by FACS or court outcome forms prepared by a FACS care solicitor or ELP. Other information that cannot be provided by FACS to a service provider includes documents filed in the Court proceedings by other parties, unless the Court has granted leave.
A FACS legal officer is able to provide advice about whether information may be subject to a claim of privilege.
Children’s Court Clinic Assessment
Access to a Children’s Court Clinic Assessment report by a service provider with case management responsibility (that is not a party to court proceedings) may only be provided with leave of the Children’s Court.
FACS may seek leave to provide the report to the service provider. The FACS care solicitor or ELP makes the application at an appropriate time in the proceedings.
There may be circumstances where FACS or a service provider with case management responsibility (that is not a party to proceedings) want the employee of the service provider to attend a Dispute Resolution Conference (DRC).
In considering whether the employee attends, FACS considers:
- the nature of the issues in dispute
- if the employee has a meaningful relationship with the child
- how they will be involved in supporting the child, their parents and family
- whether the employee provides information that is relevant to the proceedings and if this will help all parties reach an agreement
- whether the employee attends all or part of the DRC
- advice provided by the FACS care solicitor or ELP
- any other relevant factor.
A request for permission for the employee to attend all or part of a DRC is made by the FACS care solicitor or ELP, in accordance with FACS’ instructions.
Permission for the employee to attend all or part of a DRC is decided by the Children’s Registrar who convenes the DRC. In considering the request, the Registrar seeks the views of all parties.
If permission is granted, the employee follows the guidance of FACS’ care solicitor or ELP regarding their participation, and the guidance of the Children’s Registrar. The employee is bound by confidentiality of the DRC.
Table 1: From Case Plan Goal to Permanency Outcome
Developing a Care Plan
FACS consults with a service provider with case management responsibility when developing a care plan for a child. This includes inviting the service provider to participate in a care plan meeting and providing the service provider with a copy of a draft care plan for comment. Service providers provide written comments to FACS within 2 business days or contact FACS to negotiate a different time frame.
The development of care plans includes cultural plans for Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families/kin - this is mandatory.
Following making of final orders by the Children’s Court, the service provider is responsible for implementing those parts of the care plan that are within its care responsibility.
Section 76 or 82 reports
The service provider with case management responsibility is responsible for preparing a section 76 report regarding the progress of a supervision order; or section 82 report regarding the suitability of a child’s OOHC arrangements, following making of final orders by the Children’s Court.
FACS is responsible for approving and filing the section 76 or 82 report prepared by a service provider – see The Functions of Parent Responsibility exercised by FACS. The service provider provides FACS with a copy of the section 76 or 82 report 5 business days prior to the date on which it is due to be filed.
Section 90 proceedings
Any decision to re-open proceedings in the Children’s Court to vary or rescind care orders, such as a Section 90 application proposing possible restoration, is made jointly by FACS and a service provider with case management responsibility. However a child, parents or any person with an interest in the welfare of a child can apply under Section 90 without agreement by FACS.
FACS provides a service provider with case management responsibility (that is not a party to court proceedings) with information about new court proceedings, for example section 90 applications filed by a parent or another person. Reasonable efforts are made by FACS to provide the information to the service provider as soon as the information is made available to FACS, and where possible, prior to the matter being listed in court.
Joint allocation of PR for children in OOHC
Where a final care order is made allocating PR to a suitable person and the Minister jointly, the Minister must retain the aspect of residence, for a child to be considered as being in statutory OOHC. This means case management of a child in OOHC is not transferred to a service provider.