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Out of Home Reform in Tasmania

 

What's New

27 July, 2015

The OOHC Reform Team are currently conducting consultations across the state to enable CPS staff, carers and other key stakeholders to express their views on what the reformed foster care system should look like. We encourage you to forward your comments to the Manager, OOHC Reform,
Colleen Moran-Ford

Manager OOHC Reform
Phon: (03) 6166 3534
Email:  colleen.moran-ford@dhhs.tas.gov.au

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The Reform Agenda

In June 2014, Children and Youth Services (CYS) launched a series of extensive reforms to its Out of Home Care (OOHC) service system.

Based on a framework that takes into account the impacts of trauma on children, the OOHC service system is being progressively redesigned to provide intervention options that are designed to effectively respond to the needs of children who have experienced trauma.

New service options and a comprehensive needs assessment for all children in care will deliver increased placement stability and improved outcomes for children and young people.

Reforms are occurring in two Phases.

Phase 1 – Specialised Care Services

Following a Request for Proposal (RFP) tender process late last year, three service providers have been contracted to deliver the specialised care services sought through Phase 1 of the reforms: Sibling Group Care, Residential Care and Therapeutic Services.

The successful providers are:

Sibling Group Care

Key Assets are a not for profit organisation that delivers care services for children and young people with complex needs nationally and internationally. They have a strong commitment to providing quality care for children and will deliver placement services for groups of connected children who cannot be placed together in traditional family based placements such as foster care.  Website www.keyassets.com.au

Residential Care

Centacare Tasmania currently offers a broad range of specialised services to individuals and families throughout Tasmania including a variety of services to children in care. Centacare will provide Residential Care services across the state for those older children who have challenging behaviours or high support needs that cannot be addressed in a less intensive environment.

Website www.centacaretas.org.au

Therapeutic Services

The Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) has a strong history of providing trauma based therapeutic services for children in care both within Tasmania and nationally. Under their new contract ACF will have a greater focus within their Therapeutic Services model on training carers and staff in trauma informed practice to build on carer's capacity to ensure all placements are therapeutic. ACF will provide direct therapeutic interventions to children and young people in care where appropriate, as well as case consultations to Child Protection staff.

Website www.childhood.org.au

The new services commenced operation on 1 July 2015, with the exception of Sibling Group Care in the North and North West, which will commence from 1 August 2015.

Special Care Packages

A further RFP process to establish a Register of Approved Providers to provide Special Care Packages for children with extreme needs closed on 19 June 2015.

This specialised care type addresses the needs of children who require specific supports not available through one of the other available care options and is the most intensive care type on the continuum of care.

The evaluation process for this RFP is now underway and it is anticipated that it will be completed and the Register of Approved Providers in place from 1 October 2015.

Phase 2 – Family Based Care Reform

Family Based Care incorporates both Foster Care and Kinship Care. It also includes short-term respite care and permanency options.

Currently, CYS is experiencing a number of challenges in Family Based Care, not least of which is the capacity to recruit and retain carers. There are also a number of other issues that need to be addressed that are linked to the support we currently provide to our carers.

Phase 2 reforms are complex and for that reason reforms to Family Based Care will, in the short term, focus only foster care services. Many of the changes that we make to foster care will flow into kinship care, but a discrete focus on kinship care will occur after the execution of the initial Phase 2 reforms.

Our reforms will target the way in which we recruit, support, register and approve foster carers. We will adopt and apply consistent state-wide policies and practices. We will ensure that the provision of ongoing training for carers and CYS staff is linked to the assessed needs of children.

The OOHC Reform Team are currently conducting a series of forums across the state to enable CPS staff, carers and other key stakeholders to express their views on what the reformed foster care system should look like. The CREATE Foundation will also be undertaking consultations with children and young people in OOHC to provide them with the opportunity to feed into the reform process.

The forums posed five key questions:

  1. What are the outcomes we want for children?
  2. What are the strengths in the current system?
  3. What are the gaps and/or what do we need to be better at?
  4. What are the greatest risks if we don't reform?
  5. If you woke up tomorrow and a miracle had happened, what would foster care in Tasmania look like?

If you would like to respond to the questions posed through the forums, we encourage you to forward your comments to the Manager, OOHC Reform. In the coming months we will release specific details of the feedback as well as a framework for the reform of foster care. The intention is to have the reforms operational from 1 July 2016.

Our reform plans are very ambitious, but we are committed to the radical reform of the entire service system. To that end, every element of OOHC and its supporting systems, will be realigned to deliver a new approach to providing quality care to children now and in to the future.

Further information 

If you have any questions about OOHC reform, please do not hesitate to contact:

Colleen Moran-Ford
Manager OOHC Reform 

Phone: (03) 6166 3534
Email: colleen.moran-ford@dhhs.tas.gov.au