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3.1.1 Approval of foster carers process - Interim Approval Committee

Last Modified: 24-Mar-2022 Review Date: 01-Jun-2019

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation

Overview

 The Interim Approval Committee (the Committee) makes decisions regarding approval of applicants who wish to become  foster carers (temporary, emergency,  short break or permanent carers) with the Department of Communities (the Department).

The aims and Responsibilities of the Committee are to:

  • receive and review all Department foster carer assessment submissions (other than 'family or significant other carer' assessments) 

  • examine the assessment submission and recommendations to consider whether there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the applicants meet the criteria (known as 'competencies') outlined in  Regulation 4 of the Children and Community Services Regulations 2006 (the Regulations) and are compliant with relevant Department policies

  • approve applicants as foster carers and provide feedback to the assessor, and

  • provide comment on the preferred care type arrangement for an applicant such as temporary or permanent, as well as the gender, age and number of children and capacity to provide care for a child with disability. 

 The final decision for approval rests with the Director, Child and Carer Connection Hub (the Hub) who is the delegated authority.

The paramount consideration is the best interests of the child and every child should be treated as a valued member of society in a manner that respects the child's dignity and privacy.     
Rules
  • In accordance with the r.4 of the Regulations, the CEO must be satisfied that the applicant:

    • is able to provide care for a child in a way that promotes the wellbeing of the child, promotes the child's family and interpersonal relationships, and protects the child from harm

    • is able to provide a safe living environment for a child

    • is able to work cooperatively with the officers, a child's family and other people when providing care for a child

    • is able to take responsibility for the development of his or her competency and skills as a carer

    • is a person of good character and repute, and

    • a Negative Notice or Interim Negative Notice has not been issued to the individual under the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004.

  • In addition, the applicant must be able to demonstrate cultural responsiveness to meet the cultural needs of the child. 

Process Maps

Cross-sector Foster Carer Panel and Approval Process for Department Applications

Information and Instructions

  • Membership of the Committee
  • Submission to the Committee
  • Meeting dates and notifying the applicant
  • The process
  • The meeting
  • The decision
  • Notifying the applicant of the Committee decision
  • Notifying the applicant of the final decision
  • Recording
  • Membership of the Committee

    Membership of the Committee comprises:

    • The Director, Child and Carer Connection Hub:  CEO delegate (Level 8 or above with either policy or practice experience in child protection) (Co-Chair).

    • An Aboriginal professional practitioner (suitable background knowledge in child protection or related field of expertise) (Co-Chair).

    • A Foster Care Association of WA nominated representative.

    • A district representative, either a district director or assistant district director, from a district other than the submitting district.

    • An Aboriginal practice leader from a district other than the submitting district.

    • A senior practice development officer (SPDO) from the Hub; or other nominated Hub representative.

    • The Aboriginal practice leader in the Hub.

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    Submission to the Committee

    The assessor completes the following and sends them to Fostercarersubmissions@communities.wa.gov.au   

    All documents must be completed in full and quality assured by the assessor's line manager prior to forwarding to the Committee Support Officer. 

    The assessor is responsible for completing the 'Manage Carer' screens in Assist (e.g. Carer Profile and Assessments tabs initiating screening and subsidy details). Refer to Assist User Guide – Carer Management for further information.

    Where the assessment is completed by a contract assessor, the team leader, Child and Carer Connection Hub, completes the Assist details.

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    Meeting dates and notifying the applicant

    The submitting assessor is notified of the next available Committee meeting date, time and venue.

    The assessor then informs the applicant of the date of the meeting and provides an overview of the Committee procedures and possible outcomes.

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    The process

    Members of the Committee read the Assessment Report and supporting documents prior to the Committee meeting. During the meeting, Committee members provide their assessment about whether the evidence provided by the assessor indicated that the applicant's knowledge, capacity, skills and attitudes meet the competencies as required.  

    The Chair collates the assessments  to ask clarifying questions  and provide initial feedback to the assessor.

    The assessor is contacted prior to the meeting so that they are available to the Committee via phone/video conference to answer any clarifying questions from the Committee and to receive initial feedback from the Chair.

    The Chair compiles a Committee Outcome Report providing a summary of the meeting discussion including the applicants strengths as well as identifying aspects of the application that may require further information. 

    The Committee Outcome Report is a confidential document. Do not provide it to the applicants.

    Once endorsed and approved it is available to assessors.

    If the Committee Outcome Report does not endorse the applicant, the Report provides a rationale for the Committee's decision and identifies gaps in the information so that, in the event that a resubmission is approved, the assessor can obtain the additional information required for further consideration by the Committee for the resubmission process.

    For further information on the process, refer to the flowchart Interim Approval Committee and Approval Process for Applications. 

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    The meeting

    ​After considering the Assessment Report and supporting documents, the Committee:

    • endorses the recommendation for approval where there is sufficient evidence that applicants have met the competencies. As part of the endorsement, the Committee may make comment in relation to care type (temporary, emergency and short break or permanent), capacity, age range, gender and suitability to provide care for a child with  disability

    • does not endorse the assessor's recommendation for approval where there is insufficient evidence that the applicants meet the competencies and/or assessment that applicants do not meet the competencies, or

    • endorses the assessor's recommendation for non-approval where there is insufficient evidence that the applicants meet the competencies and/or the Committee assesses that applicants do not meet the competencies.

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    The decision

    The final decision for approval rests with the Director, Child and Carer Connection Hub and is made immediately following the Committee's decision to endorse or not endorse.

    The Committee Support Officer records the required details in Assist.

    The Director, Child and Carer Connection Hub verifies that all required checks and documents have been completed before deciding whether the applicant should be approved, as per the Committee endorsement.   

    Committee does not endorse applicant

    The Chair and Co-Chair jointly decide following a not endorsed Committee decision if the assessor may resubmit the applicant's assessment to the Committee.

    The resubmission must provide additional evidence/information gathered by the assessor from the applicant addressing the issues identified by the Committee that led them to their initial decision to not endorse.

    The SPDO Hub or other nominated Hub representative advises the assessor both verbally and in writing that a resubmission has been approved. The approval email advising of the decision must be filed in the Carer File on Assist.

    If the Chair and Co-Chair decide that a resubmission may be made, the assessor has four weeks from the date of the decision to resubmit the application and to lodge it with the Committee Support Officer.

    You must not alter the information in the initial report.

    You must identify the additional/new information to be included in the resubmission in bold script.  

    The additional information must be relevant to the issues outlined in the initial Committee Outcome Report.

    Only one resubmission will be generally considered by the Committee.

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    Notifying the applicant of the Committee decision

    ​The outcome of the Panel meeting should be communicated to the applicant by the assessor as soon as practicable, generally the same day as the meeting via the phone.  Complete a file note to reflect this.

    Care arrangements of children must only occur after the Director, Child and Carer Connection Hub, as the delegated authority, has made a final decision to approve the applicant.

         

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    Notifying the applicant of the final decision

    Approval

    The Director, Child and Carer Connection Hub, informs the applicant in writing once they have made the final decision to approve the applicant as a foster carer.  The applicant receives Form 293 Certificate of Approval for Approved Department Foster Carers with Form 292 Foster Carer Approval Letter (also in related resources).

    Non-approval

    The Director, Child and Carer Connection Hub,  informs the applicant in writing once they have made the final decision not to approve the applicant as a foster carer.  The applicant receives Form 720 Foster Carer Non-Approval Letter (also in related resources).

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    Recording

    ​The Committee Support Officer ensures that the decision making process is completed and recorded in Assist in the 'Manage Carer' screens.

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