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3.1.5 Family Care Support Service

Last Modified: 24-Mar-2022 Review Date: N/A

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation

Overview

Family and significant other carers provide the majority of care arrangements for children in the CEO's care in Western Australia. Family Care Support Services (FCSS) are voluntary family participation programs that provide in-home practical support to carers to maintain and stabilise care arrangements.

The FCSS can establish support networks for new carers from the beginning of a care arrangement.  It also provides ongoing support:

 

  • for carers to build on their strengths to address and overcome concerns where there is a risk of children being moved to non-family care arrangements, and 
  • to support children to remain connected to family and community, Country and culture. 

 

Family Care Support Services are funded by the Department of Communities (the Department) and carried out by Community Sector Organisations (CSOs) in partnership with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) across metropolitan and some regional areas. 

Family Care Support Services prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. 

Maintaining the stability and connection of family care arrangements is vital for Aboriginal children and aligns with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child Placement Principle.  Refer to Chapter 3.4 Child Placement Principle for further information. 

All carers should be supported to provide safe, stable and quality care arrangements for the children in their care. 

Child protection workers should explain the Department's statutory role and responsibilities for a child in the CEO's care clearly to carers.

Note:  CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department.

Information and Instructions

  • Community Service Organisations and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations
  • Consultation
  • Criteria for referral
  • Service timeframe
  • Completing the referral
  • Identifying goals for referral
  • Consent, consultation and approval
  • Referral recording process
  • Referral outcome
  • Initial joint meeting
  • Service delivery
  • Service completion
  • Subsequent referrals to a Family Care Support Service
  • Responding to concerns about harm to children and young people
  • Community Service Organisations and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations

    Community Service Organisations partner with ACCOs to ensure that carers and children receive culturally appropriate support.

    Contracted and partner agencies:

    Lead Agency

    Partner Agency
    Service areas

    Uniting Care West

     

     

     

     


    Kinship Connections

     

     

     

     

     

    Armadale 

    Cannington 

    Fremantle 

    Joondalup 

    Midland 

    Mirrabooka 

    Perth 

    Rockingham

    Note: Peel region is not funded.

    ​Key Assets
    ​WUNAN Foundation

    Ngnowar Aerwah Aboriginal Corporation
    ​East Kimberley

    Wyndham

    ​Centacare

    ​Broome Aboriginal Health Services

    Australian Childhood Foundation

    Mercy Care

    ​West Kimberley (Broome, Derby and surrounds)
    ​MacKillop Family Services 
    ​Wirikamya Maya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation
    ​Pilbara (Port Hedland, Karratha and surrounds)
    ​Wanslea Family Services
    ​YKaata-Koorliny Employment and enterprise Development Aboriginal Corporation (KEEDAC)
    ​Wheatbelt (Northam and surrounds)



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    Consultation

    ​Before making a referral, consult with a Team Leader (TL) and/or Assistant District Director (ADD).  

    If the child or carer identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, consult with an Aboriginal Practice Leader or other relevant senior Aboriginal officer about any cultural considerations and support you require to work in an inclusive, strengths-based and non-biased way.


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    Criteria for referral

    ​The FCSS is specifically for family and significant other carers (carers) who are:

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    Service timeframe

    Service providers may work with carers for up to 12 months. The timeframe may be extended under specific circumstances if approved by an ADD.  


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    Completing the referral

    Before making the referral, seek the carer's verbal or written consent.  Access the referral form in Assist through the Manage Carer Current Services tab. 

    Refer to the Assist User Guide – Family Care Support Service to complete the referral.  You can also access this from related resources at the top of the page.  

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    Identifying goals for referral

    ​Things to consider when making the referral:

    • Is this a new or existing care arrangement?
    • Does the carer have any concerns or worries?
    • Any there any significant life events or changes that are impacting the existing care arrangement?
    • Is there any other relevant background information relating to the carer, the children and/or the children's parents?
    • What are the cultural considerations in this care arrangement?

    Before making the referral, discuss with the carer the intent of the FCSS and explore if there are specific areas they require support or help with. 

    Examples might include:

    • Assisting to strengthen the carer's ability to meet criteria as defined in the Regulations.
    • Building a strong support network for the carer and child.
    • Increasing awareness of Department processes and practices.
    • Increasing the carer's awareness and skills on how trauma impacts the child.
    • Building links to community supports for the carer and child.

    Be clear about the initial goals to be achieved and include a timeframe. 

    Additional goals are initially identified by the carer and developed further in partnership with the service once the referral has been accepted.

    Under 'Safety and Other Considerations' consider any other information relating to the safety of staff visiting the home or during contact arrangements. 

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    Consent, consultation and approval

    Record the date that the carer's consent was given in Assist. Also list the dates that an Aboriginal Practice Leader (if relevant) and TL were consulted.  

    You must seek approval from the ADD or District Director before progressing the referral form.


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    Referral recording process

    ​Record the referral and service details in the carer file. Refer to the Assist User Guide - Family Care Support Service for further information.

    Metropolitan

    1. The Senior Child Protection Worker placement services (SCPWPS) emails the referral to the Child and Carer Connection Hub (the Hub) via familycaresupportservice@communities.wa.gov.au
    2. The Hub quality assures the referral, emails it to the relevant FCSS and records the date the referral was sent in Assist.
    3. When a response is received, the Hub records the date on Assist that the FCSS either accepts or rejects the referral.
    4. The SCPWPS records the service commencement date in Assist.
    5. Upon service completion, the SCWPS records the service end date and service outcome in Assist.

    Regional and Remote

    1. The SCPWPS quality assures the referral, emails it to the relevant FCSS and records the date the referral was sent in Assist.
    2. When a response is received the SCPWPS records the date on Assist that the FCSS either accepts or rejects the referral.
    3. The SCPWPS records the service commencement date in Assist. 
    4. Upon service completion, the SCPWPS record the service end date and service outcome in Assist. 
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    Referral outcome

     

    1. The FCSS has two working days to respond after receiving the referral. 

    2. If the FCSS request additional information to progress the referral, you may seek this from the family at the initial joint meeting.  The carers decide what further information is shared. Refer to the Initial Joint Meeting section below for further information. 

    3. If the referral is rejected, districts should reassess the referral. 

     

     

    Refer to Family Carer Support Services Referral Flowchart and the Assist User Guide Family Care Support Service for further information. 

     

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    Initial joint meeting

    When the referral is accepted an initial joint meeting is arranged by the FCSS provider within two weeks of the date of acceptance. Attendance at this meeting should include the district case worker or SCPWPS, carers and any other relevant people. 

    The purpose of this meeting is to:

    • develop a case plan  with the child and carer outlining goals and timeframes

    • arrange subsequent meetings with carer

    • discuss any concerns

    • discuss if the FCSS requires addtional information, and

    • agree when monthly reports will be provided to the relevant  Department worker. 

    If the carer is new or having difficulty identifying goals, use the initial joint meeting with the FCSS to work on the goals with the carer, or to provide more information about the family's network and support. 

    If a joint meeting cannot be arranged within two weeks, the FCSS may meet the carer alone at an agreed time and place. The FCSS should also plan for subsequent joint meetings and provide a copy of the case plan to the carer and the Department. 

    Record the date of the first meeting held on Assist (service commencement date).

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    Service delivery

    ​When the service commences, maintain regular contact with the FCSS and carer, and continue to provide opportunities to come together and review the goals.  

    The carer, with their family and the FCSS, can continue to develop or modify the case plan goals and identify ways to achieve these.  The FCSS provides monthly reports outlining progress and current updates to the Department. 

    Save all case plans and reports sent by the FCSS on Objective. 

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    Service completion

    Oversee the outcome of the FCSS referral for the carer and continue to work with the FCSS to coordinate and record the supports provided, and whether the goals have been achieved. 

    Organise a closure meeting to give all parties an opportunity to provide feedback on the process. If the carer refuses to attend, the Department and FCSS may still want to hold one. 

    When the service provision is completed, record the service task outcome on Assist and whether or not the goals were achieved.  Refer to step 13 in the Assist User Guide.  

    In metropolitan areas, advise the Hub that the service has been completed. 

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    Subsequent referrals to a Family Care Support Service

    A carer can be re-assessed for additional referrals for more FCSS assistance. 

    The subsequent referral should only be submitted on the basis that the carer:

    • has another child enter a care arrangement with them
    • needs to achieve the existing goal, or  
    • has a new goal identified.
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    Responding to concerns about harm to children and young people

    ​The standards below provide guidance when children and young people who are clients of an FCSS have been harmed through abuse or neglect. These standards are not affected by mandatory reporting requirements.

    Advising or consulting the Department must be done through the relevant district, Central Intake Team, or if afterhours, the Statewide Response and Referral Service.   

    Advising the Department 

    The FCSS is to advise the Department:

    1. about any concerns relating to the safety and wellbeing of a child or young person in the CEO's care, and

    2. where a child or young person has been physically or sexually assaulted by an employee, volunteer or another service recipient.  Under Clause 17 of the General Provisions in the contract, service providers must notify the Department's contract manager when a notifiable incident occurs as soon as possible after it occurs. 

    The FCSS should consult with the Department before taking any action, as this may compromise an investigation. However, in some circumstances, the FCSS may be required to take an immediate action to safeguard the child.  This does not include investigating or interviewing. 

    The Department and FCSS need to work together to ensure the safety and best interests of the child or young person.

    Consulting with the Department

    The FCSS should consult with the Department to:

    • determine if they need to make a referral where they have concerns for a child or young person's safety and wellbeing, and

    • determine if a service should be continued, terminated or placed on hold while a CSI is taking place.

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Related Resources

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Policies

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Standards