Authorising carers

Follow this procedure when authorising carers for children in out-of-home care to make decisions.

Introduction

Under ss. 175A and 175B of the CYFA, the Secretary can specify issues relating to a child in out-of-home care about which a carer may be authorised to make decisions.

This power may only be exercised by case planners (team managers and above).

See Authorising carers - advice for additional information.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

  • Refer to the Authorising carers checklist.
  • Discuss decision making responsibilities and arrangements with the carer early in the placement.
    • For kinship placements, this discussion takes place during the kinship carer preliminary assessment (‘Kinship care assessment form A’). Make recommendations about authorisation of carers within six weeks of placement in the context of the comprehensive kinship carer assessment (‘Kinship care assessment form B’).
    • For foster and residential care placements this occurs in the context of the care team preparing the care and placement plan the first two weeks of the placement.
  • Consider each child’s individual needs and the lifestyle of the carer in determining activities to authorise. If the permanency objective is family reunification, or the child is under an interim accommodation order, ensure parents’ views are considered.
  • Consider whether to authorise carers to make decisions such as:
    • routine medical and dental care
    • treatment of a chronic medical condition with an established treatment plan
    • school activities, excursions and work experience
    • school camps within Victoria
    • activities – sports, cultural and social clubs within Victoria
    • social events and overnight stays within Victoria
    • interstate routine movement in cases where the carer lives near the border and the carer regularly crosses the border as part of their routine
    • haircuts to maintain current style in healthy condition.
  • If the Secretary has exclusive parental responsibility and the permanency objective is adoption, permanent care or long-term out-of-home care, consider authorising the carer to make decisions such as:
    • haircuts (without qualification)
    • approving the child’s years 11 and 12 subject choices.

Existing arrangements for approval of financial expenditure continue to apply.

  • If recommending authorising a carer to make decisions about overnight stays, follow the policy and procedure Overnight stays.
  • Recommend to the case planner which decisions should be authorised.
  • Make a separate authorisation for each child in care.
  • For children in residential care, recommend the authorisation to the house or unit supervisor (that is, the most senior residential care staff member), who has overall responsibility for providing for the care of the children or young people in the house or unit.
  • Following authorisation by a team manager or above, record details of the child, carer and order on the instrument of authorisation. See Authorising carers forms for templates. Attach a copy of the order, excluding conditions, to the instrument of authorisation.
  • Provide two copies of the signed instrument of authorisation to the carer.
  • Write to the parent and to the carer (with a copy to the CSO placement manager, if any) using the template letters at Authorising carers forms.
  • Provide information about the authorisation to the child (if appropriate age), parent and carer. Information sheets are available at Authorising carer information sheet.
  • If the child will be enrolled in childcare, kindergarten or school, provide the carer with a copy of the signed instrument of authorisation they can give to the relevant facility for their records. An information sheet for childcare providers, kindergartens and schools is available at Authorising carers information sheet.
  • If the placement changes or a new order is made, consider a new authorisation, if appropriate.

An authorisation remains in force while the child resides with the carer named, for the duration of the court order, unless revoked.

  • Record the authorisation in CRIS using the case note subject ‘Carer authorisation’. Include:
    • any relevant assessment
    • what decisions the carer has been authorised to make
    • what information has been provided to relevant parties
    • copies of letters and authorisation instrument.
  • If the authorisation needs to be revoked, seek approval of the team manager and if granted, advise the carer in writing. Write to any other person who has been provided with a copy of the instrument of authorisation to advise of the revocation.

Case planner tasks

  • Authorise carers to make certain decisions, consistent with the best interests of the child, the child’s order and taking into account the circumstances of the carer.
  • Provide support and supervision.

 

Related procedures

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