Authorising carers using the child specific authorisation

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

Document ID number 1117, version 3, 7 September 2018.

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), or 
  • a Chief Executive Officer or equivalent in a community service organisation when issuing a standard instrument of authorisation.

See Authorising carers - advice for additional information.

Standard instrument of authorisation

The standard authorisation may be issued to an accredited foster or prospective permanent carer by the person in charge of an out-of-home care service,  (usually the Chief Executive Officer or equivalent) in a community service organisation in accordance with s. 175B(2) of the CYFA.

The standard authorisation covers short term routine issues and does not need to be reissued if a carer accepts a new placement or at commencement of a new court order and it does not require child protection endorsement.

See Authorising carers - advice for additional information.

Child protection must continue to authorise all kinship and residential carers about all issues and foster and prospective permanent carers about issues not specified in the standard authorisation by following the procedures for issuing a child specific authorisation.

Procedure for child specific carer authorisation

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 carers and prospective permanent carers consider if they have already received the standard authorisation from the community service organisation they are accredited with. If so, only consider issues not included in the standard authorisation. (Notification that a child’s carer has been issued with a standard authorisation will appear in the child’s record in CRIS following creation of the placement.)
    • 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.
  • When writing to parents, for non-case contracted clients, child protection should include the issues specified in the standard authorisation. These include:
    • routine medical and dental care (including immunisations)
    • 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
    • haircuts to maintain current style in healthy condition.
  • 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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