In order to achieve the best outcome possible for each child, there are different types of care to suit their different needs and situations. The aim is to work towards providing stability and permanency for every child who enters the NSW out-of-home care system.
Planning for permanency
Relative and kinship care
The preferred option is for children and young people to live with relatives and kin, especially where the child already has a relationship and connection. Relative and kin carers are also able to apply to become the legal Guardians of children in their care.
Arrangements are made for a child or young person, or siblings, to live in a family setting with authorised carers who are not family or kin. A carer’s own children may also be living in the home.
When there are concerns for their immediate safety children and young people are placed in emergency care (also known as immediate or crisis care). Emergency carers may be asked to provide care of children of all ages, including infants and young children, at very short notice. This can occur after-hours and on weekends.
Short-term and medium-term care
Sometimes children and young people need to stay with someone to support them while their parents or family are working on making changes so their children can be returned to them. We call this restoration. These placements may last up to six months.
When children and young people can’t return to their family, and guardianship or adoption are not options, then arrangements are made for them to permanently live with another family.
From time to time, parents and carers need a break from their caring role. Respite care is for short periods of time such as weekends, once a month or during school holidays.
Intensive Therapeutic Care
Many children in care have had traumatic experiences. Intensive Therapeutic Transitional Care (ITTC) is a specialized type of care provided (for periods of up to 13 weeks) to help young people move into less intensive types of care.
This type of care is to assist children transitioning from coming out of therapeutic residential care into foster care.
Read more about Foster care
If the children’s court makes a decision that a child cannot live with their parents, Guardianship Orders are an option for providing that child or young person with a stable, nurturing and safe home, without cutting legal ties to their family.
A guardian has full parental responsibility for a child or young person until they reach the age of 18. The child will still have contact with their parents, family and important people in their life, as outlined in their Care or Case Plan, or Court Orders.
People who are relatives or kin of a child can apply to become their guardian. Other significant people who already have an established relationship with the child, such as their foster carer, may also apply to become their guardian.
Read more about Guardianship
Adoption is a legal process that permanently transfers all parental rights and responsibilities from birth parents to adoptive parents. When children and young people cannot be safely restored to family, adoption offers them a secure, stable home. The child will still have contact with their birth parents, family and important people in their life.
Read more from OOHC