Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3723 ..
(1) Does the department, as parent, currently give an information kit to carers upon asking them to care for babies, children or young people in care and protection; if so, (a) when was that kit developed, (b) what information is provided in relation to carer entitlements, responsibilities and support and (c) what other information is provided; if not, (a) why not, (b) is a kit being developed and when will it become available
(2) Is the information given to carers consistent across all case managers; if not, why not; if so, can the Minister explain why carers report receiving different information from different case managers.
(3) Does the department, as parent, currently give an equipment kit to carers upon asking them to care for babies, children and young people in care and protection; if so, (a) what equipment is provided for (i) babies, (ii) children and (iii) young people, (b) when was the kit developed and (c) who was consulted on its contents; if not, is a kit being developed and when will it become available.
(4) Is the equipment provided consistent across all case managers; if not, why not.
(5) Given that at the Select Committee on Estimates 2010-2011 hearing on 27 May 2010 the Minister stated that “Part of the dialogue is the offer of assistance. Back in August, we saw practical assistance in response to comments made by carers around library, toys, car seats, those types of things. Groups chose not to take up that offer of funding, for their reasons, but certainly the offer was there”, (a) what offer of assistance was given, (b) in what form was the assistance, (c) to whom was the assistance given, (d) what documentary support for the offer exists, (e) which groups took up the offer, (f) how much assistance was given to each group that accepted the offer and (g) what accountability arrangements are in place for that funding.
Ms Burch: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:
1. I am advised that the Department does not currently have a specific information kit for carers.
a) The Foster Care Handbook was developed and went out for consultation in October 2005, however a decision was taken not to progress the publication until the ‘Roles and responsibilities’ document (a joint collaborative work between Care and protection Services and the Out of Home Care Committee) was completed in late 2007. With the subsequent rise in the number of children in kinship care, work commenced in 2008 to update the handbook to include relevancy for Kinship Carers and to ensure its compliance with the Children and Young People Act 2008.
b) The final draft of the Foster and Kinship Care Handbook will be provided to the Out of Home Care Committee meeting in July 2010 to finalise and complete the Handbook for publication. All Foster and Kinship Carers will be provided with a copy upon publication.
It is however important to note that Foster Carers are provided with pre-service training called Positive Futures Caring Together. Foster Carers are also able to access training provided by foster care agencies. Kinship Carers have access to training offered by the Department.
At the time of placement of children and young people with a Kinship Carer, Care and Protection Services undertake comprehensive Kinship Carer Assessments to ensure suitability, capacity and safety.