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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6209 ..

(8) What contingency plans are in place if an emergency situation arises or if circumstances change in the care arrangements.

Ms Burch: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) (a) Background checking is carried out for all grandparent and kinship carers

(b) The carers are made aware of this check and they are requested to provide signed consent to allow a request to be made to the Australian Federal Police for a ‘Criminal Records’ check. Relevant personal information is requested from the carers by Care and Protection Services to assist the assessment and checking process.

(2) In an emergency situation the background checking begins at the point when the need for the placement of a child or young person is established, and the potential carer is identified.When a placement is identified as part of a planned process, the checking begins when the care planning confirms that the identified carers have the potential to meet the needs of the child.

(3) Carers are advised at the point of placement (emergency) or prior to placement (planned) that background checking is required.

(4) The following steps are applied where appropriate:

i) A Care and Protection Services database check is completed to identify any ‘connection’ with children and young people linked to this service or issues of concern. A database search would be carried out on the identified carers and any other adults in the household. The Care and Protection Services database allows checking to date back to 1990.

ii) A written request is made to the Australian Federal Police as per Section 862 of the Children and Young People Act 2008 seeking criminal records information relating to the carers and other adults in the household.

iii) Interstate Checks: If the carers have lived in other jurisdictions, a request is made to the relevant interstate child protection/welfare services seeking any information relating to their involvement with that jurisdiction.

iv) Medical Information: In the event that potential health and well-being issues are identified which may impact on a carer’s ability to look after a child in the short or long-term, a request for information may be made to a General Practitioner or relevant medical professional. Care and Protection Services would seek the consent of the carer before requesting this information.

v) Personal References: This option may be used when a carer nominates a personal referee or when Care and Protection Services are seeking to explore, or confirm specific aspects of a carer’s circumstances as part of the assessment process.

(5) No child in the care of the Chief Executive is placed without initial checks being carried out.

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