Page 722 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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Ms Stephen-Smith: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) All residential care properties are inspected regularly by ACT Together and six monthly by Child and Youth Protection Services for compliance with Out of Home Care Standards. If a new residential care property is required, Child and Youth Protection Services staff will inspect the property for compliance with the Out of Home Care Standards prior to young people residing there. All young people are frequently visited by their case worker. These visits frequently occur in the place of residence.

Official Visitors also play a vital role in safeguarding and promoting the interest of vulnerable people in our community. The Official Visitors seek to identify, monitor and resolve service issues. Official Visitors are mandated to visit residential care properties at least monthly.

(2) Official Visitors are appointed by the ACT Attorney-General to provide a monitoring and complaints system for people who are dependent on a service provider to support them, including children and young people in care. All residential care placements are now classed as visitable as per Section 525 of the Children and Young People Act 2008. Official Visitors may upon request inspect the register of searches, use of force and segregation at Bimberi Youth Justice Centre and Therapeutic Protection Plans and Therapeutic Plan Registers.

(3) No formal checklists are used by the Official Visitors as they are appointed to provide monitoring and complaints avenues for children and young people in care.

Child and Youth Protection Services utilise a checklist when inspecting residential care properties. The checklist is provided at Attachment A.

(4) The position of Official Visitor is administered by the Office of the ACT Public Trustee. The training of the Official Visitors is managed and delivered annually through the Office of the ACT Public Trustee.

(5) Child and Youth Protection Services provide residential care properties with notice of inspections prior to attending to inspect the property. This generally occurs two months prior to the inspection occurring.

(6) This is not applicable as the residential care properties are aware of the inspections occurring in accordance with the Service Funding Agreement.

(7) When Official Visitors meet with entitled persons they also have discussions with the staff on shift at the time. Official Visitors make staff comfortable with sharing information and ACT Together is bound by industrial relations regulations that protect staff from unreasonable management responses.

(8) The Official Visitors visit children and young people at visitable places on a monthly basis even when the entitled persons have not registered any complaints. The Official Visitors seek to engage with each child and young person at this time.

(9) Although there are 14 approved residential care places the Official Visitors only visit the residential care properties when they are occupied. Over the course of 2015-16, some visitable places were vacant or occupants not available at the time of the visit therefore the Official Visitors did not visit these residential care properties.

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