Guidelines for responding to quality of care concerns in out-of-home care

These guidelines have been developed to ensure that quality of care concerns relating to home-based carers (including lead tenants), residential carers and kinship carers are responded to in a consistent and timely manner. We must be confident that children and young people in care are safe and well cared for and that carers are supported and treated fairly while concerns are investigated.

A number of stakeholders were involved in developing these guidelines, including the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, the Foster Care Association of Victoria, representatives from Community Service Organisations providing out-of-home care, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations providing out-of-home care, the Office of the Child Safety Commissioner, CREATE Foundation and the Department of Human Services.

The purpose of the guidelines is to:

  • ensure that the safety and wellbeing of the child remains paramount throughout any investigation of possible abuse, neglect or poor quality care provision in out-of-home care
  • ensure a consistent and commonly understood approach to responding to and investigating quality of care concerns in out-of-home care
  • ensure that carers are treated fairly and with respect throughout the investigation process
  • provide guidelines for resolving differences while maintaining the safety and wellbeing of the child
  • define the roles and responsibilities of those involved in quality of care procedures.

The Guidelines underwent a technical update in July 2014, to better reflect the current environment of service delivery in the department. Details such as division/group names and position titles were updated, together with ensuring that any reference to legislation, policy and/or procedures were current.

Companion documents

Three companion documents to the guidelines, originally released in 2011, to provide a simple and easy way to understand the quality of care investigation process, have also been updated in 2014.

The updated publications are:

  • Quality of care concerns in out-of-home care: A guide for carers - Technical update 2014
  • Guidelines for responding to quality of care concerns in out-of-home care: Information for out-of-home carers
  • Guidelines for responding to quality of care concerns in out-of-home care: Information for Child Protection and community service organisations.

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