DFFH does not systematically measure and report on the outcomes of new model to see if it provides quality homes for the approximately 7,000 children in kinship care.
This means that DFFH does not know if it is supporting children in kinship care. It also means that DFFH may not be able to identify risks and provide support in a timely way.
DFFH is not completing placement assessments on time or to a sufficient standard. This puts the children DFFH is placing in kinship care at risk. This is likely to reduce placements’ safety and suitability and the support carers receive.
DFFH is also not referring all eligible kinship placements to the First Supports program in a timely way. Late referrals reduce CSOs’ and ACCOs’ ability to provide early support to kinship carers, many of whom are unfamiliar with the OOHC system and need help to navigate their new role.
DFFH cannot demonstrate that its processes are helping identify kinship networks early or in a timely way.
There is also a risk that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are not being placed in culturally appropriate homes as DFFH cannot demonstrate these children are getting timely and appropriate kinship placements and cultural connections. This means it is unlikely that the model is achieving its aim to strengthen the cultural connections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in kinship care.
All children have the right to grow up happy, healthy and safe in a stable, caring environment. If a child's home is unsafe due to the risk of violence, abuse or neglect, DFFH may need to place them in an alternative care environment.
Under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (the CYF Act), if a child needs to be removed from their home, DFFH should consider placing the child with an appropriate family member or other person significant to them before considering other placement options.