Carers

Foster carers and kinship carers are the backbone of our out of home care system. Carers open their hearts and their homes to our most vulnerable children and young people. Making this very important decision requires considerable commitment and brings significant changes, challenges and joys as part of the foster or kinship care experience.

Kinship care is the most common form of out of home care available in the ACT for children and young people in the care of the Director-General. Since 2010, it has increased beyond all other forms of out of home care. This form of care is of particular importance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as it usually means cultural ties remain in place.

Under the ACT Government’s five year out of home care strategy, A Step Up for Our Kids – One Step Can Make a Lifetime of Difference, out of home care organisations will provide support for kinship carers with children and young people on long term orders.

Child and Youth Protection Services employs a Carer Liaison Officer. This role serves as a central point of contact for support and liaison with carers to access information, advocate on their behalf and work to strengthen relationships between carers and the Directorate. The Carer Liaison Officer can be contacted on 6205 8357 or at carerliaisonofficer@act.gov.au.

The following links provide useful information, news and updates for carers to assist you in your caring role and to navigate the child protection and out of home care systems.

  • Health passport

The 'My ACT Personal Health Record and Health Passport' for children and young people in out of home care aims to provide a comprehensive health record and to support foster carers, kinship carers and residential workers in the care provided to the child.

The Health Passport is a booklet specifically designed for children in out of home care and can be inserted to fit into the ACT Personal Health Record (the Blue Book).

A twelve month staged implementation of the Health Passport commenced in January 2015. The Health Passport was distributed to all new children entering care aged 14 and under. Following evaluation it has been agreed that the Health Passport will now be distributed to all children and young people in out of home care aged 14 and under.

There are two different booklets:

  • The Blue Book is an existing health record which is given to all parents at the time of their child's birth in the ACT. The Blue Book provides general information and advice regarding access to health services in the ACT and is used to track a child's development and their timely engagement with health services throughout their childhood. For some children entering out of home care the Blue Book may not be available to accompany the child into out of home care
    • The Health Passport booklet is to be used to document all relevant medical appointments and therapies for and child or young person while they are in out of home care.

Who can enter information in the Health Passport?

Carers, Child and Youth Protection Services (CYPS) and ACT Together case managers and practitioners from ACT Health Women, Youth and Children community health services participate in recording information into The Health Passport. These programs include:

  • Child at Risk Health Unit (CARHU); Out of Home Care Health & Wellbeing screen
  • Child Health Checks;
  • Maternal and Child Health Nursing Service (MACH); and
  • Kindergarten Health Checks.

Carers should also be encouraged to ask other health personnel (e.g. doctors, dentists and therapists) to record information in the Health Passport.

Top

Issuing the Health Passports to carers:

The Child and Youth Protection Services (CYPS) case manager for the child or young person (aged 0 to 14 years) is responsible for ensuring all new carers of children and young people placed in out of home care have a Blue Book and are issued with a Health Passport. The CYPS Health Liaison Officer will provide case managers with a copy of the Health Passport for all children and young people (aged 0 to 14 years) entering Out of Home Care. The CYPS Liaison Officer for Health will record an event on CHYPS when the Health Passport is issued.

Top