What does that word mean? Find out here.
Being in out of home care might seem really confusing and there are lots of different words that are used to explain what is going on.
Here is a dictionary to help.
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ACAT ACT Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Adoption is a legal process whereby a parent’s rights and responsibilities for a child or young person are transferred from the birth parents to the adoption parents. Adoption is not considered by Child and Youth Protection Services to be a suitable option for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
A Step Up for Our Kids Out of Home Care Strategy 2015-2020 is the name of the out of home care framework that the government uses to support and care for children and young people in out of home care.
ACT Together is a group of agencies that provide services to children and young people in care. ACT Together is led by Barnardos ACT and includes Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) and OzChild.
Best interests is a term used according to section 8 of the Children and Young People Act 2008 whereby decision-makers must consider the best interests of a child or young person before anything else.
Birth parents are a child or young person’s biological mum and dad.
Care and Protection Order is a type of court order granted by the ACT Childrens Court when the Court determines a child is in need of care and protection. It has important details like whether the child or young person will live with their parents or a carer. Care Orders are often referred to as a Short Term, Interim, Long Term or Final Care Order.
CALD stands for culturally and linguistically diverse. It can refer to people who speak a language at home that is not English, or who were born in another country, or who might identify as being from a particular culture.
Care Plan is a special plan that is developed for each child and young person. The Care Plan sets out all the goals and tasks to help protect and support the child and young person’s safety and wellbeing. [Hyperlink to Care Plan section].
Care Team (Declared Care Team) is a team of people that are involved with the child or young person. These people could include the child or young person’s birth parents, carers, case manager, teachers or doctor. The team met regularly to talk about and action how they can help support children and young people in care. If a child or young person would like to attend a Care Team meeting they should ask their case manager or carer.
Case manager is one of the main people in contact with a child or young person. When a child or young person first comes into care the case manager will be someone from CYPS. Later, the case manager might be from ACT Together. The case manager is someone who helps to make good decisions about the child or young person. Case managers really want to help the child or young person and they are a great person to talk to.
Charter of rights for kids in care is a special document that sets out the rights of children and young people in out of home care. [Hyperlink].
Children and Young People Commissioner is there for all children and young people in Canberra to make sure they are treated well. If a child or young person has a problem that hasn’t been fixed by their carer, case manager or someone else in CYPS, they might be able to help.
Child and Youth Protection Services/CYPS is the organisation that checks whether children and young people are being looked after and are cared for. If they are really worried about what is happening with a family they might seek from the ACT Childrens Court to have the child or young person move to live with someone else. This is called out of home care.
Contact is an arrangement that is made for children and young people to spend time with or speak with their parent, family or friends. Sometimes the contact can be supervised by a worker to make sure the child or young person stays safe and is supported and other times it can be informal catch ups.
CREATE Foundation are people who run fun activities for children and young people in out of home care. They run programs and events to help children and young people connect and engage with other people in out of home care.
Cultural Plan is a plan that sets out how people are going to support a child or young person to connect with their culture, it is often used for children and young people who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. The Cultural Plan should include ways a child or young person can learn more about their background and culture.
Director-General (some people say Chief Executive) is a person in government who the law says is like a parent for all children and young people in out of home care. Unlike a child or young person’s parents and carers, they won’t live with the Director-General and they might never meet them but it’s their responsibility to make sure that everyone does what is best for child and young people in care.
Emergency Action is when CYPS has had to remove a child or young person from their parents because they are worried about the immediate safety and wellbeing of the child or young person.
Enduring Parental Responsibility (EPR) is a type of Care and Protection Order that allows carers to hold full parental responsibility for a child or young person and make decisions on their behalf. CYPS has no role in the monitoring or case management of these Orders.
Final Care Order is a decision made in the Childrens Court that says a child or young person will need to stay in out of home care for a period. Final Care Orders are usually made for 12 months, two years or until the child or young person turns 18years.
Foster carer is someone from the community who volunteers to look after children or young people in care.
In need of care and protection is a term that is used when CYPS or the Childrens Court think that a child or young person can’t return to their birth family.
Interim Care Order or Short-Term Order is a decision made in the Childrens Court that says a child or young person will need to stay in out of home care for a short period of time, usually while various assessments are being done.
Kinship carer is a family member or someone who knows the child, young person or family who cares for them.
Long term Order is a decision made in the Childrens Court that says a child or young person will need to stay in care usually until they are 18 years old.
Official visitors are people who go to residential houses or to youth detention places and listen to children and young people’s concerns. They can then follow up with staff, the Minister or Director-General to try and help make things better.
Out of home care is used when children and young people can’t live at home with their birth parents and move to kinship care, foster care or residential care.
Out of home care agency is an organisation that finds someone to care for children and young people if they go into foster care or residential care. In the ACT this is usually an out of home care agency refers to ACT Together.
Parental Responsibility is the term used to describe who can act as a child or young person’s parent. The Childrens Court decides who has parental responsibility for children and young people in out of home care. Parental Responsibility is broken up into daily care responsibilities and long-term responsibilities. More than one person can have Parental Responsibility for a child or young person and this information can be found on their Care Order.
Placement is the term case managers use for where a child or young person lives.
Post-Order Support is also known as after-care support and is the different types of support that can be accessed when a child or young person leaves out of home care or turns 18 years. [Hyperlink to post order support.]
Preservation is a focus on preventing children and young people from entering care by providing parents with targeted and intensive support to reduce risks and enable them to maintain the care of their child.
Public Advocate is someone who can investigate a problem if a child or young person thinks the government or another agency isn’t doing the right thing. It is always good to talk to the case manager or carer if there are any issues but if this doesn’t work the Public Advocate can listen to children and young people and check if they are getting the help they need.
Residential Care are group homes where young people go in certain circumstances. A residential care house might have 1-2 other young people living there with carers who take it in turns to look after them.
Respite care is planned regular and/or time limited breaks for the parent or carer of a child or young person.
Restoration is a process of trying to help birth parents have their child or young person be restored to their care.
Solicitor/lawyer is someone who can help a child or young person if the court is involved. This person knows how the law works and will make sure that the child or young person’s best interests are being considered in court. They can also speak up for the child or young person if they do not want to be at court so that their views are heard and considered in decisions.
Specific Parental Authority is a written authority provided to a kinship or foster carer that enables them to share an aspect of the Director-General’s daily care responsibility and/or long-term care responsibility for a child.
Therapeutic assessment is a holistic assessment of a child’s therapeutic needs across different areas of their life. It reviews the impact trauma has had on their wellbeing and development and identifies strategies for addressing their specific needs.
Therapeutic Plans are developed after an assessment of a child or young person and their needs has been undertaken.
Transition Plan is a plan that is developed from when a young person turns 15 years old and helps them think about what they want to do when they turn 18. Most young people just stay living with their carers until they want to move out on their own.
Trauma-informed is a phrase that case managers might use to describe the things that the people in a Care Team do to try to help children in out of home care with their specific needs and experiences, such as settling in to a new environment or get help to work through things that might have happened to the child or young person in their past.
Voluntary care agreement is a legal agreement a parent can make with Child and Youth Protection Services to share parental responsibility of their child for a short period of time. It enables Child and Youth Protection Services to facilitate a temporary home for the child with a care. A parent may end the agreement at any time.