The court order in place for the child you are caring for is likely to include provisions that change who has parental responsibility for them while they are in care. The Children and Young People Act 2008 defines parental responsibility as being ‘all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority parents have by law in relation to their children’. This means, the person given parental responsibility for the child while in care is legally responsible for making the day-to-day decisions about that child.
In the ACT, the Director-General of the Community Services Directorate holds full or shared parental responsibility for all children on interim, short-term or long-term Care and Protection Orders – this is granted by the ACT Childrens Court. CYPS staff act on behalf of the Director-General, performing the legal responsibilities required of them under the Act.
Parental responsibility is split into two areas – daily care responsibility and long-term care responsibility. It is with daily care responsibility where you, as the carer, come in.
The Director-General delegates daily care responsibility to you as an approved carer. This is done by issuing a Specific Parental Authority (you may hear this referred to as a SPA), which allows you to make the day-to-day decisions about the child in your care (see ‘Who makes decisions for the child in your care’). Long-term care responsibility remains with the Director-General, and therefore CYPS. CYPS is responsible for making all long-term decisions about the child’s care (unless a court order specifically states otherwise), including when ACT Together is providing case management. In all cases of parental responsibility, all decisions must be made with the best interests of the child being the central consideration.
Back to top