In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000

Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call


Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700


24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

Glossary of terms

Below is a list of common terms and abbreviations connected with the care and protection system you will likely come across during your time as a carer.




According to section 342 of the Child and Young People Act 2008 (the Act), abuse of a child means:

  • physical or sexual abuse, or
  • emotional abuse (including psychological abuse) if the abuse has caused or is causing significant harm to the child’s wellbeing or development.

Emotional abuse also occurs where a child has been, or is being, exposed to family violence where exposure includes:

  • seeing the violence, or
  • seeing the consequences of family violence such as property damage, injuries to people involved including the emotional impact it has on the victim, Police attendance at the home, or
  • hearing the violence

and this exposure to abuse has caused, is causing, or would cause significant harm to the child’s wellbeing or development.


ACT Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

ACT Together

A consortium of agencies specialising in child and family support services. The agencies are: Barnardos Australia, Australian Childhood Foundation, Ozchild and Premier Youthworks.


A legal process whereby all parental rights and responsibilities for a child are transferred from the birth parents to the adoptive parents. Adoption is not considered by CYPS to be a suitable option for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children.

Best interests

According to section 8 of the Act, decision-makers must consider the best interests of a child before anything else. Best interests determinations are based on a legally defined concept and made by considering a number of factors (section 349) related to the child’s circumstances and the parents’ or carers’ capacity to parent. The child’s ultimate safety and wellbeing is the paramount concern.

Care and Protection Order

A type of court order granted by the ACT Childrens Court when the Court determines a child is in need of care and protection.

Care Plan

A plan outlining what needs to happen to ensure the care and protection of a child. It records goals, tasks and actions. Care Plans are developed in partnership with members of a Declared Care Team.

Care planning

The process of developing a Care Plan and implementing the agreed tasks and actions within a specified timeframe.

Case conference

A meeting of the key people involved in the case management of a child and their family. Case conferences enable information sharing, collaboration and inter-agency decision-making.

Case management

The ongoing process of identifying how the needs of a child will be met and their Care Plan implemented. Case management involves developing, coordinating, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating a child’s various plans over the duration of the child’s involvement with the out of home care system. These plans are relevant to the child’s situation and can include Care Plans, Case Plans, Cultural Plans, Safety Plans, Restoration Plans and Transition Plans. Case management is led by a child’s case manager, with engagement with other key people involved in the child’s care.

Case manager

A CYPS or ACT Together staff member with primary responsibility for case management of a child.

Case Plan

The primary day-to-day case management tool developed and used by CYPS and ACT Together to meet a child’s safety and care needs, and to monitor how the child is going. A Case Plan is more detailed than a Care Plan in outlining the goals, tasks and actions required by those involved. Case Plans are developed in partnership with relevant individuals including parents, carers and the child.

Case planning

The process of developing a Case Plan and implementing the tasks and actions within a specified timeframe.


The term used to describe the frequency and duration of time allocated to maintain relationships between a child and the people they have a right to connect with on a regular basis. This may include birth family members and other significant people close to the child. Contact can happen through various activities including, but not limited to, visits, phone calls and letters.

Cultural Plan

A plan outlining how a child’s connection to culture, identity and family ties (including kinship) will be maintained and promoted by their carer. All decisions relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care are informed by the child’s Cultural Plan.

Cultural planning

The process of developing, implementing and maintaining a Cultural Plan. Central to this process is finding kin and ensuring a child’s ongoing connection to culture.

Cumulative harm

The effects of multiple adverse or harmful circumstances and events in a child’s life. The impact of these experiences on the child can be profound and affect their sense of safety and wellbeing.


Child and Youth Protection Services. CYPS is the ACT Government agency responsible for investigating the safety and wellbeing of the ACT region’s children who may be at risk of abuse or neglect. CYPS is part of the Community Services Directorate.

Daily care responsibility

The legal responsibility given to a person to allow them to make decisions about the daily care needs of a child. For example:

  • where and with whom the child lives
  • the people with whom the child may, or must   not, have contact (consistent with any court order in place)
  • everyday decisions, for example about the   personal appearance of the child
  • decisions about education, training and   employment
  • consenting to healthcare or dental treatment   on the advice of a health practitioner (not including surgery).

Any court order will override decisions made by a person with daily care responsibility.

Declared Care Team

A team of individuals and/or entities declared by the Director-General under section 863 of the Act to share information in the context of collaborative case management for a child in care. Team members have an ongoing role with the child or family and work collaboratively in the best interests of the child.


In the context of care and protection of children, the person who holds delegated responsibility for the operation of Child and Youth Protection Services (CYPS).

Emergency Action

Arranging for a child's immediate care and protection by ensuring they are cared for somewhere safe, such as with a kinship or foster carer. Emergency Action is legally only allowed where the child is experiencing or is at immediate risk of, abuse or neglect.

Enduring Parental Responsibility

A type of Care and Protection Order that allows carers to hold full parental responsibility for a child and make decisions on the child’s behalf. CYPS has no role in the monitoring or case management of these orders.

Long-term or final Care and Protection Order

An order made by the ACT Childrens Court (or another relevant court in Australia) allocating parental responsibility of a child to the Director-General, Community Services Directorate, or another stated person, until the child turns 18 years old.

Foster care

Care and support provided to children who are unable to live with their own families.

Foster carer

A trained and assessed community member (unknown to the child) authorised by the Director-General to provide care in their own home for children who are in need of care and protection.

‘In need of care and protection’

According to the Act, a child is in need of care and protection if the child:

  • has been abused or neglected, or
  • is being abused or neglected, or
  • is at risk of abuse or neglect, and

no-one with parental responsibility for the child is willing AND able to protect the child from the abuse or neglect or the risk of abuse or neglect.

Interim or short -term Care and Protection Order

An order that allows temporary or short-term protective arrangements and transfer of parental responsibility for child while there is an ongoing assessment of risk. The time is used to gather more information about the child’s and family’s needs and risks, to see how the child responds to their new arrangements, and/or for the birth parents to make changes to their situation.

Kinship care

Care and support provided to children by relatives (kin), or people in a child’s extended family network or community, when they are unable to live with their birth parents. Kinship care is recognised as having advantages for the preservation of family, promotion of cultural identity and reduced separation trauma for the child.

Kinship carer

A family member or significant person known to a child, who is authorised by the Director-General to care for the child who is in need of care and protection.

Long-term care responsibility

The legal responsibility given to a person for the long-term care, protection and development of a child, and all powers, responsibilities and authority a guardian of a child has by law.


The failure to provide care for a child that causes, or has caused, significant harm to their wellbeing or development. For example, failing to provide food, shelter clothing or healthcare treatment.

Parental responsibility

All duties, powers, responsibilities and authority parents have by law in relation to their children, including daily care and long-term care responsibility.


A focus on the importance of providing children who are unable to return to the care of their birth parents with stable, consistent and long-term care arrangements.


A child’s living arrangement. This could be with a kinship carer, foster carer or in a residential care facility.


A focus on preventing children from entering care by providing high-risk birth parents with targeted and intensive support to reduce risks and enable them to maintain the care of their children.

Respite care

Planned, regular and/or time limited breaks for the primary carer of a child in care.


A process of supporting a planned reunification of children who have come into care back to their birth parents.

Specific Parental Authority

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.

Supervised contact

A method of ensuring a child can have contact with their parents or other significant people when safety issues may be a concern. During supervised contact, another person is present to observe the interaction and ensure the child remains safe. Also referred to as ‘supported’ contact.

Therapeutic assessment

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.


A focus on supporting and preparing children to deal with significant life changes, including a change in care placement, moving towards independence or leaving care as an adult.

Transition Plan

A plan developed when a child in care turns 15 years old to support their transition to adulthood and independence. It identifies the anticipated supports and assistance the child needs from the age of 15 to 25 years.

Voluntary Care Agreement

A legal agreement CYPS can make with a parent to share parental responsibility of their child for a short period of time. It enables CYPS to facilitate a temporary placement for the child with a carer. A parent may end the agreement at any time.

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