Ready for the Permanency Support Program? Have Your Say

ACWA is seeking the views of our member agencies ahead of the introduction of the Permanency Support Program (PSP).

Commencing from 1 October 2017, FACS will be implementing a wide range of changes to the child protection and out-of-home care sector. The name for these changes is the Permanency Support Program (PSP), which was announced in March by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward.

In 2006 there were 10,623 children and young people in care. In 2016 that figure grew to 18,659.

In the last 10 years there has been a significant increase in the number of children and young people in NSW entering the care system. This is coupled with an increase in the length of time spent in care, now averaging 12.5 years, and repeated placement changes.

Ensuring stability and permanency for all children and young people is the underlying principle of the Permanency Support Program. Importantly, it prioritises three outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care or at risk of entering care: safety, permanency and wellbeing. It also shifts the service system from a ‘placement-based’ to a child and family-based system.

This reform encompasses a large number of system, practice and culture changes. But the changes will not all be happening at once. While FACS and NGO providers will begin embedding permanency in all case planning from 1 October, changes will be incremental so that everyone has time to learn new systems and practices. Full implementation commences from 1 July 2018.

You can also find more information on the upcoming changes on the FACS Permanency Support Program webpage.

You can also refer to a fact sheet explaining exactly what is changing from 1 October 2017 on the Permanency Support Program resources page, and watch a brief video to find out more about the Permanency Support Program.

Have Your Say

To ensure a smooth implementation period, FACS has funded ACWA to facilitate a needs analysis of the sector through its membership.

A needs analysis is not intended to identify faults or issues that have been, but rather looks forward to opportunities for what ‘could’ or ‘should’ be. In this case, a needs analysis is a process to identify what out-of-home care NGOs need implemented, changed or provided in order for them to work toward permanency more effectively.

ACWA has undertaken preliminary consultation with out-of-home care workers across the state through numerous focus groups. This has involved frontline practitioners and managers telling us where the gaps in their knowledge and organisational practice are and how they would like those needs met.

Some of the key themes that have already arisen from the focus groups are: developing assessment skills, documentation and legal work, keeping the child central in decision-making, strengthening links with family support services and working with adults in a purposeful way to achieve restoration.

The focus group findings have then been incorporated into a statewide survey, due for release in the coming weeks to all out-of-home care agencies across the state. The survey will be used as another information collection tool that will influence decisions made around implementation of the Permanency Support Program.

ACWA would greatly appreciate the input and support of our members who work in out-of-home care and family preservation through the survey. There will be some direct questions on what is needed based on the focus groups as well as space for you to tell us about additional needs and suggestions.

Between now and the release of the survey, ACWA invites members to review the information about the Permanency Support Program on the FACS website and gather information from colleagues about your agency needs, priorities and possible solutions in response to this reform.

The Needs Analysis Survey will be sent to all member representatives in the coming weeks.