Quality Assurance Program

Territory Families in partnership with service providers are working to transform out of home care making sure that children who are unable to live with their family are cared for in safe, culturally secure, trauma-informed, therapeutic environments.

The Quality Assurance Program (the program) aims to improve outcomes for children in out of home care and is a key reform in creating generational change for children and families in the Northern Territory. We will achieve this in partnership with service providers through ongoing assessment, learning and improvement.

Currently this program is limited to purchased home based care and residential care services, though may be further developed to include all out of home care placements in the future.

In 2018, the Quality Assurance Framework was developed and places the child at the centre and focuses on their rights, needs, safety and wellbeing, and validates that children are valued and heard.  The cornerstones of the overarching Framework are the 13 National Standards for Out of Home Care and the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations developed following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Framework aligns to a nationally consistent approach to best practice principles and underpins the core outcomes we collectively aspire for children and young people to achieve across Australia. The Framework creates a shared understanding between Territory Families and service providers of a common direction, purpose and aspirations for the quality of care and services delivered to children and young people.  The program assesses the quality of care delivered to children and young people against three thematic core elements of the Framework as follows:

Safe

  • Children and young people receive care that promotes their health, well-being and development in order to achieve their full potential.
  • Children and young people from different cultural backgrounds receive culturally safe care.
  • Children and young people in care feel safe and secure.
  • Risk management and feedback mechanisms exist to identify issues and inform continuous improvement.

Connected

  • Children and young people experience stability and if unable to return home permanency.
  • All children and young people are engaged to develop and maintain connections to their family, culture, community and peers.

Informed

  • Children and young people are participants in decision making as appropriate for their age and development.
  • Care delivered to children and young people is best practice and evidence based, outcomes are monitored, measured and issues arising are acted upon to improve systems and care for individuals.

The Program

The Quality Assurance Program (The Program) is implemented over a rolling two year cycle as demonstrated below.

The Program

Year One includes a review against the Program requirements including self-assessment by the service provider, site visits by the Service Standards Innovation Team and development of a Recommendation Action Plan.

Year Two includes follow up to monitor progress against results of the previous year, site visits are undertaken to ascertain agreed actions outlined in the Recommendation Action Plan are achieved and monitor any issues or new initiatives arising by exception.  Recommendation Action Plans continue to be reviewed and monitored until they are complete.

The Assessment Process aims to:

  • promote quality care and support for children and young people in care
  • improve the system of out of home care across the Northern Territory; it is not intended as a punitive process.
  • support continuous quality improvement while addressing accountability through quality assurance processes
  • promote ongoing development of internal systems and processes
  • support capacity building for the service provider.

Territory Families Service Standards team visit all residential care and a percentage of Purchased Home Based Care sites across the Northern Territory.

Information collected during the assessment assists service providers and Territory Families, through internal reflection and review, in assuring safe quality care is provided to children in care across the Northern Territory.

This process will identify strengths within the system which may be shared across service providers and further highlight areas for continuous improvement and action.

Transforming Out-of-Home Care in the Northern Territory

Territory Families is transforming out-of-home-care in the Northern Territory that will provide a system and services that are focused on and responsive to the needs of children and young people in care, their families and carers. The key elements of the new out-of-home care model include:

  • enhancing collaboration with families and young people
  • partnering with community and government
  • establishing supportive systems to deliver out-of-home-care services
  • prioritising family/kin care-givers and improved support for all family carers
  • services that are tailored to meet the needs of children and young people incare
  • therapeutic services that are designed to achieve positive outcomes for children and young people in care.

Visit the Transforming Out-of-Home Care in the Northern Territory for more detailed information on the current reforms.

The National Standards for out-of-home care

The National Standards were developed in consultation with the Commonwealth, and all States and Territories to ensure consistent, best practice out-of-home care to all children regardless of where they live.

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations are informed by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse who identified ten key elements to the create organisational cultures to implement strategies and take action to promote child wellbeing and prevent harm to children and young people.

Charter of Rights for children and young people in care in the Northern Territory.

Charter of Rights for children and young people in care in the Northern Territory ensures that the rights of children in out of home care are given special attention and promoted.

Additional Resources

Additional information and resources of interest can be found on the following web sites:

Further information & assistance

For more information on the Quality Assurance Program, please contact the Service Standards Team:

E: TF.ServiceStandards@nt.gov.au

P: (08) 892 44307

Last updated: 16 July 2020

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