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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Quality Assurance Program (The Program) is implemented over a rolling two year cycle as demonstrated below.
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 information and resources of interest can be found on the following web sites:
- Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma Loss and Grief Network aims to increase awareness and knowledge amongst a range of professionals working with children and young people affected by trauma and grief. They offer resources including webinars. . Their e-learning course ‘Trauma and the Child’ is for families and carers who are responsible for the care of children who have experienced traumatic experiences, has moved to https://emergingminds.com.au/training/.
- Australian Childhood Foundation’s Professional Community site has the following resources to support professionals in working with vulnerable children. Some of these resources may be valuable for carers and or service providers.
- SMART online (Strategies for Managing Abuse Related Trauma) Program is an online learning course that focuses on supporting children and young people in a range of educational and other settings. This course is free and can be completed at your own pace.
- Consultancy and tailored training packages.
- Free downloadable resources for professional to use in their practice.
- Safe Guarding Children Program. This program works with organisations that provide programs and activities for children and young people, to make them safer and less vulnerable to exploitation.
- Australian Human Rights Commission, and Children’s Rights.
- National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
- Centre on the Developing Child. The information in the resource library presents information, especially scientific information in a way that is accessible to a wide range of readers.
- Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) is the Australian Institute of Family Studies information hub for evidence, resources and support for professionals working in the child, family and community welfare sector.
- Child Trauma Academy is based in the United States Community of Practice working to improve the lives of maltreated and traumatised children they offer free online courses on trauma.
- CREATE Foundation CREATE Foundation is the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people in out of home care experience (including kinship care, foster care and residential care).
- Emerging Minds National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health is a website that provides resources and is the result of partnerships between with the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Parenting Research network, Royal College of General Practitioners and the Australian National University. It has been established to help professionals and parents or carers to support children at risk of mental health conditions.
- Foster and Kinship Charter of Rights.
- Foster Care Online Training Australia (FCOTA) is a not for profit organisation that offers training courses for people caring and working in the out of home care sector.
- Fostering Difference a website created by Sara McLean (BSC, M Clin Psych, PhD) to provide foster parents and support workers with easily accessible information and evidence informed approaches to supporting children with developmental difference.
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). The network was created in the United States to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. The resources are more suited to professionals but may be of interest to carers.
- National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009 – 2020. Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business: National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009 – 2020.
- Office of the eSafety Commissioner has online safety resources for schools, parents and communities.
- Raising Children Network is a complete online resource for Australian parents and carers on everyday parenting issues.
- Child sexual abuse: talking to children 0-11 years
- Child sexual abuse: talking to teenagers
- Preventing child sexual abuse in your family and community
- Signs that someone is involved in child sexual abuse
- Signs of sexual abuse in children and teenagers
- Grooming: recognising the signs
- Problematic and harmful sexual behaviour in children and teenagers
- Child sexual abuse: what to do if a child is sexually abused
- Child sexual abuse: help and support for children
- Child sexual abuse: helplines and services
- Sexual assault and teenagers
These articles provide information on topics such as how to talk to children and teens about sexual abuse, recognising signs of grooming, and how to access helplines and services.
- SNAICC- National Voice for Our Children is the national non-government peak body in Australia representing the interested of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
- SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children interpretation of the National Standards for Out of Home Care 2013.
Further information & assistance
For more information on the Quality Assurance Program, please contact the Service Standards Team:
P: (08) 892 44307
Last updated: 16 July 2020
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