Out of Home Care in Government Schools
Direction and guidance on the requirements relating to children and young people in statutory out of home care who are attending government schools, including preschools.
Changes since previous version
2023 Apr 06 – updated policy statement to reflect a change in the number of types of out of home care (section 3.5.2). Updated implementation document, Out of Home Care in Government Schools - Education Plan, updated role titles, responsibilities, broken links and formatting.
2022 Nov 24 – updated role titles, responsibilities and some terminology in policy statement to reflect current practice.
2022 Aug 18 - updated contact details and links in policy statement.
2020 May 06 – updated contact details and minor edits to style guide.
References to Out of Home Care Coordinators removed.
2014 Mar 26 – contact details and position names updated.
2010 Jul 19 – implemented.
Out of home care in government schools – Education plan procedures – 2014.
- Policy statement
- To enhance the participation, retention, educational outcomes and wellbeing of children and young people in statutory out of home care who are attending government schools, including preschools.
- Audience and applicability
- NSW Government schools, including preschools, parents and/or caregivers, caseworkers, children and young people in out of home care, government departments and designated non-government agencies.
- The Education Act 1990 seeks to mitigate educational disadvantages arising from the child’s gender or from geographic, economic, social, cultural, lingual, or other causes (Education Act 1990, section 6e).
- ‘If a child or young person is temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or cannot be allowed to remain in that environment in his or her own best interests, the child or young person is entitled to special protection and assistance from the State, and his or her name, identity, language, cultural and religious ties should, as far as possible, be preserved.' Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, section 9.
- As a result of the NSW Government plan Keep Them Safe: A shared approach to child wellbeing, all preschool and school aged children and young people in out of home care in government schools will have an individual education plan prepared for them within 30 days of entering out of home care, which is reviewed annually by the NSW Department of Education and by the responsible caseworker. (Recommendation 16.8)
- This policy is underpinned by the Education Act 1990.
- In the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998:
- ‘out of home care’ (section 135) means residential care and control of a child or young person that is provided by a person other than a parent of the child or young person and at a place other than the usual home of the child or young person, whether or not for fee, gain or reward.
- There are 2 types of out of home care for the purposes of this Act – statutory out of home care (section 135A) and supported out of home care (section 135B).
Children and young people in statutory out of home care are the focus of this policy.
- In this Act, a designated agency has the same meaning as in the Children’s Guardian Act 2019.
- Responsibilities and delegations
- must ensure that assistance is provided to every child and young person regardless of their circumstances including their culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, religious or spiritual beliefs, gender, and disabilities to access and participate in education on the same basis as all other students to achieve their best educational outcomes
- must ensure that children and young people in statutory out of home care have access to the full range of school activities and programs
- must ensure that information entered on the enrolment registration number (ERN) database for children or young people identified by the school as being in statutory out of home care is updated when necessary. This includes using ‘split family' and ‘change student family' in the family management (family tree) function where there are different care circumstances for students and their siblings
- must coordinate and monitor the educational support for children and young people in out of home care in government schools
- must consider reviewing the plan where there are changes in other aspects of the child or young person’s life, such as a change of care placement, which may cause disruption to their schooling. Additional support to enhance the educational outcomes of children and young people in out of home care may be provided by
- the caseworker, the carer, other professional staff (for example, speech therapists) and designated non-government agencies
- other departmental staff, for example, school counsellors or learning and support teachers
- must ensure the development and review of personalised learning and support planning is conducted in collaboration with the carer, caseworker, child, or young person and other, appropriate stakeholders
- must ensure that carers and the child or young person are provided with a copy of all personalised learning and support planning as soon as possible after it is developed and whenever it is reviewed. A copy should also be provided to the caseworker of the designated government or non-government agency with case management responsibility
- must ensure that each child or young person’s personalised learning and support plan is kept on file, is accessible to those who need access to it, and accompanies the child or young person’s record if there is a change of school
- must ensure that there is appropriate permission for access to information concerning children and young people in statutory out of home care. Permission will not necessarily be required in all cases if, for example, this is necessary under the Information Exchange provisions of part 16A of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
- must not disclose the care status of a child or young person in statutory out of home care, including to departmental staff, unless this is required by legislation or necessary for the safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child or young person. This includes disclosing information on a ‘need to know’ basis to enable the development of personalised learning and support planning
- may provide information to another agency if this is necessary under the Information Exchange provisions of part 16A of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
- are responsible for the effective use and monitoring of out of home care funding and to ensure it is appropriately directed to the student it is intended, to enhance their educational outcomes.
- are expected to participate in the development and implementation of personalised learning and support planning for children and young people in statutory out of home care, the annual review of such plans, and to support their effective implementation
- must maintain the confidentiality of the care status of the child or young person in out of home care except as authorised by the principal (or otherwise required by law).
- Out of home care teachers:
- work with delivery support staff to build the capacity of teachers and schools to support children and young people in statutory out of home care to improve their educational outcomes
- must not disclose the care status of a child or young person in out of home care, including to departmental staff, unless this is required by law or necessary for the safety, welfare, or wellbeing of the child or young person
- work with school staff, delivery support staff, and relevant staff in other agencies, in establishing effective and efficient modes of working to improve the educational outcomes for children and young people in statutory out of home care. This includes being a contact point for receiving information about children and young people entering out of home care.
- Government departments and other designated agencies:
- should liaise with school and delivery support staff and engage in the educational planning process for the child or young person in their care
- that are prescribed bodies, have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to coordinate decision-making and the delivery of services regarding children in statutory out of home care. Relevant information, resources and expertise must therefore be accessed and utilised to meet the needs of individual children and young people
- must follow the education pathway process and ensure student details are updated via a Notice to a School (within 14 days for students entering statutory out of home care) or a change of details advice (within 7 days for all other changes in circumstances) and sent to the NSW Department of Education.
- Monitoring and review
- The Executive-Director, Learning and Wellbeing monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
Child Protection Policy Team
02 7814 0662