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Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families1 Residential care in NSW: current status and future development Christine Flynn Policy.

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Presentation on theme: "Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families1 Residential care in NSW: current status and future development Christine Flynn Policy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families1 Residential care in NSW: current status and future development Christine Flynn Policy Officer, Out-Of-Home Care Association of Childrens Welfare Agencies Paper presented at the Association of Childrens Welfare Agencies Conference Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families Sydney, August 2006

2 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families2 At 30 June ,041 children and young people in out-of-home care Rate of 5.8 per 1,000 of the NSW population aged 0 – 17 years Same rate as Queensland, equal highest in the country Lowest rates are Victoria and Western Australia 3.8 per 1,000 in care Three hundred (300) or about 3% were placed in residential care

3 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families3 Trends Numbers in Care at 30 June each year 1995 to 2005

4 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families % % % % % % % % % % % Trends: Percentages in residential care as a proportion of total number in care, 30 June each year

5 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families5 Trends Minali, the last DoCS institution closed in the year 98/99 Ormond, the other remaining institution had closed the year before. DoCS, in 2005, operated only three family group homes, scheduled for closure when current residents leave care. (These three homes were excluded from this research, which focused on non-government services.)

6 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families6 Notions of normalisation grounded in social constructs of ‘family’ and its importance to healthy child development Research into factors affecting children’s emotional, social and cognitive development Higher costs of residential care in comparison to foster care Publicised cases of abuse and neglect in large institutions affecting public and government opinion Reasons for the decline in residential care

7 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families7 Trends Some contracting out of residential care to the non-government sector occurred in the 1990s Overall decline in residential care appears to have left a gap in the service system Significant emergence in NSW of fee-for-service placements offered by private for-profit companies and not-for-profit organisations

8 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families8 Why we did the research To inform the out-of-home care planning, reform and service development process Part of the DoCS $1.2billion budget enhancement is tagged for OOHC services Most OOHC funding is to be rolled out in 2006/07 and 2007/08

9 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families9 About the research Project commenced in April and interviews concluded in July 2006, most residential care providers interviewed in April and May Research team: Eric Scott, Louise Mulroney, Sarah Ludowici and myself, ACWA. A DoCS senior policy officer, Jeff Gild, assisted me to conduct Melbourne interviews DoCS funds the ACWA Out-of-Home Care Development Project

10 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families10 Definition of residential care used in this research: Placement, funded by the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS) under the Out-Of-Home Care (OOHC) Program or on a fee-for-service (FFS) basis, in a property owned or rented by an agency, in which one or more children or young people are placed and which are staffed by either direct care staff employed on a rostered basis or by house parents or principal carers, who are not regarded by the agency or themselves as foster carers.

11 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families11 How we did the research 109 interviews using standard interview guides: 42 face-to-face interviews with residential care providers and 12 additional interviews with CEOs 21 interviews with non-residential care providers All seven DoCS Regional Directors Four peak organisations 23 interstate interviews

12 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families12 Key results: Capacity & size Forty two (42) non-government providers of residential care 330 children or young people in placement Notional capacity of the residences was up to 420

13 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families13 Key results: Capacity & size Residences were generally small: 21 agencies had 83 residences with a capacity of only one 20 agencies had residences with between two and five places 11 agencies had residences with a capacity of six or more places

14 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families14 Key results: Target group Residential care was predominantly being used for the high and complex needs group Some programs included siblings and older young people in transition to independence No specific residential programs for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children or young people Most residents were statutory clients

15 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families15 Key results: Age range Eighteen of 42 agencies provided residential care for children under 12 Four agencies stated they had an open age range Two gave the lowest accepted age as six years Six gave the lowest age as eight years and Four specified 10 years of age as the minimum

16 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families16 Key results: Duration In placements intended to last three months, average placements ranged from six weeks to two years. The longest was seven years In placements intended to last around 12 months, average placements ranged from nine months to two years. The longest was 2.5 years The longest current or recent placements overall were eight years, found in two agencies In four placements that exceeded four years duration, the intended duration was three months

17 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families17 Key results: Individual residential placement 108 of the 330 residents were placed alone 107 with rostered staff caring for them 11 agencies only offered individual placements 27 agencies had provided them at some time in the past 12 months Average duration: a few nights to 3.5 years (reported by two agencies)

18 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families18 Key results: Service models & programming Staffing models Residential care was usually operated as the rostered staff model Only one agency ran a family group home model One hybrid (in between FGH/rostered staff) model

19 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families19 Key results: Service models & programming Programs ‘ Individualised ’ program – tailored to the needs and interests/preferences of residents School engagement was emphasised for all those of school age Structure in household programs and extent of community involvement varied, but not a great deal of differentiation was found across agencies

20 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families20 Key results: Service models & programming Aftercare 28 agencies provided aftercare services, with 25 reporting it was unfunded Of those 28, 11 had between one and five active aftercare clients and eight agencies had between six and 10 clients. Six agencies had over 11 active clients

21 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families21 Key results: Service models & programming Therapeutic programs Only few programs were described as therapeutic or described some therapeutic elements to their program Only one specialised in working with males who had sexual offending Some agencies employed or engaged consultant psychologists

22 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families22 Key results: Staffing issues Recruitment difficulties for direct care and management level staff Lack of high level expertise in residential care Heavy reliance on casual direct care staff in FFS agencies and expertise lost if residences were closed and employment could not be guaranteed

23 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families23 Key results: Agency contribution to funding Fee-for-service funding arrangements came close to meeting full cost of service delivery. Program (recurrently) funded residential care providers contributed an average of 25% to the cost (5-50% contribution range)

24 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families24 Key results: Geographic distribution of services Uneven distribution of residential care providers Metro West (Sydney) and Northern (NSW) regions had the largest numbers of providers, 11 in each Northern region had the largest number of fee-for- service providers with 9, while only two agencies were program funded for residential care Other regions (Metro South West, Hunter, Southern) also highly reliant on fee-for-service providers

25 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families25 Key results: Properties used for residential care High reliance on private rental properties for residential care 60% of total properties in use for residential care were private rental 29% were owned or under mortgage 11% were rented from public or community body

26 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families26 Views and issues 1More residential care is needed 2Residential care should be an option for a variety of children & young people, not just complex needs clients 3Age criteria revisited

27 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families27 Views and issues 4Residential care placements for living, not just waiting 5High level of use of individual residential care criticised 6Therapeutic and specialised model development

28 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families28 Views and issues 7Residential assessment service questioned 8A workforce development strategy, a capital program, research and evaluation and improved recurrent funding are all needed

29 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families29 Progress since 2005 ACWA issued a position paper on residential care, February 2006 Contains 17 recommendations for future development of residential care

30 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families30 DoCS developments Articulating residential care models DoCS Costing Manual was published (v1, March 2006) ‘ High and complex needs ’ contracts include recurrently funded residential care placements Reliance on fee-for-service placements, and in particular one- on-one placements, has been reduced Some under 12 year olds have been transitioned to foster care placements DoCS is undertaking economic modelling work to inform planning

31 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families31 Follow up of non-government agencies in early August 2006 showed: Some have tried to expand their residential services using their own resources or via fee-for-service arrangements Fee-for service referrals have declined in most regions affecting the viability of some agencies Some agencies reliant on fee-for-service placements have closed Program-funded placement remain well-used within existing capacity DoCS is yet to announce mechanisms for funding additional non- government OOHC placements

32 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families32 Meanwhile Accreditation requirements and good practice wisdom continue to emphasise that residential care is not suitable for under 12 year olds Fifteen agencies have achieved five-year accreditation, including 10 offering residential care programs

33 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families33 More work needs to be done to: finalise residential care models and refine costings determine the number and the distribution of new residential places establish new places and new models for different target groups address issues affecting quality and outcomes conduct research and evaluate residential care services and models

34 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families34 Those interested can purchase the full report Residential Care in NSW Order forms are available at the ACWA/CCWT table in the conference foyer or can be accessed on the ACWA web site: The full report can be downloaded: html ACWA ’ s position paper on residential care can also be viewed and downloaded: html

35 Positive Futures 2006: achieving wellbeing for children and families35 Contact details Christine Flynn, Policy Officer, OOHC Association of Childrens Welfare Agencies Locked Bag 13, Haymarket Post Office NSW 1240 Australia Tel Fax Web:www.acwa.asn.au


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