Improving Out of Home Care in Tasmania
The Tasmanian Government is committed to helping all children and young people, including those who are unable to live at home, to reach their potential. A significant reform agenda commenced in 2014 '... to radically redesign the child protection system'. Out of home care is a key plank in contributing to the wellbeing and outcomes for vulnerable children and young people. The whole-of-system reform, Strong Families Safe Kids and the Strategic Plan for Out of Home Care in Tasmania 2017-2019, has provided the launch pad to improve the delivery of out of home care in Tasmania.
“All children and young people have the right to be safe, receive loving care and have access to support that will give them the chance to reach their potential later in life… Children need to have stable and secure attachments, whether it is with their parents or in Out of Home Care (OOHC)"1.
Out of Home Care Reform
The Tasmanian Government is working with children and young people, carers, government and non-government agencies to improve the quality of out of home care services.
To create a strong foundation for the OOHC system, the out of home care foundations project will deliver three outputs. These are: an outcomes framework; a quality and continuous improvement framework; and a future model for family based care.
The Outcomes Framework for Children and Young People in Out of Home Care (outcomes framework) is the first step in improving care to children and young people for the time they are unable to live at home because it establishes clear expectations of successful out of home care.
The outcomes framework is a commitment to children and young people in care about what they can expect of their care experience.
The views of children and young people with an experience in out of home care were instrumental in developing the Outcomes Framework. A Fact Sheet: Voices of Children and Young People in Out of Home Care showcases the views of children and young people expressed during the development of the Outcomes Framework.
An approach to monitor and report on the Outcomes Framework is contained in a Companion Document, developed with input from the OOHC sector. The process for collecting data is being finalised prior to the release of the Companion Document.
- Fact Sheet: The Voices of Children and Young People with Care Experiences [MS Word]
- Fact Sheet: The Voices of Children and Young People with Care Experiences [PDF]
- Outcomes Framework for Children and Young People in Out of Home Care [MS Word]
- Outcomes Framework for Children and Young People in Out of Home Care [PDF]
Quality and Continuous Improvement Framework
Another component of work is to develop a quality and continuous improvement framework which will define how the Department of Communities Tasmania, service providers and other stakeholders work together to deliver quality services and improve wellbeing outcomes for children and young people in out of home care. A draft of the quality and continuous improvement framework is being considered internally. Once approved, it will be released for consultation with the OOHC sector.
Future Model of Family Based Care
A new way of providing family based care, particularly foster and kinship care, in Tasmania is a third component in the out of home care foundations project.
A new model of family based care will improve how we work with birth families and carers to deliver quality care to children and young people in out of home care.
Consultation sessions conducted through 2017 across the OOHC sector identified some of key issues and components of an effective family based care program.
It was followed by the release of A Discussion Paper: A Future Program for Family Based Care and an extensive consultation process through late 2018.
The proposed model is currently being finalised and considered internally.
 Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. (2011). An Outline of National Standards for out-of-home care: A Priority Project under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2010. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra, p2,3