Update to residential care service providers:
Children and young people who reside in residential care require the best possible care. Having a skilled and qualified workforce is core to the safety and wellbeing of these children and young people.
In March 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (the department) approved the minimum qualification provisional strategy to 30 June 2018, which supported residential care providers to meet training requirements. Effective immediately, the provisional strategy has been extended to 31 December 2018.
The extension of the provisional strategy recognises that some providers are facing transition challenges implementing the minimum qualification requirements for residential care workers.
The extension of the minimum qualification provisional strategy outlines that:
- All placement decisions should be made in line with the best interests principles outlined in the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005.
- The provisional strategy does not change the current policy expectation that residential staff possess or be working to attain minimum qualifications.
- In the event that a qualified residential care worker cannot be sourced, workers who do not have the requisite qualifications but have relevant experience may be employed to provide care to a child or young person, but they (as do all residential care workers) need to have completed the mandatory units of competency outlined in the Minimum Qualification Strategy for Residential Care Workers in Victoria by 31 December 2018.
- Where workers do not have the requisite minimum qualifications prior to employment, the residential care service provider must develop and document strategies to support the care of the child, and supervision and support of the staff member while the staff member obtains the minimum qualifications. In all instances this must include appropriate orientation that establishes clear roles and responsibilities, and procedures for support.
Additional support strategies could include working with children who do not present with exceptionally challenging behaviours; being supervised by another qualified staff member at all times; being provided appropriate on-call support; supervision and training.
Service providers will need to consider that new residential care workers undertaking the mandatory units of competency will require sufficient time to complete face-to-face training, workplace hours, and workplace assessments.
The provisional strategy does not extend to the requirement to undertake compulsory training (two day With Care foundation training) for workers in therapeutic residential care in line with the Program Requirements for the delivery of Therapeutic Residential Care in Victoria (this requirement is met through the two trauma units of competency offered as part of the top up training available through Melbourne Polytechnic TAFE).
The minimum qualification provisional strategy will not be extended beyond 31 December 2018.
Update to disability out of home care providers:
Disability out of home care providers caring for children on voluntary child care agreements are required to hold registration as a Community Service Provider (out of home care) under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005.
Training developed for the statutory residential care providers has been made available for workers in disability providers delivering care to children in voluntary residential placements. This is voluntary training for these workers.
Workers will need to have agreement with their house supervisor or house manager because assessment will require supervisor/manager endorsement/approval.
More information can be obtained through Local Engagement Officers (LEOs) or the Principal Disability Practice Advisors (PDPAs).
To date, funding has been made available through the Department of Education and Training to cover all training costs, however from December 2018 training for residential care workers will transition to a sustainable training delivery model.
In line with the current process, residential care service providers should register any worker needing training on the website https://www.cfecfw.asn.au/residential-care-workforce-vet-initiative/.
A copy of the Minimum Qualification Strategy for Residential Care Workers in Victoria is available on the department’s out of home care webpage: