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Revised family contact arrangements – advice to parents and carers

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The attention of Member organisations is drawn to this statement recently sent to parents, foster and kinship carers by Dr Meegan Crawford, Chief Practitioner, Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs.

In this statement, Dr Crawford describes changes being made to arrangements now in place for children and young people living in foster or kinship care to have contact with members of their family. Dr Crawford’s advice is that in light of the extraordinary rise in the number of COVID infections throughout the community, family contact arrangements will now occur via phone or using online options such as FaceTime or Skype, rather than face-to-face arrangements. If online options are not possible, family contact will be postponed unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Parents and Carers are advised to consult further with Child Safety Service Centre staff about:

  • whether more frequent contact when phone or on-line alternatives are being used is an option
  • concerns that may be held about not having enough data to support meaningful connections on-line, and/or
  • arrangements that are to be put in place if family contact is to be supervised.

Dr Crawford also notes that meetings planned with staff of the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs will now be held on-line or may need to be postponed if this is not possible.

These arrangements are to be made subject to weekly reviews.

Dr Crawford also advises that at this stage, court attendance arrangements have not been changed.

PeakCare is now seeking advice from the Department about arrangements that are to be implemented in relation to children and young people residing in residential care.

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