Voluntary out-of-home care

Parents must sign a child care agreement to authorise out-of-home care for their child and ensures parents of their rights and responsibilities.

Voluntary out-of-home care is where there is no court order requiring a child to live out of their parent's care. The parent consents to a voluntary arrangement with a service for the temporary care of their child. This may be us or an out-of-home care or disability service within the community. The service will arrange for the child to be cared for by carers, who may be volunteers assessed and trained to care for children in their own home, or employees who care for children in residential facilities.

Voluntary out-of-home care is regulated by the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005. Before a child is placed in out-of-home care, a parent must sign a Child care agreement. These agreements authorise the service to provide for the child's care and ensure parents are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

The Children, Youth and Families Act requires the Secretary of the department be notified of agreements, be consulted on their extension, undertake their review at certain times, approve the entering into of long-term agreements and in some cases, approve a person as suitable to provide long-term care for a child. Senior child protection managers in local department offices undertake agreement decision-making on behalf of the Secretary.

A parent of the child, the child or any other person whose interests are affected by a decision made by us in relation to a child care agreement can request a review of that decision.

For more information on voluntary out-of-home care, contact your local office.