Apply to be a Carer

Specialist Foster Carer Information Pack

Who we are:

Alternate Care is a local Cairns based incorporated entity that has been operating in the Far Northern Region of Queensland with Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and supporting community organisations.

Our organisation’s commitment is in Queensland and has the support of the broader community who value the lives of ‘children/young people or adult/s with an intellectual or cognitive disability at risk’ and who are prepared to engage with government and communities so as to ensure better opportunities for those who are most vulnerable.  Alternate Care has readily demonstrated this commitment as observed in its frontline involvement in assistance to children/young people or adult/s with an intellectual or cognitive disability and their families, which was provided immediately after Cyclone Larry, Cyclone Monica and preparation for evacuations associated with the Solomon Island Tsunami alert.

 

What we do:

Our Vision is to: ’measurably improve the lives of children/young people or adult/s with an intellectual or cognitive disability who are at most risk in Queensland’s Far North’.

 

Our Mission is to: ‘Ensure that children/young people or adult/s with an intellectual or cognitive disability in Queensland’s Far North who have moderate – high or complex - extreme needs will have greater opportunity to access services that are more flexible and responsive towards establishing their safety, enhancing their potential development and ensuring a positive identification with ‘self’ and subsequent wellbeing.’

 

Culture Statement:  “Alternate Care’s culture is underpinned by empowerment, honesty, integrity, reflective practice and a passion for continued improvement.”


Why we do it:

As a community stakeholder, whose focus is on those who are most vulnerable, Alternate Care actively engages with children/young people at risk and their families.  Feedback and observations from this group have been discussed with community leaders, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services personnel, professional Carers and members of other community agencies within Cairns, Innisfail, Atherton, Cooktown and smaller Cape York and Torres Strait communities.

 

Observations and discussions by our organisation regarding children/young people at risk in Queensland indicate that there still exists a growing requirement for Foster Carers to support children/young people with a range of support needs from moderate – high or complex – extreme.  An observation that was substantiated in the 2004 Crime and Misconduct Commission’s (CMC) Public Inquiry into ‘the abuse of children/young people in Foster Care’.

 

The CMC’s 110 recommendations generated from this inquiry were embraced by the Queensland State Government who then commenced major reform.  Its commitment to this reform included Queensland being the only jurisdiction in Australia to have a separate specialist Department for child services rather than a Department that covers a broad scope of services such as human services, community service and family services.

 

Three subsequent statistical performance reports issued from Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and the recent Child Guardian 2006 report indicate that there have been major accomplishments due to the reform, however, there are still ‘gaps in the delivery of services to children/young people who have complex and challenging need’s (Child Guardian 2006 Report).  Gaps recognised by Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and readily being acted upon.

 

In closing these ‘gaps’, the strong partnership growing between Alternate Care and Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services’ Far North Region and associated Child Safety Service Centres is highly valued by our organisation.  Our representation and active participation is evident in our involvement with Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in the development and implementation of new services and evaluation of existing service delivery.  In addition, we are an active participant in the Department’s strategic planning, focus groups, child/young person or adult/s with an intellectual or cognitive disability placement panels, family reconciliation meetings and specialised planning and discussion groups.

 

Those who are responsible:

Alternate Care recognises the importance of carefully screened, trained and experienced frontline workers and Carers and actively encourages further education and a commitment to lifelong learning.

 

 

 

All workers and Carers are screened in accordance with Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services’ procedures and have been issued with ‘Blue Cards’ in accordance with the Public Safety Office.  Our workers and Carers embrace our core values of empowerment, honesty, integrity and a passion for continued improvement and quality assurance.

 

 

 

Our Managing Director, Peter Marino, has over thirty years (30) experience working with young people and adults with extreme and challenging behaviours.  He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree Majoring in the Behavioural Sciences; Graduate Diploma in Rehabilitation Counselling; Graduate Diploma in Adult Education; Masters of Education; Masters of Management and has been nominated for a Churchill Fellowship.  He also has received many awards including the Chinese Friendship Medal for his pursuit of excellence and leadership and services to disadvantaged groups.

 

 

 

Some of Peter’s career achievements include: his work and discussion papers presented in North America, South Korea and Japan; his work with the son of former Chinese President Deng Pu Feng; his ‘transformational change management’ with services funded by the previous Federal Government’s Department of Family and Community Services; his promotion as an initiator of exemplary team leadership in Professor Mike Kaye’s book ‘Teaming with Success’ – an Australian management text for MBA students.

 


How do I apply to be a Foster Carer

If after reading the Alternate Care Information Pack you wish to apply to be a Foster Carer, you need to contact the Operations Manager – Foster Care on 07 4031 0460.

 

An independent Assessor will then contact you to assist you with completing an application form and to conduct a comprehensive Foster Carer Assessment.  This Assessment includes; medical and health information; personal history; household safety study; criminal history check; blue card application; and general suitability to become a Foster Carer.  The Assessment will include information about yourself, your partner and any other household members.

 

Part of the approval process requires compulsory attendance to the Quality Care Foster Carer training.  This consists of a Pre-Service training, Standards training and Advanced training.  The Pre-Service training must be completed prior to the initial Foster Carer approval.

 

Do I need a Blue Card:

All approved Foster Carers must hold a valid Blue Card at all times.  Part of the application for a Foster Carer blue card requires the completion of a Blue Card Validation form, which must be provided to Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

 

Please note that your blue card is valid for a 2 year period, and must be kept up to date at all times.  Also anyone who is 18 years or older that lives in a Carers home must also have a valid blue card.

 

Who approves me to be a Foster Carer:

The Assessment that is conducted is provided to Alternate Care for recommendation.  If Alternate Care decides to proceed with the Assessment, it is provided to Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services who process the application, criminal history checks and blue card application and give the final approval.

 

How long does my approval last:

The initial Foster Carer approval is for 12 months only.  During this time the compulsory Quality Care Standards Training must be completed by the Foster Carer/s. 

 

Prior to the expiry of your initial Foster Carer approval date, the Assessor will contact you to conduct a compulsory twelve month review Assessment.  This Assessment is forwarded to Alternate Care for recommendation and from Alternate Care to Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services for approval.

 

Your approval will then be re-assessed every 2 years from this date.

 

Changes to Circumstances:

If your circumstances change during your approval period, you must notify Alternate Care as soon as possible.  These changes include change of household members, change of address or relationship breakdown.  Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services requires all changes in circumstances to be re-assessed to inform the approval process.

Reimbursement of Expenses:

Foster Carers are reimbursed directly by Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.  Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services identifies the support needs of the child/young person and the Foster Carer is paid on a sliding scale according to this assessment.  Reviews to the support needs of the child/young person are performed every six months by Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services. 

 

Out of this reimbursement, Foster Carers are expected to pay for the child/young person including but not excluded to: school and educational expenses, including school excursions; health, dental and medical expenses; public transport expenses, including bus fares; clothing and uniforms; pocket money; food and personal items.

Reporting/Feedback Processes:

Foster Carers are required to submit incident reports for behaviours/incidents that are out of the ordinary.  In addition, Foster Carers are required to record all medication given to the child/young person on the Medication Sheets provided to them.  These sheets need to be provided to Alternate Care on a regular basis. 

 

Foster Carers are also provided with a Complaints Report and Feedback Form where issues may be recorded and communicated to Alternate Care. Foster Carers are encouraged to use these forms and relay any issues, concerns or complaints that they have to Alternate Care on a regular basis.        

      

Will I receive support as a Foster Carer?

Alternate Care will provide ongoing support to Foster Carers with a child/young person in their care.  Foster Carers will receive regular contact and visits from Alternate Care to assist and support them in issues that will arise while they are providing support to a child/young person.