Registered out-of-home care services must comply with the requirements to report allegations of physical and/or sexual abuse by a foster or residential out-of-home carers as set out under section 81 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005. This reporting process provides a mechanism for:
- information about carers subject to an allegation of abuse to be disclosed to other out-of-home care services where the carer is registered, reducing the risk to child safety across the service system and
- consideration of whether an independent investigation should be conducted, with the potential to lead to disqualification of the carer from the Victorian Carer Register (which then informs worker screening through the Disqualified Carer Check process).
For registered out-of-home care services, the section 81 reporting process also supports meeting the requirements of the Victorian Child Safe Standards. Standard 5 requires that organisations have in place processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse, of which submitting a section 81 report is a key component for out-of-home care services.
Out-of-home care services are encouraged to distribute the resource to all staff involved in the incident reporting and carer registration process. Referencing of the document within incident reporting guidance and inclusion within relevant induction material for staff and managers is also encouraged, to support implementation and help demonstrate compliance with Standard 5.
If you have any queries please contact the Child Safeguarding team via email II.SP@dffh.vic.gov.au.