Communities and Justice

OOHC Education Pathway - A guide for caseworkers

This information describes the OOHC Education Pathway process (PDF, 217.5 KB) for children in OOHC to provide a consistent guide for Funded Service Providers to support children and young people in statutory OOHC to realise their education potential.

Children in out-of-home care have a right to access quality education. One of our key responsibilities is to support their access and engagement in education and training.

Education is a contributing factor in a person's quality of life and the level of education they achieve has been found to have an impact across generations. People who receive a sound education are likely to live longer and to experience better health outcomes.

Children and young people in out-of-home care are much more likely to leave school early. Early school leavers face a higher risk of social exclusion and poverty. Proactive planning and support aims to improve their outcomes and help them reach their potential.

What is the OOHC Education Pathway?

The OOHC Education Pathway process (PDF, 217.5 KB) is an agreement between DCJ and the three major education sectors in NSW (Government, Catholic and Independent) on how pre-school and school aged children children and young people in statutory OOHC will be supported at school. This pathway is designed to support children and young people regardless who they are case managed by (Funded Service Provider or DCJ) and school they attend (Government or Private).

Children and young people in OOHC are likely to have lower levels of engagement in school and poorer educational outcomes. The pathway is in place to provide collaborative and consistent educational support to each child and young person in OOHC to support them to be engaged in suitable quality education and help them to reach their full learning potential.

It is important that all children and young people in OOHC participate in educational opportunities, supported by their carers, family and caseworkers and have learning and support planning initiated for them within 30 days of entering care or starting a new school.

The OOHC Education Pathway process (PDF, 217.5 KB) is triggered by notifying a school (Department of Education (DoE), Catholic or Independent, including DoE preschools) that a child or young person has entered OOHC by the use of a Notice to School.

The OOHC Education Pathway process (PDF, 217.5 KB) supports the NSW Child Safe Standards for Permanent Care, Standard 10.

Caseworkers role

Caseworkers have an essential role in improving educational outcomes for children and young people in statutory OOHC and education staff play an essential role contributing to OOHC case planning. Proactive collaborative planning and support improves their outcomes and helps children and young people in OOHC reach their potential.

It is also important to inform a school when a child or young person is exiting OOHC (through restoration, guardianship, adoption) or turning 15 years when leaving care planning begins so the school is aware and can support future planning and collaboratively respond to any changes in the circumstances for children and young people.


According to NSW Child Safe Standards for Permanent Care 2015, Standard 12, children and young people should have a permanent record of their histories which contains all relevant documentation.Ensure that all available information, documents and records about a child or young person are collected and maintained. Agencies must retain records regarding the social and medical history, development and identity of children and young people.

Further information

Share information with carers about the OOHC Education Pathway to support them in improving the health outcomes of children in their care: Out-of-Home-Care Education Pathway: A Guide for Carers factsheet.

Last updated:

20 Mar 2024