Communities and Justice

Evaluation of the Permanency Support Program

The Permanency Support Program represents a significant reform of NSW child protection and out of home care systems. It aims to achieve permanency for children within two years. Changes under the program began from 1 October 2017.

DCJ contracted a consortia led by the Centre for Evidence and Implementation to undertake a rigorous 3 year evaluation of the PSP. The consortia included partners from Monash University, University of Melbourne and the Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre Australia.

The evaluation focuses on Foster Care and Family Preservation only and assessed:

  1. If the intended safety, permanency and well-being outcomes have been achieved for children, young people and families, to inform future policy decisions (outcomes evaluation).
  2. How the outcomes are achieved for clients (process evaluation). 
  3. If it represents value for money compared to service delivery prior to PSP (economic evaluation). 

A robust methodology that was appropriate for the size and scale of both the evaluation and the program was used, providing confidence in the findings and outcomes.

The evaluation was completed in April 2023. The Executive Summary (PDF, 35.2 MB) and Summary Presentation (PDF, 1.6 MB) outline the key findings and recommendations. Full details are available in the PSP Evaluation Report (PDF, 7.1 MB)

The evaluation found that the PSP did not demonstrate the larger positive impact on children intended at the beginning of the reform. The evaluation recommends that the PSP be overhauled, and specific components of the reform discontinued. The NSW Government broadly supports these findings.

Findings from the evaluation will inform the future direction of the program and the broader out-of-home care reform agenda.

DCJ will continue to work in partnership with sector peaks and non-government providers who deliver services under the Permanency Support Program.

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Last updated:

20 Feb 2024