Communities and Justice

Permanency Support Program roles and responsibilities of DCJ staff

Roles and responsibilities of Permanency Coordinators, CFDU and contract managers

DCJ districts have three teams focusing on different parts of OOHC (1) Permanency Coordinators, (2) Child and Family District Units and (3) contract managers.

These teams have different roles and responsibilities in relation to funding packages, casework and permanency, information requests from Ministers, and access to the child’s file on ChildStory.

Read more about PSP Overview of roles and responsibilities.

Permanency Coordinators 

Permanency Coordinators are permanency consultants, advocates and advisors to Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) and Permanency Support Program (PSP) provider casework practitioners. They help embed a culture that values and prioritises relational, physical, cultural and legal permanency for children and young people.

Permanency Coordinators provide consultation and support to DCJ and PSP casework teams when considering different permanency pathways and how they can be achieved across the care continuum.

Permanency Coordinators:

  • provide advice on PSP Packages and how they can be applied to promote stability, improve children’s experience of out of home care (OOHC) and lead to improved permanency outcomes
  • work with PSP providers to review children's permanency outcomes and timeliness of permanency.

PSP Permanency Coordinator Role Scope (PDF, 450.1 KB)

Find the Permanency Coordinators' contact emails.

Child and Family District Units (CFDUs)

Child and Family District Units (CFDUs) casework practitioners exercise secondary case responsibility for most children in the primary case responsibility of PSP providers. This means they exercise the powers and function of parental responsibility (PR). Read the List of Functions of PR exercised by DCJ.

PSP provider casework  practitioners rely on their own agency's practice leaders, policies, procedures and guidance as well as DCJ's PSP policy framework.

CFDUs are the key notification point for many individual child-related events and provide or arrange approvals for some funding packages.

CFDUs exercise parental responsibility of the Minister in accordance with their delegations. For example, CFDUs make decisions about passports, interstate travel or movements, planned and emergency surgery and medical treatment, ear piercing.

CFDUs will help PSP providers to: 

  • complete the Child Assessment Tool (CAT) for CAT review requests
  • collate, approve and file their own evidence in Children’s Court proceedings
  • support DCJ to carry out safety in care assessments (some CFDUs only) 
  • share relevant information about the safety, welfare and wellbeing of a child under Chapter 16A of the Care Act
  • work collaboratively with PSP providers to ensure safety for children in OOHC, including when they experience an away from placement event or a critical event
  • make referrals for placements in foster care or Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) for children who can’t live safely with their parents
  • provide feedback to the PSP Practice Register relating to issues and or concerns regarding PSP providers.

More information on CFDU can be found on the role of CFDUs in the PSP Overview of DCJ roles and responsibilities (PDF, 524.3 KB).

Find the contact details for NSW District CFDU.

Contract Managers (Commissioning and Planning)

Commissioning and Planning teams and Statewide Contracts oversee the PSP Program Level Agreement (PLA) including reporting related to contractual obligations. They monitor PSP provider performance and reconcile funding.

Commissioning and Planning can use its broad overview of the entire OOHC service system to advocate for systemic changes.

PSP providers that operate across multiple districts will have a lead contract manager and may also be allocated a district contract manager. The lead contract manager may be located in Statewide Contracts in DCJ's central office or a Commissioning and Planning team in a local district. Commissioning and Planning contract managers support the work of the lead contract manager.

Lead contract managers and Commissioning and Planning contract managers are PSP providers’ first point of contact for matters relating to:

  • reconciliation of funding paid and actuals
  • monitoring contractual requirements including reportable conduct matters, subcontracting arrangements, carer recruitment, overall performance in achieving permanency outcomes, placement changes of children and young people.
  • supporting PSP providers with practice and performance issues (for example casework, carer recruitment, financial matters etc).

Lead contract managers work with PSP providers to:

  • monitor and support PSP providers compliance with contractual reporting obligations, including completion of case plans, leaving care plans and cultural support plans through ChildStory Partner
  • monitor contract volume and work with providers if a variation is needed
  • ensure compliance with the PSP Permanency Case Management Policy (PCMP) and associated policies, Aboriginal Case Management Policy (ACMP), the PSP Program Level Agreement, funding deed and associated documents.

Read the PSP Overview of DCJ roles and responsibilities (PDF, 524.3 KB) for more information on Commissioning and Planning and contract managers.

Central Access Unit (CAU)

The Central Access Unit (CAU) acts as a centralised referral pathway for children entering Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) or being placed in residential care. It is responsible for suitability assessment, referral management and outcomes reporting.

ITC helps children over 12 years of age with high needs who are recovering from severe forms of trauma, neglect or abuse. These children:

  • are unable to be supported in foster care
  • require specialised services to maintain stability in their care arrangements
  • are provided with therapeutic services, allowing them to step down into less intensive placements as they heal.

ITC draws on the NSW Therapeutic Care Framework and provides a range of therapeutic placement types.

Independent Assessors

Independent Assessors help caseworkers determine the best permanency option for a child or young person. The panel system is a flexible and independent way to seek advice and operates on a fee for service basis. DCJ monitor assessor quality, availability and cultural competence, and acts on any supply gaps to better meet children and young people’s needs.

An Independent Assessor is commissioned to undertake impartial, high quality assessments about the quality of relationships a child or young person is developing with their caregivers. The assessment is designed to assess the suitability of each of the permanency pathways available to the child or young person, and to make recommendations about permanency case plan goals.

Independent Assessors play a significant role in engaging with family members and other significant people in the child or young person’s life, to positively influence permanency case planning.

Independent Assessors were selected via a rigorous, two-stage procurement process led by a DCJ evaluation committee.

Read the Panel of Independent Assessors for more informartion.

Check the list of Independent Assessors (XLSX, 25.5 KB) to find the Independent Assessor for your district.

Joint Child Protection Response Program (JCPRP)

The Joint Child Protection Response Program (JCPRP) involves DCJ, NSW Police Force and NSW Health working together in responding to child protection reports of serious child abuse which may constitute a criminal offence.

The coordination of tri-agency JCPRP response (in relation to accepted referrals) is managed within the JCPRP Local Planning and Response Procedures- external sitelaunch.

When there is a JCPRP response, the PSP provider (with primary case responsibility):

  • acts to ensure the immediate safety of the victim child and other non-victim children
  • takes JCPRP direction regarding preservation of evidence and criminal proceedings
  • works collaboratively with JCPRP in relation to how decisions are made to enable a coordinated and effective response.

The PSP provider’s legal and contractual role does not change, that is the provider continues to supervise the child’s placement and have case responsibility for achieving the child’s case plan goal within two years.

The requirement to accept JCPRP direction is time-limited and only continues until the response is completed. 

Open Adoption and Permanency Services, OOHC Adoption

OOHC Adoption and Permanency Services has oversight, preparation and management of applications for adoption in the NSW Supreme Court.

OOHC Adoption, offers PSP providers access to Adoption Caseworkers in local districts, who have extensive knowledge about adoption. Adoption Caseworkers are not contract managers or decision-makers. Rather, their role is to:

  • help the Department or PSP providers to identify children for whom adoption may be an appropriate permanency option
  • provide adoption advice in relation to legislation and practice
  •  provide support, including consultation in complex adoption decision making
  • assist in preparing court documents and filing the adoption application in court.

Last updated:

04 Oct 2023