Out-of-home care can include voluntary and court ordered living arrangements. There are different considerations to decide who the most appropriate child representative is in these situations.
Who can be the child representative if the child is in voluntary out-of-home care?
At times, a child may enter care arrangements outside of the family home. This occurs when the child’s parent or carer is not able to provide care. In most cases, the parent or parents still have parental responsibility and remain the child representative for NDIS purposes.
Under voluntary arrangements the child usually lives full or part-time with other family members or care givers, or in temporary accommodation with an out-of-home care provider.
The voluntary arrangement is jointly coordinated and overseen by the relevant state or territory authority, the out-of-home care provider and the parent or carer. Under these circumstances, the parents will remain the child representatives if they have parental responsibility for the child.
There may be times when the parents or carer aren’t involved in day-to-day decisions about the child. Or they don’t have much contact with the child. In this case, the persons identified in a family court order or a kinship arrangement would be the child representative. Or we will work with the state or territory authority to appoint an alternative person to be the child representative. Then they can manage NDIS related matters.
Who can be the child representative if the child is in statutory (court ordered) out-of-home care?
Statutory out-of-home care is when a child is living outside the family home because of a state or territory court order or direction to remove the child from the family home. The types of statutory out-of-home care are foster or kinship (family member) care, and residential-based accommodation where support workers look after children.
In statutory out-of-home care, parental responsibility for the child changes from the parent or carer to the state or territory minister or head of department of state. So the state or territory minister or head of department of state becomes the child representative under the NDIS Act.
In particular cases, we may decide to appoint someone instead of the state or territory minister or head of department. Learn more about when we can appoint someone with parental responsibility as the child representative instead of the guardian.
Can a foster carer be the child representative?
When a child is in a foster family arrangement, the state or territory minister or the head of the state or territory department is usually the child’s guardian and will be the child representative. However, this may vary across states and territories.
The state or territory minister or the head of a state or territory department may have a case manager from an organisation act on their behalf. The case manager will work with the foster family to include them in meetings with us and to understand any matters related to the NDIS. If a foster carer makes a request to become a child representative, we will make sure the child’s guardian and case manager are aware of the request.
We need written approval from the guardian to appoint someone else who doesn’t have parental responsibility to be the child representative. Sometimes a state or territory minister, or the head of a state or territory department, will give someone else the authority to provide us with written approval on their behalf.