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Latest COVID-19 information

For the most up-to-date COVID-19 advice including rules and restrictions visit the NSW Government website.

Vaccines for children and young people

All children aged 5 years old and above are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine recommended for children aged 5-11 years and those aged 5-11 will receive one-third the dose approved for those aged 12 years and over.

DCJ has sent PSP Service Providers a suggested letter template and information sheet to be sent to all carers explaining vaccine eligibility for children aged 5 to 11 years old.

Young people aged 16 and 17 are eligible for booster vaccinations. If their second dose was more than three months ago they can get a booster. Please encourage and support  young people to get their booster.

All children aged 12 and above are eligible for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

It is important that children and young people in out-of-home care are vaccinated as soon as possible.

Please support children and young people to get vaccinated. This could include:

  • letting them know they are eligible
  • talking to children, young people and/or their carers about vaccines
  • supporting them to discuss any vaccination worries with a health practitioner such as their local GP
  • providing information on the benefits of vaccines
  • making appointments including support with the technology
  • supporting them with transport to and from vaccine appointments.

Respect the wishes of the children in your care if they have the capacity to make their own decision about the vaccine.

Continue to encourage their carers and their household members to get vaccinated too.

If a carer refuses to get a child or young person in statutory OOHC vaccinated, their agency can direct a carer to make arrangements for a child to be vaccinated. This should be assessed based on the child’s best interests and in accordance with medical advice.

Young peoples' consent for vaccination

A young person aged 14 years or older can generally consent to their own medical treatment. A child’s capacity to consent is assessed on a case by case basis, determined by if they understand the nature of the treatment including any risks associated with the treatment. This includes vaccines for COVID-19.

Some NSW Health vaccine clinics may require young people aged under 16 years of age to be accompanied by a carer or guardian to an appointment to provide consent.

Carers and guardians can consent for children aged 13 years or younger, or young people aged 14-17 years who lack capacity to consent to their medical treatment.

Neither DCJ, nor their agency need to provide consent. However carers should bring their DCJ (or FACS) Confirmation of Placement letter (received when the placement commenced) to any vaccination appointment.

If a young person chooses not to be vaccinated, carers and caseworkers should:

  • link the young person to relevant resources available from the Commonwealth Government and NSW Government
  • support the young person to seek individualised medical advice to help inform their decision
  • continue to talk to the young person about their choices, the continued risks presented by COVID-19 and how to keep themselves safe.
  • support the young person to develop a plan on how they will keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19 while unvaccinated.

Recording a person’s vaccine status in ChildStory

PSP providers need to update a child’s vaccination status in ChildStory. It is important that a reason be recorded for any child or young person that is not vaccinated.

A knowledge article has been developed called Record Immunisation and Vaccination Details to help with recording. The vaccination certificate does not need to be uploaded.

If the vaccine status of the child’s carers and other household members is known, this can be also be entered in ChildStory through the Partner Community.

If you have a ChildStory-related enquiry for the Partner Community, contact the Partner Support team on:
ChildStoryPartnerSupport@facs.nsw.gov.au
Phone: 1 300 356 696

Booster vaccinations

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health website to book a booster.

Booster vaccinations are available for people aged 16 and over, who received their second dose more than 3 months ago. Visit the NSW Government website for more information on when a person is eligible to book.

Go to the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

‘I’m not fully vaccinated - this is my plan for staying COVID-19 safe’ resource

The resource ‘I’m not fully vaccinated – this is my plan for staying COVID-19 safe’ PDF, 1430.8 KB has been specifically designed so that it can be used to support children and young people who choose not to be vaccinated or are medically unable to be vaccinated. You can use this resource to help children develop a plan about how they will protect themselves and others from COVID-19.

Further information and advice

If you need further advice email DCJ COVID-19 Support.

For more information about vaccines, visit our Get vaccinated page.

For help in talking to children, family and carers about vaccines, visit our practice advice page.

Children, young people and carers who have COVID-19

Wherever possible carers should manage COVID positive people in the home like any other family.

Visit the NSW Health webpage for advice about managing COVID19 safely at home.

Provide children, young people and carers with emotional and practical support wherever possible. Check whether they have or are able to get groceries, medicines and other essentials. Ask them about whether they have entertainment for the kids. Support them to obtain what they need.

Notify your manager. Provide key information including ChildStory ID, full name of child, location, date-of-birth etc. Senior managers should inform their contract manager. DCJ will give providers as much support as possible in these situations.

Let your contract manager know when the child is no longer positive.

Vaccination advice for people who have had COVID-19

NSW Health advice says:

  • there is no need to delay vaccination if a person has fully recovered
  • talk to your doctor if you are unsure about when it is best get vaccinated
  • public health orders require some people to be vaccinated.

Home visiting and family time (contact)

DCJ continues to conduct safety and risk assessments face-to-face.

Home visiting should start to return face-to-face for all children, where it is safe to do so.

If practitioners are concerned about the safety of children in care or they have not seen a child in person for some time, home visits should already be occuring face-to-face where it is safe to do so. This is because of the importance of seeing children in person to check on their safety.

Face-to-face family time should now mostly be occurring face-to-face, where safe.

Consider putting in place safety measures such as wearing masks, visits outdoors, limiting the number of visitors at family time and social distancing.

Remember to check the COVID status of children and carers before visiting, including if they have any COVID-like symptoms.

Use your COVID safety management plan to guide your decisions.

COVID management plans

DCJ encourages providers to update their COVID management plans in response to the Omicron wave.

DCJ has held three webinars to support you through this with each session targeted to a specific delivery type.

Staffing

Exemptions for close contact rules for critical workers

Some critical workers can now be exempt from isolation requirements and can leave isolation if they have no symptoms of COVID-19, they’re unable to work from home and their absence from the workplace poses a high risk of disruption to the delivery of critical services.

Social assistance and welfare services are included in this group.

If you have critical workers, you need to revisit your risk assessments, and consider if your organisation will adopt the isolation exemptions for your workers. You are not required to adopt the exemptions.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

The correct use of PPE correctly is a critical safety measure to prevent infection.

DCJ funds, including COVID-19 grant funding, can be used to purchase PPE.

PPE can be purchased through various suppliers. The NSW Government has a list of suppliers of PPE for industry and the community during the pandemic.

If you’re having issues purchasing PPE, please contact your contract manager.

You can find the latest rules about mask wearing indoors on the NSW Government webpage.

Your COVID management plan will guide you in what the best decision is about mask wearing for your staff and the families you work with.

Updated rules around NSW Government QR code check-in

QR codes are no longer required in most venues.

Disability venues may continue to use their existing QR codes.

Visit the NSW Government website for more information.

Reporting COVID-19 positive incidents to DCJ

Reporting COVID-19 positive cases to DCJ has changed.

The only incidents that need to be reported are when a child or young person in is in out-of-home-care and is Parental Responsibility to the Minister (PRM).

Continue to report these cases to your district as per existing arrangements.

Education for children in out-of-home care and in preservation programs

Read the latest advice regarding school attendance in 2022 on the Department of Education website.

All parents and carers, volunteers and providers who are permitted to come onto school sites must be fully vaccinated.

Checking in with children, families and carers

Children in the PSP are particularly vulnerable. Check in with children, carers and families to support their safety and wellbeing.

Call vulnerable young people regularly and talk to them about any worries they have. Check in on their mental health. Provide support and visit face-to-face if you are concerned about their safety.

Employee help

The DCJ Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides workers access to confidential counselling, coaching and support for workplace and personal issues and is available to all DCJ funded NGOs. Staff at NGO’s will need to register.

It’s important for you stay up to date with COVID-19 rules in NSW as a Permanency Support Program (PSP) provider.

The following advice is for all PSP service providers, including ITC and residential care providers, across NSW.

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Last updated: 04 Mar 2022