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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

From January 2022 all children aged 5 to 11 years old will be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine recommended for this age group and is 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.

Since 13 September 2021, all children aged 12 and above have been eligible for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. It is important that we get as many children and young people in out-of-home care 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. This includes vaccines for COVID-19. 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.

Some NSW Health vaccine clinics may require young people aged 14-15 years of age to be accompanied by a carer or guardian to an appointment to provide consent. Carers may attend appointments with children to assist in providing 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 any additional form of consent, written or otherwise. However carers should bring their DCJ (or FACS) Confirmation of Placement letter (received when the placement commenced) to any vaccination appointment.

Recording a person’s vaccine status in ChildStory

PSP providers need to update a child’s vaccination status in ChildStory. It is important for children and young people to have their information current. It is also important that a reason be recorded for any child or young person that is not vaccinated.

To support completion of this record a knowledge article has been developed called Record Immunisation and Vaccination Details.

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 Partner Community, contact 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 18 and over. 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, 897.76 KB has been specifically designed so that it can be used to support children and young people who are medically unable to be vaccinated, or remain unvaccinated for other reasons. 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 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.

If a young person aged 14-17 years with capacity to consent refuses to be vaccinated, carers and caseworkers should:

  • link the young person to relevant resources available from the Commonwealth Government and NSW Government
  • encourage the young person to consider obtaining vaccination in accordance with medical advice (if applicable)
  • continue to talk to the young person about their choices, the continued risks presented by COVID-19 and how to keep themselves safe.

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.

Vaccination advice for people who have had COVID-19

The exemption for people, including children and young people, who have had COVID-19 from vaccination for 6 months has changed.

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

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

If practitioners are concerned about the safety of children in care, DCJ suggests that home visits should occur 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.

DCJ suggests that all other home visits to children in care can occur virtually or be postponed.

Practitioners must wear facemasks when visiting children in their homes.

Family time

Face-to-face family time should continue, where safe, in the following situations:

  • where children have a case plan goal of restoration
  • children with contact orders in place.

Except where there are unique circumstances that provider managers agree should be face-to-face, DCJ suggests that all other family time be held virtually.

Practitioners must wear facemasks when visiting children in their homes.

Updated rules around NSW Government QR code check-in

Check-in is required at residential care facilities or hostels, but not for residents.

Mandatory QR Codes are being reintroduced in NSW with details to be announced. Visit the NSW Government mandatory electronic check-in page for the latest 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.

If you have any urgent matters to report to DCJ over the Christmas and New Year period, your district contacts can be found on the Reporting COVID-19 positive incidents to DCJ page.

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.

Worker safety

Worker safety is incredibly important. It is recommended you use a PPE at all times while on face-to-face visits. Please call ahead and assess whether it is safe to attend by asking if anyone in the household is feeling unwell; whether they are in isolation; or have been in contact with a confirmed case.

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: 25 Jan 2022