FACS Executive Director, Child & Family, Simone Czech has written to ACWA in regard to the establishment of a panel of Independent Assessors to help caseworkers determine the best permanency option for a child or young person:
We want to thank you, as a peak body, for your collaboration as we work to give or children and young people loving homes for life through Permanency Support Program reforms.
To support permanency planning in all casework, we’ve established a new, expanded panel of Independent Assessors across NSW. The panel is aimed at FACS caseworkers. However, if they choose to, your member organisations can also refer to the panel to inform their own work in assessing permanency options for children and young people.
Up to now, we have had too few Independent Assessors to meet growing demand. To address this shortfall, we have increased the numbers, capacity and accessibility of Independent Assessors across NSW. This will ensure they remain a vital resource when working towards achieving permanency for a child or young person – particularly when it comes to guardianship or open adoption.
While we have established clear performance requirements for panel members, FACS does not assume any legal liability regarding a non-government agency’s decision to use a particular Independent Assessor. Agencies will need to cover any costs relating to the engagement of any assessor.
FACS has established a Panel of Independent Assessors webpage providing more information as well as details of district panellists, and user guidelines.