Follow this procedure when undertaking leaving care planning for a young person with a cognitive disability who may require a guardian or administrator after they turn 18. This procedure outlines tasks that must be completed in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Secretary to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (formerly the Department of Health and Human Services) and the Public Advocate.
Document ID number 1707, version 2, 17 February 2021.
Some young people with a cognitive disability will require support as an adult to make informed decisions on their behalf. It is important young people who may not have the capacity to make decisions that promote their personal and social wellbeing are identified early and that their future decision-making needs and referral to OPA are considered as part of their 15 + Care and Transition Plan.
Case practitioner tasks
Prior to consultation and referral to OPA
- In line with the Care and transition planning for leaving care: Victorian Practice Framework, commence the Looking After Children 15+ Assessment and Progress Record and the 15+ Care and Transition Plan.
- Refer the young person to Better Futures once they turn 15 years and 9 months.
- Where required, update CRIS to include information about the type and severity of the cognitive disability and any existing NDIS plans. For more information about recording disability in CRIS see Recording Disability and Complex Medical Needs Information CRIS Guide.
- Where child protection have parental responsibility and the young person is not an NDIS participant and no previous attempts to apply for funded NDIS disability supports has been made, make an access request to the NDIS.
- Where the young person is a NDIS participant, contact the young person’s support coordinator to discuss a arranging a NDIS plan review prior to the young person’s 17th birthday to support planning for the transition to adult disability services.
- Consult with the care team about other adults in the young person’s life, including any family who may be able to be involved in supporting the young person make decisions after they turn 18. Even where family cannot care for the young person, they may be able to play a role in providing support and decision making on behalf of the young person after they turn 18.
Consultation and referral to OPA
- Consult with OPA as early as possible after the young person’s 17th birthday by contacting the VCAT Liaison Officer at the William Cooper Justice Centre, Melbourne.
- Provide OPA with the following information:
- the type and severity of the cognitive disability and the impact on the young person’s functioning, including any mental health concerns
- other known adults in the young person’s life, including any family who may be able to be involved in the young person’s life after they turn 18
- existing community supports and involvement with disability and mainstream services, including any disability advocacy organisations.
- Request OPA attend care team meetings or case conferences for the young person where appropriate.
- Where child protection has parental responsibility and a decision is made to proceed with an application for guardianship and/or administration:
- consult with the lawyer for the young person. Consultation with the lawyer must be undertaken by child protection or the ACAC provider, it cannot be undertaken by a contracted case manager.
- undertake an application to VCAT. The application to VCAT must be undertaken by child protection or the ACAC provider, it cannot be undertaken by a contracted case manager.
- Attend the VCAT hearing and record the outcome on CRIS. Child protection must attend the VCAT hearing. The contracted case manager may also attend.