Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) fact sheetMarist180 provides residential therapeutic care services to young people who are no longer able to remain with their families. We have been providing support programs and services to vulnerable young people in NSW for 17 years.
This fact sheet contains information about our Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) service for children and young people who are recovering from the most severe forms of trauma, neglect, abuse and adversity.
About Marist180Marist180 is a not-for-profit organisation providing support programs and services to vulnerable young people in NSW for the past 17 years. We are contracted by the Department of Family and Community Services to provide residential therapeutic care services to young people who are no longer able to remain with their families. When individuals have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect a foster family environment may not suit their unique and complex needs.
What is Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC)?Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) is a NSW Government service system that helps children and young people between 12 and 18 years old who are recovering from the most severe forms of trauma, neglect, abuse and adversity. They are greatly in need of care and safe, supportive environment.
Under the ITC system, short-term, individualised Intensive Therapeutic Transitional Care (ITTC) is provided for up to 13 weeks to help these vulnerable young people move into less intensive types of care.
Intensive therapeutic care is in line with the NSW Therapeutic Care Framework (TCF) and is replacing residential care across NSW over a two year period. More information about intensive therapeutic care is available on the NSW Department of Family and Community Services website.
What sort of young people enter ITC?ITC is for children and young people between 12 and 18 years old who have been removed from their families due to the traumatic environments they have been forced to live in. In ITC these vulnerable young people receive the specialised care they need from a team of allied health care professionals and specially trained staff in a home-like environment.
What is an Intensive Therapeutic Transitional Care (ITTC) home?When individuals have experienced this kind of trauma, abuse and neglect they have unique and complex care needs. Under the ITC system, short-term, individualised care is provided for up to 13 weeks at an Intensive Therapeutic Transitional Care (ITTC) home.
An ITTC home caters for up 4 to 6 young people and is staffed by a highly-skilled team of allied health care professionals and specially trained staff. The team work with the young people to assess and support their individual needs and develop care plans to help their transition to more permanent, less intensive care arrangements.
The young people entering ITTC homes are assessed for suitability by the Department of Family and Community Services and matched to homes according to their care needs and the facilities of the home.
How are ITC homes identified?The physical environment of an ITC home is an essential element of therapeutic care. ITC services must provide a safe, nurturing and predictable home-like environment that promotes a sense of normality for the children and young people. When establishing an ITC home, we look for high quality properties in communities to provide the young people with an environment in which they can feel valued and safe.
The homes need to be large enough to comfortably accommodate bedroom, bathroom and living spaces for the staff and young people, as well as staff offices and rooms for our allied health care professionals and young people to work in. We generally look for large properties on a bit of land which can help with privacy for both occupants and neighbours, ideally within 30 minutes of a hospital and police station.
What is the planning approval pathway for these homes?The NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 is the relevant planning policy that Marist180 is applying for ITTC properties. As provided in Division 7 Group Homes provision 43 of this Policy, Marist180 pursuant to the Permanency Support Program contract with the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), is not required to submit a Development Application to the local Council prior to acquisition of the properties. Marist180, in consultation with the Local Council, made an application under the following clause of the Affordable Housing SEPP:
Exemption from obtaining consent under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (“Affordable Housing SEPP”) Section 43 of the Affordable Housing SEPP which provides (emphasis added):
1. Development for the purpose of a permanent group home or a transitional group home on land in a prescribed zone may be carried out:
a. without consent if the development does not result in more than 10 bedrooms being within one or more group homes on a site and the development is carried out by or on behalf of a public authority, or
b. with consent in any other case.
The ITC home to be operated by Marist180 falls within the scope of section 43(1)(a) of the Affordable Housing SEPP which states that the Service Provider does not require consent to undertake a Group Home if it does not result in more than 10 bedrooms and is carried out by or on behalf of a public authority (in this case under a contractual agreement with Family and Community Services). Evidence supporting Marist180’s contractual agreement with FACS was presented to Newcastle City Council for exemption approval under this clause of the SEPP.
What assessments are carried out for matching and placement into an ITC home?Marist180 will work closely with FACS on the matching of children and young people placed within an ITC home. FACS is responsible for overseeing the entries, transitions within and exits from ITC through a Central Access Unit. Eligibility and suitability of a child or young person for ITC and safeguarding against unsuitable placements is supported through the Child Assessment Tool (CAT) which is applied by FACS to identify the most appropriate placement type and level of care for a child. The CAT focusses on the safety and wellbeing needs of the child, including developmental milestones, health and behavioural needs as well as social skill attainment.
What training and support do Marist180 staff receive?Marist180 care staff are Diploma or Bachelor and/or post-graduate qualified. On employment they receive further specialist training in working with individuals who have experienced childhood trauma.
The staff are supported by fully qualified allied health care professionals, which may include occupational therapists, psychologists, speech therapists and education specialists depending on the young people’s needs.
Together, the team work with the young people to provide support, assess their individual needs and develop plans for their ongoing care and support.
We are required through our contractual obligations with the Department of Family and Community Services to maintain the required staff qualifications and ongoing training-support to ensure the ITC program is delivered.
What security measures are in place at the home?Our homes are carefully appointed to provide a physical environment which is safe, well maintained and promotes a sense of normality for the children and young people. Some of the ways this is ensured is through use of Child Safe policies, security cameras, Crimsafe security screens, safety windows and a number of emergency exits.
Risk assessments are carried out for the homes and we have risk management procedures and protocols in place to prevent and manage incidents. This includes an escalation procedure for residents during an incident.
Most of the people coming to and from our homes are staff and allied health care professionals, and some of these movements are outside daytime hours. The young people are not permitted to receive unannounced visitors. There is opportunity to receive scheduled visitors once this has been assessed and approved by their case workers, but generally the young people do not receive visitors given their circumstances.
What supervision is in place for the young people?24-hour supervision is in place for the young people. Two youth workers are always on duty and required to be awake, a house manager is onsite during business hours and various allied health care professionals are onsite throughout the day. Generally, the young people are accompanied by staff when they go out and leaving the property unaccompanied is dependent on the individual’s assessment and care plan.
What do the young people do during their stay?The activities and movements of the young people vary depending on the individual’s assessment and care plan. Generally, the young people spend most of their time at home where they feel safe and comfortable surrounded by our staff and where they participate in therapy and activities identified in their care plans.
They may participate in excursions and offsite recreation activities depending on their care plan, and we have staff and vehicles for accompanying and transporting them to where they need to be. We don’t rely on public transport during these short-term stays. The staff and young people may spend time outdoors and just like any resident, they are expected to be considerate and courteous to our neighbours.
What is the process for inquiries and complaints?A 24-hour contact number is available for inquiries and complaints when the home is operational. This number is staffed by Marist180’s afterhours response team. These staff will work with you to address your concerns and will assist in having the house manager come to site or any other emergency services if required.
Can you explain the ITC tender process?Marist180 were part of a rigorous two stage tender process related to ITC that was administered by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS). There was an external independent probity advisor, APAC Probity Advisory and Consulting, who oversaw tender related interactions.
The outcome of the tender was that Marist180 signed a contract with FACS to deliver ITC services including the ITTC in Newcastle. Having a contract with FACS means Marist180 must comply with the terms, conditions and contractual arrangements outlined in the FACS Funding Deed. Marist180 participates in regular contracting discussions to ensure our services are aligned to the program expectations, and that risks to service delivery are being appropriately managed or mitigated.