Out of Home Care

The CatholicCare Out of Home Care program looks after children and young people who cannot live at home with their own families, and have been taken into the care of the state.

Summary of Learnings

The Centacare Out of Home Care program looks after children and young people who cannot live at home with their own families, and have been taken into the care of the state. The children are identified through NSW Family Community Services via a formal process that identifies that the child is at risk and makes permanent Children’s Court Orders for their ongoing care.

The NSW Minister for Community Services has parental responsibilities for the child via the Court Order. Usually by the time that children are placed with Centacare they have had multiple care placements, leading to behavioural and emotional disturbance.


Centacare is committed to children and their journey forever. “When you care for children and young people – eventually they look back,” said Jean Murray, OOHC Senior Manager. The Centacare OOHC works with clinical consultants to provide the best possible direct care, including therapy services.

OOHC staff have good relationships with Community Services, the local police and the children’s hospital. They make connections for the young people in the community with local schools and doctors.

With 36 placements Centacare is considered a medium sized OOHC provider. The numbers are restricted by the geographical limits of the Diocese.

The children and young people are placed either in residential care or foster care. All foster carers are on the Central Coast. Children otherwise are placed in residential care. It is often difficult to recruit sufficient numbers of foster carers due to the high intensity of the children’s needs.

Four resident houses are located on the Central Coast and two in Sydney. Residential care homes are ordinary houses in the community where young people live with rostered carers on site 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Houses are supervised by a Coordinator and up to seven residential care staff. There are a maximum of four young people per house, and most young people living in residential care are over 15.

All OOHC staff are provided with professional development and training throughout the year, as well as regular supervision by a Coordinator.

Family contact is a very challenging part of OOHC – children and young people need support to deal with their families, as past experiences have often damaged relationships severely. It takes a lot of care, effort and time to break down barriers of the past when children have neglected and abused.

The Out of Home Care Program is a great example of the Synod Statements, helping the most vulnerable children in the Diocese through the toughest times of their lives, and giving them hope for the future.

Summary of Learnings

  • The program “looks for the best in people”
  • They aim to support the young person to make connections in the community
  • They aim to help build a connection between the young person and their family. This can require a lot of support being offered to the young person and the worker involved.


  • Young people involved in the program are given input to the program, they help interview staff and have been asked for input on policy development
  • Workers receive professional supervision, effort is placed into ensuring that workers have a network of professional support

Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001

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