Challenge Community Services is continually assessing the potential impacts of COVID-19 on our services with the health and safety of our carers, children, young people, and staff foremost in our minds.
We have answered many of your queries and concerns in the below frequently asked questions and answers. This information will be updated regularly as the situation evolves.
Update: 19 June 2020
Current carers and families
Will placement assessments, home visits, supervised contact visits and any other face-to-face services be returning to normal?
Challenge staff are doing individual placement assessments to re-engage face-to-face home visits and contact. It is important during this time to assess risk on a case-by-case basis to ensure we are meeting the needs of carers, young people, and staff.
Prior to face-to-face support visits occurring, staff will be asking a number of COVID-19 safe questions and completing a risk assessment to ensure the safety of all parties. Supervised Family Time, Mentoring and transport will also be risk assessed with all parties inclusive of birth parents prior to visits occurring.
What do carers do if a child or young person in their care has symptoms of COVID-19?
If the child or young person is seriously unwell call 000; otherwise consult with the child’s medical practitioner and/or contact the National Coronavirus Health Information line 1800 020 080.
Contact your Caseworker or your local Challenge office as soon as practical to provide an update on the situation and to discuss any additional support required.
What do carers do if they have symptoms of COVID-19?
Call 000 immediately if you are seriously unwell; otherwise consult with a medical practitioner and/or contact the National Coronavirus Health Information line 1800 020 080.
Contact your Caseworker or your local Challenge office as soon as practical.
If you are unable to provide care during this time, please contact the child or young person’s caseworker for alternate arrangements to be discussed.
How is Challenge supporting current carers during this time?
Challenge is keeping carers informed through regular contact from their caseworker and fortnightly correspondence from Challenge. Where Carers need additional support during this time, they should contact their Caseworker to discuss. On-call is also available outside of business hours for any emergency situations.
I’ve submitted my application form, what can I do now?
You will receive an initial phone call from a Customer Relationship Officer to discuss your application. Following the discussion, you will start probity checks and a Customer Compliance Officer will make phone or video contact with you to discuss fostering and begin the process. You can also commence online training. In exceptional circumstances, where we are unable to progress your application at this time due to limitations in technology or inability to safely proceed with certain requirements, we will make arrangements for this to be continued once it is safe to do so.
Will a Home Visit be conducted?
Challenge staff are assessing face-to-face home visits on a case-by-case basis.
Prior to face-to-face home visits occurring, staff will be asking a number of COVID-19 safe questions including any recent travel you or a household member may have undertaken, and to assess if anyone in your home is experiencing flu-like symptoms. If a face-to-face home visit cannot be conducted, an alternate virtual home visit will be arranged and a time will be made to complete the face-to-face home visit at a later date.
Is training continuing?
Face-to-face training will be held if it is deemed safe to do so. A Carer Compliance Officer will discuss COVID-19 safe questions including any recent travel you or a household member may have undertaken and assess if anyone in your home is experiencing flu-like symptoms. If a Carer Compliance Officer is unable to facilitate the Shared Lives training face-to-face with you, alternate virtual training session will be arranged.
I’ve finished my training, will a child or young person be placed into my care during this time?
Challenge is still required to ensure that any prospective carer has completed and cleared all requirements before they are able to be authorised. This includes completion of training among other steps.