Permanent care

Permanent care provides enduring family placements for children unable to live with their natural families.

Permanent care is when a child, for whom a decision has been made that they are unable to live safely with their parents, is placed with approved permanent carers such as an existing kinship or foster carer, assessed as suitable to convert to permanent care, or with new permanent carers. In some circumstances an application to the Family Court for a parenting order may be more appropriate.

The permanent care placement is legalised through the Children’s Court which grants a permanent care order (PCO) providing the carer with parental responsibility for the child.

Permanent care provides long term security and certainty about the future care for children who have entered the child protection system and for whom a decision has been made that they are unable to live safely with their parents on a long-term basis. A PCO remains in force until the child turns 18, or marries, whichever happens first.

The updated Permanent Care Manual 2020, which replaces the Adoption and Permanent Care Procedures Manual (2004), outlines current policy and provides practice guidance for permanent care teams, child protection and kinship and foster care service providers delivering permanent care services in Victoria.

The Permanent Care Manual can be found in the specialist resources section of the Child Protection Manual and new and updated forms relating to permanent care are available at My Agency on the Funded Agency Channel.


Adoption services are delivered directly by Adoption Victoria within the Department of Justice and Community Safety.