Step by step for foster care agencies

Step by Step is the mandatory foster care assessment tool used to assess foster care applicants in Victoria.

Step by Step Victoria 2020, the updated, foster care assessment tool is now available, replacing Step by Step 2006 and Step by Step Aboriginal Assessment 2010 as the new mandatory assessment tool for Victoria. The tool has been updated to reflect contemporary policy and legislation including:

  • Changes to the Working with Children's Check policy
  • A stronger focus on assessing cultural awareness and suitability to care for Aboriginal children
  • Increased expectation that assessors and panel members have undertaken cultural awareness training
  • Changes to eligibility criteria for applicants
  • A mandatory Step by Step registration process for assessors.

To find out more about the changes, see What's new Step by Step Victoria 2020.

Until 1 December 2020, Step by Step 2006 and Step by Step Aboriginal Assessment 2010 can continue to be used where necessary to ensure service continuity while staff complete the mandatory registration process.

Registration requirements for Step for Step 2020

Victorian foster care assessors are required to register with the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies to be eligible use Step by Step 2020.

To enquire about registering as a Step by Step user contact the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies at louise@acwa.asn.au or by phone to 02 8974 9826.

Benefits of the registration process

  • Step by Step registration is provided to an individual, not an organisation.
  • The registered individual can use the Step by Step tools in any foster care agency.
  • There is no end date on a Step by Step registration.

Step by Step registration pathways

There are two pathways to register as a Step by Step user, which require the assessor to demonstrate that they can conduct and document an assessment. 

Pathway A - for experienced assessors

Assessors registering though Pathway A must demonstrate assessment skills by:

  • submitting two de-identified assessment reports that they have written, either fully or substantially using Step by Step (2006) or Aboriginal Assessment tool 2010, to the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) for review and
  • complete an online Step by Step familiarisation training to complete the registration.  

Pathway B - for new or inexperienced assessors

To complete the registration process through Pathway B prospective assessors must:

  • complete a self-paced distance module, “Implementing trauma informed practice in Out of Home Care”. Assessment tasks in this module may take up to 4-5 days to complete if the participant has no background knowledge in this area.
  • attend a three-day workshop “Out of Home Care Assessment Skills”, which also equips participants to use all the tools in the Step by Step Victoria range and
  • submit one de-identified carer assessment report using the new tool within 6 months of attending the three-day workshop.

Pathway B candidates can use the new Step by Step templates to provide the de-identified assessment report as final evidence of their competency but are not able to sign off as a registered Step by Step user until this is complete.

For more information about registering please contact the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies at louise@acwa.asn.au or by phone to 02 8974 9826.

How to access Step by Step

You will be provided with a password to log on to the Step by Step portal following completion of the registration process by your Step by Step trainer.

If you have a password for the Step by Step resources already use the link to access the relevant site. Provide your password when prompted to do so:

Problems logging on

If you have been issued with login details but are having trouble getting into the site or you have lost your password you should contact the Department of Health and Human Services by sending an email to careservices@dhhs.vic.gov.au.