About the out-of-home care sector
State and territory governments are responsible for child protection and out-of-home care provision throughout Australia. Whilst funded by government, out of home care services are predominately provided by the non-government sector, with only a small number of services currently operated by government.
The demand for out-of-home care is ever increasing with the number of children and young people in care doubling in the last decade and increasing by about 10 percent a year in most jurisdictions. National figures as at 30 June 2008 indicate that there are approximately 39,058 children and young people in care. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people comprise around 30 percent of this number and are over-represented in terms of their proportion to the Australian population.
The out-of-home care placement options for children and young people include: foster placement; kinship or relative placement; residential care programs and supported independent programs. There is currently a huge shortage of foster carers in all parts of the country. The average age of foster carers has increased over the last decade with many carers now required to enter paid
The use of residential care programs has increased slightly, comprising five percent of children and young people’s placements nationally. The residential care model often suits children and young people with complex and challenging needs and young people preparing to leave care.
Needs & issues of children and young people in out-of-home care
Children and young people in out-of-home care need to be safe from harm, to have their care and developmental needs met and to be provided with the same life
Some children and young people thrive in care. Children and young people often talk about the good aspects of having greater stability, care, love and safety in their lives. Sadly, other children and young people do not fare as well in care. CREATE sees evidence of the negative effects including trauma, grief, loss of identity, disconnection from culture, and poor early childhood experiences.
A lack of appropriate participation in decision-making leads many children and young people to be unaware of decisions made for them about their lives.
CREATE’s role in out-of-home care