Every child deserves the opportunity to reach adulthood equipped with the skills and abilities necessary to live healthy, happy and safe lives. For some children, their lives are impacted by the events that befall their families and caregivers, who for circumstances outside of their control are not able to offer them the nurturing and support that is so important to their health and wellbeing. For these children, the State is required to assume the role of parenting and depending on the individual circumstances the care can be for short, medium or long term.
The Department of Communities (Communities) takes this responsibility very seriously and whilst every effort is made to reunify children and young people with their families, those who enter care often do so under traumatic circumstances. Approximately 230 young people exit care each year, and up until June 2018 there were over 900 young people between 14 and 17 years who were being supported through leaving care planning. The circumstances of each young person are diverse and multifaceted and the needs of a young person living in a regional and remote location can be very different to the needs of those living in a metropolitan location.
A number of improvements are being progressed through planned Out of Home Care reforms and following the review of the Children and Community Services Act 2004, nine recommendations relating to care planning are being considered. Communities can always improve our responses, and the findings from the Auditor General’s Report will help shape these improvements going forward. The Machinery of Government changes provide the opportunities to amalgamate the critical components of service delivery such as child protection, housing, health, disability, education and youth justice to enable seamless and place based services to operate. This approach will allow government to improve outcomes for those children and young people who for no fault of their own, are placed in out of home care. We will continue to strive for better outcomes so every child or young person coming into State care will be supported to reach their full potential to live safe and healthy lives as adults.