30 October 2017
The number of children and young people in the care and guardianship of the Minister in South Australia at 30 June 2017 was 3,296. up from 1,791 at 30 June 2007.
Most were in the 10-14 years age range and the distribution is shown in this graph.
Rates of growth of those coming into care
The rate of growth in the numbers of children and young people in care each year is very variable, reflecting changes in the policy and practice of the child protection system and well as changes in society and the economy.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people
The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people was 34.3 per cent at 30 June 2017, the highest number yet in a steady upward trend. This may reflect a number of factors including a greater willingness of Indigenous young people to identify as such, changes in child protection practice and increasing difficulties being faced by Indigenous families.
Numbers of young people in residential care
The proportion of children and young people accommodated in residential care is on the rise, reaching 11 per cent at 30 June 2017.2 Residential care is not the model favoured by most young people or recommended by authorities. It has expanded because of the inability to source foster and kinship care placements to meet the growth in numbers entering care.
There were 107 residential care houses at 30 June 2017.3 Most houses are of a small scale accommodating three young people but five of the properties were large scale units, designed to accommodate between eight and twelve children and young people.
For information on the numbers of children and young people in emergency care, please see our recent post Addressing the emergency in emergency care.
1 Children and young people in the care and custody of the Minister, for whom the Guardian has a specific mandate, are a similar but not identical cohort to children in out-of-home care.
2 This does not include children and young people in emergency accommodation or the small number in houses with less than three residents.
3 These numbers provided by the DCP Licensing Unit do not include a small number of additional placements with less than three residents, including which brings the total to 132 for 30 June 2017.