Aboriginal children and young people in care and detention

As we approach Reconciliation Week, take this short quiz to find out five important facts about Aboriginal children and young people in care and detention in South Australia.
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Audits of Annual Reviews 2007 to 2017 – children, systems and practice

19 September 2017

The Guardian’s Office has been auditing the Annual Reviews of children in care for 10 years now.  We do this to advocate for the children, to see how well the Reviews work and to identify broader systemic issues.

Annual reviews are an important means of monitoring the quality of services provided and the outcomes being achieved for children in care. They are intended to be more than an administrative process.  A good annual review focuses on the quality of the child’s care arrangements as a whole

Although required in legislation, only 63 percent were conducted in 2015-16. The number of Annual Reviews for 2016-17 will be available shortly. Based on 10 years of observations and data we can say:

  • Where Annual Reviews are conducted, the quality is very variable. Deficits in the representation of children’s views, the preparation by social workers and the presence of non-Departmental staff lead to inadequate consideration of the child’s circumstances and planning for their needs.
  • Up to 80 percent of children were assessed to be in a long-term, stable and appropriate placement.
  • Numbers of children are not allocated a social worker and, where a worker is allocated, other circumstances prevent the provision of a quality service to children.
  • The cultural needs of many Aboriginal children are not being adequately supported.
  • Significant numbers of children remain in unsuitable placements.
  • Contact between siblings separated in placement is not always facilitated.
  • Life Story Books are implemented for about half of the children.
  • The proportion of children with IEPs has not progressed beyond 80 percent and may be declining.
  • Of the children who are able to comprehend it, many do not receive information about their rights and the proportion who do appears to be declining.

For the background to this summary, you can download the report Audits of Annual Reviews 2007- 2017- children, systems and practice.

Ten important things to know about children in state care

  1. There are about 3000 children and young people under care and protection orders in South Australia.
  2. About 10% are placed in residential care while most of the rest live with foster carers or relatives.
  3. In a given week, around 150 children and young people are in ’emergency’ accommodation.(1)
  4. About 30% of children and young people in state care are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
  5. Nearly 30% of children in care who were enrolled in state schools in SA were defined as having a disability, more than three times the general school population.
  6. Young people who were the subject of a care and protection order are more than 20 times as likely to be under youth justice supervision as their age peers.[AIHW]
  7. 63% of homeless young people in a recent survey had been in out-of-home care at some time.
  8. Of children leaving care, 29% had lived in five or more different placements while 34% had only lived in one placement. [2013-14 figures]
  9. South Australia spends about $80,830 per child in out of home care each year, significantly more than than any jurisdiction other than the Northern Territory.
  10. South Australia spends about $54,000 per child each year on intensive family support services, about 80% of the Australian average.

(1) Emergency accommodation mostly means temporary rented premises looked after by rostered staff from commercial agencies.

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Expenditure on child protection in South Australia 2014-15


5 April 2016

The quality of a child protection system depends not only on the budget allocated but how that budget is spent. See how South Australia performs compared to other states in what we spend and how we spend it in our handy analysis of the child protection data from the Productivity Commission Report on Government Services 2016.

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