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Children and Young People in Out of Home Care


Indicator  description

A measure of ACT children and young people aged 0-17 years who have been placed in an out of home care placement by Child and Youth Protection Services. Out of home care includes foster care, kinship care and residential placements.

What do we measure?

The number of children residing in an out of home care placement at 30 June 2017. This includes children on care and protection orders and those not on care and protection orders where Child and Youth Protection Services makes a payment for their overnight care.

This measure does not include children cases managed by Child and Youth Protection Services where the out of home care payment is made by another state or territory. Data on young people who reside independently is also not included.

Why is this important?

If a child or young person is placed in the care of the Director-General, Community Services Directorate, all reasonable attempts will be made to support the child being in the care of their extended family. This is important to maintain the child's sense of identity and family connectedness. However it may not always be possible, or in the child's best interests, for them to be placed in kinship care.

Having assumed parental responsibility, the Director-General needs to ensure that all children and young people are placed in suitable accommodation for their age and circumstances. This may range from kinship and foster care to supported independent living. This measure is important in showing the placement type for children in out of home care and is relevant to assist agency planning support for the differing types of placements.

Policy Context

In 2017, the number of children and young people in kinship care and foster care rose slightly, while the proportion of children and young people in both kinship and foster care has decreased since 2013. Where possible, children are placed in kinship placements as a priority. This approach results in a greater impact on a child's sense of belonging and their overall life outcomes. Since 2010, the number of children and young people placed in residential care has maintained, meaning a greater number of children are being placed in family home environments.

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out of home care in 2017, has increased compared with the previous year. This result indicates the need for a continued policy focus on reducing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out of home care, and for culturally appropriate responses, consistent with the Aboriginal Placement Principal.

In 2017, the ACT Government announced Our Booris, Our Way, an independent review into the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people involved with Child and Youth Protection Services. An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander steering committee is overseeing the review, with an interim report released in August 2018. The review addresses case planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people involved in Child and Youth Protection Services to ensure those children are thriving and supported to maintain connections with their family, culture and community.

The ACT Government has also made a significant investment in prevention and early intervention for children and families through A Step Up for Our Kids - One Step Can Make a Lifetime of Difference (Out of Home Care Strategy 2015-2020). Reform under A Step Up for Our Kids places a strong emphasis on recognising and addressing experiences of trauma and achieving improved outcomes for children and young people who cannot live at home.

This indicator shows the need for continued monitoring and evaluation of progress against A Step Up for Our Kids, with the intention of refining and improving policy and operational processes over time.

How is the ACT Progressing?

Table 55: Number and proportion (%) of ACT children residing in out of home care placements by type as at 30 June, 2010-17 by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) status

  

Kinship care*

Foster care*

Residential care

Other

 

Year

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Total

2010

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

62

49.6

52

41.6

11

8.8

0

0.0

125

 

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

204

50.1

167

41.0

36

8.8

0

0.0

407

 

All

266

50.0

219

41.2

47

8.8

0

0.0

532

2011

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

63

52.9

43

36.1

13

10.9

0

0.0

119

 

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

217

51.5

171

40.6

32

7.6

1

0.2

421

 

All

280

51.9

214

39.6

45

8.3

1

0.2

540

2012

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

73

54.5

51

38.1

9

6.7

1

0.7

134

 

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

219

50.7

189

43.8

24

5.6

0

0.0

432

 

All

292

51.6

240

42.4

33

5.8

1

0.2

566

2013

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

78

55.7

53

37.9

9

6.4

0

0.0

140

 

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

213

51.0

176

42.1

29

6.9

0

0.0

418

 

All

291

52.2

229

41.0

38

6.8

0

0.0

558

2014

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

81

53.3

63

41.4

7

4.6

1

0.7

152

 

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

237

52.2

186

41.0

31

6.8

0

0.0

454

 

All

318

52.5

249

41.1

38

6.3

1

0.2

606

2015

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

100

54.6

77

42.1

6

3.3

0

0.0

183

 

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

256

52.5

201

41.2

29

5.9

2

0.4

488

 

All

356

53.1

278

41.4

35

5.2

2

0.3

671

2016

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

117

59.4

70

35.5

10

5.1

0

0.0

197

 

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

281

51.0

235

42.6

32

5.8

3

0.5

551

 

All

398

53.2

305

40.8

42

5.6

3

0.4

748

2017

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

132

58.1

87

38.3

8

3.5

0

0.0

227

 

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

308

53.5

231

40.1

34

5.9

3

0.5

576

 

All

440

54.8

318

39.6

42

5.2

3

0.4

803

Source: Non-published administrative data.  * Data reported on children in foster care and kinship care includes children on third party parental care.

Note Children with unknown Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status have been included in the non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander count to ensure accurate totals for type of care. Other arrangements account for a small number of children in other out of home care arrangements such as boarding school or supported independent living.

As at 30 June 2017, a total of 803 children were reported to be living in out of home care. This is a 7.3 per cent increase from 2016 where the number of children in out of home care was 748. In general, results demonstrate an upward trend since 2010.

Table 56: Number of ACT children and young people in out of home care by age group at 30 June, 2013-17

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

<1 year

15

30

27

34

19

1-4 years

118

124

151

173

188

5-9 years

184

188

229

247

237

10-14 years

155

181

183

194

257

15-17 years*

86

83

81

100

102

Total

558

606

671

748

803

Source: AIHW 2018 Child Protection Australia: 2016-17 Child Welfare series no. 63 cat. no. CWS 57 Canberra: AIHW.

* The age category 15-17 includes a small number of young people aged 18 years and over each year.

In 2017, the number of children and young people in out of home care aged one year and younger was 19. This number has decreased by 44.0 per cent since 2016 (34) and shows a downward trend since 2014 (30). The number of children and young people aged between 10 and 14 in out of home care increased by 32.5 per cent compared to 2016.

Table 57: Number of ACT children and young people in out of home care by sex at 30 June, 2013-17

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Male

301

330

370

404

426

Female

257

276

301

344

377

Total

558

606

671

748

803

Source: AIHW 2018, Child Protection Australia: 2016-17 Child Welfare series no. 63 cat. no. CWS 57 Canberra: AIHW.