There are over 46,200 children in the Out-of-Home Care system in Australia and this number has been increasing.
More children are entering Out-of-Home Care than those being discharged, while Foster Carers are leaving the system. The system is under pressure.
There are two key needs:
- More carers to provide a loving home for every child who needs one, for as long as they need one
- Better support for carers to help ensure successful placements for the best outcomes for kids
The outcomes for children with an Out-of-Home Care experience do not tell a good story.
Separation from family is a traumatic experience, and this is often compounded by multiple placements. Relational trauma impacts a child’s brain, biology, body, beliefs and behaviours in significant ways and can have profound long-term impacts.
Research shows that young people leaving care in Australia are more likely to leave school early, be unemployed, be homeless, have children at a young age, have challenges with physical health, mental health and substance abuse, lack informal social support and be involved in the criminal justice system (read more here).
What is Out-of-home Care?
Children in OOHC are generally on care and protection orders, where legal responsibility for their welfare is held by a child protection department. This involves ongoing case management with the goal of achieving a permanent placement or reunification where suitable.
For some children OOHC is for as little as a few days, however, the majority of children (82%) are in care for one year or more, with 41% in OOHC for over 5 years (AIHW, 2022).
We’ve provided some useful information below to help you understand Out-of-home Care in Australia.
Statistics are sourced from the Australian Institute of health & Welfare Child Protection Report.
Curious about exploring
Are you able to provide a safe and loving home for a child or young person, either part-time or full-time?
Find out more about Foster Care.
Foster Care is not for you, but you want to help?
There are so many ways you can make a difference in the Out-of-Home Care space.
Find out how you can get involved.
Want to get your church involved?
We provide a bridge between the local church and the child protection system, offering resources and opportunities to make a difference.