Shocking report lays bare Child Safety Residential Care crisis
Children are spending four years in short-term Residential Care arrangements on average, a bombshell progress report into Queensland’s Residential Care system has revealed.
Some of the shocking findings of the report include that the broken Residential Care system is designed around “funding buckets” and “services delivered” not the “child’s actual needs”.
The progress report is part of the Government’s internal Residential Care review, announced after the LNP put the spotlight on major issues within the residential care system, as revealed by whistleblowers.
Other alarming comments from Residential Care providers interviewed as part of the review include:
- “Kids in residential care need more attention and connection but our model gives them less.”
- “The methods of operating are destabilising for young people.”
- “I have to defend the cost of driving kids to school – rather than it just being expected and accepted.”
Shadow Child Safety Minister Amanda Camm said Queensland’s Residential Care system was in crisis under the Palaszczuk Labor Government.
“Residential Care should be an intervention, not a destination and it’s shocking to learn children are spending four years in what should be a temporary arrangement, on this Government’s watch,” Ms Camm said.
“Residential Care should be resourced and managed to provide for the needs of children in care.
“These are critical years of a child’s life and they need stability, support, structure and safety in Residential Care, but they’re being let down by a Government in chaos and crisis.
“Children’s needs must be put back at the heart of Residential Care, with the role of the Department and out-of-home care overhauled and resourced adequately.
“Children are being let down by a broken system, in the chaos and crisis of the Palaszczuk Labor Government.
“What’s clear from this report is we have a sector eager to support the intervention children need but is hamstrung by a system lacking the resources and flexibility required, under this Government.
“It’s little wonder Residential Care homes are becoming training grounds for youth crime, when it is fundamentally broken.”
Ms Camm said the Opposition had announced an LNP Government would reform the Child Safety out-of-home care program by putting guidance, opportunity and discipline at the heart of the system.
Under the plan, five KPIs would be set for the reform of Residential Care:
- An emphasis on personal responsibility
- Insistence on attending school
- Insistence on an extra-curricular activity
- Opportunity for employment training for the older kids
- Focus on transition to foster care.
“Ultimately Residential Care should only ever be a last resort and an intervention, it should not be used in place of foster care.”
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