CHILDREN in foster care are still being sexually and physically abused by their foster parents, a high-ranking official in the Department of Family and Community Services has revealed today.
Katie Alexander, whose job is to make things better for children and young people, said there had been failings and that she was aware that abuse did occur despite tough screening of foster parents and other carers and high levels of supervision.
She told the royal commission into institutionalised responses to child sex abuse that the horrors of the Parramatta Girls School and the Hay Institution for girls were not the only government-run places where children had been abused in the past.
There would be “other stories” coming before the commission, Ms Alexander said.
She said she had heard about discussions that the state government was looking at a compensation scheme for the victims but she had not seen any documentation.
“There is a history that must not be repeated or forgotten about large institutional care,” she said.
Ms Alexander is the executive director of the newly-formed office of the senior practitioner for the Department of Family and Community Services.
She said that much had changed in the care of children and young people over the years and that for example 20 years ago, there was no understanding “about the way very small children and babies can be affected by violence and trauma.”
The new Children Care and Protection Act in 1987 for the first time made a distinction between children in need of care and juvenile offenders.
The commission sitting in Sydney has heard shocking stories of girls as young as 10 being bashed and raped at Parramatta Girls School and the Hay facility between 1950 and 1974. They were sent there by the courts often because they were found to be in moral danger but had committed no offence.