The Statistics Are In... Even Suicide Rates are Higher in Out of Home Care
- Category: Child protection statistics
- Created: Wednesday, 16 March 2011 16:44
- Written by NSW Childrens Commissioner
- Well under half (38.5%) of the children and young people who died were living in intact biological families at the time of their deaths.
- Just over one-quarter (26.2%) of the children and young people who died had been clients of the Department of Community Services at some stage during their lives.
- Of those, one-third had active Department of Community Services’ involvement at the time of their deaths.
- Thirty-two (48.5%) out of the 66 children and young people who died from risk-taking had been clients of the Department of Community Services.
- Of the 39 (20.9%) children and young people who had been seen by mental health professionals, 25 (64.1%) died by suicide.
- With regard to available human service agencies, the children and young people who accessed mental health and school counselling services were typically those who died by suicide.
- Three males were living in de facto relationships, one of them with his 39 year old partner (who had formerly been his school teacher). Two young people who were wards of the state were living in supported accommodation with youth workers. Two young people were in an institutional residence when they died. One had been living in the mental health ward of a hospital and was on weekend release when she died, and one young person had been detained in a Juvenile Justice facility and had absconded at the time of his death.
- Camilla, 16 years old : Camilla was notified to the Department of Community Services for the first time at the age of one month for neglect and emotional abuse by her mother. Throughout the first few years of her life there were frequent notifications of neglect, including an episode when Camilla overdosed on Panadol and her mother failed to notify anyone for over one hour. Department of Community Services’ records note that Camilla did not appear to be adequately fed or clothed. Her mother would punish her by making her stand naked in her room for hours at a time. At the age of six years, Camilla and her siblings were made wards of the state, when it was alleged that their mother was unable to care for them. During the first few months of wardship, the Department of Community Services’ officer noted that there was no attachment between Camilla and her mother. Her mother had requested photographs of all her children except Camilla and had indicated that she did not wish to have access to Camilla for her birthday. Camilla exhibited emotionally disturbed behaviour (such as exposing herself and other sexually inappropriate behaviours) until her death at age 16 years from an overdose of heroin.
- Betty, 16 years old : Betty’s parents separated when she was four months old. Her mother sent her and her siblings to live with their father, who died in a car accident six months later. The children went back to their mother who was living with a man engaged in drug abuse. The couple had just had a child. When Betty was one year old, sexual abuse of her and her two siblings by their stepfather was alleged but not proven. When Betty was three years old, she was found to be bleeding vaginally, but medical examination did not confirm sexual abuse. Two years later, Betty alleged that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather. At that time, a paediatrician found evidence of full vaginal and anal penetration and the abuse was confirmed. Home support was provided for 20 hours a week together with Department of Community Services’ supervision for 20 hours per week. Nevertheless, a year later, Betty’s mother requested that Betty to be removed from her care. Betty was adopted by her foster family when she was 10 years old. When she was 13 years old, the Department of Community Services received several notifications regarding her welfare, including an allegation of sexual abuse by her adoptive father. The abuse was confirmed and Betty was made a ward of the state. She spent the remainder of her life in residential care and refuges. Betty began using drugs and was involved in crime. She eventually died from an overdose of heroin.
Source : https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/tp/files/15705/srtreport.pdf