National Children's Commissioner 'very concerned' by figures showing hundreds of kids in foster care abused
- Category: Statutory child protection
- Created: Wednesday, 28 January 2015 01:16
- Written by Brendan Trembath - ABC News
In an annual report on the efficiency and effectiveness of government services, the Productivity Commission notes hundreds of cases in which children in care were victims of substantiated sexual or physical abuse or neglect.
Ms Mitchell said the 41,000 Australian children in care have suffered enough.
"It is very concerning that the most vulnerable children in our community are subject to abuse at a time when the state is charged with looking after them and removing them from abusive situations," she said.
With the amount of children in care reaching a record high, Ms Mitchell said the number needed to be brought down.
"We need to invest in permanent, stable care solutions for children so they're not washing around service systems — but they're in stable, strong families and we need to do that in two ways," she said.
"One, is to really invest in families who are struggling to cope so that they can provide ... a safe, caring environment for children; and on the other hand we need to look at how we might be able to place more children in permanent alternatives like adoption or long-term guardianship with another family."
"Unfortunately in Australia we've had a bit of a history of long-term foster care and that really isn't an ideal situation ... by moving about that system and not having that stable long-term care arrangement they [children] are more subject to abuse and neglect and other forms of damage that can occur for them."
"For children to live a normal life they need to stay with the same family, form strong attachments and bonds with that family, be able to stay at the same school, form friendship groups, go to the local recreational and sporting clubs," she said.
"But one of the things that we are facing is a crisis in the number of people who are prepared to be foster carers and ... we desperately need more foster carers who are prepared to take on this really important work."
"There's no doubt that we need to create better stability and permanence there for children who are removed and adoption is one of the options for some of the children," she said.
Ms Mitchell said investment in support for struggling families was also needed.
"The best thing for us to do is invest in the birth family to ensure that they can care properly for their children or if that's not possible, other permanent legal arrangements for children," she said.
"We know that a number of families struggle to cope and often in those families there's factors such as domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues.
"We need to be identifying those families very early and working with them before abuse happens.
"We really want to eliminate the damage and by doing that ensure that fewer and fewer children come into care in the first place."
Source : https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-28/hundreds-of-children-in-foster-care-abused-last-year-report-find/6052006