Nothing to see here? The abuse and neglect of children in care is a century-old story

Last night's Four Corners program presented evidence of widespread abuse and neglect suffered by children in the out-of-home care system. Sadly, it was an all too familiar story. The Australian care system has been subject to criticism for over a century.

Children described bullying, harassment and sexual abuse inflicted by other children who share their homes.

Children also described adult men preying on and sexually exploiting girls in "resi" or residential, care.

Safe Pathways housed girl with staff while getting $240,000 to care for her, says former staffer

Fresh allegations have been levelled against Safe Pathways, with former staff telling the ABC the foster care provider failed to give adequate care to a 12-year-old girl.

The troubled for-profit organisation is subject to an ongoing government review that was expanded after the ABC's Four Corners program alleged Safe Pathways was not providing adequate care to its children.

Safe Pathways subject of ‘full investigation’, says Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma

HUMAN Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma has faced a second day of pressure over accusations about the treatment of children in out-of-home care.

Investigation exposes fraud within taxpayer funded Jobs Services Australia

Corruption in Government unemployment scheme

AN INVESTIGATION has uncovered a massive taxpayer rip-off perpetrated not by “dole bludgers” sponging off the unemployment system — but instead by the agencies tasked with finding people jobs.

Unemployment in Australia is at 6.4 per cent, its highest rate in 12 years. But an investigation by Four Corners has found that a billion-dollar taxpayer funded scheme created to help job seekers find a work is instead being used to keep the money flowing to employment agencies.

There’s evidence that both private and charity job agencies are “gaming” the Federal Government’s work scheme Job Services Australia, which it spends about $1.3 billion on every year. Some organisations have already had to pay back more than $41 million worth of false claims in the past three years.

The agencies receive money for every person they look after, with thousand-dollar bonuses available if they find the person work. In 1998 the Federal Government essentially privatised the system so in order to keep their unemployment benefits, every jobseeker had to register with a charity or a private job agency.

But with 780,000 people competing in Australia for just 150,000 jobs, there is not enough work to go round and the agencies have found other ways to make money.

"Salvation Army says Sorry for Abuse"

The physical scars may have faded but the emotional ones remain raw for thousands of Australians who were abused while growing up inside children's homes.

So an apology by the Salvation Army for the abuse of children in its care up to the 1990s was welcome news for many of the survivors who gathered in Canberra on Tuesday.

The organisation's chief of staff Barry Swanson travelled from London to speak on behalf of the Salvation Army chief General Shaw Clifton.

In the event that was closed to the media, the Salvation Army acknowledged the "rigid, harsh and authoritarian" environment inside many of its homes.

"Many children did not experience the gentleness of love that they needed," the apology, later distributed to media, read.

"Some children suffered abuse and deprivation. As a result their stories are full of hurt, rejection, discouragement and a failure to realise potential.

"Salvation Army victim vows to tell all"

GRAHAM Rundle was seven when he was first raped at a Salvation Army boys' home in South Australia and placed in a "lock-up", 18 when he first tried to commit suicide, 48 when he turned to the Salvos for justice, and 58 when he comprehensively beat them.
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He is now 61 and ready to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse after angrily rejecting the Salvation Army's apology this week for horrific abuse at its NSW and Queensland homes.

"They're bastards," he said.

"I was repeatedly raped as a child in the 1960s but they abused me again in a different way when I reported it as an adult, and they didn't have to do that.

"Salvation Army 'rented out' boys at Sydney children’s home in Sydney to paedophiles"

A Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in Australia began hearing evidence into allegations of abuse at four Salvation Army homes for children between 1966 and 1977.  Photo: ALAMYInquiry in child sex abuse hears that paedophiles were given access to boys at the dormitories
A Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in Australia began hearing evidence into allegations of abuse at four Salvation Army homes for children between 1966 and 1977.
Boys at a Salvation Army children’s home in Australia were "rented out" to paedophiles who entered their dormitories at night, a royal commission into child sexual abuse has heard.

One boy was sent by a superintendent, Captain Lawrence Wilson, to the home of a husband and wife, who sexually abused him.

"'Shocking' Salvation Army abuse claims in Australia"

A Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in Australia began hearing evidence into allegations of abuse at four Salvation Army homes for children between 1966 and 1977Dreadful claims of harm to young boys at Salvation Army homes revealed by Royal Commission

A Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in Australia began hearing evidence into allegations of abuse at four Salvation Army homes for children between 1966 and 1977 Photo: ALAMY

Children were sodomised with a garden hose, locked in outdoor cages and savagely beaten by Salvation Army majors in graphic cases of abuse detailed Tuesday to an Australian inquiry.

A Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in Australia began hearing evidence into allegations of abuse at four Salvation Army homes for children between 1966 and 1977, which counsel assisting the inquiry Simeon Beckett warned would be "shocking to many".

"The abuse that is to be detailed before the Royal Commission in the course of this case study is likely to be disturbing and at the severe end of sexual abuse," he said in his opening address.

More failures in foster care system as NGOs continue to breach court orders

Complaints about foster care agencies continue to rise as the state Ombudsman's and other oversight authorities refuse to intervene when children they are looking after are being denied access to their parents and other family members.

Life Without Barriers (or With if you ask most clients) are back in the firing line again as they continue their personal attacks on parents and cancel court ordered contact, or change times and deliberately fail to notify parents and carers.  When children are left crying for their parents, Life Without Barriers claim the parents were informed of contact, yet failed to arrive.

These games with NGOs in their power struggle have been ongoing for many years now, without one single worker or it's agency ever given warning for the actions which ultimately hurt our children more than the parents in which they seek to punish.

The latest victim has had her contact visits cancelled again after showing just how much money Life Without Barriers enjoy for the privellege of delegating "carer" responsibility.

"Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Beware the mighty CatholiCare"

Catholiccare f4c8bAs foster care evolves once again into yet another unsupervised cashcow, new things come about to predetermine in ones mind, the legitimacy of the adoption operation.

The Communication Book is a very good example of showing the world that NGOs care about the bond between the parent and the carer.

But what happens when parents start writing truths about the care of their child in this communication book, and suggesting that if a carer cannot cope with a child that maybe she should relinquish care?

The Communication Book VANISHES!

And just like that, any form of communication between the carer and the parent cease.  Not only that, the parent is dragged into CatholiCare offices to be rapped over the knuckles (so to speak) for upsetting the carer.  After all, we don't give a flying f**k about the parent - particularly the innocent ones - but god forbid a Carer should be upset with a few home truths about the (lack of) care she is providing for a baby.

In this case, when we state "lack of care"", we mean continual nappy rash, bruising in a direct line across the back of the babies legs, bruising all up his arms, and a lovely little cut on his forehead which had blood seeping through the bandaid. 

In another CatholiCare matter, another parent complaining to the caseworker regarding the lack of care her child was receiving, was told "They're only carers - You can't expect too much from them".

"The Hansard Transcript that disappeared regarding Life Without Barriers corruption"

  lwb-wob1 South Australia Question Time Parliament House - RE: Life Without Barriers and Foster Care

The Hon. SANDRA KANCK: I seek leave to make an explanation before asking the Minister for Transport and Urban Planning, representing the Minister for Human Services, a question about foster care services.

     Leave granted.

     The Hon. SANDRA KANCK: For some time I have been expressing concern about the alternative care system that we have in South Australia. We are facing a serious shortage of foster carers at a time when there is an increase in children entering foster care with more complex needs than ever before. One of the few positive steps forward the government took was to support a longitudinal study undertaken by Flinders University. The research that tracked children entering foster care in this state was unprecedented in Australia.

     According to a letter I received from the Child and Family Welfare Association, the Department of Human Services has withdrawn funding support for the study. I have been informed that this was under the direction of Ms Roxanne Ramsey, Executive Director of the Country and Disability Division. Sector workers now inform me that the Department of Human Services is actively obstructing the study. Re­searchers are prevented from speaking to the children who were part of the study, FAYS workers have been prevented from speaking to the researchers, and carers are not allowed to talk about the wellbeing of the children with researchers.

     It has also emerged that the government commissioned consultants from New South Wales to undertake a review into alternative care in South Australia. These consultants failed to contact Flinders University regarding its research findings despite the fact that it was the longest tracking study of children in alternative care in Australia, and the second longest in the world.

     Further, I am informed that a private company called Life Without Barriers from New South Wales has been advertising for foster carers since August 2001 in South Australia. This advertising began just one month after the contract for foster care had been extended by 12 months to current service providers. Yet foster carers are being approached by Life Without Barriers and asked to defect from the existing provider for more money.

"Life Without Barriers exposed - Kids for Cash"

LWB-WOB1How Life Without Barriers began

In 1995 a group of lawyers and businessmen came together in Newcastle to form Life Without Barriers. Upon the appointment of Ray Dunne in 2001 as CEO, Life Without Barriers became a company on steroids feeding off society's most disadvantaged families and children.
Undoubtedly this is due to Ray Dunne's previous senior positions held within the Child Protection Departments of Families SA in South Australia, Department of Community Services in NSW (DoCS NSW) and Department of Child Safety in QLD (DoCS QLD).

Life Without Barriers Golden Handshakes

Ray Dunne was able to use his position of influence to turn Life Without Barriers into a company with merely a couple of offices in NSW to an impressive franchise which has now reached almost 100 offices across Australia. Highly commendable you might think but let us delve into the seedier side of Ray Dunn and the underbelly of Life Without Barriers, the golden handshakes, deals done behind closed doors and the corruption which cloaks and protects Life Without Barriers, which now receives over $500m a year from the NSW government alone.

Ray Dunne was able to illegally secure information on government tenders and priority over bids for the care of children in foster care. This has led to a monopoly on out of home care for children in the three states where Life Without Barriers are prevalent in Australia, QLD, SA and NSW.
One could be forgiven for assuming that this multi million dollar business could be responsible for the astounding increase in children in care in these three states compared to children in care throughout the rest of Australia.

NSW 70% increase in children in care
QLD 60% increase in children in care
SA 58% increase in children in care
Victoria with only a couple of Life Without Barriers offices has managed to reduce the number of children in care.

Click to view the secret transcripts that have mysteriously disappeared from SA Parliament Hansard.