The Senate has today supported an Australian Greens motion for an inquiry into children living in Out of Home Care.
"I moved for this Inquiry to provide the Senate with the opportunity to examine a number of very important issues when it comes to the wellbeing of children and our approach to Out of Home Care at a state and federal level," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.
"With an increasing number of children living in Out of Home Care, it is essential that we have a better understanding of the drivers of this increase, the types of care being used, how children are affected and how we deliver the best outcomes possible for them.
"The wellbeing of children must be our priority, and so this inquiry will examine the ways in which we care for children and how best to support them, their parents, families and carers.
"A disproportionate number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are in Out of Home Care, and I'm keen to ensure that this is one of the key areas the committee looks at.
"I'm keen for us to hear from as many people and organisations as possible on this very important issue, we are due to report early next year so we have a significant period of time to carry out this inquiry.
"I thank the Senate for supporting this Inquiry," Senator Siewert concluded.
Terms of Reference
*1 Senator Siewert: To move-That the following matter be referred to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by the second sitting week in February 2015:
Out of home care, including;
(a) drivers of the increase in the number of children placed in out of home care, types of care that are increasing and demographics of the children in care,
(b) the outcomes for children in out of home care (including kinship care, foster care and residential care) versus staying in the home;
(c) current models for out of home care, including kinship care, foster care and residential care;
(d) current cost of Australia‘s approach to care and protection;
(e) consistency of approach to out of home care around Australia;
(f) what are the supports available for relative/kinship care, foster care and residential care;
(g) best practice in out of home care in Australia and internationally;
(h) consultation with individuals, families and communities affected by removal of children from the home;
(i) extent of children in out of home care remaining connected to their family of origin; and
(j) best practice solutions for supporting children in vulnerable family situations including early intervention.