Residential Care Policy

In 2015, nationwide, there were 11581 children were admitted to some form of residential care facility.

The total number of children living in a residential care facility, nationwide, in 2015 was 43399.

In order for children to thrive, they must be raised in loving, nurturing environments. Residential care units do not provide this loving, nurturing environment. According to the Nyland Report:

"Large units do not provide the homely environment that children need, and the warehousing of a large number of children with complex behaviours under one roof inevitably leads to residents learning new behaviours from each other. It creates an unsafe living environment.” [Emphasis added]


“The records of the use of violence against residents have been systematically ignored”

By their very nature, it is unreasonable to expect that they could provide such an environment. According to the ABC Report on Residential Care in Canberra:

  • The staff work in shifts, very often with 1 person on duty at any one time, particularly overnight.
  • Staff turnover is high so the opportunities for a care worker to establish a strong relationship with their wards is limited.
  • Staff do not receive adequate support from their employers.
  • Staff are not necessarily trained in child welfare.
  • Residents are rarely provided with any direction by the residential care workers.
  • Governmental checks on the adequacy of care are infrequent.
  • There is rarely any sort of routine in a residential care facility with children being left to fend for themselves:
  • No set meal times,
  • No curfews (times at which they are expected to be back in the care unit)
  • Little or no encouragement to attend school
  • Petty crime is rife as is sexual promiscuity.

The Canberra example is typical of residential care facilities throughout Australia.

The cost of residential care is enormous. For example, Life Without Barriers in Canberra had an income of $325 million in 2014.

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the economic costs of child abuse and neglect report [5] were, in 2014/2015, $4.341 billion for Australia as a whole or a little over $100,000 per child in residential care.

On March 27, 2018, the South Australian Guardian for Children and Young People reported that in South Australia:

  • it cost, on average, $670142 per child per year for children in residential care compared to the cost, on average, $48005 per child per year in home-based care. that just $90 is spent, per child, on protective intervention services - just 41% of the national average.
  • $1092 per child for out-of-home-care (foster, kinship and residential care) - 91% more than the national average.
  • The Nyland Commission called for the residential care system to be “overhauled”. The Child Protection Party believes it should be abolished.

What will replace it? The Child Protection Party believes that:

  • Residential care facilities should be abolished.
  • The money and resources wasted on residential care would be better spent on an approach involving supportive kinship care and foster care or, where this is not possible, more supported independent living arrangements.
  • The policy aims will be achieved by:
    • Closure of all residential facilities for children that do not have special needs (such as the severely disabled).
    • The funds currently allocated to NGOs should, instead, be reallocated with portions:
      • provided directly to carers in monetary terms. providing services, support, counselling etc.
      • that children and carers need
      • to be spent providing proper training for Foster Parents.
      • training of social workers specialising in this area

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