This inquiry took the testimony of 200 children from the care system. It found that, instead of a place where they can heal from harm, children and young people have spoken out on state care to say it too often inflicts more harm, they are moved around too much, their placements – especially in residential care – are unsafe, and there are not enough supports to help them recover from trauma.
It found that too many of the children and young people felt lost in an overstretched and chaotic care system. Many experienced the stress and upheaval of constantly shifting placements. Many cycled through so many case workers, they gave up on the idea of having someone who knew their story and could support them. Others, particularly those in residential care, described feeling unsafe and alone in bleak and run down accommodation. Some children and young people commented on the irony of a system that removed them from their family to keep them safe, yet continued to harm them.
We must continue to prioritise prevention and early intervention programs to support families to remain together safely, wherever possible. Where removal is necessary, children and young people should experience care as a dramatic improvement in their safety and well-being.