OOHC slider 1.2

Friday, 06 September 2019 03:00

Review of Best Practices in Residential Out of Home Care

Main imageReport highlights urgent need to invest in our children

UnitingCare Australia has launched its research report, Review of Best Practice in Residential Out of Home Care. The review was prepared to provide information and guidance on best practice in the provision of residential out of home care for those children and young people who need it.

Drawing on consultations and a review of Australian and international research, the report identifies 12 best practice principles that should inform residential out of home care.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Strengthening the informal, community-based support system is key to both preventing child maltreatment and supporting a more effective statutory child protection system.
  • Preventing children’s exposure to risk factors is essential to reduce rates of child removal and promote children’s wellbeing and longer-term outcomes.
  • Governments and service systems at all levels must be working to uphold the rights of children and their families.
  • The most vulnerable children are often those in residential care.
  • Services should adopt the 12 principles of best practice.
  • Advocate for an environment that fosters healing and positive development.

There are more than 47,000 children in out of home care across Australia and each year the numbers continue to grow. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have unacceptably high representation in residential out of home care. 

You can download the report below.



Read the report for yourself:

Download the full report:

 Front cover


Download the appendices:


Download the summary flyer:


Download the two-page flyer:

 Two pager


Read the media release:

Download the media release:

Media release



The Main Findings of the Review


Finding 1

Strengthening the informal, community-based family support/child protection system is the key to preventing child maltreatment and working in synergy with that system is essential for the statutory child protection to be effective.



Finding 2

Preventing where possible and otherwise addressing the effects of exposure to the risk factors associated with child maltreatment is essential for reducing rates of maltreatment and removal. It is also critical for reducing developmental vulnerability, promoting physical and mental health, educational achievement and pro-social behaviour.




Finding 3

Governments at all levels need to play their part in enabling the enjoyment of recognised human rights. The rights of children and their families are interdependent – children cannot flourish if their families are denied a livelihood and shelter.


Finding 4

Arguably, our nation’s most vulnerable children and young people find themselves in residential care settings.



Finding 5

State and Territory funders of residential care need to ensure that services are commissioned and resourced in a way that care providers are able to fulfil the Best Practice Principles for Therapeutic Residential Out of Home Care.



Finding 6

Organisations concerned with child welfare and child protection should advocate policy and practice that ensures that all children and young people in OOHC services, and particularly those in residential care, receive the support and engagement necessary to foster agency, healing and positive development.