UnitingCare Australia was commissioned to undertake this review of residential out of home care (OOHC) services. Its purpose is to aid deliberations on whether their organisations sould be engaged in the provision of these services, and, if so, what models of care and what therapeutic interventions would best meet the needs of the children and young people likely to use them.
The UnitingCare network across Australia has a long history of the provision of residential services for children and young people. Contemporary child protection reforms in each Australian jurisdiction have narrowed the scope of residential services to a sepcialist therapeutic setting and/or the placement of last resort.
It is critically important to ensure that these services not only meet the relevant state or territory standards of quality and accountability, but also achieve the best possible outcomes for children and, above all, do no harm.
In undertaking this work, the network sees their role and interest as not only a current and potential future service provider of preferred models, but an advocate to the industry and to government to effect change so as to be confident that optimum outcomes for vulnerable children and young people are achieved.
UnitingCare Australia is today launching 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.
To read more, download the media release here.
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.
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.
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.
Arguably, our nation’s most vulnerable children and young people find themselves in residential care settings.
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.
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.