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Damning interim-report into out-of-home care says nothing we didn’t already know

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
2 May 2024

A damning interim-report from the Advocate for Children and Young People has laid bare - yet again - the extraordinary failures of the out-of-home care system in New South Wales.

Greens MP and spokesperson for Youth Justice Sue Higginson said “We have known for years now how broken and harmful High Cost Emergency Arrangements are in NSW, and none more so than alternative care arrangements - or ACAs.” 

“Rather than invest in genuine family support and stable and permanent out-of-home care, we have been placing children and young people in motels, caravan parks, and short-term rentals in the hands of profit driven providers for dangerous lengths of time.”

“The evidence is clear - these alternative care arrangements have a detrimental impact on children and young people. Yet the State allows children and young people to endure these arrangements in an overwhelming amount of cases and it’s sickening that private providers generate a profit. It’s perverse and it’s harming the most vulnerable children and young people in our state.”  

“This is a mess of the Coalition’s making, but now Labor is kicking the can down the road. It’s important that the special inquiry is  taking place and we are hearing the voices of the impacted children and young people, but we don’t need another review from the Minns Government. We need urgent overhaul of the legal machinery that is separating children from families on an industrial scale, we must fully fund culturally appropriate and community based care providers, and we must put an end to the privatised for-profit involvement in the out-of-home care system immediately and completely. These children and young people are overwhelmingly First Nations kids and kids with disabilities, and they deserve no less and they cannot wait.”

“The system, as it stands relies on emergency legal interventions that come too late for families and make no room for healing, support, or compassion. The lucky are taken in by carers who are unsupported and underpaid. The unlucky are the stories we are reading today, of children abused, isolated, ignored, and disempowered indefinitely at some cheap overnight motel accommodation.”

“Out of home care requires deep, long-term investment and support for those most at risk of separation. We have gone too far down the failed privatised and for profit path. The Minister, who has a legal duty of care to each and every child and young person in out of home care, needs to take back control. The only way out of this crisis is to invest in and empower families and communities and ensure they can care for kids in the way that every parent wishes to and every child deserves.”

“I know Minister Washington feels a deep personal responsibility for these children. The Minns Labor Government has to get on with the serious work of safely restoring children to their families.”

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
2 May 2024
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