We have a special responsibility for children in care. Their parents are unable to care for them safely and the court has decided that the state must act as parent, by arranging care and decision-making. The state is not a good parent. The responsibility for them is shared among many and the potential for disagreement and tension is high. Amidst this imperfect and sometimes fractured parenting is the child, who will bear the costs of arguments, delays, moving, and disregard.
My teacher never gave up on me. I told him I was in care and he said – do it [homework] over lunch and bring it to me at the end of the day. If they don’t give up on you, you don’t give up on you. [GCYP 2007]
If we want to be a place where all children have opportunity, we will pay attention to those who are most disadvantaged. Measures of literacy, further education, training, income source and homelessness, which are all tracked in the SA strategic planning process, tell us that some groups of young South Australians could benefit from targets specific to them. Children in care, of whom one in four are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children, are one of these groups.
The Office of the Guardian’s submission to the state strategic plan consultation, Making our state a better parent, outlines our vision and ideas for strengthening the plan by adding a target specific to children in care.
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