Ten important things to know about children in state care

  1. There are about 3000 children and young people under care and protection orders in South Australia.
  2. About 10% are placed in residential care while most of the rest live with foster carers or relatives.
  3. In a given week, around 150 children and young people are in ’emergency’ accommodation.(1)
  4. About 30% of children and young people in state care are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
  5. Nearly 30% of children in care who were enrolled in state schools in SA were defined as having a disability, more than three times the general school population.
  6. Young people who were the subject of a care and protection order are more than 20 times as likely to be under youth justice supervision as their age peers.[AIHW]
  7. 63% of homeless young people in a recent survey had been in out-of-home care at some time.
  8. Of children leaving care, 29% had lived in five or more different placements while 34% had only lived in one placement. [2013-14 figures]
  9. South Australia spends about $80,830 per child in out of home care each year, significantly more than than any jurisdiction other than the Northern Territory.
  10. South Australia spends about $54,000 per child each year on intensive family support services, about 80% of the Australian average.

(1) Emergency accommodation mostly means temporary rented premises looked after by rostered staff from commercial agencies.

Comments or reactions to this information?  Please leave a reply in the box below.

4 Responses

  1. Clear statistics that SA underspend on family support and overspend on the cost of care – presumably due to our higher rates of residential care compared to other States. What happened to early intervention and the Layton a Report!

    1. Certainly the figures seem to suggest an investment in services that support families and keep children out of state care and in developing family-based care makes good economic sense as well as being beneficial to children.

  2. I am totally confused.
    When this was first sent out it showed the cost in dot point 9 as being “$620,000″ per child per year.
    In the article ” Expenditure on child protection in South Australia 2005-2006 to 2014-15 at page 5 there is a chart, Chart 7…this still appears to show the cost of about $620,000 per child .
    What is correct?
    Has there been some further assessment of the figures or what?

    1. Hi Cathy
      Sorry about the confusion. It arose from a couple of errors by us which compounded one another. The ’10 things’ post has been corrected and amended to show the cost per child in care in SA which is the most useful figure. The Expenditure report will be corrected tomorrow morning. It will show the cost of care for children in care per child in the SA population in. I hope that will clear up the matter for you and thank you for bringing it to our attention.

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