There has been a 58 per cent increase in the number of enquiries within our mandate (i.e. in relation to children and young people in care) received by the Office of the Guardian in the last financial year, compared with the previous financial year.
The Office of the Guardian’s quarterly summary of individual advocacy data from April to June 2019 showed that in the last quarter 115 in-mandate enquiries were received, bringing the total of in-mandate enquiries for the 2018/19 financial year to 406, an increase from 256 from the previous year.
It is difficult to be sure about the reason for the dramatic increase but Assessment and Referral Officer Courtney Mostert said the increased presence of the Office of the Guardian’s staff out in the field and identifying individual needs for advocacy certainly contributed to the rise. The increase of children living in state care could also have been a contributing factor.
Of the 406 enquiries received, the majority of children were aged 10 to 17, lived in residential care and were requesting advocacy support.
The top four issues remained unchanged from the 2017/18 year, with having a secure and stable place to live being the greatest concern. This was followed by issues around having contact with their birth and extended family, not feeling safe, and feeling like they’re not playing an active role in the decision-making process for the issues that affect them.
So can you tell us more about the actual concerns raised and what action your Office will take.
Thanks for your interest. As summarised in the article the main concern coming from the enquiries were the children and young people wanting a safe, secure and stable place to live. This only reaffirms to us that placement safety continues to be at the forefront of the issues facing young people in care.
As advocates to this cohort of young people we will continue to advocate for current placement matching practices that are for the best interests of the children and young people affected.
You can find out more about our advocacy role and function concerning these matters in our upcoming annual report – due for release late October 2019.
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