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Why do children enter the foster care system?

  • Learning

If you’re considering becoming a foster carer, it’s crucial to understand why and how kids enter the system. With around 11 000 children in care within Queensland alone(1), the list of specific reasons and situations that lead to children entering the system is a long and complicated one. Let’s look at some of the more general reasons and ways that Australian children are placed in foster care…

Voluntary out-of-home care

Children can enter the foster care system if their parents request their child to be placed in out-of-home care. To do this, parents either contact the state or a registered foster care organisation like us. This may involve a single overnight stay or a longer term arrangement. Parents may call for this arrangement if they recognise their child to be at risk in their home or if they feel they aren’t equipped to give their child they care they need.

Awaiting adoption

If parental rights have been relinquished and legally terminated, an appropriate family to adopt the child and provide permanent care is sought out. While majority of adoptions in Australia are known child adoptions(2), where the family has a previously established relationship with the child, a number of children may experience a waiting period with foster families until an appropriate family to provide permanent care is found.

Child Protection Services

The foster system is the backbone of Child Protection Services with close to 46,000 Australian children requiring these services being in out-of-home care in 2020(3). These services are called for when a child has been harmed or their safety is at risk. Unfortunately, this means that a substantial number of kids in care have been exposed to significant physical and/or emotional abuse(4) and are in need of safe home to recover.

All children deserve a safe and stable home to grow and learn in. If you’re looking to provide this to kids in need, take our quiz (hyperlink) to see how you can make an impact and start changing the lives of young Australians.

(1) https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-22/extending-foster-care-age-to-21-could-save-governments-millions/100550310
(2) https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/adoptions
(3) https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/child-protection/child-protection-australia-2019-20/summary
(4) https://www.cyjma.qld.gov.au/protecting-children/about-child-protection