Media Release

Friday, 29 October 2021

URGENT ATTENTION REQUIRED TO SUPPORT NSW FOSTER CARE SYSTEM

Evidence before NSW Parliament today that a 12-year-old Aboriginal boy has been living in a motel for more than 300 days, instead of foster care, highlights a system that needs urgent reform, according to peak child protection advocacy body Fams. 

In addition, officials from the Department of Communities and Justice revealed in the same Budget Estimates hearing that the median length of stay in ‘alternative care arrangements’ is 41 days, with 28 per cent of children staying longer than 90 days.

Alternative care arrangements are when vulnerable children are sent to hotels or motels instead of foster care, with shift workers instead of permanent carers.

47 per cent of children placed in hotels or motels are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

CEO of FAMS, Julie Hourigan Ruse said she was appalled by the revelations.

“I was heartbroken to hear of this young boy’s circumstances today,” Ms Hourigan Ruse said.

“This kind of neglect is completely unacceptable – one day in alternative care is too long, let alone almost an entire year.

“These children are already facing a challenging start in life, and it’s the NSW Government’s job to care for them.

“As the peak body for child protection in NSW, we are calling on the NSW Government to act immediately and provide urgent support to put an end to this foster care crisis.”

MEDIA CONTACT:  Nick Trainor 0407 078 138; ntrainor@apa.net.au