This paper will provide an overview and analysis of developments in child protection and out of home care in Australia. It will outline early responses to perceived inadequate parenting to provide the historical and policy contexts of contemporary debates on, and responses to, the care and protection of children and young people. Child maltreatment affects a large number of children across Australia. The statistics of reported maltreatment reflect striking increases over time. Over the last decade, several public inquiries into the operation of child protection have been undertaken in a number of state jurisdictions following which some states have embarked on large scale reform of legislation and policy, to either strengthen the child protection mandate, or refocus services. Some exemplars of significant reform in selected states will be cited. Some of the themes that will be explored in the paper will include the impact of major state based public inquiries, overseas reviews and research on child protection policy and practice; the changing balance between orientations to child protection and family support, the parameters of out of home care, the high levels of governmental intervention experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, and a critical appraisal of major transformations in protective care.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited