Australia, we often tell ourselves, is an egalitarian society that believes in a fair go. But when we take children into care, because their parents are not able to care for them, they are not treated equally.

They do not enjoy the same standard of physical care, of social, educational and sporting opportunities, choice of friends, privacy, possessions, not event the same level of health care or the same right to have a say in their own lives, as the typical Aussie kid.

Children in care often feel stigmatised and the system reinforces that by treating them differently. They don't get a fair go. And that makes it hard for them to develop the personal confidence and self esteem they need to overcome what has been done to them.

Society can never fully replace the caring home children in care have been denied. But we can at least care for them at the same standard as the "typical Aussie kid".

That is why the Alliance for Children at Risk has developed and recommends its Typical Aussie Kid standard as the minimum for children in care. It's what most parents would want and provide for their own children.

It's a minimum to ensure some fairness for kids who start in life with very significant disadvantages. What we are actually achieving is a long way short of this minimum.