The beginning: crisis point

The Alliance was formed in 2005 because out of home care in Western Australia was at crisis point.

  • The sector was seriously under-funded and the State Government was not committed to increasing funding to meet the growing demand.
  • The foster care system was dangerously over-stressed and under-resourced.
  • The not-for-profit (NFP) share of child placements in WA had fallen from 25% to 11% over two decades.

Underlying this was a near total failure in system management

  • Children were not assessed against common, objective standards.
  • There was no universal assessment tool to determine the needs of a child coming into care, or to measure their progress.
  • Only a few children had care plans. Progress against care plans was not regularly measured.
  • Care plans for children placed with NFPs were developed by the Department based on minimum or no contact with the child or consultation with family or carers.
  • There were no standards to measure the quality of care.

Failing our children

Clearly we were failing our children. In care, they faced:

  • Significantly poorer life outcomes with a greater likelihood of engagement with welfare, justice and mental health systems
  • Lower material quality of life than their peers: fewer and inferior personal possessions, fewer recreational and social opportunities, restricted educational access
  • Social stigma and reduced control over their own lives
  • Inadequate or non-existent treatment for the trauma they had suffered
  • Often, a lack of the stability, continuity and security that is essential to emotional development, due to the over-stressing and gradual collapse of the system, with more multiple placements and increased placement turnover