The children of people who have been in care are more likely to end up in care.

It's a cycle that is associated with financial hardship, reduced opportunity, weak social networks and poor role modelling for parenting skills.

These are significant human problems but they can be improved if there is a will and if resources are available. We can break these cycles.

The Alliance believes that our failure specifically to address this issue is a failure of compassion and a failure of rational economics that damages everyone's quality of life.

Why children are taken into care

Families where children are at risk usually have more than one issue that affects the child, so the situation is often complex. It may be the combined effect of multiple issues that results in a child being removed, rather than one issue alone. Many cases cannot be attributed to a single issue.

The most reliable, recent Australian information available comes from the 2008 Wood Report1 into child protection in NSW.

Wood found:

Cases involving %
Domestic violence 31%
Psychological abuse 25%
Physical abuse 23%
Neglect 23%
Parent/carer drug and alcohol use 20%
Parent/carer mental health 14%
Sexual abuse 8%
Parent/carer other issues 7%
Child drug and alcohol use 3%
Child runaway 2%
Child suicide risk 2%
Child inappropriate sexual behaviour 2%

From the Wood report1 page 130, Table 5.13 Child protection reports referred to DoCS by reported issue, 2005/06 to 2007/08292. Note that these add up to more than 100% because of cases having more than one central issue.

Perhaps surprising to many people considering our media focus, over 90% of cases do not involve sexual abuse. Physical and emotional violence are the main factors.