Out-of-home care

Out-of-home care is considered an intervention of last resort, with the preference to keep children with their families wherever possible. Where children, for various reasons, need to be placed in out-of-home care, the practice is to attempt to eventually reunite children with their families.

If it is necessary to remove a child from his or her family, placement within the child’s extended family or wider community is preferred. This is particularly the case with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as guided by the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle.

Types of out-of-home care include:

Residential care: This is where a child is placed in a residential building whose purpose is to provide accommodation for children and where there are paid staff.

Family group homes: These are homes for children provided by a government department or community-sector agency. The homes have live-in, non-salaried carers who are reimbursed and/or subsidised for the care they provide.

Home-based care: This is where a child is placed in the home of a carer who is reimbursed (or who has been offered but declined reimbursement) for expenses incurred in caring for the child. This type of care includes relative/kinship care, foster care and other home-based out-of-home care.

Independent living: This includes private board and lead tenant households.

Other: This may include boarding schools, hospitals, hotels/motels and the defence forces.

Talk to the central authority in your state or territory for more specific information about how you may be able to assist with out-of-home care.