SA’s child protection and family support system sees landmark improvements

SA sees improvement in response to children and young people that come into contact with the child protection and family support system according to a recently released 2022-23 Report on Government Services.

South Australia is continuing to improve its response to children and young people that come into contact with the child protection and family support system.

The recently released 2022-23 Report on Government Services highlights remarkable strides in the state’s efforts to enhance the well-being of those who come into contact with this crucial system.

A standout achievement is the data showing that an impressive 96 percent of children who exited out-of-home care, either through reunification with their families or third-party placements, did not return within 12 months. This outcome surpasses all other jurisdictions and exceeds the national average by 8 percent.

The report also reveals that the Department for Child Protection conducted a total of 10,418 investigations during the 2022-23 financial year, marking a substantial 5.9 percent increase compared to the previous period.

Of particular note is the efficiency of these investigations, with 46.2 percent completed within just 28 days of their commencement date. This figure not only stands as the highest among all jurisdictions but also surpasses the national average by 18.5 percentage points.

“All children and young people deserve to grow up in a safe and secure environment where they are loved, nurtured and supported to reach their potential. We are determined to help them do so,” Minister for Child Protection Katrine Hildyard says.

“Addressing legacy issues, strengthening families, tackling the complex issues they face and reducing the number of children and young people in care requires significant investment, stringent focus on change and an enlivened and coordinated approach engaged in across government, service providers and the community.”

South Australia has made significant strides in providing stability for children and young people in care. The report indicates that 86.5 percent of children placed in care for two or more years had the opportunity to live in either one or two placements.

This marks a notable 2.3 percent improvement compared to the previous year and stands as the highest result in this measure over the last two years.

Since 2022, $372 million has been allocated to improving the child protection and family support system, with a particular focus on long-term reforms to strengthen the system.

Funding has been strategically channeled to various aspects of the system, including investments in effective interventions such as family group conferencing, enhanced support for families, and additional assistance for foster and kinship carers.

“While our long-term strategy and vision is being developed with input from community, the sector, government, families and people with experience of the system, we are funding innovative programs designed to address key areas of need within the system. These programs are designed to continue to slow growth and improve the quality of and access to family support services,” Hildyard says.

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