A national comparison of carer screening, assessment, selection and training and support in foster, kinship and residential care

Murray Benton, Rohan Pigott, Megan Price, Patrick Shepherdson and Dr Gail Winkworth

March 2017

ISBN 978-1-925622-03-4

Executive Summary

Children in out‑of‑home care (OOHC) are vulnerable to sexual victimisation due to a range of factors including previous sexual and other victimisation, social and economic deprivation, and family dysfunction.  It is critical that safeguards are in place to protect children from sexual abuse in OOHC and that agencies, staff and carers respond effectively to concerns or allegations of child sexual abuse. Carer screening and assessment, as well as ongoing monitoring, training and support, is fundamental to protecting children from abuse. However, data gathered in preparation for the Royal Commission’s OOHC public hearings suggested that processes for screening, assessing, monitoring, training and supporting carers differ markedly across care types, jurisdictions and providers.
 
In December 2015, the Royal Commission commissioned national research to answer the following questions designed to help formulate its report and recommendations:

  • What policies and processes does each state and territory government have in place for carer screening, assessment, selection, training and support to prevent or respond effectively to child sexual abuse in foster care, kinship care and residential care settings?

  • What policies and processes do non-government providers of out‑of‑home care services have in place for carer screening, assessment, selection, training and support to prevent or respond effectively to child sexual abuse in foster care, kinship care and residential care settings?

  • What factors help facilitate the implementation of these policies and processes to prevent or respond effectively to child sexual abuse in foster care, kinship care and residential care settings?

  • What are the barriers to implementation of these policies and processes to prevent or respond effectively to child sexual abuse in foster care, kinship care and residential care settings?