Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Developing national standards to protect vulnerable children

The Australian Government has begun work on developing national standards to make sure children who cannot live with their parents receive quality, safe and secure care, no matter which state or territory they live in.

Consultancy group KPMG will start work immediately on the review of current standards, policies and practices in out-of-home care to develop best practice national standards.

The development of the national standards will include:

  • a review of current standards, policies and practices in out-of-home care across Australia, as well as a survey of international best practice;
  • national consultations with government and non-government service providers, children, young people, their families and carers who have experienced out-of-home care; and
  • recommending a single set of national standards.

The development of these national standards is a key part of the $63 million National Framework for Protecting Australia”s Children 2009-2020, which was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments on 30 April 2009.

Over the past decade the number of Australian children needing out-of-home care has risen by 115 per cent to more than 31,000.

Protecting and caring for children is a national priority for the Australian Government. We are committed to making sure that vulnerable children are looked after and cared for in a safe and supportive environment wherever they live.

This requires a consistent and concerted national response across all levels of government.

KPMG will also develop an agreed evidence tool to verify, review and monitor progress against the agreed national standards.

The final report will be presented for consideration to state and territory Community Services’ Ministers in mid 2010.