Children entering care have not had the same chance as other children to grow and thrive. Parental maltreatment and other disadvantages mean that their life outcomes are often poor compared to children generally.
Anglicare Victoria’s Children in Care Report Card shows the ‘gap’ between children in care and all children. Information on 142 children in care was collected from case records and compared to population data.
The results for physical activity, obesity and healthy lifestyle were positive. However, a much higher proportion of children in care had emotional and behavioural problems and chronic health conditions compared to children who were not in care.
Education participation rates of children in care were similar to children in the community. However, children in care were less engaged in education and less likely to be reaching their learning potential. Older teenagers in care also had limited independent living skills and lacked access to important identity documents.
Too many children in care were disconnected from birth fathers and peers. Children in care also had fewer opportunities than children who were not in care to participate in activities that would help them build community networks.
It is everyone’s responsibility to help bridge the gap between the life outcomes of children in care and those same outcomes among children who are not in care. Results from the Children in Care Report Card show us where we need to act.