The care and protection of children experiencing or considered to be at risk of abuse or neglect within their families is a major policy dilemma. Children in the care and protection system do not fare well on a range of indicators, when compared to the overall population. In recent years there have been significant changes in policies and support for children in out of home care, including the adoption of the language of rights. Nevertheless, the care and protection of children who enter the system bearing that name is often dubbed one of social policy's 'wicked problems'. This paper synthesises concepts of human rights, children's needs and citizenship as a basis for redefining policy and services for children in out of home care. The authors suggest that improved support for children in out of home care requires the recognition of children as partners.