This resource sheet provides information about children in out-of-home care in Australia who are on care and protection orders.

Out-of-home care refers to the care of children and young people up to 18 years who are unable to live with their families (often due to child abuse and neglect). It involves the placement of a child or young person with alternate caregivers on a short- or long-term basis (Victorian Department of Human Services, 2007).

There are three main types of out-of-home care:

  • foster care: where care is provided in the private home of a substitute family who receives payment that is intended to cover the child's living expenses;
  • kinship care: where the caregiver is a family member or a person with a pre-existing relationship with the child; and
  • residential care: where placement is in a residential building whose purpose is to provide placement for children and where there is paid staff.

This includes facilities where there are rostered staff, where there is a live-in carer and where staff are off-site. Out-of-home care can be arranged either formally or informally. Informal care refers to arrangements made without intervention by statutory authorities or courts; and formal care occurs following a child protection intervention (either by voluntary agreement or care and protection court order). .

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