This report aims to inform system design, practice, policies and planning by sharing the views and voices of children and young people in care in NSW. These survey results offer insights into how the experience of care in NSW compares nationally and highlight areas of strength and improvement. This report should be shared and discussed to inform practice and broader work with our partners to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families.

During 2018, the NSW Department of Communities of Justice (DCJ), formerly Family and Community Services or FACS, conducted two state-wide surveys about the experiences of children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC) – the NSW OOHC Survey and the NSW Residential Care Survey. Data from these two surveys were provided to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) to inform the National OOHC Survey.

This is the second time these surveys have been conducted, building on the first survey which took place in 2015. The aim of the surveys was to collect the views and voices of children and young people in care and to examine key factors that directly influence better outcomes.

This report presents an overview of results from these surveys, highlighting the findings for the eight indicators under the National Standards for OOHC and also provides a comparison to the 2015 survey results. The eight indicators are: ‘Sense of security’, ‘Participation’, ‘Community activity’, ‘Family connection’, ‘Family contact’, ‘Sense of community’, ‘Significant person’ and ‘Leaving care’.

The results are presented by a range of demographic and placement characteristics including management sector, Aboriginality, age, sex, living arrangement, placement duration and time in care to identify any differences in results for specific cohorts of children and young people.

Overall, the results from the NSW OOHC Survey and the National OOHC Survey are encouraging with the majority of children and young people reporting positively against all indicators.

The results from the NSW Residential Care Survey are generally less positive, which is consistent with the findings from the 2015 survey. Nevertheless, there have been notable improvements in some subgroups for ‘Sense of security’, ‘Participation’ and ‘Family contact’.

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