2012 Views of young people in residential care survey: overview and selected findings

Children Child welfare Foster care Child abuse Child protection Australia Queensland

This report overviews the purpose, scope, design and administration of the Commission’s fourth Views of Young People in Residential Care Survey, conducted across Queensland in 2012. It also presents findings about the characteristics, circumstances and self-identified needs of young people who participated in the survey and their responses to a selection of questions relevant to the performance of the Queensland child protection system.

A total of 181 young people responded to the survey, corresponding to 26% of the population in statutory residential care over the period the survey was conducted.

The findings provide some positive feedback from young people in residential care on how the child protection system is operating. For instance, respondents generally indicated:

•    most young people reported feeling safe in their current placement

•    many young people reported being satisfied with the support they have received in relation
to their physical health, school work and emotional or mental health

•    young people generally feel that their Child Safety Officers (CSO) explain decisions made
about them, and find them to be contactable when needed

•    young people are very positive about their Community Visitors and find them helpful,
accessible and a valuable source of advocacy and emotional support, and

•    the vast majority of young people indicated that someone has spoken to them about what
happens to their care situation when they turn 18 years of age, and over one half of young people over 16 years of age reported having a leaving care plan.

On the other hand, issues that emerged include:

•    almost one in five young people reported that they do not feel safe where they are living

•    almost one quarter of young people gave a rating of 1 or 2 out of 10 for how helpful their CSO has been, compared to less than one in five young people in 2011

•    more than one in two young people reported they are not confident in their CSOs to follow
through on promised action

•    over one third of young people would like to see their CSO more often, and •    more than two fifths of young people reported they either have not been involved in Child Safety case planning or do not have a case plan.

The specific research focus of the 2012 survey is the importance of connections to people outside of the care environment, in particular, the significance of family contact for young people in residential care. This will be explored in more detail in a series of focus papers to be released over the coming months, the first of which will examine the frequency and nature of contact with family members, as well as young people’s satisfaction with this contact. It will also present and discuss findings in relation to young people’s views on belonging, social support and reunification.


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