media release

Child protection crisis continues

The Annual Report reveals that requests to intervene on behalf of children in care increased by 62 per cent there was a 9.3 per cent in the number of children in care and there were 26 allegations of serious sexual abuse of children in care.

“It is deeply shocking that so many vulnerable children have been sexually abused whilst in state care,” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson. 

“The fact that nine of those incidents of sexual abuse occurred in Government-run residential or commercial care facilities is a damning indictment of the Weatherill Government. 

“The Nyland Royal Commission was in response to the appalling crimes committed by residential care worker Shannon McCoole yet children are still being sexually abused in government-run facilities. 

“Minister for Child Development Susan Close needs to explain why she has failed to protect children in state-run facilities from sexual abuse.

“It is totally unacceptable that children in need of our protection are being sexually abused whilst in the care of the government.

“The increase in the number of children in care, the number of children in residential care and the number of children in out of home care proves the Weatherill Government has no answers to the crisis in child protection.” 

The Auditor General recently revealed the cost of emergency care for vulnerable children has more than doubled in the past two years – jumping from $37 million in 2013-14 to $126.6 million in 2016-17. 

“Emergency care or residential care should be the very last resort for a child at risk of neglect or abuse not a standard option. These figures indicate it has become a permanent stop gap,” said Ms Chapman.

“In 2014-15 government-run residential care in South Australia cost $235,371 per child, per annum which equates to $646 per night. It is clear the Weatherill Government is incapable of clearing up the mess it has created.”