“Residential care should be the option of last resort, yet there are currently around 330 children in this type of care in South Australia,” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson.
“Research shows that home-based care is without doubt the best option for vulnerable children and an audit would improve the chances of placing children in state care with a family.
“A similar audit in Victoria resulted in 15 children who were in residential care being found a home with a family within 10 weeks.
“The shocking truth is children in these circumstances can be forgotten about if initial attempts to place them in better circumstances have failed.
“Residential care can be challenging for children and young people, adding to their feelings of instability and uncertainty.
“Residential care is also extremely expensive to provide.
“Government run residential care in South Australia costs $235,371 per child, per annum which equates to $646 per night.
“By way of contrast family based out-of-home care costs $61,880 per child, per annum or $170 per night.
“The former Guardian for Children and Young People, Pam Simmons, has previously called on the State Government to close larger residential care facilities as the best model is homebased care.”