A National Comparison of Carer Screening, Assessment, Selection and Training and Support in Foster Care, Kinship and Residential Care

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Report

A new report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse examines carer recruitment, training and support policies and processes in Australia that aim to enhance the safety of children in out-of-home care (OOHC) and prevent sexual abuse. The research found that considerable attention is paid to the issue of child sexual abuse in OOHC. However, a number of significant barriers to preventing child sexual abuse are identified, including difficulties in attracting and retaining quality foster carers, a limited pool of residential care workers and high staff turnover. Another key issue highlighted by the research was the challenge of providing training and support to carers who live in rural and remote areas.

Analysis of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse Made With Respect To Catholic Church Institutions in Australia

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Safety and wellbeing, Report

This Royal Commission report examines data on the extent of claims of child sexual abuse made against Catholic Church personnel. Of the 201 Catholic Church authorities surveyed, 93 (46%) reported having received one or more claims of child sexual abuse. Claims that related to orphanages or residential facilities had the highest average duration of the alleged child sexual abuse (3.7 years). This is the most substantial dataset released to date about the extent of child sex abuse within the Australian Catholic Church.

Reconciliation Australia has released its biennial Australian Reconciliation Barometer. The report offers a snapshot of attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the broader Australian community. Almost all Australians (97% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 89% Australians in the general community) believe their relationship is important. Though there have been significant strides towards reconciliation challenges persist. In the six months prior to the survey, 46% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders experienced at least one form of racial prejudice. The report makes recommendations to government, community and individuals to make reconciliation a reality, including investment in public anti-racism campaigns and constitutional recognition.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its annual comprehensive report on child protection. The report indicates that 1 in 33 children across Australia received child protection services in the past year, with almost three quarters of these children being 'repeat clients'. The report also found that the number of Australian children receiving child protection services has risen by 20% over the past four years. The report contributes to our understanding of the state of child protection on a national level, and helps identify the ways in which we can better meet the needs of children and young people accessing child protection; particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Children and Young People in Out of Home Care in Tasmania

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Report

This report by the Tasmanian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Mark Morrissey, presents findings aimed at improving the wellbeing of children and young people living in out of home care. Although he found that the 1,100 children in state care were ‘generally experiencing acceptable outcomes’, he also identifies a number of issues with the system. Morrissey presents seven recommendations to improve the OOHC system in Tasmania.

Closing the Gap: Prime Minister’s Report 2017

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Report

The Prime Minister has delivered the ninth annual report addressing the Closing the Gap targets. The report recognises that changes are on the way; however, Australia is failing on six out of seven key measures. A new target for Indigenous 4 year olds enrolled in early childhood education is 95 per cent by 2025. The data shows that in 2015, 87% of all Indigenous children were enrolled in early childhood education the year before full-time school. Though improvements have been made in reading and numeracy for Indigenous students, this target is not on track. Last year, 640 more children needed to read at the Year 3 benchmark to halve the gap. We must look at the evidence to find effective solutions and focus on empowering and building the capacity of local communities.

Engaging Students: Creating Classrooms that Improve Learning

Education, Report

The Grattan Institute's Engaging students: Creating classrooms that improve learning examines the hidden problem of student disengagement in Australian schools, reporting that as many as 40% of Australia’s school students are unproductive in a given year. The report draws on a number of major Australian studies from the past 10 years, finding that though classrooms are not out of control, many students are not engaged in learning. The paper offers a number of classroom level and system wide recommendations to improve student engagement. Teacher support is identified as a significant factor in improving student engagement, with a number of recommendations relating to teacher training and mentoring. Also important is the targeting of disadvantaged schools, where student engagement is lowest.

Help-seeking Needs and Gaps for Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

Safety and wellbeing, Report

This report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse explores the service needs and help-seeking behaviours of professionals, parents and community members in relation to child sexual abuse. The report evaluates the effectiveness of existing services that respond to the needs of these groups and makes suggestions for improvement. It concludes that there are limited programs and services targeted to these particular groups, and those that do exist are not well coordinated. It also suggests that programs are often unregulated, under-evaluated and that there is a lack of understanding of child sexual-abuse related issues within the community. A whole of community response and a focus on primary prevention would do much to improve our response to child sexual abuse.

Household Financial Comfort Report

Poverty, Report

Member’s Equity’s (ME) latest Household Financial Comfort Report shows that income cuts, record-high job insecurity and high rates of underemployment are putting stress on households’ financial comfort. Australian households’ ‘comfort with income’ remains at its lowest level since the Household Financial Comfort Report began in 2011. While 46% of households with incomes over $100,000 reported income gains, lower-income households experienced record low income gains. This highlights the growing gap between the rich and poor in Australia. Financial discomfort is further exacerbated by job insecurity and underemployment.

Power of Image: A report into the influence of images and videos in young people’s digital lives

Young People, Report

The UK Safer Internet Centre has undertaken research exploring the role of images and videos in young people’s digital lives and the influence this can have on their self-esteem, behaviour and emotions. The findings show the pervasiveness of video and image sharing among young people, the positive role it can have, and the accompanying risks that this digital culture presents. Eighty per cent of participants reported that they had been inspired by an image to do something positive. However, a significant number of young people have had negative experiences of the digital world. Twenty-two per cent of 8-17 year olds reported that someone has posted an image or video to bully them.

Preschool Education Australia, 2018 – Australian Bureau of Statistics

Education, Early years, Report

This publication presents data on children enrolled in and attending a preschool program across Australia in 2018. The results are compiled from data collected through the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection. In 2018, there were 342,464 children aged 4 or 5 years old enrolled in a preschool program in Australia.

Quality in Early Years Settings and Children’s School Achievement

Education, Early years, Report

A study conducted by researchers at the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics, the University of Surrey, and University College London, investigates the link between children’s outcomes and early learning staff qualifications. The report reveals that a child's educational achievement at the end of their reception year is only marginally higher if they have been taught by a qualified teacher or early learning professional than if they were not taught by a qualified teacher. This is significant because government has often chosen to focus on teacher qualification to improve childcare quality.

Report of Government Services: Youth Justice

Youth Justice, Young People, Report

The 2017 Report on Government Services (ROGS) considers the performance and effectiveness of youth justice services in Australia, and across the states and territories. The report indicates that the daily average rate of young people aged 10–17 years in detention in Victoria is 11.3 per 100,000. This is the lowest number across the states and territories, and well below the national average of 35 per 100,000 young people.

Speaking Out About Youth Justice: The Views of WA Children and Young People

Youth Justice, Young People, Report

The Commissioner for Children and Young People in WA has released a report detailing the experiences of young people who have been in contact with the youth justice system. Along with their personal stories, the young people included in the study share what they think would support them in the community to break the cycle of reoffending. The 92 young people involved in the study communicated the belief that offending could be prevented by making appropriate supports and services available. Key supports included positive role models, living in a safe and stable home, participating in education or employment, being involved in community activities and being supported to deal with personal challenges and behavioural issues. For a large number of young offenders, the role models, family supports and other safety nets many of us take for granted are not present.

Trajectories in Online Child Sexual Exploitation Offending in Australia

Safety and wellbeing, Report

This study looks at data relating to a sample of offenders convicted of online child sexual exploitation offences. It aims to discover if and how online forms of child sexual exploitation and offline child sexual exploitation are linked. The majority of offenders included in this study committed only online offences, although in a small number of cases there was a correlation between exploitative material, grooming and contact offending. This work is an important first step in understanding the nature of online child exploitation and how it relates to other forms of abuse.