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Tasmania - Event

KPMG's Review and Development of Potential Reforms for Tasmanian Child Protection and Out of Home Care Sectors (2007)


KPMG's Review and Development of Potential Reforms for Tasmanian Child Protection and Out of Home Care Sectors recommended the development of regional support networks for families and more variety in types of care.


Lara Giddings commissioned KPMG's Review in 2007 when she was the Minister for Health and Human Services. KPMG"s report draws on the findings and recommendations made by Alison Jacob and David Fanning in the 2006 Report on Child Protection Services in Tasmania. In brief, that report found that child protection services had to deal with an increasing number of notifications without having the resources to do so and suggested that more effective use be made of family and other services to reduce the need for so many notifications.

KPMG recommended the development of a family support system for children, young people, and their families through four regional networks that pulled together a variety of different kinds of assistance. These networks would include social workers, guidance officers, family services, neighbourhood houses, and services to assist with mental health, disability, drug and alcohol problems, and family violence. The aim would be to provide early intervention to families to prevent their children from becoming at risk. The services would have three tiers:

  • Primary services that would identify problems before they became entrenched. These would be available to everyone in the community.
  • Secondary services that would assist with specific needs such as early childhood intervention, counselling, mediation, housing, and family services.
  • Tertiary services for children at risk. This intervention was usually governed by legislation and included child protection services, out of home care, and youth justice. Child protection would only be involved if a child was at serious risk of injury, death or suffering cumulative harm that could undermine development. This included family violence, sexual abuse, 'serious and persistent' emotional abuse, 'chronic' neglect or insufficient supervision. Infants and adolescents were seen as being at particular risk while children who had disabilities, were Aboriginal or came from a non-English speaking background might have special needs.

The report set out clear guidelines for responding quickly and effectively with notifications.

KPMG recommended that, over a period of five years, out of home care be out sourced to non-government organisations who would oversee the care of state wards. However, the state would remain the guardian of the children.

A variety of types of care would be offered to ensure that the needs of different children could be met:

  • Kinship care - was always the first choice as it enabled the child to retain a connection with family, community, and culture. It reduced the negative effects of removal on both child and family. Kinship care was especially important for Aboriginal children.
  • Home based care - for children under 18. It took place in the foster carer's own home and could be for long and short term placements. There could be specialist placements for children who needed help with medical, behavioural or emotional problems.
  • Family group homes - for siblings and children or young people with 'low' to 'moderate' needs who could not go into foster care. They would live in a family like atmosphere with paid carers who were there 24 hours a day. The Department of Health and Human Services or a non-government organisation would provide the house.
  • Residential care - would be for young people over the age of 12 who needed extra support. The carers would be specifically trained.
  • Therapeutic residential care - was for young people over 12 who needed intensive support. Carers would be specifically trained.

There would also be a range of specialist options:

  • Aboriginal placements.
  • Respite care, with a pool of carers to provide short term placements to relieve parents and foster carers.
  • Shared care with the child's birth family.
  • Permanent placements with the family chosen especially for a particular child.
  • Adolescent placements with carers who have experience in this area.
  • Transition to independent living.

The carers could be any adult age, single, married or in a de facto relationship, living in their own or a rented home, unemployed, employed, or self employed in any kind of work and with any level of income. They should receive enough remuneration to provide the child with a modest standard of living and to reflect their own experience.


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: New Directions for Child Protection in Tasmania: An Integrated Strategic Framework, Department of Health and Human Services, Tasmania, January 2008, 147 pp,

Prepared by: Caroline Evans