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Understanding the Needs of Kinship Carers in Australia – research brief

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Kinship care placements in Australia are now more prevalent than foster care. They are the fastest growing form of out-of-home care in this country (AIHW, 2021). On 30 June 2019, 93% of Australian children in out-of-home care were in home based care, with 37% in foster care and 54% in relative/kinship care (AIHW, 2021). This figure compares to 53% in foster care and 34% in kinship care in 1999 (AIHW, 2000). Data pertaining to the previous decade is not available. What is known, however, is that State and Territory child welfare policy and practice was previously geared towards placing children in foster care arrangements rather than with family or kin in Australia (Scott & Swain 2002). This practice is reported to have taken place across state and territory child protection systems; however, it was particularly evident in the case of First Nations children, where removal from family, community and culture became known as the creation of a ‘stolen generation’ (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1997).

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