I don’t know why, but this time it got to me. I often read about a lot of terrible things, as, let’s face it, the world can be a terrible place. But there was something about the research I was doing today that made me want to cry.
I was looking at children living in out-of-home care. It’s most usually foster care or kinship care. There were two things that shocked me.
The first was that the number of Australian children living in out-of-home care has more than doubled in the last decade. That’s a lot of children removed from families. That’s a lot of children who are likely to lose their sense of identity, stability and security.
The second was the direct incurred costs to the government from the lack of support for those who are transtitioning from out-of-home care into independent living. In Victoria, the lifetime cost of the provision of services is nearly $740,000 per young person leaving care (usually at 18). These costs include housing, the justice system and corrective services, police, drug and alcohol services, mental health, health, employment, and lost GST revenue.
If you want to read more, you can head to the National Child Protection Clearinghouse website.
I realise that Governments have to do much more.
But I did just wonder if we expect the Departments of Communities to achieve the impossible?
Perhaps the best solutions can’t be found by bureaucrats, but by the regeneration of authentic community, of people loving and serving one another, of care for the vulnerable and of healthy marriages raising healthy children.
The state of children, in the community to which I belong, is ultimately my responsibility, and yours.
In the words of Dr Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”