Australian National Standards for Out of Home Care

‘All governments and the non-government sector are committed to making sure that vulnerable children are looked after and cared for in a safe and supportive environment wherever they live. This requires a consistent and concerted national response across all levels of government.’
From ‘Developing National Standards to protect vulnerable children’, Minister Macklin media release 14 October 2009 

This Consultation Paper has been developed to inform the consultation stage of the process for developing Australian National Standards for Out of Home Care (the National Standards). The National Standards are intended to apply to formal care arrangements. Formal Out of Home Care service options include, but are not limited to, residential care, foster care and kinship care (where the carer is supported by an agency). 

Advisory firm KPMG has been engaged to work on developing the National Standards; contact details of the project team are provided below.

What is Out of Home Care?

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare defines Out of Home Care as ‘alternative accommodation for children under 18 years of age who are unable to live with their parents, where the State or Territory makes a financial payment or where a financial payment has been offered but declined’. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data does not include children who are living in Out of Home Care outside the child protection system, such as placements made in disability services, medical or psychiatric services, juvenile justice facilities, overnight childcare services or supported accommodation assistance services. 

The development of these National Standards is a key part of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020, which was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments on 30 April 2009. This Consultation Paper seeks your views on: 

  • the drivers for optimal health and well-being outcomes for children and young people 
  • where and how the Out of Home Care system can impact on outcomes for children and young people in Out of Home Care and how to influence these drivers 
  • what possible standards should be included in the National Standards for Out of Home Care and how they should be measured and reported.

Download Australian National Standards for Out of Home Care PDF.

This document is also available online for listening.