The National Standards for Out-of-home Care (the ‘National Standards’), a priority project under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, have been designed to drive improvements in the consistency and quality of care provided to children and young people who are unable to live with their families and are under the statutory care of the Minister or Chief Executive in states and territories.
A national survey of children aged 8–17 residing in out-of-home care was conducted in 2015. The data collected allow for reporting against 8 indicators under the National Standards for the first time. The survey injects the voices of these children into the national discourse about them, and provides insights into their sense of security, connectedness, participation, and preparation for life after care.
This presentation highlights key findings from a large scale data linkage study which examined the academic performance of children and young people in care, as assessed by National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test results. The study linked administrative data across multiple state and territories to compare the academic performance of children in care to that of other children sitting the NAPLAN tests. For those in care, the study also explored the influence on academic performance of factors such as Indigenous status, sex, language background, geographic location, living arrangements (e.g. foster care) and length of time in care.
The findings from this study have been used as a baseline measure for indicator reporting under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children. Continued monitoring will build the evidence base, informing policy, practice and support to help improve the outcomes for these young people into adulthood.