In Limbo: Exploring income and housing barriers for reunifying Tasmanian families

Lindsey Fidler - Anglicare Tasmania, Social Action and Research Centre

Executive summary

In Limbo looks at the nature and extent of the income and housing challenges faced by Tasmanian families who have had children removed by Child Safety Services, and the impacts those challenges may have on positive family reunification outcomes.

In Limbo aims to:

  • Highlight the income and housing challenges during family reunification for Tasmanian parents whose children are on Short Term Care and Protection Orders, and the impacts those material challenges have on successful family reunification processes.
  • Review Tasmania’s ability to quantify these issues and estimate the scale and nature of the problem.
  • Explore Tasmanian, Australian and international policy, programs and practice responses to these issues that are having positive impacts on family outcomes.
  • Offer recommendations that could address the income and housing needs of Tasmanian parents who are engaged in the process of family reunification and enable appropriate family environments during reunification and beyond.

This investigation was conducted through a review of national and international literature; and face-to-face/phone/Skype interviews with 15 academic experts, leading family support practitioners and public servants within policy and practice management roles across Housing Tasmania, social housing providers and Child Safety Services; an interrogation of quantitative data from the Tasmanian government’s Child Safety and Specialist Homelessness Services information systems; face-to-face group and individual interviews with 43 front line professionals in government agencies and the community sector with considerable experience of working with parents engaged in the reunification system; and face-to-face interviews with five parents and one grandparent who were or had been actively involved in the family reunification process over the last three years.