Disability rate among children in care a “travesty”

This article from InDaily highlights findings from a recent report by South Australia’s Guardian for Children and Young People, indicating that children with disabilities are overrepresented in Australia's care system. According to the report, school-aged children in care are seven times more likely to have an intellectual disability than their peers who are not in care. "Children in care are also four and a half times more likely to have developmental delays, and over three times more likely to have speech or language-related disabilities," says the article. “Due to a lack of resourcing that’s often made available to families who are struggling, some of these kids really don’t thrive in their early years of life and from that a whole range of disabilities or learning delays can emerge," says Australian Centre for Child Protection deputy director Tim Moore. The article indicates that there are "many instances where children with disabilities ended up in the child protection system because families struggled to manage their children’s complex needs." And at the same time, the article als notes that children are more likely to have developmental delays if they have experiences trauma or abuse.

“I’m sure it’s also challenging for kids in residential care where the carers may not be organised or well instructed so as to ensure that kids are getting opportunities to develop their language and speech development skills, such as regularly reading stories and the like," said SA Council of Social Service CEO Ross Womersley in this article. “It does speak to the fact that as a society we do not have the supports in place to help these most vulnerable children and their families.”