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Care Pathways Reforms make ‘every effort for every child’

There are almost 4500 children and young people in care in South Australia. This number is increasing over the past decade and is higher than the national average.

The investigations of the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission uncovered a care system in urgent need of reform. Young people leaving care were found to face disadvantage in almost every major life domain. As a result, the South Australian Government launched a new strategy entitled ‘Every effort for every child’, to improve outcomes for children and young people in care.

In line with the new strategy, Baptist Care SA’s Care Pathways service has undergone a major transformation, part of which has included the cessation of Short Term Care (STC) and the introduction of Placement and Support Packages (PaSP).

STC provided 24/7 accommodation for children and young people 0-18 years old who were assessed by the Department of Child Protection (DCP) as being at risk and were placed under Guardianship orders.  

The shift from STC to PaSP will bring many benefits to young people in care. All of the young people in PaSP are traumatised and have very high needs – many live with disabilities.

PaSP focuses on stabilising young people, providing them with a therapeutic environment where they feel safe, so that their needs can be accurately assessed within 90 days before they move into their longer-term home.

Further positive changes of the new model include:

  • we receive more information about the young people, enabling us to train our staff specifically to meet their needs and to match them with carers who share their interests
  • each home has a House Lead who knows the children well and is solely focused on the care and wellbeing of those in their house
  • our homes are large, placing us in a unique position to care for sibling groups so that there is no need for them to be separated
  • we will move to purchasing our PaSP homes rather than renting them. This means we can be more responsive and flexible, e.g., we will be able to decorate, hang art work, dig vegetable gardens and purchase specialised equipment quickly and efficiently.

Baptist Care SA currently has 12 children and young people aged 2-14 years old, settled in five PaSP houses across the Northern and Southern Adelaide suburbs.

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