The ANU is making an unusual entry to the child protection debate savaging both the numbers of children in care in the ACT and the shoddy care provided.
In the ACT alone, up to 600 children live in out-of-home care arrangements. Many lead unsettled lives – some move up to 30 times before they turn 18.
For ANU honours student Sharynne Hamilton the numbers of children in care is disproportionate to the size of the territory.
“It’s an appalling number of children, really, given the Territory’s population,” she says.
The 2013 Neville Bonner Memorial Scholarship recipient is reviewing what procedures are in place when children are taken from those deemed unable to look after them.
Once that happens, the state becomes responsible for their wellbeing, Hamilton, who obtained her scholarship through a program administered by the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific points out.
However when that responsibility is in turn outsourced to non-government organisations (NGOs), unintended consequences can occur.
But is it always better to leave children in diabolical family situations?