How to help children in care, a new report says

A report commissioned by the Government has found more than 80 per cent of children in state care are under-fived in their care, with almost a quarter of them missing out on a regular meal.

The report, released by the Child Welfare Commission (CWC), says the Government needs to improve child care for all families by investing in support for families to make sure children have enough to eat, and a more consistent daycare system.CWC chief executive Anne Robinson said the findings show that the Government was putting its resources where its mouth is.

“We know that the child care sector is one of the key sectors in our economy and a key focus of our work,” Ms Robinson said.

“The data show that we have to improve the daycare industry so that it’s a safe and healthy place for children to grow up.”

The CRC says the number of children living in residential care in NSW has increased by 50 per cent over the past three years, with the number aged between two and six now more than six times higher than the previous two years.

“It’s not just the number in the home, but the number that are living there, in the community,” Ms Robinsons said.

The CRC found there were more than 3,500 children in residential services in NSW last year, a figure that is nearly six times the national average.

“What we are finding is that children are living in families that are at the same level as we are,” Ms Ann Robinson said, with more than half of the children in NSW aged between four and 15 in a family with a single parent.

“That’s a stark contrast to the number who are living with a family of three.”

Ms Ann Robinson also said the CRC found that the rate of under-nutrition for children in daycare and early education was up to 70 per cent, with over-nutrition in the child health sector up to 77 per cent.

“In the residential care sector, we have one in four children in our care who are underweight,” Ms Truss said.

Child care is the number one issue for families, with 40 per cent reporting that their child is living in an institution.

“There are other issues like lack of access to childcare and the lack of opportunities for children and families to learn about learning, including how to make an independent choice about whether they want to work in the industry,” Ms Robbins said.

Ms Ann Robbins says the report also highlights that there is a need to invest in child care infrastructure and the delivery of early childhood support services.

“If we are to have a sustainable and positive economic future, we need to do all we can to ensure that every child is on a healthy diet,” Ms Pruss said