Young people living in care

Reducing the criminalisation of children 

The Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) recognises that children living in out-of-home care are some of the most vulnerable children in Queensland, particularly those who reside in residential care. 

Children have reported they are unnecessarily exposed to police while living in residential care, and that they are being criminalised as a result of police being called in response to actions that would not be treated as criminal in a family home.

The QFCC gathered the views of children and young people with lived experiences of residential care to help inform what needed to change. The QFCC worked with government and non-government organisations, peak bodies, advocacy groups and residential care service providers to develop the Joint agency protocol to reduce preventable police call-outs to residential care services (PDF, 1207KB) (Joint agency protocol). 

The Joint agency protocol is a collective response to the concerns around the criminalisation of children living in residential care. It aims to address the issues identified by children and young people and prevent unnecessary police involvement in their lives. The Joint agency protocol will be incorporated into the Human Services Quality Framework with implementation commencing from January 2019.

The Criminalisation of children living in out-of-home care in Queensland (PDF, 1353KB) information paper explores the issue of criminalisation more broadly, the main factors reported to contribute to the criminalisation of children and jurisdictional responses to address the issue.

The Young people’s perspectives on residential care, including police call-outs (PDF, 4822KB) paper summarises the views of young people with experience in residential care services who participated in QFCC led workshops in 2017.

Government agencies, non-government organisations and young people will continue to work together to strengthen responses and outcomes for children living in out-of-home care.