Permanent Care Orders (PCO) commenced 29 October 2018. They form part of the broader permanency framework to promote timely outcomes for children in care by providing relational, physical and legal stability and providing them a permanent home.
The QFCC observed an increase in the use of PCOs during 2021–22 and conducted a review in 2023 to examine how PCOs were being used for First Nations children. We wanted to ensure the orders were being granted to kin and/or First Nations kin in line with the permanency principles for First Nations children and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.
The report System review into the use of Permanent Care Orders for First Nations children summarises our findings and highlights that in 2021–22:
- First Nations children were placed within kin and culture. In 2021–22, 100% of PCOs were made to kin (28 of 28), and of the 28 PCOs made, 26 were granted to First Nations kin;
- most children lived with their guardian for over two years prior to the PCO being made and a quarter lived with their guardian for over five years;
- almost 50% of PCOs were finalised within three months, a significant achievement to reaching timely permanency for First Nations children with kin and stopping statutory involvement as quickly as possible.