Children and young people with disabilities in care

by PeakCare Qld on 9th December 2015

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Minister Fentiman delivers enthralling speech at PeakCare's AGM

by PeakCare Qld
on 12th December 2016

If you were unable to attend PeakCare’s AGM on Wednesday, 7th December 2016, make sure you read the enthralling speech delivered by the Honourable Shannon Fentiman MP, Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.

PeakCare's Board for 2017

by PeakCare Qld
on 12th December 2016

Your candidates for PeakCare's Board for 2017

by PeakCare Qld
on 30th November 2016

New Family and Child Connect services (FaCC), Intensive Family Support services (IFS) and specialist Domestic and Family Violence services

by PeakCare Qld
on 18th August 2016

The Queensland Government Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (the department) wishes to advise of the release of an Expression of Interest (EOI) for Mount Isa / Gulf Family Support and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention and Support Services

More about the Royal Commission into the South Australian child protection system

by PeakCare Qld
on 18th August 2016

The South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission Report, The life they deserve, was released in early August 2016. The report is presented in two volumes. The first volume sets out what the Royal Commission did to examine the adequacy of current laws and policies to protect children and young people, system deficits and 260 recommendations addressing a wide range of structural, system and practice aspects across the SA government and service system. The second volume contains 5 case studies that examine the operation of the system and practice quality in specific areas. Four focus on the individual circumstances of young children, intervening in high risk families, leaving care, and children with complex needs in out of home care.

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The 2015 Queensland Child Protection Research Symposium, hosted by Griffith University and Life Without Barriers (LWB), was held on 1 December 2015. The symposium topic was children and young people with disabilities in care: research and practice. A CREATE Young Consultant spoke about his experiences of being in and transitioning from care. A practice perspective was given by Janelle Chapman, LWB National Practice Leader Disability Services, who presented on person-centred care and bridging the gap between child protection and disability services. Researchers spoke about preventing child abuse and neglect of children and young people with disability, and a study with parents who relinquished care of their children with disabilities to the State. This article focuses on the research presentations.     


Dr Sally Robinson presented on recent research about the abuse and neglect of children and young people with disability, their perspectives in research, recent school-based work with children and young people with disability, and implications for practice. The drivers for the research include under-reporting of this type of abuse, its high incidence, significant impact, and the potentially abusive impact of systems and wider environments. Sally described how risk exists at individual, system and structural levels, and how “yes, but…” responses are given to acknowledged harm. Despite a plethora of systems responses – legislation, national frameworks, children’s commissioners etc - Sally asserted a disconnect between these responses and research about protective factors for children and young people with disability: social and emotional connections, a sense of belonging, and having a voice that is listened to and acted on. She cited research about children with disability feeling safe at school and ways in which, or not, protective factors were evident in professionals’ responses when the children indicated they felt or were unsafe at school. One of the take-home messages is the importance of better connections between the experiences of children and young people with disabilities, and informing the development of policy and practice guidance. 


Find out more about Sally’s research and that of others who are part of Southern Cross University’s Centre for Children and Young People.  The Centre’s research aims to improve policy and practice concerning the rights and wellbeing of children and young people. Activities are informed and guided by the ‘three P's’ embedded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (that is, improved provision, protection and participation), which means that the status, interests, views and experiences of children and young people are central to the Centre’s work.


Dr Kathy Ellem (QUT), Prof Jill Wilson (UQ) and Prof Lesely Chenoweth (Griffith Uni) presented on working with parents whose children with disabilities are in care. In particular, Kathy spoke about research undertaken on the impact of relinquishing care of a child with a disability. The study involved interviewing parents from a number of areas in Queensland who had relinquished caring responsibilities for their child with a severe disability, predominately when their child was under 18 years. Relinquishment in this study referred to families giving up the caring role of their child with a disability with no definite plans to bring the child home. Kathy spoke about family impact, perceptions, and implications of relinquishing a child with a disability. The findings will assist service providers in identifying the issues and concerns of families who have relinquished care of their child with a disability and provide useful information to practitioners and policy makers. Read more about Kathy’s research here. 


Their research with relinquishing birthmothers is available as follows: Kathleen Ellem, Jill Wilson & Lesley Chenoweth (2015): When Families Relinquish Care of a Child with a Disability: Perceptions from Birthmothers, “Australian Social

Work”, early online 19 March 2015. DOI: 10.1080/0312407X.2015.1015039. 



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