522. Hon ALISON XAMON to the Leader of the House representing the Minister for Child Protection:
I refer to children in the care of the CEO of the Department of Communities.
How many children are in the care of the CEO whose whereabouts are currently unknown?
Hon SUE ELLERY replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
As at 19 May 2020, 14 young people were in the care of the chief executive officer whose whereabouts were recorded as unknown. Department of Communities staff are actively seeking to locate each of these young people. The department works to keep children safe and connected within their families whenever possible. When that is not possible, children are placed in a variety of different care options depending on their needs. Changes may occur for various reasons, such as carer availability, identification of a family carer, moving the child to be closer to family members and enhancing opportunities for cultural connection, preparing for reunification or to better meet the complex needs of the child. In a small number of cases, children in care will choose to leave placements to assert their own choices about where they will live. When a person has chosen to live with people or family in an arrangement that has not been endorsed by the department, and has been located by the case worker, an assessment is arranged as a matter of priority. Young people living in unendorsed arrangements are still in the care of the chief executive officer. Their safety and wellbeing is monitored by their case worker and they are able to access all the same supports as other people in the care of the chief executive officer.