Letter To The Editor - Foster Care Issues Preented On Australian Story

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24th February 2009, 02:42pm - Views: 984

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February 24, 2009

Letter to the Editor

I am writing in response to an edition of Australian Story which went to air on ABC

Television on Monday night, featuring a foster mother who is currently caring for six

children, all from the same family. While the story made for compelling viewing, I fear

it failed to present a true reflection of what is really happening within the NSW child

protection system.

The issues surrounding the removal of a child - or children - from their parents are

intensely complex and I understand that Australian Story only intended to provide

viewers a small glimpse into this very difficult landscape. However, I believe that the

program’s single-sided approach has done little to assist the wider debate which is

currently taking place within NSW as a result of Justice James Wood’s inquiry into

child protection.

Contrary to the outcome presented on Australian Story, a study by the Create

Foundation (CREATE Report Card 2008: Transitioning from Care), indicates that the

majority of children removed from their families at a young age choose to return to

their birth parents after leaving the out-of-home-care system.

And while I acknowledge that the foster mother presented in the program is providing

these troubled children a safe and loving home, the relationship breakdown between

the birth mother and her children was of deep concern. The importance of children

retaining links to their natural families is well documented. Placing these children with

their grandmother or another relative while the mother received the support she

needed to resolve her issues should perhaps be considered a far better option when

taking into account the long term wellbeing of these youngsters.

Andrew McCallum 


Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies

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