OPINION: Child protection rates more likely in Tasmania than any other state: Australian Health and Welfare report

Every child should have a loving home. 

However, unfortunately, it appears that this is more likely to not be the case in Tasmania than in any other state in Australia.

A report released this week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found Tasmania was one of three states were notifications were substantiated than not.

More than 70 per cent of child protection notifications were substantiated in Tasmania.

There were 902 children in finalised investigations in Tasmania in 2015-16, and 795 were substantiated. More boys than girls were involved in substantiated cases. 

There were 2579 children receiving child protection services in Tasmania, up from 2560 in 2014-15.

The number of children in out of home care in Tasmania has increased to 1150 at June 30, 2016 from 1061 at the same time the year before.

Tasmania had the third highest rate per 1000 children in OOHC in the country at June 30. 

The report defines receiving services as kids who were “the subjects of an investigation of a notification, on a care and protection order, and-or in out-of-home care”. 

There are many circumstances that could lead to a child being placed in care and this is not the place to attribute blame.

But 70 per cent of cases being substantiated is a large number and it begs the question that there must be an underlying issue to have that many cases of children placed under Child Protection in our island home.

For a state of just more than 500,000 people, it may not be many cases in terms of numbers, but it is still an alarming statistic.

Children born in Tasmania have the advantage of living on one of the best states in Australia, that has relatively low crime rates, idyllic lifestyles and natural advantages.

There is a feeling of safety that comes naturally for those who live here, so much so, that when a violent crime happens it shocks our community and our state to the core.

But when more than two thirds of Child Protection cases in Tasmania being substantiated, there is obviously some work to be done to find out the underlying cause.

Every child should have a home to go to where they feel safe and there’s no better place for them to do that in Tasmania.

So, lowering rates of Child Protection substantiation is something that should be addressed.

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