Children remaining at home
17.70 Some orders in care and protection proceedings require that children remain at home with their families under the supervision of the relevant family services department or with appropriate undertakings. A child who has been made a ward of the state, that is, whose guardianship has been transferred to the state, may also live with his or her family, generally on a trial basis. If the trial is successful, some States and Territories will discharge the order but sometimes the guardianship order will remain in place until the child turns eighteen, even though the child remains at home. In 1995–96, on average approximately 13% of children under guardianship orders were living at home with a parent or other adult relative and the majority of children under non-guardianship orders remained with their families.
17.71 The Australian Association of Social Workers pointed out to the Inquiry that
[a] decision to return a child to [or continue a child in] his or her parental home under supervision is often made with an acknowledgement that a degree of risk exists for the child. Unless there are live in support staff, it is not possible to supervise a child’s placement 24 hours a day….There can be no guarantees of safety and no supervisory process will ever be able to preclude that element of risk.
The submission continues
[n]otwithstanding the above, the resources available to adequately supervise children living at home are negligible and often result in such children receiving poor service.
Wherever possible children should remain at home with their families. It is therefore critical that families and children are given adequate support when children are continued in their families after protective concerns have been identified. With support, supervision and access to services and programs, further departmental intervention may be unnecessary. We recognise the difficulty in allocating priorities within tight budgets but strongly recommend that adequate resources be provided for the supervision and support of families and children in these circumstances.
Recommendation 174 The national care and protection standards should indicate the resource levels necessary to ensure that family services departments are able to supervise adequately and provide services to families with children under care and protection orders living at home.
Children in out-of-home care
17.72 Most children removed from their families are placed in foster care or in a residential care centre. Residential care includes family group homes, juvenile hostels and campus homes. A small number of children in care may be in juvenile detention centres and some older children live semi-independently. Most children in foster care are under guardianship orders as are most children in residential care.
17.73 Children may ‘drift’ in care on non-permanent orders that do not serve the child’s long term interests and do not allow for permanency planning. In all appro-priate cases orders should allow certainty and permanence for the child. Where a non-permanent order is to be made, orders for shorter periods of out-of-home care should be preferred since in most cases the child eventually returns to his or her family. DRP 3 proposed that all non-permanent orders that do not transfer guardianship should extend for no more than one year. However, there has been some concern that our proposal was too inflexible particularly where the child remains at home under supervision orders or undertakings. It may well be un-necessarily disruptive to the child and family, and a waste of resources, to return to court each year for a review of a supervision order that is working well. We are persuaded that non-guardianship orders allowing the child to remain living at home should be able to extend for any suitable and fixed period of time. However, a child placed in out-of-home care should not become lost in the system on indefinite or long term orders that may become inappropriate as the child gets older or as his or her family circumstances change. Where a non-permanent out-of-home order is made, it should be subject to review by the court on an annual basis unless particular circumstances warrant a different fixed period of time.
17.74 State and Territory governments co-ordinate the provision of services to children living away from home but non-government organisations may manage these services using government funds. The national standards and the requirements of the Charter for Children in Care should extend to non-government organisations that receive government funding.
Recommendation 175 The national care and protection standards should require that all government agencies and non-government organisations that receive funding for the care of children in out-of-home care should be bound by the terms of the Charter for Children in Care.
Recommendation 176 The national care and protection standards should require that in all appropriate cases care and protection orders should be directed to providing permanence and certainty for the child.
Recommendation 177 The national care and protection standards should specify that where permanent orders are inappropriate non-permanent care and protection orders should be made as follows.
Where the child is removed from his or her family, orders should operate for one year unless the party seeking the order can show that a longer fixed period of time is in the best interests of the child.
Where the child is to remain at home under orders, orders may be expressed to continue for any fixed period of time the court considers appropriate in the best interests of the child.
In all cases, non-permanent orders should be expressed to operate for a specified period and extensions of orders should require an application to the court.
 G Angus, C Dunn & H Moyle Children Under Care and Protection Orders Australia 1994–95 AIHW Child Welfare Series 15 AGPS Canberra 1996, 9.
 A Broadbent & R Bentley Children Under Care and Protection Orders Australia 1995–96 Child Welfare Series 18 AIHW Canberra 1996, 31–34. Note that the figures do not include SA statistics, which were unavailable. In addition, the living arrangements for a large number of children on non-guardianship orders were unknown.
 IP Submission 207.
 This is the preference in CROC and in some care and protection legislation: eg Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA) s 3; Children, Young Persons and their Families Bill 1997 (Tas) cl 8.
 G Angus, C Dunn & H Moyle Children Under Care and Protection Orders Australia 1994–95 AIHW Child Welfare Series 15 AGPS Canberra 1996, 10.
 id 14.
 id 10.
 id 12, 14.
 See NSW Dept of Community Services Review of the Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987 Discussion Paper 1: Law and Policy in Child Protection NSW Dept of Community Services Sydney 1996, 96.
 A high proportion of children in care may be in care for less than two years: see Steering Committee for the Review of Commonwealth/State Service Provision Report on Government Service Provision 1997 Industry Commission Melbourne 1997 fig 10.6.
 Draft rec 9.13.
 See paras 17.81-84 for a discussion of reviews of case plans.
 See paras 17.81-84 for a discussion of reviews of orders.
 See rec 164.