The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is researching the issue of families relinquishing children with disability into state care. This follows concerns raised by the Commission’s Disability Reference Group, which indicate that families are surrendering their children because they are not given enough support to continue full-time caring.
Although anecdotal evidence suggests a correlation between lack of access to disability services and children entering care, there is no definitive data on the issue. VEOHRC's research aims to address that information gap, focusing on the relinquishment of children with disability into state care when they are under 18 years.
Over the next six months, the Commission will measure the scale of the problem, map patterns in relinquishment and identify ways to prevent it. The Commission will publish a report on its findings, which will include recommendations for action.
The Commission wants to hear from people directly affected by relinquishment. There are several ways for families and young people to participate in the research, including through confidential interviews, case studies and a survey.
We are also gathering the views of government, service providers, advocates and support groups about what causes relinquishment, and what might prevent it.
A reference group comprising representatives of the Child Safety Commissioner, Disability Services Commissioner, Association for Children with Disability, Youth Disability Advocacy Service and the Commission’s Disability Reference Group, oversees this project.