From ABC, 21 Jan. 09
ALMOST 30,000 CHILDREN IN FOSTER, RESIDENTIAL CARE
By Youth Affairs reporter Michael Turtle
The number of Australian children who have been taken from their families and put into care has doubled in the past decade.
New figures from the Federal Government's Institute of Health and Welfare show there are now almost 30,000 children in foster care, residential care, or living with relatives.
Most of them are taken away because of violence, low incomes, substance abuse and mental health.
New South Wales has the highest number of children in care.
The institute's John Sant says the rise in figures is partly because people have become more aware of abuse and report it more frequently.
"All it probably means really is greater awareness and broadening of the definition of abuse within Australia, and us as a community being more aware of these issues and reporting more," he said.
He also says the numbers have increased because children are spending longer in care.
"There could be alcoholism, drug abuse within the home, and obviously there are other people involved in that," he said.
"And it takes them [time] to get their lives sorted out, hence effectively [lengthening] the time that it takes to return the child to the family home."
Indigenous children continue to be over-represented in the system and are nine times as likely to be in out-of-home care