Homelessness and Child Protection
The data on the relationship between homelessness and being involved in child protection are not extensive. In 2012, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare attempted to link data between child protection SAAP and juvenile justice sources. The published report stated that of those young people with a substantiated child protection notification, 6% had received support from homeless services in the past 12 months, whilst 7% had received homeless support in the year after their most recent substantiated notification.
That there is a relationship was recognised by the Working Paper for the National Homelessness Strategy when it found that: “homeless families come into contact with child welfare authorities and protection services more often than other families”.
The following table provides an overview of the statistics in a number of research reports and evaluations as a way of gauging how strong the association might be between homelessness and child protection.
|Study or service statistics||Proportion of children experiencing homelessness who were subject to child protection intervention|
|Audit of case files at St Luke’s Anglicare Family Services in Bendigo, Victoria||20% of families whose ch ildren were placed in out-of-home care were also homeless.|
|Bartholomew (1999)||37% had had child protection involvement at some time|
|McNamara (2003)||22%of children in SAAP services had current contact with child protection services.|
|Walsh (2003)||Over half of the families had children not currently living with them (mostly in care).|
|Hanover service statistics||Health and Community Services were already involved, or became involved with 16% of all families.|
|Edwards (2003)||58% of children had cases in the child protection unit.|
|RPR Consulting (2003)||5% of children in Family Homelessness prevention Pilot-assisted families were currently removed from their families, 6% had been previously removed and 7% had current child protection issues. Child protection issues were suspected, but not confirmed, in another 5% of cases.|
 AIHW (2012). Children and young people at risk of social exclusion: links between homelessness, child protection and juvenile justice. Data linkage series No. 13. p 19.  Quoted in D. Noble-Carr (2006). The experiences and effects of family homelessness for children. ACU. p. 44.  Ibid  St Luke’s Anglicare (June 2005). No home, no kids: The vicious cycle of homelessness and out-of-home care placements for families in Central Victoria. St Luke’s Bendigo.p.4.  Bartholomew, T (1999). A long way from home: family homelessness in the current welfare context. Salvation Army, St Kilda. p. 133.  McNamara, N (2003). Once upon a time in SAAP…A report of the Northern Children in SAAP service data collection. Merri Outreach Support Services. Melbourne. p. 32.  Walsh, P (2003). More than just a roof: A study of family homelessness in Queensland. QUT, Brisbane. p. viii.  Efron, D et al (1996). Can we stay here?…A study of the impact of family homelessness on children’s health and well-being. Hanover Welfare Services. Melbourne. p. 20.  Edwards, A (2003). Service Access and pathways of accompanied children at Dawn House Women’s Shelter. Department of Family and Community Services and Dawn House Inc.  RPR Consulting (2003). Family Homelessness Prevention Pilot: Interim Evaluation Report. Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services, Canberra. p. 25.