Pathfinders which helps children in difficulty in Glen Innes says there's a general rise in need

General David John Hurley, Governor of New South Wales, with some for whom Pathfinders care.

General David John Hurley, Governor of New South Wales, with some for whom Pathfinders care.

There’s been a rise in the number of children taken from their parents and put into care, according to a help agency which provides shelter and care for young people who can’t live with their parents or other members of their family in Glen Innes.

Pathfinders doesn’t have specific figures for the town but says that generally numbers of those in foster care or residential care have risen. Its chief executive, Alan Brennan, said the rise was alarming and showed the “vital need for more preventative measures from child-protection advocates.”

The not-for-profit body said it provided “out-of-home care and family support services in the New England North West and Mid North Coast, and supported more than 4,980 individuals and families through its Family Referral Services program last year.

“In Glen Innes, the agency operates a number of support services, including an out-of- home care program.”

Pathfinders said that a recent official report from the Productivity Commission showed that nationally the number of children taken from their homes increased by three percent from the previous year, and nearly 18,000 children placed in “out-of-home” care were in NSW.

Mr Brennan said: “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still over-represented, accounting for more than 35 percent of those in out-of-home care, and are ten times more likely to be removed than non-Indigenous children.

“It’s disheartening to see these increasing rates concurrent to growing rates of children at risk of neglect and abuse across Australia. We all must do more for the children and young people in our communities.”

It’s disheartening to see these increasing rates.

Alan Brennan

Mr Brennan said the report “reinforced the importance of preventative and early intervention programs to reach children and families before a crisis, particularly in rural and remote communities like Glen Innes where resources and support for people in need are often limited.”