Advocacy Work

The current child protection system is currently facing immense challenges. The Queensland government must act to address the current state of the child protection system in terms of the legislation, and funding priorities and also make the cultural shifts in thinking necessary to ensure that the safety and well-being of children living in out-of-home care is protected. In the face of the concerning decline in foster carer numbers, our current foster care system in Queensland requires immediate and comprehensive reforms. The number of foster carers in Australia has declined by more than 11 per cent nationally while the number of children in residential care has increased by more than 50 per cent. This scarcity of carers is leading to an increasing number of children, including babies, being placed in residential care, highlighting the pressing need for systemic change. Residential care is no place for children long term and the outcomes we are seeing in terms of our children becoming involved in youth justice is extremely concerning.


This is not a political issue or a criticism of the current Department officers and organisations, rather it is a long-standing systemic concern, persisting irrespective of the governing body. It necessitates brave and courageous systemic change, transcending political affiliations. What we need now is concrete action and investments in on-the-ground support and early intervention programs that support our children and our carers.

Our Asks

🔍 Critical Funding for Support:

An urgent reform is needed to channel increased funding towards support for carers and children in care. Essential training, ongoing support, and early intervention programs are pivotal for stabilizing placements, and ensuring the well-being of children. Insufficient child-related costs funding poses a significant barrier to children in care being able to heal from abuse and thrive and to carers continuing their involvement in the system.

🤝 Promoting a Culture of Partnership:

A cultural shift is necessary to recognize foster carers as invaluable partners in the child’s care. Listening to their insights and understanding the reasons behind carers exiting the system are vital components of fostering a positive culture.

Halting Abrupt Removals and too many failed reunification attempts:

Ceasing the practice of removing children without notice is pivotal. This approach disregards established attachments between carers and children, causing unnecessary distress for children and carers. Decisions should prioritize the child’s well-being.

🔄 Emphasizing Attachment in Decision-Making:

Attachment between carers and children should be a cornerstone in determining the child’s best interests. Recognizing this attachment is pivotal in making decisions that genuinely benefit the child.

⚖️ Ensuring Fairness through Independent Mediation:

Granting foster carers access to independent mediation would address power imbalances in challenging decisions. This would ensure fairness, transparency, and a genuine consideration of the child’s best interests. The current system of appeal through QCAT is inadequate, costly and does not put the best interests of the child at the forefront.

Let’s also underscore that we possess sufficient data elucidating the reasons behind carers exiting the system. Failing to make these critical changes in a timely way will continue to result in poor outcomes for children and a perpetuation of the youth justice crisis. It’s time for a comprehensive and decisive approach to bring about the necessary change.

Little Stars Foundation is committed to advocating for change to support children in care and remedying the current systems in place which are resulting in systemic harm to our children living in out-of-home care in Queensland.