OOHC Program reform


In 2009, the NSW Government accepted Commissioner Wood’s recommendation of a gradual transition of out-of-home care (OOHC) from Community Services to the non-government sector.

The recommendation followed evidence of significant increases in the numbers of children entering OOHC, for longer periods of time, at an increasing cost per child.

Prior to transitioning most OOHC to the non-government sector and given the increasing number of children in care, the NSW Government commissioned the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to advise on the best ways of developing a more sustainable OOHC system where children who cannot live at home receive quality care.

OOHC review

The BCG review found OOHC numbers had increased by 58 per cent since June 2002 to more than 16,500 children in 2009. The review also reported that unless changes were made, a projected 24,000 children would be in the OOHC system by 2014, resulting in annual costs rising from $589 million to between $800 and $900 million.

While the majority of the BCG recommendations were supported by the Government, a number were explicitly not supported, while others were subject to changes in the way they will be implemented.

Recommendations that were not supported included proposals to reintroduce kinship care means testing, remove additional allowances for older age groups or special need children, and to decrease financial support for carers of multiple children.

OOHC caseload review report

Community Services commissioned an independent review of OOHC caseloads and casework in Community Services undertaken by Ernst Young.

See more about the OOHC caseload review report.

Program reform

The response to the OOHC review is a suite of reforms known as the OOHC Program reform. This program involves 22 projects organised under the following reform areas:

  • Investment in early intervention and placement prevention
  • The reform of OOHC case management
  • Reducing the cost of OOHC services
  • Other OOHC policy reforms
  • Community Services organisational capacity to drive reforms and manage change.

See more information on the OOHC Program reform.

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)