Residential Care Victoria

Content warning: This post contains information about violence and murder.

CREATE is deeply concerned by claims (originally reported by the Herald Sun) that a residential care provider in Victoria gave its staff fake training certificates from an education provider that did not exist.

It is also distressing to hear about further claims that children did not have enough food to eat and that young people were engaging in unsafe relationships with each other.

CREATE supports the Victorian Commissioner for Children and Young People in her calls for strengthened oversight of staffing across care providers, including monitoring of what is a fluctuating workforce made up of many casual staff with different levels of experience.

CREATE believes that all state and territory governments should be putting in place strategies to transition away from the use of residential care, in favour of increased investment in early intervention programs and alternative models of care that better meet the relational and developmental needs of children, especially small children.

Alternative home-based care arrangements, such as professionalised foster care and home-based Intensive Therapeutic Support, should be established and expanded to replace the need for residential care for young people that require more intensive support in the long term.

This could also be supplemented by more targeted and place-based recruitment drives to increase the number of foster carers entering the system to provide targeted trauma-informed care for young people with high needs through evidence-based models of care.

CREATE acknowledges the transition will be a long term process and calls on governments to adequately fund the residential care sector in the interim to ensure that fully therapeutic models of care are provided to all children and young people in those settings.

Residential care will be a key topic of discussion with young people and sector workers at our national Voices in Action conference in March.

Read the Commission for Children and Young People’s Out of sight: Systemic inquiry into children and young people who are absent or missing from residential care


CREATE Foundation is the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience (including kinship care, foster care and residential care). CREATE develops policy and research to report on and advocate for a better care system. 

Key evidence about residential care in Australia

  • Nationally, residential care comprises 8.5% of the care population. Large variations exist across Australia in its use, (e.g., from 4.6% in WA and NSW to 5.3% in Vic and over 16% in QLD and SA). In some Australian jurisdictions, such as Victoria, the cost of residential care amounts to 17 times the expenditure on home-based care (AIHW, 2024; Productivity Commission, 2023).
  • CREATE’s national survey of out-of-home care (McDowall, 2018) found that children and young people in residential care experienced more instability than those in home-based care and only 69% felt safe and secure in their residential placement compared with 93% in foster or kinship care.
  • CREATE’s report on transitions to adulthood (McDowall, 2020) found that young people who have experienced residential care in Australia are less likely to complete year 12 education, compared with those in home-based placements (41% vs. 67%), and were more likely to be involved with youth justice (56% vs. 25%). Care-criminalisation for children and young people living in residential care is a critical issue that requires a multi-agency approach to address.


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW]. (2022). Young people under youth justice supervision and their interaction with the child protection system 2020–21. No. CSI 29. AIHW.

Productivity Commission. (2022). Report on Government Services.

McDowall, J. J. (2018). Out-of-home care in Australia: Children and young people’s views after five years of National Standards. CREATE Foundation.

McDowall, J. J. (2020). Transitioning to adulthood from out-of-home care: Independence or interdependence? CREATE Foundation.

Residential Care Vic