Physical Permanency: Stability and permanency of placements


Proportion of children exiting out-of-home care, by number of different placements experienced whilst in out-of-home care, Queensland, 2006-07 to 2010-11 Proportion of children exiting out-of-home care, by number of different placements experienced whilst in out-of-home care, Queensland, 2016-17 to 2020-21

Year1 to 34 to 67 to 910 or more
2006-07 84.5852384 % 12.2142391 % 2.2207707 % 0.9797518 %
2007-08 83.2253886 % 12.5 % 3.4326425 % 0.8419689 %
2008-09 81.0286 % 14.4571 % 3.4286 % 1.0857 %
2009-10 77.91188896 % 17.62220881 % 3.68135184 % 0.78455039 %
2010-11 76.351351351 % 17.26044226 % 4.238329238 % 2.14987715 %


SP.1: Children exiting out-of-home care, by length of time in out-of-home care and number of different placements, Queensland Excel (XLSX, 14 KB) Excel (CSV, 3 KB) Excel (XLSX, 20 KB) Excel (CSV, 3 KB)

What is stability and permanency of placements?

To select the right care placement for a child to ensure physical permanency, the department assesses the child’s strengths and needs, the support required to meet those needs and the particular skills and abilities that the care provider is required to have.  There are a number of different placement options that are considered to determine which placement would be in the child’s best interests. 

  • Kinship care is the preferred placement option for children who cannot remain safely in their parent’s care and is provided by an approved person related to the child or a member of a child's community and considered by the child to be family or of significance to them.
  • Foster care is provided for children where placement with kin is not possible or appropriate. It is provided by a person or persons who are approved by the department to care for a child that is not known to them.
  • Intensive foster care is a family-based placement option for children who require more intensive support and service coordination than is typically provided by foster and kinship care placements.
  • Residential care services are licensed by the department to provide care in a group setting for young people whose needs are best met by non-family-based care.
  • Supported independent living services provide accommodation and support from youth workers and carers who do not live in the home. This placement option is best suited to young people aged from 15 to 17 years who are in the process of transitioning to adulthood.
  • Therapeutic residential care services are provided to children and young people who require enhanced levels of residential support to meet their complex to extreme support needs. This placement type aims to promote the development of the skills and behaviours required to transition to less intensive placement options.

Why this topic is important

When a child has been removed from their home to ensure their safety, the department aims to ensure they are placed in a stable care environment that is able to meet their needs for safety, belonging and wellbeing. This includes having as few different placements as possible. Sometimes, meeting the needs and best interests of the child or young person may require a number of different placements.

In 2020-21, 71.2 per cent of children exiting out-of-home care had three or fewer placements. This is an increase from 2019-20 (70.4 per cent).

Of those children exiting out-of-home care during 2020-21 who had more than three placements, 17.0 per cent had four to six placements, 6.4 per cent had seven to nine placements and 5.4 per cent had 10 or more placements.

Over the past five years, the proportion of children exiting out-of-home care with three or fewer placements has increased, from 69.2 per cent in 2016-17 to 71.2 per cent in 2020-21.