Vulnerable young Tasmanians are being left homeless or in detention centres because they are “too hard” to care for, an Anglicare report says.
The Highly Vulnerable Teens in Tasmania study, released on Tuesday, claims kids are being let down by systemic failures in the state’s child protection system.
The report looked at 16 children, some who had fled abusive homes and ended up in detention.
‘Keira’ ran away from home at age 13 after a decade of physical abuse and lived in several party houses where she was raped and forced to do drugs.
“I would really like to have a place to go to when I had first run away. I would have liked to be able to have food in my belly,” she said.
The manager of a youth program told the report some children thought detention was a safer option than being on the streets.
“There were actually kids that we have that wanted to go to Ashley (Youth Detention Centre), they desperately wanted to go,” the worker said.
“Because they knew they’d have somewhere to sleep, they’d get fed, they’d be able to access school, they’d be able to access medical services.”
The report, which focused on children aged 10-17, has called on the Tasmanian government to invest money in medium to long-tern supported housing and residential drug detox and rehabilitation services.
“Many young people end up labelled ‘too hard’ and miss out on even the most basic forms of care”.
The study comes after Tasmanian child protection workers earlier this week told the ABC the state’s system was “the worst it has ever been”.
Acting minister for human services Rene Hidding said the Anglicare report had highlighted an intergenerational challenge and the need for a tough stance on ice.
The Liberal government is expected to release its Youth at Rick Strategy implementation plan in the next few months.
But Labor opposition leader Rebecca White has advocated for more resources.
“Unfortunately what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks is that kids are falling through the cracks,” she said.
“There simply aren’t the services or resources for staff.”