Criminalisation of children in out-of-home care: Findings from an Australian research study

Katherine McFarlane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article discusses the findings of research that examined the relationship between the child welfare and justice systems as experienced by 160 children in the New South Wales (NSW) Children's Court criminal jurisdiction. Analysis of
Court case files identified that children in out-of home care (OOHC) were disproportionately represented before the Court on criminal charges compared to children who were not in OOHC. The OOHC care group also became involved with the criminal justice system at a much younger age and were more likely to experience custodial remand for like offences than children who had not been in care. The OOHC group also appeared on matters arising from their care environment: experiencing a process of ‘care-criminalisation’ whereby arrangements intended to provide safe environments for children instead developed and exacerbated the condition for offending. This article discusses the significance of ‘carecriminalisation’ and the importance of police and judicial discretion in addressing both the trauma and the criminogenic impacts of a childhood spent in OOHC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalThe Chronicle: journal of the International Association of Family Judges and Magistrates
VolumeJuly 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


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