Children and Young People in Care

Children and youth in out-of-home care drive our mission; they are why we exist. We strive to break the cycle of adversity and elevate their life outcomes, ensuring every child can soar to their fullest potential.

Every hour, approximately 2 vulnerable children enter the care system in Australia.

Nationally, approximately 46,200 children were in out-of-home care (OOHC) nationally as at 30 June 2021.

Many of these children have missed out on stable, positive and healthy family relationships and stable schooling.

Up to 60% of Australian children in OOHC are identified as having developmental concerns, including developmental delays and 48-61% are diagnosed with behaviour problems.

According to The Australian Institute of Family Studies, young children up to 18 years are removed from their original homes when they are unable to live with their families, often due to child abuse, trauma, and neglect, resulting in poor health and attachments. This pool of children has the worst educational outcomes of any group of children in Australia (AIHW).

Statistics indicate that young people who exit care experience significant social and economic marginalisation including a range of poor educational and health outcomes:

  • They are more likely to experience homelessness and/or housing instability
  • Experience significantly higher rates of mental illness compared to the general population (evidence suggests children and young people in OOHC are almost five times more likely to display suicidal behaviour than peers with no OOHC involvement)
  • Are more likely to experience unemployment/underemployment
  • Have substance abuse issues
  • Become involved in the he youth criminal justice system
  • Experience early parenthood
  • Have low educational attainment

Children in OOHC have poorer health outcomes than their peers in large part due to the adverse effect of neglect, addictive behaviour, family violence and other forms of abuse on neurodevelopment, but also from the effects of disruption to family attachment and structures, (Royal Australasian College of Physicians, 2023).

The Pyjama Foundation exists to break the cycle of disadvantage and to improve the life trajectory of these children and people in care, but we need your help.

The Solution

The Pyjama Foundation was created to provide children in care with a world full of unlimited opportunity, to create positive relationships, and instil a love of learning.

Volunteer 'Pyjama Angel' mentors provide one-on-one support to children in care by visiting them once a week to empower them with learning, life skills and confidence to reach their full potential.

Empowerment of children

We are committed to the safety, participation and empowerment of all children. Like adults, children have human rights; this includes the right to special protection because of their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. The main international human rights treaty on children’s rights is the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The CRC is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, signed by Australia in December 1990. This means that Australia has a duty to ensure that all children enjoy the rights set out in the treaty. Click here to read more about the CRC.