Criminalisation of children in residential care: a case of multi-systemic disadvantage

Dr Susan Baidawi1, Ms Rubini Ball1

1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Children in residential out-of-home care experience disproportionately high rates of police contact, and face substantial risk of earlier and more entrenched youth justice system involvement. Research on this topic has highlighted problems in the care environment, yet many other facets of the criminal justice process contribute to these outcomes. Drawing on qualitative consultations with a range of stakeholders including police, lawyers, judicial officers, child welfare and youth justice professionals, this presentation outlines the multi-systemic disadvantage faced by children in residential care who experience criminal justice system contact. Recommendations for policy and practice change to reduce the criminalisation of children in residential care are highlighted.


Susan Baidawi isĀ  a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Social Work at Monash University, Melbourne. She has over 10 years of research experience in child welfare, youth and adult criminal justice systems. Dr Baidawi has authored more than 50 journal articles, book chapters, and reports to government and industry. She currently leads an ARC DECRA study focusing on children at the nexus of the child protection and youth justice systems, and a Criminology Research Grant from the Australian Institute of Criminology focusing on 10-13 year old children charged with offending.


Dec 08 2021