The Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos has opened Foster Care Week by announcing a further $1.7 million to improve engagement and support for Victorian foster carers.
Speaking at the Foster Care Association of Victoria’s Annual General Meeting, Ms Mikakos said the funding was in addition to the $1.5 million foster carer recruitment and retention strategy.
The additional funding will allow for a dedicated approach to foster carer retention, which has been identified as a major challenge facing Victoria’s out-of-home care system.
Ms Mikakos has hosted roundtables in Melbourne and Bendigo to hear directly from foster carers about their experiences. The new strategy will deliver:
- A new foster carer manual and website to provide valuable information and guidance to assist carers
- Training and support strategy to ensure foster carers are adequately supported to meet the needs of children in their care, including tailored and individualised arrangements.
- Foster carer engagement strategy to ensure carers are informed and included in planning where possible as valued members of a child’s care team.
- Standardised feedback and complaints mechanism to address inconsistency across the state
- Divisional Carer Advisory Groups to be established to improve the lines of communication between foster carers, community service organisations and the Department of Health and Human Services.
A new foster care hotline has also been launched to make it easier for Victorians looking to become a foster carer.
People interested in becoming a foster carer are encouraged to call 1800 013 088.
This funding builds on the $43 million investment for Targeted Care Packages, which provides a flexible approach to moving children and young people out of residential care and into home-based care.
The Andrews Labor Government also provided $31.3 million in the 2015-16 Victorian Budget to improve financial support for carers and is reviewing the system to make it simpler.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“Foster Care Week is an important time to celebrate and recognise the generosity and compassion of foster carers who open up their hearts and homes – anyone thinking of becoming a foster carer, now is the time.”
“This $3.2 million boost to the foster care system is critical to achieving my commitment to move as many children and young people out of residential care and into home-based care like foster care.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020