The Andrews Labor Government is investing $43 million to move children out of residential care and into home-based care. Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos made the announcement today at Berry Street, a child and family welfare organisation.
Children enter out-of-home care when they are unable to live with their parents because of abuse or neglect. Home-based care – such as kinship and foster care - is preferable to care in residential units for most children.
But a shortage of home-based care has seen some children placed in residential care as a stopgap measure.
New Targeted Care Packages will address this issue, enabling services and support to be targeted at the needs of individual children and the foster or kinship carers who look after them. In some cases, the packages will enable children to return home.
Under the new system, each child’s needs will be assessed and carers will receive tailored supports, with the child’s best interests at the centre of all decision making.
The first priorities are to move primary school age children who are living in residential care into home-based care and to focus on the over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.
This investment is in addition to the $19 million to immediately improve the safety and wellbeing of children in residential care and boost the foster care system that was announced last month by the Labor Government.
The packages will be implemented in close consultation with the key community services organisations that work with children and young people.
The funding is available immediately and children will start benefiting from these new packages in April.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families & Children, Jenny Mikakos
“Primary school age children should live in home-based care wherever possible – that’s our priority.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is taking immediate steps to boost the wellbeing of children and young people in out-of-home care, finding them the best possible placements and changing their lives for the better.”
“The Liberals failed to support our most vulnerable children, and the foster and kinship carers who look after them.”
“The Andrews Labor Government will draw on the enthusiasm, commitment and knowledge of community service organisations to assist in the planning and implementation of this important and innovative approach.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020