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Auditor-General Praises Residential Care Reform

08 June 2016

More than 140 young people have moved out of residential care and into safe and stable homes with the help of the Andrews Labor Government’s Targeted Care Packages.

The milestone came as the Victorian Auditor-General praised the success of the Labor Government’s program to reduce the number of children in residential care.

In a follow up report to the scathing 2014 assessment of residential care, tabled in Parliament today, the Auditor-General welcomed the Labor Government’s implementation of Targeted Care Packages.

The Auditor-General’s report, Follow up of Residential Care Services for Children, indicates residential care “is the least preferred” option for children who cannot live safely with their own families.

The report also:

  • Stated that the previous government focused on “increasing the capacity of the residential care system”, while the Labor Government “is reducing the number of children in residential care”
  • Identified the “innovative thinking and flexibility of (Targeted Care Packages) to meet the complex and varying needs of children and young people in residential care.”

The 2014 report identified the former Government’s focus on expanding residential care and the failure to invest in our most vulnerable children and young people. The Labor Government’s first two Budgets have significantly boosted resources for the out of home care system to ensure it meets the needs of all vulnerable children.

Roadmap for Reform – the Labor Government’s once in a generation overhaul of the family services and child protection system – aligns directly with recommendations made by the Auditor-General’s original report, which was tabled in Parliament in 2014.

The 2014 report recommended that all residential care staff have the necessary skills and qualifications to meet the needs of the young people in their care.

The Labor Government has increased staffing levels in residential care including mandated overnight shifts, introduced unannounced spot audits for the first time and mandated qualifications, with $8 million available to support the vocational training and upskilling of this vital workforce.

We have now embarked on a reform to make it a clinical treatment model with young people staying there for an intervention not as a destination.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“The previous Government let more than three years slip before it put out a plan for out of home care, which focused on growing residental care. Labor took action from day one to move kids into home-based care.”

“The Labor Government is transforming residential care from a place of last resort to a program of intensive treatment, providing stability for the young people who most need it.”

“Through Roadmap for Reform, and through the development and pilot of a new approach to residential care, we will continue to build a system that supports and nurtures children and young people.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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