Commonwealth Action Needed To Support Children

10 November 2016

The Victorian and Queensland State Governments are calling for leadership from the Turnbull Government to consider a national approach to child and family support.

Victorian Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos and Queensland Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman say Commonwealth reform has been too slow in putting the needs of children and families first.

Ahead of the first meeting of state Community Services Ministers with the Commonwealth in two years, Ms Mikakos and Ms Fentiman joined together to call for the Liberals to show some leadership.

“We want funding for early intervention and prevention trials expanded to build parenting skills,” Ms Mikakos said.

“Tax and Centrelink consequences are standing in the way of professionalised foster care.

“A new Medicare Benefits Schedule Item for a child health check for children in out-of-home care will help these kids have their health needs assessed and met.

“We also want to develop a nationally consistent approach to the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care, and to increase the connection of Indigenous children in out-of-home care to their families, communities and culture.”

Ms Fentiman said other proposals included extending the eligibility of Family Tax Benefit Part B to foster and kinship carers until the youngest child in their care turns 18.

“Foster Carers should not be required to meet the work, training or study tests to be eligible to receive the parenting payment, and they should be eligible for Centrelink parenting payments until the child reaches the age of 18,” she said.

“We would also like to see the child care rebate extended to cover the full amount of out-of-pocket child care expenses incurred by foster carers.

“Another priority should be driving stronger links and national leadership across the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, and the National Plan to reduce Violence Against Women and their Children.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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