More prevention and early intervention services to keep Victoria’s most vulnerable kids safe are included in the Victorian Budget , as part of sweeping changes to the child protection system.
The $168 million investment will help new mums care for their babies, give child and adult family violence survivors support to recover and transform the residential care system into a clinical treatment model.
The funding will also employ more child protection workers and provide increased training for foster carers, as they support children and young people who cannot live safely with their families.
The Roadmap for Reform addresses the findings of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, recommending the focus of the child protection system should be on prevention and early intervention, instead of crisis.
It also recommended increased support for vulnerable Aboriginal families and children, currently over-represented in the child protection system.
Budget investments include:
- $35.9 million to increase the safety of children and young people living in residential care
- $34.2 million to increase the number of foster and kinship carers
- $25.5 million to provide services including counselling to family violence and sexual assault victims and $8.5 million to expand trauma-informed interventions, including counselling for child family violence victims
- $3.4 million for additional child protection workers
- $19 million to increase the number of specialist case workers assigned to victims of family violence to help them navigate support services
- $16.2 million to increase support to carers of children in out of home care, including equipment, home alterations, or training to help care for children with complex needs
- $16.5 million to ensure Aboriginal children and young people who can’t live with their immediate families maintain links with their culture, plus the recruitment of additional Aboriginal kinship and foster carers
- $2.3 million to address urgent, essential and planned maintenance for residential care facilities
A state-wide youth diversion program will also be rolled out, with $6.73 million in new funding over two years to expand the Youth Justice Bail Supervision Program, with four additional youth justice workers and additional diversion support through the Children’s Court.
Quotes attributable to Minister Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“These children have already faced so much. They shouldn’t then be faced with a child protection system that fails to keep them safe.”
“Through the Roadmap to Reform, the Andrews Labor Government will make sure there is more support for vulnerable families and children early on.”
“We’ll increase in-home support services for vulnerable families, add extra child protection workers, make sure Aboriginal children can maintain connections to their culture and boost the number of foster and kinship carers.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020