Posted on 09. Feb, 2015 in News
The Andrews Labor Government is taking immediate steps to improve the safety and wellbeing of Victorian children and young people in care.
Under the former Liberal Government, our most vulnerable were left to fend for themselves.
This Labor Government will strengthen the out-of-home care system and invest to ensure better care for Victoria’s vulnerable children and young people.
Out-of-home care refers to care provided by foster carers, by kinship carers and in residential care facilities operated by community services organisations and funded through the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Government will invest $16 million to ensure that more children and young people in care will have the extra security and safety of 24-hour support, including more staff during the day and a staff member who remains awake at night.
The Government will also make policy changes to ensure every standard four-bed residential care facility in Victoria provides the same staffing support. This increased overnight supervision will come into effect in April.
A further $1.5 million will be put towards spot audits of residential care facilities to ensure the highest standards of care managed by non-government agencies.
These audits will include discussions with children and young people, in-person observations, interviews with staff and an examination of formal records, and will complement the existing accreditation process, which requires major formal reviews every three years and one mid-term review in the cycle.
In addition, the Government will invest $1.5 million to attract, recruit and retain more foster carers, including through a public campaign and support program, with the aim of having all primary school aged children living in home-based care.
The Government will also establish a Ministerial Advisory Committee which will provide advice on this new approach to foster care and other significant issues within the out-of-home care system, including the over-representation of Aboriginal children and the needs of children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds.
The Committee will be chaired by the Minister for Families and Children and will provide advice on further essential changes needed in Victoria’s out-of-home care services. Its first meeting will be held this month.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos
“Under the Liberals, the out-of-home care system was in crisis. This $19 million investment is an essential step in the Andrews Labor Government’s plan to improve Victoria’s child protection system.”
“There is still a lot that needs to be done to fix the systemic problems in out-of-home care, left behind by the Liberals. The changes the Government is announcing today will make a real difference to the lives of children in care, and we will continue to work with the sector to strengthen the system.”