The Territory LaborGovernment is transforming the Territorys out of home care system to givevulnerable children and young people the best chance for a bright future.
Budget 2019 will see anadditional $20 million invested into out of home care services, taking thetotal budget to $128.4 million.
This investment includesimplementation of a new out of home care model and supports the day-to-day costsof the system.
Transforming the out ofhome care system is essential to better reflect the current needs of childrenin care.
The latest data shows thatalmost 90% of children and young people who are currently in care areAboriginal. One third of these children are being cared for by Aboriginalpeople.
The new out of home caremodel prioritises children being placed with family when it is safe to do so.This gives them the best chance for a bright future by being connected toculture, family and country.
Key elements of the new outof home care system include:
Five care options: kinship care, Aboriginal fostercare, non-Indigenous foster care, therapeutic home-based care, and therapeuticresidential care
Focus on family-based placements, rather than grouphomes or purchased home-based care, and keeping siblings together whereverpossible
Greater stability in placements
Increase in treatment programs and services underthe new model, trauma informed care and specialised support will be availablefor every child and young person in care
Increase in specialist support for carers
Ensuring that children and young people who areleaving care have a tailored care plan and receive the support that they need asthey transition
Development andimplementation of the new out of home care model will occur over three yearsand in three phases:
Phase 1: June 2019 December 2019
Establish a new out of homecare contract model, service mix and therapeutic approach
Phase 2: January 2020 December 2020
Embedding Aboriginal-ledservice delivery and building service capacity
Phase 3: January 2021 December 2021
Establishing a strong outof home care system
Transforming the out ofhome care system covers 13 recommendations from the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in theNT and 15 from the national RoyalCommission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
As stated by Minister forTerritory Families, Dale Wakefield
“Every child deserves achildhood where they are safe and connected with their culture and identity. The Territory LaborGovernment is transforming the Territorys out of home care system to givevulnerable children and young people the best chance for a bright future.
We currently have over 1000children in out-of-home care and almost 90% of these children are Aboriginal. Theout of home care reform ensures that we increase our support services to betterreflect the unique needs of each child.
A childs safety will alwaysbe paramount and remains the most important factor in the out of home caresystem. Our reform is also empowering and giving greater decision-making powerto Aboriginal people and Aboriginal-controlled organisations.
As stated by CEO of Foster &Kinship Carers Association NT, Ann Owen
Foster and KinshipCarers Association NT absolutely welcomes the reforms to the out-of-home caresystem as it puts children and young people at the centre of all decision-making.
“Its fantastic to see family andfoster carers prioritised in the new model as it is critical that childrenmaintain connection to their family, country, culture and community whereverpossible.
It is vital that strongpartnerships are maintained and enhanced with Peak Bodies, Aboriginalorganisations and community groups under the new system so that we can grow onthis journey together and ensure this new out-of-home care model issustainable.
As stated by CEO of LarrakiaNation, Robert Cooper
Larrakia Nation is pleased thenew out-of-home care model focuses on prioritising and increasing the number ofAboriginal family and foster carers. There is an over-representation ofAboriginal children in care and it is important, that where possible childrenremain connected to family and community as this will ensure they are cared forin a way that respects their culture and assists them to maintain theircultural identity.
Our goal is to increase thenumber of children that are placed with families and Aboriginal foster carersthrough our family finding program. As part of this we are working withfamilies, using an Aboriginal family-led decision-making model to assist indecision-making about the future care of children, undertake kinship mapping andhold family meetings and provide advice and support through the carer applicationprocess.