The Andrews Labor Government is prioritising home-based care for vulnerable children who cannot safely live with their own families and providing greater support to the carers who open their hearts and homes to them.
On Foster Carer Celebration Day, Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos acknowledged the enormous contribution of foster carers by announcing $49.3 million over two years to fund an extra 162 targeted care packages to help better support children in home-based placements, including foster care.
The packages are aimed at transitioning vulnerable children and young people out of residential care and to home-based placements, providing individualised and flexible supports to meet their needs.
This includes things such as money for school books and supplies, other education costs, transport to community activities and therapy and counselling.
Home-based care, such as kinship and foster care, is legislated as the preferred placement compared to residential care and aligns with the best interests of the child.
More than 640 targeted care packages have been funded since the Labor Government introduced them in 2015.
The Labor Government is also working to provide greater support to carers who play a vital role in providing support to vulnerable children and young people who are unable to live with their birth family.
The Victorian Budget 2018/19 provided $390.7 million for more home-based care placements and better support for carers such as flexible funding and a state-wide carer training strategy, giving them access to face-to-face training, online learning and accredited training opportunities as well as sponsorship to attend conferences.
We’re also continuing to invest in professionalised foster care – an internationally renowned model that gives foster carers intensive support for children and young people who have experienced significant emotional or behavioural problems.
The work is part of the Labor Government’s commitment to transform the state’s children and family services system through its landmark Roadmap for Reform agenda to move the focus from crisis response to early intervention and prevention.
As stated by Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“Our foster carers are our community’s unsung heroes and I take this opportunity to thank them for selfless work and commitment to supporting the most vulnerable children.
“Targeted care packages help children avoid or move out of residential care – and that’s why we are delivering more of them to help more Victorian kids secure a loving home.”
“We’re investing $390.7 million out of this year’s budget to strengthen our out of home care system including better support for our valuable carers.”