A boost in funding for out-of-home care for vulnerable children, continued investment in reducing youth offending to keep our communities safe, and promoting inclusive communities are all highlights of the 2022–23 State Budget.
This includes a historic commitment to support young people leaving care up to the age of 21, and a boost in funding for out-of-home care for vulnerable children
The record $2.3 billion budget for the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs in 2022-23 will also deliver culturally responsive support services, working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, to improve the wellbeing and safety of First Nations families, children, and young people.
Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard said while early intervention to support children and families remained a key focus in the budget, a commitment to extend support to young people leaving care was also a significant highlight.
“Keeping vulnerable families and children safe will always be my number one priority, and with this budget we are taking a big step forward by committing to support young people leaving care up to the age of 21,” Ms Linard said.
“From 2023-24, carers allowances will be extended, but where young people are not living with a foster or kinship carer, they will receive financial assistance and be guided by case workers who will walk alongside them to support their transition to adulthood.”
The 2022–23 Budget includes increased funding of $2.2 billion over five years for out-of-home care services to keep children safe and respond to an increase in demand in the child protection system.
The Budget also includes $420.2 million over four years and $92.2 million ongoing to the department to:
- Provide Intensive Family Support services, including early intervention for families with children and young people at risk of coming into contact with the child protection system, with $183.5 million over four years and $45.9 million ongoing
- Deliver Family and Wellbeing Services to provide culturally responsive support services
- Continue the Family and Child Connect service to empower families to care for and protect their children at home, by connecting parents to services to improve parenting skills and manage children’s behaviour
The budget allows for the creation of an extra 87 staff in 2022–23 primarily to boost services for children and families in need of help.
Young people leaving care will be supported in their transition to adulthood through a range of new measures commencing in 2023-24, including:
- Continuing the carers allowance for 19 to 21-year-olds remaining at home
- Financial support and mentoring for young people aged 18 to 21 leaving non-family-based care
“As Queensland’s child protection system continues to experience significant demand for assistance from vulnerable children and families, this budget reflects a significant increased investment in the frontline services and supports needed to respond,” Ms Linard said.
Increased funding of $78.8 million over four years will be invested in reforms under the Youth Justice Strategy to continue to reduce youth offending and keep the community safe, including:
- $20.9 million in funding over four years for Indigenous Youth and Family Workers and for Family Led Decision Making to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in decision-making and identifying solutions to address the young person’s offending behaviour
- Continuing the work of youth co-responder teams, in partnership with the Queensland Police Service, to conduct joint patrols, check that bail conditions are complied with, and divert young people from offending
- $7.4 million in continued funding for the Mount Isa Transitional Hub over four years to respond to the needs of at-risk youth
- Increasing funding to expand the number of locations for Multi-agency Collaborative Panels to meet demand across the state
- Recurrent funding for additional permanent staff in youth detention centres
“All Queenslanders deserve to feel safe. Our bail laws are the toughest in the country, but it’s also important that we intervene early to stop at-risk young people from entering the youth justice system,” Ms Linard said.
The government will invest $16.2 million in 2022-23 to continue promoting Queensland as a unified, harmonious, and inclusive community.
The 2022-23 Budget provides additional funding of $1.1 million over four years to support and engage with the Australian South Sea Islander community.
“Queensland thrives when everyone, regardless of culture, language or faith, is supported to connect, contribute and belong – it’s why we will continue to support people from all walks of life to be part of our wonderful community,” Ms Linard said.