The Andrews Labor Government is supporting kinship, foster and permanent carers to nurture the most vulnerable children and young people with Victoria’s first ever strategy for home-based carers.
Minister for Child Protection and Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan today launched the Strong Carers, Stronger Children strategy, which aims to improve the experience of Victoria’s dedicated carers, while also benefitting the lives and futures of the children and young people they care for.
In Victoria, there are about 6,500 carers who open their homes to care for kids in need of a safe and nurturing home. Every day, there are more than 9,800 children living with a kinship, foster or permanent carer.
Developed for carers, by carers, this strategy acknowledges the challenges faced by carers and provides a framework to guide and inform the future direction of home-based care in Victoria.
The strategy sets out six goals to support carers to ensure they are well-informed and prepared, that they are provided with better support and training, and that they feel valued and empowered.
It also commits to maintaining children and young people’s connection to their family where possible, finding appropriate care arrangements and long-term stability for children and young people in care, either by reuniting them with their family or providing a permanent home.
The strategy builds on the work of the Labor Government’s landmark Roadmap for Reform policy that is transforming the child and family system from a crisis response to one of early intervention and prevention.
Key achievements so far include a new model for kinship care, supported by $116 million, and our $11 million Home Stretch program, which gives young people the option of remaining with their carer until the age of 21.
We have also delivered funding for more than 650 new Full Time Equivalent child protection practitioner positions, which includes a further $30 million in the 2019-20 Budget for more than 40 additional positions.
Strong Carers, Stronger Children will be implemented over the next five years through a series of action plans to be developed in close consultation with key stakeholders. The first action plan will be implemented from 2020.
As noted by Minister for Child Protection and Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan
“This landmark strategy shows our dedication to giving Victoria’s devoted carers of children and young people who cannot live at home the support they need.”
“This new strategy has been developed by listening to carers about the things that will make a difference in their lives, ensuring the kids they care for can reach their full potential.”
“Our compassionate and devoted carers play a crucial role every day. They love and care some of Victoria’s most vulnerable kids. Without them, our current children and family service system could not exist.”