Victorian foster, kinship and permanent carers will get more support for some of the state’s most vulnerable children thanks to a $19.2 million funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government announced during national Child Protection Week.
Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos said the funding will give carers access to more training, assistance and financial support to help meet the additional needs of children in their care, including:
- $8.73 million for flexible support for foster and kinship carers to help cover extraordinary expenses, such as child care, transport costs, the therapeutic needs of a child, such as counselling, education, or health expenses
- $7.18 million for similar flexible support for new and existing permanent carers and establishing a new permanent carer helpline
- An additional $2.12 million for a combined foster and kinship carer training strategy, which will include a centralised training calendar, with training modules such as how to care for children with a history of trauma
- $1.15 million for service enhancements to improve the experience of kinship carers, including new tools and resources such as an updated handbook, and kinship carer-specific podcasts.
The funding was announced at the Foster Care Association of Victoria’s annual foster carer celebration at Parliament House. A number of useful resources for foster carers were also launched at the event, including a new handbook, charter, podcast series, and feedback and complaints framework.
Other initiatives to improve support for current foster carers are already underway, including the establishment of Carer Advisory Groups across the state; and delivery of new specialised training sessions for current carers.
The funding is comprised of $16.2 million in the Victorian Budget 2016/17 to improve support for carers and an additional investment of $3 million over two years. (TIW)