Extended family members, who take in vulnerable children no longer able to live at home, are to receive extra help and support thanks to a Brumby Labor Government kinship care program.
Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney MP welcomed the full rollout of the new program across the state and the extra support kinship carers in the South West in particular will receive.
This program will be ran from Brophy Family Youth Services in Timor Street, Warrnambool and will service the Moyne, Southern Grampians and Glenelg Shires as well as the Warrnambool City area.
Ms Tierney said that the program would help the carers of children who are being cared for by extended family across Victoria.
“Kinship carers play a vital role in protecting our most vulnerable children,” Ms Tierney said.
“They provide tremendous care and support for children who are often traumatised as a result of previous abuse or neglect. They do this because they love these children, but it can be an extremely difficult and stressful role.
“This new service will provide real, practical help for the children and their families.
“The new workers will provide information, support and advice to help carers deal with the specific difficulties and concerns they have.
“A feature of the service is more intensive help for carers of the most vulnerable children in kinship care, especially at the beginning of a new kinship care placement and also for long term kinship families with extra challenges.
“Families will also be linked and encouraged to meet regularly so they can share advice and support.”
The funding will employ 94 additional qualified workers across the state to support children in kinship care and their families.
“We recognise there is record demand on child protection services right across the world and that vulnerable families are presenting with more complex issues than ever before – Victoria is no different,” Ms Tierney said.
“I am determined that our children will get the protection and support they need to get the best possible start in life which is why we will continue to work hard with the community to make sure that no Victorian child is left behind.
“In September last year, our Government announced a record $77.2 million boost for extra frontline child protection staff, a Specialist Intervention Team to tackle child protection trouble spots and additional support for the ChildFIRST early intervention services.
Kinship care is provided by relatives or members of a child’s social network. Although most kinship care arrangements are organised privately by families, child protection workers are also using kinship care as an alternative placement option.