Massive funding boost to children's and families’ services

Overview

Minister for Families and Children media release 5 May 2015.


Vulnerable children and families are the beneficiaries of the biggest funding boost to the child protection system in a decade as the Andrews Labor Government’s first Budget ensures all children get the best possible start in life.

The 2015-16 Victorian Budget includes $283 million in funding over four years for programs and services targeting Victorian families, children and young people.

The comprehensive package will pay for the employment of more child protection workers, support early intervention services for vulnerable families, provide assistance for young people leaving care, and fund youth services across the state.

Funding is also provided to assist women and children fleeing family violence and to divert young people away from the youth justice system.

This massive funding injection marks the start of a system-wide reform of the families and children’s service system by the Labor Government.

The reforms will prioritise early intervention to support vulnerable families so they do not come into contact with the child protection system; providing a supportive and safe environment for children who cannot live with their families; and supporting older children as they move out of care.

Initiatives in the Budget include:

  • $48.1 million for Child FIRST and Family Services, early intervention services that target families before they reach crisis point.
  • $11.7 million to remove barriers to permanent care by funding a team to undertake intensive case planning and support for children and carers as they move to permanent care and enabling access to flexible funding to meet the costs of permanent care.
  • $65.4 million to employ more than 110 child protection workers to meet the expected growth in protection reports, expand the rollout of the after-hours intake and crisis response service state wide, and prevent and respond to child sexual exploitation.
  • $93.3 million to extend and improve out of home care for children who cannot live with their immediate families because of abuse or neglect, improved support for vulnerable Aboriginal families and children, and build a fairer and more transparent financial support system for home-based carers.
  • $21.3 million for Springboard to support young people as they move from residential out of home care to independent living by providing opportunities for training, education and vocational services.
  • $10.2 million to assist survivors of family violence including $3.5 million for counselling services for children and women, $3.9 million for flexible child protection responses and $1 million for men’s family violence services.
  • $8 million for youth affairs providing funding for support to at-risk young people, multicultural youth services and programs delivered by regional councils.
  • $7.2 million for the Good Money program which is operated by Good Shepherd Microfinance and provides affordable loans to disadvantaged Victorians.
  • $1.1 million for youth diversion programs which provides early intervention to young people at risk of being remanded in custody.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos

“The Andrews Labor Government believes every child deserves the best start to life, which is why we are boosting the number of child protection workers and early intervention services for vulnerable families.”

“Our first Budget has Victoria’s biggest boost to the child protection system in a decade, which means more child protection workers, more assistance and more support for children and those who care for them.”

“This huge increase to our child protection workforce strengthens the system that strives to keep all our kids safe from abuse or neglect.”