Save Foster Care in 2014
Foster care in Victoria is in a state of crisis. Over the past five years, many more families have left the foster care system than have volunteered to become carers.
Financial stress on carers has continued to grow and many carers are reporting feeling disrespected by a system that fails to recognise their knowledge and fails to fully support them in their role.
Berry Street and The Foster Care Association of Victoria (FCAV) are working together in the lead up to the 2014 State election to save the foster care system.
Like every State and Territory, Victoria provides some financial support to carers for costs incurred in the day to day care of foster children, however:
- The gap between the foster care allowance provided by the Department of Human Services and the actual cost of caring for a child is now as much as $5,356 per year
- 616 Foster Carers left the Victorian system in the last year, while only 442 new carers could be recruited
- Reports to Child Protection are increasing and many more vulnerable young children are being placed into Residential Care.
The financial cost of fostering is deterring as many as 60% of potential carers.
Berry Street and FCAV are calling for the
Victorian Government to:
- Increase foster and kinship carer reimbursements to meet the day-to-day costs of caring for children
- Ensure that all of a child’s education, medical and recreational expenses are met by the Department of Human Services in a timely fashion
- Implement and fund a coordinated, state-wide carer recruitment and foster carers retention program
- Improve access to training, support and respite for all foster carers
- Advocate to the Commonwealth that they remove income tests from carers’ access to benefits for children in foster and kinship care