In December 2017 the Victorian Government announced a new model of kinship care to be introduced across Victoria from March 2018.
The new model intends to provide better support for kinship placements.
The primary aims of the model are to:
- Identify kinship networks early
- Strengthen reunification, where appropriate
- Promote placement quality, and support children and young people living with kinship families, enabling them to thrive
- Promote placement stability, including reducing the likelihood of entry into residential care.
What is happening in March?
There will be:
- 36 (full time equivalent) new kinship care staff employed by the department – 17 kinship engagement coordinators and 19 kinship engagement workers.
- A First Supports program – delivered by Community Service Organisations (CSOs) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), including the completion of the Part B Comprehensive Assessment, the provision of up to 110 hours of family services, and flexible brokerage to new kinship placements state-wide.
- 300 new case contracting targets (for CSOs) – for non-Aboriginal children and young people who are on long-term orders or care-by-Secretary orders and who have a non-reunification case plan goal. Aboriginal case contracting is provided through separate funding.
- Aboriginal sector developments – a new ‘Aboriginal placement identification and support’ component (currently being finalised) as well as 39 targets of 200 hours of intensive family services for the reunification of Aboriginal children and young people, following kinship placements.
- An evaluation and monitoring framework – to build the evidence of what works, which will then improve outcomes for children and young people in kinship care.
Note: To support the move to the new model, transition teams have been established in each operational division until 30 June 2018. These transition teams have access to $5 million to help support and stabilise existing kinship care placements.
The kinship engagement teams are available to provide advice and support to kinship carers where they are caring for a child involved with Child Protection.
The department has established dedicated telephone numbers and email addresses for the new kinship engagement teams, as follows:
- Phone: 1800 319 503
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1800 319 507
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1800 319 510
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1800 931 757
- Email: email@example.com