Jenny Mikakos MP
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Minister for Families and Children, Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister for Youth Affairs
Jenny Mikakos MP was elected to the Legislative Council in 1999. She has been the Minister for Families and Children and Minister for Youth Affairs in the Andrews Labor Government since 4 December 2014, and the Minister for Early Childhood Education since 16 October 2017. She also has responsibility for youth justice in the Department of Justice and Regulation.
Jenny holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and practised as a lawyer prior to entering Parliament.
Jenny has led the transformation of Victoria’s children and family services system through the Roadmap for Reform and the move from crisis response to prevention and early intervention. She has overseen the largest ever expansion of the child protection workforce in Victoria’s history, delivering funding for 610 new child protection workers, a 46 per cent increase in the child protection workforce. Since 2015, investment for child and family services has increased by $704 million, an increase of 69 per cent.
As Minister for Youth Affairs, Jenny has strengthened the government’s engagement with young people who face disadvantage by investing in initiatives that support and empower them to reach their full potential. This has been underpinned by the development of the Youth Policy: Building Stronger Youth Engagement in Victoria and an investment of over $80 million since 2015 to deliver programs that support youth engagement and participation in community and economic life.
On becoming the Minister for Early Childhood Education in October 2016, Jenny embarked on an ambitious agenda to build a more connected early years system. In 2017, Jenny released the Early Childhood Reform Plan, which outlines the Government’s long-term vision for a reform early years system in Victoria. The Plan delivers systemic change to support children and families access the help they need, when they need it, backed by a record $202.1 million investment in the 2017-18 Budget – the largest investment in early childhood by a Victorian Government ever.
Over the past four years, Jenny has overseen a more than doubling in early childhood education and parenting investment, significant expansions of the Maternal and Child Health services and Supported Playgroups and the introduction of a number of Australian first initiatives such as School Readiness Funding and Languages in Kindergartens.
A record $123.6 million has already been invested into kindergarten capital infrastructure, creating more than 8,250 additional three and four year old kindergarten places. This sets the groundwork for Labor’s revolutionary commitment to implement universal three year old kindergarten should it be re-elected in 2018.