Jenny Mikakos MP
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Minister for Families and Children, Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister for Youth Affairs
Jenny has been a Labor Party Member of the Victorian Parliament since 1999.
From 2007 until November 2010, Jenny was Parliamentary Secretary for Planning. From 2002 until 2007 she was Parliamentary Secretary for Justice.
Between December 2010 and November 2014, Jenny held a number of Shadow Ministerial portfolios, including Community Services, Youth Justice, Children, Young Adults and Seniors & Ageing.
Since the Australian Labor Party won office in Victoria in November 2014, Jenny has been the Minister for Families and Children and Minister for Youth Affairs.
Since that time, Jenny has been focused on ways of assisting vulnerable families and their children to engage with universal platforms such as health and early years education, with the goal of preventing the need for later-life interactions with tertiary services, such as child protection and youth justice.
In August 2015, Jenny announced the Roadmap for Reform Project – a project aimed at reforming the families and children’s services sector in Victoria so that resources are targeted on early intervention and issues are identified before families reach crisis point. For those children who cannot safely live with their parents, Jenny believes home-based care is the best option.
For children and young people who need to live in residential care, Jenny is working to ensure that system is of a high quality and underpinned by trauma-informed practice.
Jenny is acutely aware of the under-representation of Aboriginal children and families in early years services and their over-representation in child protection, out of home care and youth justice. Jenny and senior executives from her Department of Health and Human Services are working with Aboriginal community leaders to find policy and program solutions to address these issues.
In May 2017 Jenny released the Early Childhood Reform Plan which outlines the Victorian Government’s vision for the early years. This plan will deliver systemic change, targeted at supporting the children who need it most.
The plan includes a range of initiatives which aim to create a higher quality, more equitable and inclusive early childhood system, helping Victorian families get their kids ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for their lives ahead.
In October 2017 Jenny added the new portfolio of Early Childhood Education to her existing portfolios of Families and Children, and Youth Affairs – building on the Government’s ground-breaking $202 million Early Childhood Reform Plan.
Jenny holds Arts and Law degrees from the University of Melbourne and previously practiced as a lawyer.
Jenny is passionate about social justice and ensuring all children have the opportunity to reach their potential.