BOOSTING FLEXIBLE SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES AND CHILDREN

Funding for flexible early intervention and support services will be rolled out across Victoria to help more vulnerable families and children, with the Andrews Labor Government allocating an additional $9.3 million over four years.

Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos announced the funding today in Ballarat at Child and Family Services Ballarat Inc., with families in that area benefiting from more than $400,000 over four years.

Flexible support packages help families receiving Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services in practical ways such as meeting the cost of baby safety equipment or undertaking specialised counselling or treatment services.

With different areas of Victoria facing different challenges, flexible support packages allow local support services to best meet the individual needs of families through tailored support.

The boost to services in Ballarat and surrounding areas is in addition to the $1.6 million over four years that was allocated to local Child FIRST and Family Services organisations in the 2015-16 Victorian Budget to address demand and service gaps.

The Labor Government is investing in early intervention and family services to tackle issues early, reducing demand for child protection and other support services down the track.

This investment is part of the Labor Government’s record $257 million funding boost to child protection and family services in the 2015–16 Victorian Budget – a 17 per cent increase on the previous year. This included a $48.1 million boost to Child FIRST and Family Services, the biggest boost in a decade.

The Labor Government is examining the entire child protection and family services system from the ground up as part of its Roadmap for Reform project to drive improvements and strengthen support for vulnerable Victorian children and families.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“We know that helping families before problems reach crisis point keeps children safer, which is why we are boosting early intervention services across Victoria.”

“Flexible packages are needed to support families in ways that can make all the difference – local service providers will be able to connect more families to the services they need.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight

“This funding will help families and children in Ballarat and the surrounding areas in practical ways that can make all the difference.”

“Our local support services understand the challenges facing families here and with more support they can help them early on to get the assistance they need.”