The Andrews Labor Government will transform Victoria’s out of home care system for the state’s most vulnerable children with an unprecedented $35.9 million investment in theVictorian Budget 2016/17.

This investment will establish a clinical treatment model so out of home care is an intensive, short term intervention, rather than a destination, helping children transition to family or foster care as quickly as possible.

Residential care workers will work with social workers and mental health professionals to provide intensive support for young people in their care, who will also benefit from upgraded accommodation.

The new approach begins on 1 July 2016 in the DHHS Southern Division, which covers southern metropolitan Melbourne and regional Gippsland. Co-design with the sector is an important element of this model and has already begun.

This new model of residential care is part of the Roadmap for Reform, the Budget’s once-in-a-generation overhaul of the child protection system, aligning with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Residential care properties across the state will also be upgraded under an $11.7 million Roadmap investment. Works will include renovations, redesigns and maintenance to improve safety and security.

The Labor Government is also investing in the residential care workforce, providing $8 million for vocational training, as it moves towards mandatory relevant qualifications for all residential care workers across the state.

A new Roadmap Implementation Ministerial Advisory Group was also announced today, combining experts across the child protection sector to advise on the implementation of the Roadmap.

The Group will meet for the first time before the end of the month.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“Kids in residential care need more than just a roof over their heads. This approach will provide support to each child or young person that is tailored to their specific needs.”

“By providing this intensive support to Victoria’s most vulnerable kids, we are putting them on the right track to leading happy, healthy and successful lives.”

“Residential care should be a transition, not a destination – early intensive intervention goes a long way to ensuring this.”