TO A CHILD IN FOSTER CARE, YOU WILL BE AMAZING

It’s the little things that count – like a trip to the footy or sharing a meal at the table – that are the focus of a new campaign to attract the next generation of foster carers in Victoria.

The Andrews Labor Government has invested $3.2 million towards attracting, recruiting and retaining more carers, to tackle Victoria’s shortfall of more than 300 foster carers each year.

Carers are sorely needed to help care for children and young people who cannot live with their families.

Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos launched the campaign at the Melbourne Museum with current carers and their families, Victorian foster care agencies, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, the Foster Care Association of Victoria, and other key bodies.

The campaign highlights that carers don’t need to be superheroes – everyday Victorians from all walks of life can open their hearts and homes to make a big difference for vulnerable children and young people.

It includes digital, print and radio advertising beginning in late January, supported by a new website and centralised inquiry line with greater capacity to respond to enquiries from potential carers.

The foster carer recruitment and training process will also be streamlined to ensure suitable carers who have been carefully assessed become accredited sooner.

The campaign builds on a number of initiatives to improve support for home-based carers, including:

  • $62 million for Targeted Care Packages to move children and young people out of residential care and into home-based care, and help prevent entry into residential care in the first place
  • $1.7 million foster carer retention strategy that includes a new foster carer manual, enhanced training and support, Carer Advisory Groups, Carer Engagement Strategy and a new feedback and complaints mechanism
  • $31.4 million to boost care allowances from 1 January 2016. Carers on the base level will receive an additional $1,040 annually to help meet the needs of children and young people in their care, benefiting around 5,000 carers and 7,000 young people

To find out more about becoming a foster carer visit www.fosteringconnections.com.au or call 1800 013 088.