Baillieu/Ryan Government To Invest In Child Protection

Baillieu/Ryan Government To Invest In Child Protection

Victoria Shadow Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge

Coalition Early Intervention Plan To Break Cycle Of Abuse A New Era For Vulnerable Victorian Children

Victor P Taffa

A Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will commit a package of $50.5 Million for early intervention and important prevention reforms to reduce the rate of child abuse in Victoria and help abused young people get their lives back on track, Shadow Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge said today.

“These Coalition reforms are a long term plan to break the cycle of inter-generational child abuse and neglect, protecting our most vulnerable from an early age.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“The chronic problems in our system cannot be simply ‘crisis managed’ with endless short term patch ups. We need an overhaul of our system and we need to overhaul the way we support and manage early intervention and protection.”


“The Coalition will protect vulnerable children and our multi-million dollar commitment will fund critical aspects of child protection and family services to ensure hundreds of vulnerable and abused children get a better chance in life.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“Victorians are fed up with Premier John Brumby’s neglect of Child Protection and his failure to protect our most vulnerable children and young people.”

“The Coalition’s early intervention plan will help by offering intensive case-managed support to vulnerable families before children are born, through to four years of age.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

The Coalition will:

• Invest $16 Million in intensive ante and post natal support, ensuring that dedicated staffs works with at-risk mothers from pre-birth until the child is four years of age;

• Identify at-risk children early by re-orienting adult-focused mental health, drug and alcohol and family violence services to require that they also target children and the broader family context;

• Invest $1.8 Million to support an innovative childcare centre pilot project specifically targeted at vulnerable children and families;

• Invest $2 Million in a parenting strategy which will fund a range of innovative initiatives to assist parents in dealing with children’s specific behavioural and developmental challenges.

Tackling the rising numbers of young children coming into out-of-home care through well resourced, dedicated early intervention for at-risk families will assist children to stay safe and keep families intact.

A Coalition Government will also assist young people in residential care to get the support they need while in care and ensure their effective transition to independent living.

The Coalition will:

• Invest $12.8 Million to ensure young people get a health and education assessment on entering residential care, and then have access to the services they need to address the identified health issues or education gaps;

• Invest $16.9 Million to transition vulnerable young people leaving residential care through to the age of 21, with a particular focus on one-on-one support for developing appropriate skills through education and gaining secure long term employment;

• Amend the Children Youth and Families Act to permit transition support for young people in out-of-home care to continue up to the age of 25 if needed;

• Invest $1 Million to implement a long term study assessing the impact of out-of home care on children.

“The Brumby Government has an appalling record when it comes to protecting and supporting children when they are in, and transitioning out of, out-of-home care.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“Good education, health and secure employment are fundamental building blocks for future life success, but for many children in state care, their experience is one of exclusion, disconnection and disadvantage.”

“The Coalition will target these critical areas in need of immediate action and will ensure early intervention at all stages to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.” Ms. Wooldridge said.



Intensive baby support: Invest $16 Million for intensive dedicated case management providing pre-birth support, home-based assistance and access to appropriate residential services. The ante natal period is crucial for mother and baby. This initiative will ensure that mothers to be who have an unborn child report or are in child protection have a dedicated case worker in the months leading up to the birth, until the child is up to four years of age, to increase the likelihood of attachment and positive parenting. Case managers will work in collaboration with Child FIRST.

Childcare for at-risk kids: Invest $1.8 Million to support a childcare centre pilot project specifically targeted at vulnerable children and families. The Early Intervention Program run by the Children’s Protection Society will provide vulnerable children aged 0-5 with intensive early childhood care and education they may not get in their home environments.

Parenting strategy: Invest $2 Million to help increase the skills and confidence of vulnerable parents and assist them to positively deal with children’s specific behavioural and developmental challenges. Funds will support research into parenting and include innovative parenting initiatives such as enhanced parenting education and networks, dads’ clubs and supported play groups.

Education and health for kids in residential care: Invest $12.8 Million to ensure that all young people entering residential care get comprehensive medical, psychological, dental and educational assessments, and ensure that necessary services are provided to address the identified gaps.

Exiting state care strategy: Invest $16.9 Million to genuinely support the transition of vulnerable young people leaving residential care through to 21 years of age. We will fund proactive one-on-one case work to provide a range of support for young people exiting care, specifically targeting skills and employability as a pathway to future success. This will also assist in reducing the number of young people facing homelessness or ending up involved with the justice system.

Longitudinal study: Invest $1 Million to implement a long term study assessing the impact of out-of-home care on children, with a focus on what happens to children post-care. Identify where additional investment is needed to support effective transitions from out-of-home care.