Victoria Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge
Improving Health And Education Of Vulnerable Young Victorians
Victor P Taffa
Children and young people entering residential out-of-home care will now receive comprehensive individual assessments of their health and education needs leading to better, more targeted support, Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge announced today.
For the first time the Victorian Coalition Government will provide a comprehensive assessment of every young person entering residential care with a view to understanding their specific health and educational needs and subsequently provide them with the required specialist support.
The Government has allocated $12.8 Million of funding over four years for the new Health and Education Assessment initiative.
“Children and young people involved with child protection have typically experienced neglect, abuse and trauma and as a result are often disengaged from education and have physical, dental and mental health issues.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
In May 2010 the Victorian Ombudsman was highly critical of the former Labor Government’s administration of a system where only one-third of the 170 clients who enter residential care each year received a basic health or education assessment and only 50 % were enrolled in school.
Close links will be developed with Aboriginal services to ensure culturally-appropriate services are available for Aboriginal children and young people.
“By working in partnership with our colleagues in the health and education departments on this initiative, we aim to ensure children and young people in out-of-home care have the health and education support they need to improve their wellbeing and life outcomes.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
This program will initially focus on children and young people entering residential care although the Victorian Government will continue to investigate ways to improve the health and education outcomes for children and young people across all types of out-of-home care.
Consideration will also be given to recommendations made by the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry in this area.