Un­der­paid fos­ter car­ers quit

Sunday Herald Sun - - News -

VIC­TO­RIA’S fos­ter car­ers re­ceive the worst fi­nan­cial sup­port in the coun­try, which may be con­tribut­ing to their ex­o­dus from the sys­tem.

Mar­i­lyn McHugh, of the So­cial Pol­icy Re­search School, told the Na­tional Fos­ter and Kin­ship Care Con­fer­ence in Mel­bourne yes­ter­day that 568 car­ers left the Vic­to­rian fos­ter care sys­tem in 2015-16.

“Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern is Vic­to­ria which, after NSW (17,800), has the high­est num­ber of chil­dren in out-of-home care (9705), but pro­vides some of the low­est lev­els of carer sub­sidy,” she said.

She said the sub­si­dies were the se­cond low­est in the nation on aver­age but the worst when fac­tors in­clud­ing the cost of liv­ing were taken into ac­count.

Dr McHugh said Vic­to­rian car­ers were paid be­tween $189 and $288 weekly. The ex­o­dus left just 1564 in the sys­tem.

Fos­ter Care As­so­ci­a­tion of Vic­to­ria CEO Katie Hooper called on the state gov­ern­ment to take im­me­di­ate ac­tion to en­sure car­ers re­main in the sys­tem.

“Car­ers don’t take vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren into their homes for the money, but we must en­sure they are given ad­e­quate fund­ing to en­sure they can give th­ese chil­dren the best of care with­out be­ing left out of pocket,” she said.

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