Underpaid foster carers quit
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.