28 October 2020

Tania Maxwell MP, Member for Northern Victoria, hopes the upcoming State Budget will include substantial funding for early intervention in child and family welfare.

Ms Maxwell tabled a motion in the Legislative Council today, following recent reports that Victoria has the highest number of children removed from their families compared to the rest of Australia. The number of children in out-of-home care in Victoria is growing at an annual rate of approximately 11% and forecast to reach nearly 26,000 children by 2026.

Ms Maxwell said there was an urgent need to increase the focus on evidence-based models in child and family services to deliver social and economic benefits through early intervention programs.

The motion calls on the Government to commit to the long-term financial resourcing of a range of evidence-based programs to increase the focus on early intervention and enhance the quality and capacity of service provision in child and family welfare.

 

Quotes attributable to Tania Maxwell:-

“We need to focus and steer funding and resources towards ongoing, sustainable early intervention programs for vulnerable families to reduce the number of children entering out-of-home care.”

“Sustainable early intervention programs are a better long-term approach as opposed to addressing issues once a child is in regular contact with the welfare system.”

 

“There is a significant case for prioritising funding for early intervention and primary prevention programs which aim to empower, educate and support parents and their children.”

 

The motion:-

That this House —

  • notes that —
    1. compared to the rest of Australia, Victoria has the highest number of children being removed from their families with the rate of children in out-of-home care growing by approximately 11 per cent annually;
    2. without change, there will be nearly 26,000 children in out-of-home care in Victoria by 2026;
  • recognises —
    1. the urgent need for systemic change through embedding strength-based and evidence-based models into child and family services;
    2. the consistent and increasing evidence of the social and economic benefits of early intervention programs that reduce the need for referrals to child protection and out-of-home care systems;
  • acknowledges the importance of —
    1. reducing the number of children being removed from families through implementing early intervention programs that provide ongoing, sustainable support, especially for vulnerable and socially disadvantaged families;
    2. well-resourced, discretely-funded child maternal health services that support vulnerable mothers, children and families to ensure a sustainable and collaborative approach; and
  • calls on the Government to commit to the long-term financial resourcing of a range of evidence-based programs that increase the focus on early intervention and enhance the quality and capacity of service provision in child and family welfare.