MORNINGTON Peninsula and Frankston foster carers may soon have the opportunity to transform the way vulnerable children and young people are supported under a new model of foster care.
Under the internationally-recognised model, professionalised foster carers will be trained to provide intensive support for children and young people who experience significant emotional or behavioural problems.
The state government is investing $5.6 million to trial a ‘Treatment Foster Care Oregon’ program, which supports the state’s child protection and family services system and aims to keep young people out of residential care.
Professionalised foster carers will work with at least 28 children over two years, under the guidance of a team of practitioners who provide weekly training and support.
More than $20 million for nine specific initiatives will be tested in southern Victoria.
OzChild and Anglicare Victoria will recruit and train carers to deliver the program in the bayside, peninsula and southern Melbourne areas. There will be at least 14 new, professionalised foster care placements a year, with OzChild to focus on children aged 7-11 years and Anglicare working with young people aged 12-18 years.
The model has been successful in New York, where figures show it has reduced the number of children and young people in residential care.
State Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos said the model has the potential to completely transform the way vulnerable children and young people are supported, with “life-changing impact”.
Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald said it was expected that the majority of children and young people would be reunited with their families, where safe, or supported to reach their full potential “with loving kinship or foster care families”.