To determine whether DHHS’s kinship care model is supporting timely, stable and quality placements for children and young people.
Kinship carers provide care to children and young people when they cannot live with their parents. Children and young people who enter kinship care have often experienced abuse and neglect. Kinship carers make a significant commitment and often require training to deal with the challenging behaviours that children and young people can display as a result of trauma. Kinship care is increasingly the preferred placement option and is the fastest growing form of out-of-home care (OOHC) placement.
In December 2017, the Victorian Ombudsman’s report Investigation into the financial support provided to kinship carers found issues with the statutory kinship placement system, such as DHHS failing to complete kinship assessments and kinship carers receiving far less financial support than foster carers.
The lack of access to support for kinship carers also disproportionately affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, carers, children and young people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children account for about 25 per cent of the total amount of children in OOHC but make up less than one per cent of the Victorian population.
DHHS introduced a new Kinship Care Model in March 2018. This audit will examine whether DHHS is achieving the model’s aims, which include early identification of kinship networks, reunification where appropriate, and stable, high-quality placements.
The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency and a selection of kinship care service providers.