Foster and kinship carers are being recognised for their incredible commitment to the state's children and young people as part of Foster and Kinship Carer Week.
The Hodgman Government wants foster carers to know that they are not alone in their journey, which is why we have set up a dedicated Foster and Kinship Carer Helpline. The helpline is a statewide service staffed by friendly and experienced experts who can give direct advice or refer callers onto other resources if required.
We have extended Out Of Home Care from 18 years up to 21 years, to provide support for young people as they transition to independent living. Our Out of Home Care Extension to 21 model provides support for young people in family-based care as they transition to independent living. Our pledge also included $900,000 over three years to put better processes and systems in place for the transfer of guardianship, to strengthen the permanency of placement process.
This targeted funding is to ensure there is earlier decision making in the lives of children to limit moving from one placement to another and will see better processes and systems in place for the transfer of guardianship and adoption, including working with the Family Court to better understand the logistics of a potential increase in permanency arrangements. Children in out-of-home care are also eligible for the government's Ticket to Play, which provides $100 towards registration with sporting clubs.
The government has also teamed up with Royal Life Saving Tasmania, to support 185 children living in out-of-home care to access Learn to Swim sessions. Our reform of the out of home care system will deliver improved recruitment, training and support to carers. This includes the establishment of a new Foster Carers Recruitment, Assessment and Retention Team to recruit additional carers over the next two-year period.
We have released a Discussion Paper: A Future Program for Family Based Care which considers a future approach to family-based care, focusing on foster and kinship care and identifies issues for discussion.
This work is building on our record investment for Child Safety and Out of Home Care services, which includes the recruitment of more than 40 additional positions to work in, or directly support the frontline.
We know there will always be a need to bring some children into out of home care, but our Strong Families, Safe Kids redesign of the Child Safety Service will invest more time and effort at the front end to reduce this number significantly.
The helpline is 1800 732 522.
- Human Services Minister Roger Jaensch.