An investment of $2.82 million over two years to fund the initiatives was announced at the Aboriginal Children's Forum today.
The initiatives respond directly to calls from the sector and community to empower Aboriginal community controlled organisations to lead in the delivery of services and supports for Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care.
The initiatives include:
- $880,000 for a transition team that will develop and implement a strategy to transition support services for Aboriginal children and young people who are involved with child protection to Aboriginal organisations
- $500,000 to improve access to Targeted Care Packages for Aboriginal children and young people
- $340,000 Return to Country program to help Aboriginal children in care stay connected to their culture
- $220,000 to provide more support to Aboriginal children and young people leaving care
- $880,000 for the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency to continue delivery of Section 18 services, which provides for legal guardianship for Aboriginal children subject to a Children's Court protection order.
This funding is in addition to a $16.5 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2016–17 to support vulnerable Aboriginal children and their families.
The initiatives support implementation of the Roadmap for Reform, the Victorian Government's overhaul of the child protection and family services system and includes a commitment to Aboriginal self-determination around decision-making and care for vulnerable Aboriginal children and young people.
The Aboriginal Children's Forum is held quarterly by the government to address issues facing Aboriginal children, young people and their families.
Each forum is co-chaired by the Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, and a chief executive officer of a local Aboriginal community-controlled organisation.