A national approach to protecting children at risk
The Rudd Government is providing $63.0 million over four years to help protect Australia’s vulnerable children from child abuse and neglect under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.
Protecting children at risk requires a coordinated national response. The measures under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children are a significant investment by the Rudd Government to keep children safe and well.
Key national leadership projects
The Government is providing $10.0 million over four years to key projects that support continuous improvement in services to protect children.
This includes the development of ambitious National Standards for Out of Home Care. National standards will ensure that all children who cannot be cared for by their parents receive the quality care and support they need for their wellbeing now and into the future. National benchmarks will improve national consistency and improve the quality of out of home care over time.
In addition, the Government will contribute to a coordinated national response through:
- Improved information sharing and data consistency to ensure that vulnerable children and their families do not fall between the cracks and improve our understanding of children at risk of harm;
- Workforce development projects including training and professional resources and tools to improve the capacity of all services working with families and children to identify children at risk early and respond appropriately; and
- A national research agenda for child protection which will ensure governments and non-government organisations deliver the best possible support to vulnerable children and families.
Communities for Children Plus
The Government will provide $10.0 million over four years to establish up to eight innovative integrated service delivery sites across Australia to reduce child abuse and neglect in disadvantaged communities. Building on the success of Communities for Children, this measure will provide intensive early intervention services to an additional 1,200 children and families over four years in their local community.
Communities for Children Plus will bring Australian, and State and Territory Government services together to address the risk factors for child abuse and neglect before they escalate. This could include parenting support, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, family violence and housing services, as well as child protection services if required.
Enhanced access to quality child care for children at risk
The Government is providing $3.0 million over four years to enhance access to quality child care for Australia’s most vulnerable children through increasing awareness in the child care sector and the Family Assistance Office about entitlements offered under the Special Child Care Benefit. This is expected to increase take-up of the Special Child Care Benefit which will result in a change to administered expenditure of $34.8 million over four years. The Special Child Care Benefit covers the full cost of child care for children at serious risk of abuse or neglect.
Under this measure the Government will provide access to free, quality child care for an additional 2400 children each year.
Increased assistance for young people leaving care
From 1 July 2009, the Government will increase the Transition to Independent Living Allowance for young people leaving care from $1,000 to $1,500, at a cost of $5.3 million over four years.
The Transition to Independent Living Allowance provides practical one-off support for young people leaving care to assist with the costs associated with independent living, such as moving, furniture, education or transport costs.