Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Government committed to supporting foster carers

The Australian Government is committed to supporting families, including our valuable and important foster carers, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony said today.

“There are approximately 8,300 foster carers looking after nearly 10,300 children at risk. Child welfare is primarily the responsibility of state and territory governments and each has its own legislation, policies and practices in relation to foster care and foster care payments.

“However, the Australian Government makes substantial contribution to the well being of all children in foster care, relative and kinship care by:

  • providing all children in foster or relative/kin families with access to foster care Health Care Cards;
  • providing a full range of Australian Government payments for eligible foster and relative/kin carers such as Family Tax Benefit, Parenting Payment and Child Care Benefit;
  • treating state foster care allowances as outside the definition of taxable income for Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit purposes;
  • assisting some young people in foster and relative/kin care through Youth Allowance; and
  • providing support to some young people leaving care, to help them establish independent living arrangements, through the Transition to Independent Living Allowance.

“Just last week the Community Services Ministers agreed to implement a national Plan for Foster Children, Young People and their Carers. The Plan will see improved training and information for foster carers and the development of uniform data collection to help authorities to determine the critical areas requiring attention.

“The Australian Government has contributed funding for research by the Child Protection Clearinghouse into various foster care issues. There is also $550,000 for the development of national resources for foster carers and children in foster care.

“I have also written to my state and territory ministerial colleagues regarding the request by the Child and Family Welfare Association of Australia (CAFWAA) for the establishment of national out-of-home care standards.

“Foster carers give generously of their time and efforts. They stretch their family circle to encompass someone else’s child or children and provide them with care, safety and support. They are a very special group of people who voluntarily do an extraordinary job caring for children and young people in our community,” Mr Anthony said.