Life Without Barriers Far North Coast operations manager Peter Moore.
Life Without Barriers Far North Coast operations manager Peter Moore. Cathy Adams

Foster carers applaud $750m boost

NORTH Coast foster carers have welcomed the State Government's $750 million boost to child protection and care in this year's State Budget.

More than 40 per cent of the money, to be spent over five years, is for non-government agencies like the Alstonville-based Life Without Barriers.

And it includes providing 2000 additional places in foster care and kinship care for abused and neglected children.

“The Far North Coast has one of the highest needs, particularly in the area of high and intensive support,” Life Without Barriers regional operations manager Peter Moore said.

“I'm really pleased the Government is making that contribution - so they should,” he said.

Mr Moore said his organisation, which supports about 100 foster carers from Grafton to Tweed Heads and out to Kyogle, already worked closely with DoCS, but he hoped the extra funding would strengthen that relationship.

The $750 million announced yesterday is designed to implement the State Government's 'Keep Them Safe' action plan, in response to last year's Wood Inquiry into Child Protection.

In addition to extra out-of-home care places, the money will be also used to establish a network of referral services and assist indigenous children at risk.

A rise in the number of children being re-housed has come about because of an increase in cases being investigated by DoCS and more children staying in out-of-home care for longer.

Since 2002, DoCS has employed more than 1000 case workers to ensure abused children are identified and cared for, and to prevent abuse in other cases.

The Government will also spend $6 million over four years to trial a new model for keeping children in indigenous families safe and invest in early intervention programs and provide services to children whose parents are mentally ill.

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer or mentor for at-risk children, phone Life Without Barriers on 6628 0930.



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