SA announces new program to help find family placements for children in care
The South Australian Government has announced a new program dedicated to finding family placements for children and young people in residential care.
The Finding Families program brings together a team of seven senior placement officers dedicated to identifying safe, secure and sustainable family placements with kin or community, for children and young people currently living in residential care.
“All children and young people deserve to grow up in an environment where they feel loved, supported and nurtured, and have opportunities to thrive and reach their potential,” Minister for Child Protection Katrine Hildyard said.
“We are determined to try and help ensure that they can, through working with young people and families, look at every possible option for safely keeping young people connected to family and living in a family home.”
It is well-evidenced that children and young people who grow up in a family environment, experience significantly better life outcomes than those children and young people living in long-term residential care.
The aim of Finding Families is to give more children and young people in contact with the child protection and family support system an opportunity to grow up in a nurturing and loving environment with their kin or community.
Finding Families will prioritise children aged 10 years and under, including sibling groups, as well as Aboriginal children and young people who are over-represented in the child protection and family support system.
“It is an innovative new program which dedicates staff resources to the sole purpose of identifying family-based placements for children and young people currently living in residential care,” Ms Hildyard explained.
“This team will be flexible and often on the road, having conversations with people of significance to the child or young person, to form a bigger picture of possible support people for the child.”
The program will be made up of three teams including a general team, an Aboriginal-specific partnership with KWY Aboriginal Corporation to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families and staff with multicultural expertise focused on children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
KWY Aboriginal Corporation will lead the work for Aboriginal children and young people alongside local Aboriginal organisations around the state.
Each team will work closely with DCP case managers and staff in residential care to identify and refer children and young people to the program and then travel across the state, or even country, to find family or community who are suitable and willing to take on the child or young person’s care.
A key part of the program is putting in place appropriate services and supports for the carer to ensure the placement is successful.
The program will initially be trialed over 12 months to ensure processes are refined and learnings about how best to engage with families and broader support networks is fed back.
Outcomes will be evaluated at the end of the 12 months.
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