The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) has heard Victoria’s child protection crisis is getting worse under Labor’s hapless Child Protection Minister Luke Donnellan. Despite confirming the Andrews Government has an objective to “reduce the rate of growth in out-of-home care”, the Minister confirmed the number of children going into out-of-home care would increase by 14 per cent in 2019-20.
Luke Donnellan said he “hopes” the number of children going into out-of-home care will reduce, but his own Budget Papers blame everyone else, including “media attention” and “population”, for the growth.
This rate of growth is unsustainable and highlights that the Andrews Government is not doing enough to prevent child abuse or support at-risk children.
Luke Donnellan also failed to say what was being done to reduce the rate of abuse against children in Victoria’s child protection system, which saw an increase in abuse and behavioural issues reported, and tragically, eight reported deaths in the first three months of 2019.
The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services found Victoria is now the child protection capital of Australia, with a rate of 56.7 per 1000 children in child protection – the worst in Australia.
The Minister confirmed that hundreds of foster cares were leaving the Victorian system due to a lack of support from the Andrews Government, and according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Victoria has the lowest rate of children in foster care in the country.
The Liberal Nationals want to see the Andrews Government do more to recognise and support foster carers of vulnerable children, and take urgent action to tackle Victoria’s child protection crisis.
Nick Wakeling MP
Shadow Minister for Child Protection