Ensuring our vulnerable children and young people have a safe, stable and loving home so they can go on to lead successful lives is extremely important.
The recently-established Ministry for Vulnerable Children will work closely with families and will put the needs of children and young people first.
The new Ministry puts a high emphasis on children and young people’s safety and wellbeing.
It will work with families to ensure children and young people get access to the care and support they need, and will ensure they have a say in decisions that affect them.
This is what young people have told us they want.
This change is a great investment into these children and young people’s future. It will help us tackle issues such as child abuse and will give our kids the helping hand many of them need.
The new organisation is the start of a four to five year major transformation programme to build a more child-centred care and protection system, focusing on harm and trauma prevention and early intervention, rather than crisis management.
The programme takes a cross-sector approach and incorporates all influences in children’s lives. It draws on the expertise, experience and capability of professionals, communities, caregivers, young people and families.
Particularly, the Ministry will focus on five core services – prevention, intensive intervention, care support, youth justice, and transition support into adulthood.
Although there is plenty of work ahead of us, a number of changes are already well underway.
The first phase of reforms will see the age of state care extended to a young person’s 18th birthday.
There will also be an independent youth advocacy service set up called VOYCE. Set up in partnership with young people who have experienced care, the government, NGOs and philanthropic sector, VOYCE will provide a strong independent voice from children and young people.
Another important change will see a broader range of professionals with specialist skills working in the sector. Social workers will still be the main professionals responsible for carrying out these functions.
Sadly, many children in years gone past have been failed by the state. We need a better system in place to keep vulnerable children safe.
We are now on a better pathway towards that.
- Jami-Lee Ross is the MP for Botany