A MAJORITY LIBERAL GOVERNMENT WILL:
- Continue to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in Tasmania, with the development of the State’s first Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, and a further investment of $8.7 million.
- Provide $5 million over four years to support new stable permanent family placements where children and young people can belong and thrive.
- Extend supports for Informal Kinship Carers with an additional $1.75 million over four years.
- Provide children and young people who are in out-of-home care with priority access to government services, supports and concessions, with an investment of $2 million for the ‘Sure Start’ whole of government initiative over four years.
- Undertake a comprehensive review of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997 to ensure it is contemporary and aligned with our new approach to child safety under Strong Families, Safe Kids.
- Progress two key initiatives to further embed the Aboriginal child placement principle for children in out-of-home care
There is nothing more important than the safety and wellbeing of children and young people, and supporting the families in which they grow, are loved and belong.
In 2016 the Tasmanian Liberal Government initiated a nation-leading reform of the Child Safety System, and have invested a record $51 million into improving this system, including significant additional staffing resources for Child Safety.
The Strong Families, Safe Kids Child Safety Redesign has changed the way we respond to concerns about children, how we support families and how we engage across government and the community sector to keep children safe.
We are committed to continuing the work that’s begun and a re-elected Majority Liberal Government will continue to improve our response to the most vulnerable children, young people and their families.
Provide $5 million over four years to support new stable permanent family placements where children and young people can belong and thrive
When children and young people enter out-of-home care and are unable to return to live with their parents, the Department of Communities endeavours to provide new stable, permanent family arrangements where children can belong and thrive.
Preferably, this will be within their extended family network and confirmed by an order transferring guardianship from the State to the new family.
We recognise that we can do more to promote new permanent placements and support those arrangements when they can come under stress during critical periods, such as adolescence.
A re-elected Majority Liberal Government will invest $5 million over four years in a permanent placement identification and preservation initiative. The initiative will ensure children do not experience delays in finding permanent family arrangements when they cannot return home and that there is intensive, rapid support available to permanent families who need extra help during challenging times.
This will help ensure that children and young people who have already had a rough start in life, can overcome challenges, remain in their new permanent families and go on to reach their full potential.
Extend supports for Informal Kinship Carers with an additional $1.75 million over four years
Informal kinship carers play a crucial role in the lives of many Tasmanian children who are unable to live with their parents.
During COVID-19, we initiated an Informal Kinship Care Liaison and Support Service Pilot, and a comprehensive review of the supports currently in place to identify improvements.
A re-elected Majority Liberal Government will provide $1.75 million to provide ongoing funding over 4 years for:
- A support and liaison officer in the North West, who will act as a support conduit for informal kinship carers.
- Access to training opportunities, an information portal and government concessions for kinship carers.
- Increased brokerage funds for set up and other costs.
- Access to free community respite for families who need that support.
This is in addition to $500,000 committed immediately following the review to implement key recommendations.
Provide children and young people in out-of-home-care with priority access to government services, supports and concessions, with an investment of $2 million for the ‘Sure Start’ whole of government initiative over four years.
Under our ‘Sure Start’ initiative a re-elected Majority Liberal Government will provide $2 million over four years to ensure vulnerable children and young people, in out-of-home care have priority access to the services they need to achieve better health, education and wellbeing outcomes.
This new funding will also enable us to invest in a Learning Wellbeing Fund for children in out-of-home care.
The fund will support primary age children to overcome their gaps in learning through focused tutoring, it will provide devices and access to driving lessons to young people in high school and it will provide University Scholarships for young people leaving out-of-home care.
We will also develop a framework that will improve coordination across government services resulting in a system of support that works to provide improved outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care.
Undertake a comprehensive review of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997 to ensure it is contemporary and aligned with our new approach to child safety under Strong Families, Safe Kids.
The Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997 is the legislative platform that provides for the care and safety of children and young people who are at risk in Tasmania.
A re-elected Majority Liberal Government will reform Tasmanian’s child safety legislation in line with our Strong Families, Safe Kids Child Safety redesign.
This comprehensive review of the Act will examine such matters as:
- Information sharing across government and with non-government services.
- The role of Aboriginal communities and organisations in supporting Aboriginal children and families.
- Embedding our public health approach to safety and wellbeing for children and young people.
- Enhancing the requirements for supporting and preserving families wherever it is safe to do so.
- Promoting permanent and stable outcomes for children who enter out of home care.
It is imperative that our legislation aligns with the changing approach to child safety and wellbeing embedded in our Strong Families Safe Kids reform agenda.
The review, including consultation will be completed over the next 12 months.
Progress two key initiatives to further embed the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle for children in out-of-home care
The Tasmanian Liberal Government is a proud signatory to the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
We are committed to working with Aboriginal organisations, government agencies and service providers on Tasmania’s Implementation Plan to set and meet Tasmania’s targets as part of this national commitment.
To support this, the 2020-21 Budget included funding of $1.2 million across the forward estimates.
As part of our commitment we must address the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care.
The Aboriginal Child Placement Principle recognises the value of culture, and the vital role of Aboriginal children, families and communities in decisions about the safety and wellbeing of children.
A re-elected Majority Liberal Government will undertake two new initiatives that will further embed the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle. We will:
- Work with Aboriginal Community Organisations to develop an aboriginal-led case management service model for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.
- Work with Aboriginal Community Organisations to identify and build capacity for aboriginal Family Group Conference Facilitators to oversee those conferences that relate to Aboriginal children and young people.
We will continue to promote Aboriginal self-determination, particularly when it comes to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable Aboriginal children and young people.
In addition, a re-elected Majority Liberal Government has committed to:
- $10 million to progress the recommendations of the Under 16 Youth Homelessness Taskforce, including a residential care pilot program for young people under 16 who are not in the care of the state and are unable to live at home.
- $4.35 million to deliver new modular youth homes to be constructed at four sites across the State for young people in transition from Ashley Youth Detention Centre, exiting out-of-home care and shelter accommodation.
- $1 million for new share housing opportunities for young people on the social housing register.
- Provide access to legal representation for children and young people in the North and North-West who are appearing in courts after hours.
- $3 million to double the Ticket to play vouchers for children in low income households to get involved with sport and recreation.
- $98.5 million investment into TAFE, with 100 more teachers and virtual campus upgrades for rural and regional students.
- $1.4 million for 30 schools for a healthy school lunch program.
- Youth Connectors at Jobs Hubs in Sorell, Glenorchy and George Town.
- $170,000 for Devonport’s Fit for Work program for young job seekers.
- $5 million for 20,000 extra dental appointments.
- A major investment of $133 million for education to support school students and their learning spaces, including more funding for trauma support, and providing free access to speech pathologists, psychologists and social workers through every Child and Family Learning Centre.
Current work underway right now:
- Strong Families Safe Kids Child Safety redesign – progressing the Next Steps Action Plan 2021–2023.
- $7.3 million for redesign and upgrade of the Ashley Youth Detention, ensuring it is part of a contemporary, therapeutic youth justice system.
- Delivery of key youth housing projects including a new youth at risk project in Launceston, youth foyer facilities in Burnie and Hobart, youth at risk and transitional accommodation in Burnie and the expansion of Thyne House in Launceston into a youth foyer model.
- Scoping a therapeutic residential on-country program in Tasmania as an alternative to Many Colours, One Direction in the Northern Territory, with $500,000 to progress the recommendations of the Expert Panel who will provide advice to Government in June 2021.
- $500,000 investment in the implementation of recommendations from the Informal Kinship Care Review.
- Investment of $2.1 million over two years into child safety initiatives as part of our COVID-19 response.
- Established Commission of Inquiry into Tasmanian Government responses to child sexual abuse.
Our record in Government:
- Over $51 Million invested in the Strong Families, Safe Kids Child Safety redesign.
- Introduction of the Advice and Referral Line as the redesigned front door to Tasmania family support and child safety services.
- Establishment of Intensive Family Engagement Services to deliver intensive support to families on the brink of entering the statutory service system to enable children to remain safely in the family home.
- Launched the Tasmanian Child and Youth Wellbeing Framework providing an agreed definition of wellbeing to support a consistent approach across the sector.
- Introduced the Interagency Student Support Team to support improved outcomes for students in Tasmanian Government schools;
- Implemented the Student Wellbeing Survey that collects annual wellbeing data from all students in Years 4 – 12 at public schools across Tasmania to inform future efforts and planning.
- $24 Million in additional staffing resources to help restructure the Child Safety Service in line with our reforms.
The cost of this policy is $8.75 million over four years.