Constituency Question – Child Protection and Family Services

MELINA BATH (Eastern Victoria) (12:51): (19) My constituency question is for the Minister for Child Protection and Family Services, and it relates to children in out-of-home care and their mental health. I raised a discussion around this last night in my adjournment debate. Heather Baird is the founder of a charity based in Sale, A Better Life for Foster Kids. She has been advocating for children in out-of-home care for many, many years. Indeed she was one herself once. She has a vast knowledge in this area. I have just heard the minister in her statement today talk about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in kinship and out-of-home care. She said that she would be keen to do more and learn more. Having said that, my request is that she meet with Heather – Heather would be pleased to come to Melbourne – and discuss a raft of issues around out-of-home care, including mental health concerns that she has and the services that need to be provided at the point of entry rather than some time off in the never-never.