The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath and Shadow Minister for Families and Children Georgie Crozier have hosted an ‘Out of Home Care’ forum in the Latrobe Valley to give kinship and foster carers the opportunity to meet and share issues.
The forum, held in Traralgon on Tuesday, was attended by more than 30 kinship and foster carers from across Gippsland.
“These wonderful people do a vital service for society, providing a safe and nurturing environment for children in need of care,” Ms Bath said.
“However, they feel that the system can be much improved.”
“I have had a number of carers come to my office raising concerns around many aspects of the foster care system. Their clear primary concern is for the children in their care.”
“The forum was an opportunity for carers to share and discuss their experiences with each other, and for Shadow Minister Georgie Crozier to hear how elements of the current system impact negatively on children and carers.”
More timely education and early training, improving communication across the sector, better managing tiers and payments (reimbursement) for services were amongst the issues highlighted.
“The need to relay specific medical information about children in care was also a recurring theme,” Ms Bath continued.
Ms Crozier said the forum was an opportunity to better comprehend the concerns of carers.
“It’s important for me to hear first-hand and understand what is happening,” Ms Crozier said.
“These people are doing an extraordinary job on behalf of the community and care for some of our most vulnerable children.”
“There needs to be better communication, better support and better education within the sector.”
“Many people expressed that the support for carers is just not there.”
“I would like to thank all those who participated and gave their time to attend this important forum.”