Out of home childcare receives $200m boost
A SPIKE in the removal of children from abusive families has prompted the NSW Government to provide a $200 million boost to foster care over four years.
Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard attributed the upsurge to increasing family violence, mental illness and alcohol and drug abuse, along with increased reporting following the establishment of a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The funding will begin with an extra $50 million in the 2015/16 State Budget, to be handed down on Tuesday.
Delivery of the foster and out of home care sector will also be removed from the public sector.
"The NSW Government is reforming the sector with an emphasis on permanency through guardianship and open adoption, in which children retain contact with their birth parents but have the security and permanency of adoption," Mr Hazzard said.
"We are also moving the care of children to the non-government sector, a key recommendation of the Wood Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW."
NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said about $538 million of the out of home care sector's $960 million recurrent budget for 2015/16 would be directed to non-government organisations in the form of grants.
There are currently 19,800 children and young people in out of home care, including 2300 who moved to guardianship orders in October.
Ms Berejiklian said guardianship and adoption would be considered ahead of long-term placement in out of home or foster care if a child could not be safely returned to their parents.