Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:38): My question is to Minister Stitt, representing the Minister for Child Protection. The Victorian Ombudsman report released this week revealed that children in residential care are being exposed to drugs and abuse because of ongoing failures in the system. In one instance children were given psychotropic drugs to manage their behaviour, despite there being no controls in place to manage this. I have experienced firsthand as a police officer returning children to resi care and charging adult men with taking advantage of vulnerable teenagers. I note the high-risk youth unit is targeting these situations, but there are still many instances of this happening. My question to the minister is: can the minister outline what other steps are in place to ensure that this serious situation is being addressed?
Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:39): Thanks, Minister. It is an understatement to say that there are many issues we are seeing from out-of-home care and resi care especially. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services has recorded that 600 Victorian children are reported missing each year from out-of-home care due to the horrific circumstances and conditions that they live in. The minister would be aware that the Victorian commissioner for young people, Liana Buchanan, stated: In the last decade the number of children in care has doubled but funding has not kept pace. My supplementary question is: why have we not seen funding keep pace with the number of children in care, and when will we see this funding increase?