Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

BCYF Foster Care Program

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:46): My question is to the Minister for Child Protection. Barwon Child, Youth and Family run the foster care program for the broader Geelong area. Currently from application it can take upwards of six months for a prospective foster carer to be reference checked, interviewed and approved to care for children. On average, BCYF receives three referrals per day to place children with a foster carer, yet 70 per cent of these cannot be met due to insufficient foster carers in the region. Those who undertake these screens and checks are called carer assessment, recruitment and support, or CARS, workers. The emphasis for having approved carers on the books is also to have a pool of carers to provide respite for full-time foster carers. There is an issue with the retention of current foster carers when there is a shortage of respite foster carers. The estimate is that with this position wait times for prospective foster carers could be halved, making the application process just three months. My question to the minister is: will you explore the viability of employing an additional BCYF foster care CARS worker for three days a week to put vulnerable kids in caring homes more efficiently?


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