Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Foster Care Urgency

There are often a number of statistics quoted in this place, but none more significant than those relating to children. The Crime Statistics Agency just released their 2021 crime data, and I was gobsmacked by not only the family violence increases but the increase in child sex offences by 44 per cent. Not only that, these statistics show that on 34 000 occasions children witnessed family violence. In my opinion, this is one of the forgotten issues of the pandemic: vulnerable children left in the home under restrictions with dangerous parents. One way to reduce this awful statistic is to give these children an alternative home, one where they will be loved and respected. On average Barwon agencies receive three referrals per day to place children and young people with a foster carer. Approximately half of these requests cannot be met due to insufficient carers in the Barwon region. More foster carers are desperately needed throughout Victoria to offer a safe, stable and caring home environment for children and young people who are unable to live with their parents or extended family. Throughout this pandemic suitable families have been deterred from fostering because of the possible risk of infection and other COVID-related concerns, resulting in further foster carer shortages and an urgent need for carers in regional areas. I have stood here many times advocating the significance of foster care for vulnerable children by encouraging western Victorians in particular to open their hearts and homes to these defenceless children requiring a loving and nurturing place to heal and flourish. If anyone is interested in foster caring, I strongly encourage them to call Fostering Connections on 1800 013 088, because all children deserve a safe and loving home.


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