STUART GRIMLEY MP

Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Foster Carers

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:19): My question is for the Minister for Workplace Safety,
representing the Minister for Child Protection and Family Services. Last week my office crunched the
numbers from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and found that, using conservative
estimates, there will not be enough foster carers to look after children who do not have access to
kinship care. This means those children will go into the unreliable system of residential care. The child
protection system simply does not work or have good outcomes without volunteers, such as foster and
respite carers. The Premier said in response to this at a press conference last week, ‘We know there’s
more to be done here’. He also said that the investments that the state government is making will
increase the retention of foster carers. Minister, if the government is investing so much money in the
child protection system, why are we seeing more foster carers leave than ever before and at
disproportionate rates to all other Australian states?

Ms STITT (Western Metropolitan—Minister for Workplace Safety, Minister for Early Childhood
and Pre-Prep) (12:19): I thank Mr Grimley for his question to the minister for child protection in the
other place. I will get a written response in accordance with the standing orders.

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:20): Thank you, Minister. The three recommendations that
I made last week as part of Foster Care Week were to encourage recruitment and retention of foster
carers; to modernise the foster care system, such as to rapidly expand the Treatment Foster Care
Oregon program; and to lift the foster carer allowance for the first time since 2016. The minister
attended a foster care event recently but did not commit to additional investment in the foster care
system. A KPMG report commissioned by the government into the foster care allowance
recommended it be lifted by 67 per cent. However, this report has never been made public.

Fifty-nine per cent of Victoria’s foster carers use their own money to support kids in their care.

It is clear that the foster care payment needs to be lifted. Minister, for the sake of transparency, will the government
release the KPMG report? If so, when, and if not, why not?

Ms STITT (Western Metropolitan—Minister for Workplace Safety, Minister for Early Childhood
and Pre-Prep) (12:20): I will also refer Mr Grimley’s supplementary question to the minister for child
protection.

STUART GRIMLEY MP

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