Report reveals Labor’s child protection system is getting worse for vulnerable children and families

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Report reveals Labor’s child protection system is
getting worse for vulnerable children and families

Recently released results in the Productivity Commission’s report on the Government’s child
protection services reveal that contrary to what the Minister says – that they are
“strengthening our child protection system to keep families together and give more children
a better start in life” – Labor continue to weaken the child protection system and keep
families apart.

Victoria had the lowest rate of successfully reuniting children in out-of-home care with their
families, or other permanent arrangements such as adoption.
The facts show the government is doing nothing to close the gap in child protection,
removing more Aboriginal children from their families, making Victoria the state with an
over-representation higher than any other state or territory and almost double the national
average.

Despite Labor crowing they spend more than ever on the child protection system, the facts
are that spending per child has decreased from $91,468 in 2017-18 to $84,446 in 2022-23.
Factoring in CPI the 2017-18 figure in today’s terms equates to $111,205. This leaves the
2022-23 spending per child $19,737 less than in 2017-18 in real terms. Victoria has dropped
to second-last in terms of real recurrent spending per child in care, compared to other
Australian jurisdictions. Spending on protective intervention services also fell last year at a
time when vulnerable children needed it most.

Shadow Minister for Child Protection, Roma Britnell, said: “This report reveals that what the
Minister says the government are doing to fix the broken child protection system and what
the government is actually doing are two different things. The facts are there to see.

“The foster care system is broken because the government simply won’t pay what it takes to
look after a child. The community want to help but the government aren’t assisting.

“How many more horrific stories of children in the State’s care system, being exploited,
criminalised and sexually abused, or actually dying – do we need for the government to fund
the system adequately?

“The continued over-representation of Aboriginal children in the State’s care is indefensible.”

Roma Britnell MP
Member for South West Coast
Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight
Shadow Minister for Child Protection
Shadow Minister for Boating and Fishing

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