Reforms to ensure better supports for vulnerable children announced by the State Government today and recommended in the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Report have been welcomed by the Victorian Council of Social Service.
In addition to substantial budget initiatives outlined in the State Budget today, the reform agenda outlined in Victoria’s Vulnerable Children: Our Shared Responsibility Directions Paper, shows a commitment to changing the way Government works across government and with community sector organisations to deliver better outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families.
The directions paper outlines five key action areas that encompass valuable reforms across health, mental health, alcohol and drugs, family violence, early childhood, education, family services and child protection – including out of home care, and the Children’s Court. Such an approach recognises that action is required across government to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families.
VCOSS commends the commitments from the Premier, Deputy Premier, Minister for Community Services and Mental Health, Minister for Children and Early Childhood, Minister for Housing, Minister for Education and Minister for Higher Education and Skills and the Attorney General to deliver the reforms.
VCOSS has long called for services that are more integrated and family-centred, and so we welcome the new ‘Services Connect’ approach and believe the trials currently underway in Dandenong and Geelong/South West Coast will be helpful in informing more holistic responses to vulnerable families. Also welcomed are the steps to have an increased family-centred approach in mental health and alcohol and drugs.
VCOSS supports increased accountability and transparency of all those parts of the system that support vulnerable families. We particularly welcome the establishment of a Commission for Children and Young People and a Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People. As outlined in the Cummins’ report, the Commission must be independent, report to Parliament and be able to initiate own-motion investigations if it is to truly promote a more accountable and transparent system and better outcomes for children and young people.
SOURCE: “Vulnerable children reforms a valuable step.” VCOSS Media release, May2012