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Uniting and the State Budget

Uniting welcomes State Budget commitment to vulnerable families.

Uniting welcomes the $560 million allocated over four years for the foster care system, in particular the increased focus on restoring children to their families by offering intensive help to 1,000 families (500 of which will be Aboriginal families) and the additional $370 million to help meet the increased demand for foster care.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make up 37 per cent of all children in NSW care, according to the NSW Government’s statistical report released yesterday.

“Aboriginal children are hugely over represented in state care. Increased support to these vulnerable children and young people is crucial to close the gap on Aboriginal disadvantage,’ says Bob Mulcahy Director Family Solutions, Uniting.

Negative experiences before coming into care, in-care, and after leaving care all have cumulative effects on young people’s ability to successfully transition to adulthood.

The highly successful Uniting Newpin program, which works to restore children to their birth parents, and Uniting Jannimili, the organisation’s Aboriginal Service Delivery Unit with its 140 Aboriginal staff, provides culturally appropriate support to Aboriginal children and young people in care. Uniting hopes these services will be considered for this additional funding.

Uniting also welcomes the $40 million allocated over four years for a new fund to assist teenagers who are leaving state care find their feet in the community with education, housing and jobs.

“International research has consistently shown that young people leaving care are at high risk of social exclusion, poverty and poor outcomes in later life. Providing adequate support for young people leaving care, is a value-for money investment, which does not only provide social and economic benefits to young people – but to our community as well,” Mr Mulcahy said.

Uniting has a successful Aftercare program providing crucial support for this vulnerable time.

While today’s desperately needed budget commitments are welcomed, to reduce the need for intensive and costly support services in the long term, Uniting will continue to advocate for greater investment in prevention and earlier intervention programs to support families at the most critical times.