Response to Budget 22

The FCAV welcomes the announcement in this week’s state budget of $5.8M funding over four years for a Carer Help Desk at the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH). We thank the Minister for Child Protection and Carers, Hon. Anthony Carbines MP, for his advocacy to Treasury for this service on carers’ behalf. The Carer Help desk will provide carer support for the acquisition of a range of essential documents and services for the children and young people in their care including Medicare numbers, birth certificates and passports.

 

However, huge gaps remain in the critical funding required to support volunteer foster carers who are shouldering a decade’s worth of increased cost of living pressures with no increase or indexation to the rate of the Carer Allowance since 2016.

 

“The FCAV is very disappointed that this budget did not include an increase to the Carer Allowance. We’ve followed the Department’s review of the Carer Allowance through KPMG very closely and we are quite stunned that the findings have been ignored as costs rise and carers’ financial pressures increase.” Samantha Hauge, CEO, Foster Care Association of Victoria.

A detailed cost analysis previously provided to the Department (DFFH) and to Minister Carbines, outlines the costs versus funding shortfall for both the Carer Allowance and the Client Support Funding Framework. This analysis found that increased costs in daily living, transport / travel, education, medical and therapeutic services leave carers out of pocket by an average of $3,500 a year.

 

The FCAV remains concerned that Victorian families are being asked to not just provide 24/7 care to traumatised children but to also pay for their needs out of their own pockets. Carers are leaving Care services at time when the need for more carers has never been more urgent, with ongoing financial pressure clearly a contributing factor.

 

Foster carer, Krissy Robinson, said today, “You can’t provide care if you can’t afford it and not every great carer is wealthy enough to do that. In fact, often to be a good carer and available for appointments, uphold access visit responsibilities and to support a child therapeutically, being a carer wreaks havoc on your earning capacity.

“The current level one and two allowance rates definitely assume a level of financial input by the carer, it barely covers a proportion of basic food, bills and rent, let alone the additional costs involved in supporting a young person who has experienced trauma.”

 

The FCAV will continue to advocate for effective financial support to carers so that the children and young people for whom they care are truly included in “A Fairer Victoria”.

 

For all media enquiries please contact:

Anna Viola, Communications Manager - 0411 896 730

Samantha Hauge, Chief Executive Officer 0437 122 068

Foster Care Association of Victoria – 9416 4292