Early intervention services for vulnerable children and families under the Liberals failed to keep up with rising demand and an increasing complexity in cases, a new Victorian Auditor-General report reveals.
The Auditor-General’s report, which was tabled in Parliament today, reviewed early intervention services in 2013-14 under the previous Liberal Government.
Early intervention and prevention services are designed to assist families and children from the time that problems and issues first emerge, preventing them from worsening to the point that children are at risk of abuse or neglect.
The report found that there has been a significant increase in the number and complexity of cases being referred to early intervention services, leaving them too over-stretched to help all the at-risk families.
Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, today welcomed the Auditor-General’s report and accepted all its recommendations.
While the previous Liberal Government failed to increase funding to provide for vulnerable families and children, the Andrews Labor Government delivered a significant boost in its first Budget.
The Victorian Budget 2015-16 provided $48.1 million in funding over four years to early intervention services, as part of a $283 million focus on assisting vulnerable families and children.
The Labor Government has funded more than 110 new child protection workers to help those already in the system and provided $93.3 million to improve out of home care for those who can’t live safely with their immediate families.
Ms Mikakos is also establishing a comprehensive review, which will be led by an independent expert, of policies and practises relating to early intervention services.
“Early intervention is our key priority. The Andrews Labor Government’s first budget allocated $48.1 million to these services for vulnerable children and families, a 13% funding increase on last year. While the Liberals failed to provide the funding to ensure early intervention services could meet rising demand, Labor’s first Budget gives them the boost they need. We accept all of the Auditor-General’s recommendations and will swiftly implement them to safeguard vulnerable children and families.”
Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos