The NSW Government will soon make it easier for foster families to adopt children in their care, under the most significant reforms to child protection and out of home care in almost a decade.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward have announced a means-tested adoption allowance will be introduced to help families progress to adopting the child in their care.
“We are committed to supporting families to stay safely together, but when that is not possible we need to ensure children have a safe home for life,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“There are more than 18,000 children in care in NSW – foster carers can now more confidently consider open adoption of the children that they have welcomed into their homes.”
Ms Goward said that open adoption of children currently in care or coming into care is a priority for the NSW Government, with $24 million over four years committed to the Adoptions Transformation program. NSW is leading the nation for adoption rates and is on track to reach a record number this financial year.
The reforms will also bring together government agencies and non-government organisations to work with the community to provide improved support for children and families at their most vulnerable.
For the first time in NSW, a diverse range of agencies will deliver internationally tested preventative and diversionary programs, Multi Systemic Therapy Child Abuse and Neglect and Family Functioning Therapy Child Welfare, to work with families where there has been physical abuse or neglect.
The Government will invest $90 million into the two programs over four years, delivering support to 900 children per year.
“All children in, or at risk of entering out of home care, will be receiving a coordinated package of support based on their needs, ensuring that we, as a Government, are meeting children’s needs and empowering them to reach their full potential,” Ms Goward said.