Carers will be given better support and training as part of a new program to halve the time it takes to find vulnerable children a permanent home, the NSW Government announced today.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward said the My Forever Family programwas a significant step forward in improving the child protection system.
“Every child deserves to grow up in a secure, nurturing and permanent home with a loving family to help them thrive,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“My Forever Family will give our wonderful carers the training and support they need to ensure the vulnerable children they care for are given the best possible start in life.”
The program, to be delivered by the not-for-profit provider Adopt Change,will work to match children in out-of-home care with families that best meets their needs; this could be authorised carers who can support restoration with a child’s birth family, prospective guardians or adoptive parents.
The program also includes a dedicated recruitment strategy for Aboriginal people to ensure that Aboriginal children stay connected to their families and community.
Ms Goward said My Forever Family will educate prospective guardians, adoptive parents and carers about the different ways they can support vulnerable children and families.
“My Forever Familyrepresents the first program of its kind in Australia, a program focused on children having a family for life not just until they are 18,” Ms Goward said.
“We want all children to have permanency within two years of coming into contact with us, rather than languishing in care for years on end, which is why we are putting timeframes around restoration, guardianship and open adoption.”
Adopt Change CEO Renée Carter said: “A better experience for carers, through a number of supports and tailored training, will ultimately improve the life outcomes for children who have already faced challenges in their early life.”
My Forever Family will start on July 1 and replaces Fostering NSW and Connecting Carers, following a competitive tender process. For more information visit www.facs.nsw.gov.au/psp