The Andrews Labor Government is providing more support for women and children experiencing family violence. Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos has announced a $5.65 million statewide funding boost for Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services, to meet growing demand.
The funding will be used to develop further partnerships with family violence services and to prioritise family violence responses to Aboriginal children and families. It will be based on demand and allocated to service providers across the state, an official press release said on Aug 17.
In the past year, 55 per cent of all new referrals to Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services across Victoria had family violence recorded as an issue.
This directly responds to a recommendation in the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which called for more funding to be provided to Integrated Family Services so they can respond to family violence, pending the establishment of Support and Safety Hubs.
Child FIRST – Child and Family Information, Referrals and Support Teams – ensures vulnerable children, young people and their families are connected to the services they need. Integrated Family Services helps families with parenting skills and provides counselling and group work to improve parent-child relationships.
This funding is on top of the $48 million boost to Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services in the Labor Government’s first budget – part of the biggest boost ever to the Child Protection budget.
In 2015-16 alone, Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services provided more than 35,000 cases of support to Victorian families.
The Labor Government’s $168 million Roadmap for Reform is shifting our focus from crisis response to prevention and early intervention, which is a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. (TIW)