$2.7 million for Maryborough child abuse victims
The Bligh Government will invest $2.7 million over three years to provide safe homes and specialist care to Maryborough young people who have experienced serious abuse and neglect.
Child Safety Minister Margaret Keech said the funding included $2.4 million in new funds to establish a new residential care service and to expand supported independent living services for vulnerable young people.
“Sadly, many young people who come into the Department of Child Safety’s care have complex behaviours, physical or intellectual disabilities, or mental health issues because of the abuse or neglect they have faced,” Mrs Keech said.
“The new and expanded services will provide these young people with a safe and stable place to live, along with the intensive care and support they need to begin rebuilding their lives,” she said.
The residential service will be operated by Fraser Coast Training Employment Support Service (TESS), while the supported independent living service will be operated by Churches of Christ Care – Pathways.
Mrs Keech said the new residential care service was a particularly exciting development for child protection services in Maryborough.
“The new residential care service will be located at the Fraser Coast TESS Community Farm Accommodation Centre, a purpose built facility, located on a Maryborough community farm,” she said.
“Along with the traditional child protection support services, Fraser Coast TESS will also provide on-site education, counselling, educational wildlife park, support and other programs and activities associated with a working community/training farm.”
Mrs Keech said the Queensland Government had allocated more than $2.4 million to community agencies in 2007-08 to deliver vital child protection services in Maryborough.
“Our community partners help us provide a safety net for children of families who are struggling to keep it together,” Mrs Keech said.
“I would like to thank them for their ongoing efforts to give these children a better start in life.”
Mrs Keech also congratulated Maryborough’s growing band of foster and kinship carers for providing safe and stable homes to children and young people in their care.
“At 31 March this year there were around 90 foster and kinship carers in Maryborough providing homes to abused, neglected and at risk children and young people,” she said.
“Each of these carers are valued partners in providing homes for children who have suffered abuse or neglect.
“Child protection is a tremendous responsibility and the Bligh Government needs the support and assistance of local communities, community organisations and carers to shoulder this responsibility,” Mrs Keech said.
For the year ending 30 June 2007, the Maryborough Child Safety Service Centre recorded around 530 notifications of harm or risk of harm to children and young people. Of these notifications, there were around 160 substantiated cases of harm or risk of harm.
Mrs Keech said the Bligh Government’s $15 million foster and kinship carer recruitment campaign was aimed at finding another 500 carers across Queensland to provide safe places to live for these children at risk of or suffering abuse.
“We desperately need more carers, the Bligh Government is improving services but we need to find more carers who can open their hearts and homes and offer at risk children the love and care they deserve,” she said.
For information on becoming a foster or kinship carer, phone the Department of Child Safety on 1300 550 877 or visit www.childsafety.qld.gov.au.
Source: Ministerial Media Release