Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-operative (GEGAC) and Ramahyuck and District Aboriginal Corporation will share $873,071 in Coalition government funding to provide vulnerable Aboriginal children and their families with additional care and support services.
“The funding allocation of more than $8.8 million over four years, will be shared by 17 Aboriginal community-controlled organisations (ACCOs) that are already providing family services, out-of-home care and placement prevention programs, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said today.
“This funding will enable both organisations to provide for the first time, therapeutic out-of-home care for Aboriginal children who have been abused and/or neglected and to support young Aboriginal people transitioning from state care to independent living.”
Chief executive officer of GEGAC, Jason King, said “it is very pleasing to see the current government investing in Aboriginal out-of-home care. We provide out-of-home care for Aboriginal children throughout the whole of Gippsland.
“When you look at the financial commitment, it is nearly 10% of the total for Gippsland and that is a significant investment into our local services and to the wider Gippsland community.
“This is the next phase of care for our most vulnerable children in care. It will also provide leaving care assistance, out-of-home care and also therapeutic residential care too,” Mr King said.
Dr Ali Khan, chief executive officer of the Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation said, “the funding initiative for Aboriginal Family and Children Services demonstrates the commitment of the Baillieu Government for the welfare and betterment of Aboriginal Communities across Victoria.”
“The funding will go a long way in strengthening the foundations of the Family and Children Services programs in Central Gippsland and the Wellington region.”
Dr Khan said, “a project plan will be developed with input from the grassroots community members to improve delivery of services for family preservation, family restoration programs, capacity building and up-skilling staff, including Aboriginal therapeutic home based care.”
Community Services Minister, Mary Wooldridge said, previously young Kooris who needed this type of support could only access them via mainstream services. This new approach provides greater choice for Aboriginal young people in times of great need.
“Funding will also go towards capacity building and strengthening of the ACCOs and their workforces to enable them to effectively deliver culturally responsive, high quality services to Aboriginal children and their families.
“This will support improved outcomes for the Aboriginal community and is consistent with the Victorian Government’s commitment to closing the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians.
Ms Wooldridge said that Aboriginal children and young people are consistently and significantly over-represented in the Victorian child protection system.
“High quality, responsive and culturally appropriate care and support can make a significant difference in young lives and help break the inter-generational cycle of disadvantage,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“By providing direct, specific funding and capacity building support to ACCOs, we recognise that strong and vibrant Aboriginal service providers are a crucial part of our system and help us to best meet the needs of young people who have experienced abuse and neglect.”