Sunday, 1 June 2008

$1.8 million boost for Gladstone's child abuse victims

A new $1.8 million child safety service in Gladstone will provide homes and specialist care to young people who have experienced serious abuse and neglect.
Child Safety Minister Margaret Keech said on 30 May that Lifestyle Solutions had been allocated up to $610,876 a year for the next three years to establish and operate a new residential care service 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.
"This new service 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.
Mrs Keech said the Bligh Government has allocated more than $2.2 million for community agencies in 2007-08 to deliver vital child protection services in Gladstone.
"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 Gladstone'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 50 foster and kinship carers in Gladstone 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 Gladstone Child Safety Service Centre recorded around 400 notifications of harm or risk of harm to children and young people. Of these notifications, there were around 130 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

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