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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3638 ..

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! The next one of you will be warned and the next one after that will be out. Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: and it concerns the national foster care standards. Minister, comments in the media recently described the draft national foster care standards as “aspirational and challenging to implement”. Minister, what is the ACT government’s response to the draft foster care standards?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Hunter for her question. It is interesting to the out-of-home care sector and to foster care placements in particular. The standards that we are looking to apply across the country will be easily met within the ACT, because our standards for foster care and kinship care—indeed, the work we have done across the centre to ensure that our placements are child focused—have the interests of the children at the absolute forefront.

We strive in our placements to ensure that there are ongoing connections as reasonably and sensibly as they can be with family, if there is family known to be about. We also have strong consideration of their educational and recreational needs. Whilst nationally they are strong aspirational standards, here in the ACT it is my view that we are well on the way to meeting them, and I would like to see them more as aspirational and as practical.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Minister, when would you be able to give a more detailed explanation of the standards?

MS BURCH: I have not put a time line on it but I am quite happy to come back here or to offer a brief about how we are progressing those standards locally.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Le Couteur?

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, what percentages of funding are provided by the commonwealth and by the ACT governments?

MS BURCH: I do not have the information in front of me about the split between the commonwealth and ACT contribution to foster care. It is my understanding that we are well regarded in the foster care and kinship care arrangements.

Kinship care placements are increasingly becoming utilised. I think there is a tad over a 50 per cent split between kinship carers and foster carers. Here in the ACT our investment and support to kinship carers is through the department but with foster carers it is with our very strong partnerships with the community sector. But I am quite happy to come back with information on that.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Le Couteur?

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