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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 23 June 2011) . . Page.. 2573 ..

1. Yes, I refer the Member to the response to Questions on Notice 1195, 1425 and 1426.

2. Further to my response to Question on Notice 1195, the department has not been able to identify an organisation within the community sector with the specialised knowledge and capacity to provide the required support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers. Instead, a full time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carer Liaison Officer position is being established. This will be a temporary position, for 12 months, during which time the position will work with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to develop capacity in the sector with a view to transferring the program to the community. The position will be based at the West Belconnen Child and Family Centre, which has a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and will work across the Territory providing workshops, support groups and other assistance. It is expected that the position will be operational before 30 June 2011.

3. Up to $10,000 has been provided towards kinship carers’ attendance at conferences and workshops in 2010/11. The Kinship Carers Advocacy and Support Service, provided by Marymead Child and Family Centre, commenced operation on 6 December 2010. This service provides information and support to kinship carers including a telephone hotline, web-based information and social activities. It will also facilitate a reference group that will advocate on kinship carer needs and develop resources to support kinship carers.

4. A total of $200,000 has been committed annually to support grandparent and kinship carers. Unspent funding of approximately $50,000 in 2010- 2011 relating to programs that commenced after 1 July 2010 has been maintained in the Out of Home Care Budget and has been used to offset the cost of providing out of home care services to children and young people in care.

In addition to the $200,000 commitment, the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support has allocated a further $57,000 from within existing resources in order to top up the $40,000 allocated for the full time Carer Liaison Officer position to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander grandparent and kinship carers. Included in this funding is $5,000 to be used as brokerage to support clients.

As part of the 2011/12 budget, the Government has provided funding of $1.693 million over four years for the Community Kinship Care Program. This initiative recognises the importance of children and young people staying with kin and provides a specialised support service model that targets the needs of kinship carers. The funding provides for dedicated outreach workers to support carers and children and young people in kinship care.

The Government also provides funding ($61,732 in 2010/11) to the ACT Foster Care Association who support kinship carers.

In the 2009/10 financial year the Department paid $2.3 million in ongoing subsidies to kinship carers and a further $1.4 million in contingencies for one off or additional needs.

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