Page 4723 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 10 November 2009

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MS BRESNAN: Yes, Mr Speaker. Will the government be taking into account the outcomes of the consultation process and looking at the decision making that has taken place?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, we will.

Children—kinship carers

MS HUNTER: My question is to the minister for children and young people. It concerns kinship carers. Minister, in election commitments the ALP promised to provide $800,000 over four years for a grandparent support service, including kinship carers. Minister, can you tell us when this commitment will be delivered? And how will kinship carers be involved in the rollout of the information, advice and support programs?

MS BURCH: I understand the advice that that program was delivered as part of this budget but I also will provide some additional information that, as of October of this year, 496 children and young people in out-of-home care were in foster care arrangements, 237 were in kinship care placements, 40 were in residential care and nine were individual support placements. A weekly age-related subsidy is paid to foster and kinship carers but this is not the case across all jurisdictions. I think here in the ACT we do well in that area.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Minister, what has been done to recognise the role that kinship carers play in bringing up children other than their own?

MS BURCH: Currently 60 per cent of kinship carers looking after children in care of the chief executive are grandparents. Marymead is supported to provide a grandparent support network in south Canberra. The service provides referral information, support and advocacy through direct contact and newsletters. The ACT government has recently committed to strengthening information and support networks for kin, grandparents and Indigenous kin carers as part of our election commitment. An ACT kinship representative group has recently been formed and a kin grandparent support group has been established in north Canberra.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Bresnan?

MS BRESNAN: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you give an assurance that kinship carers, many of whom are spending their superannuation and pensions by providing a home for children, will be given the level of support necessary to manage?

MS BURCH: As for information on financial support offered to kinship carers, the care subsidy is intended to contribute to the basic living costs associated with housing, food, utilities, transport, recreational activities and basic school items. Carers are eligible to access payments in addition to the weekly subsidy where approved as part

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