Page 4297 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013

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The issues paper identified issues, and some examples include: how do we ensure the continuing success of kinship care? How do we engage and recruit foster carers? How do we hear the voices of children and young people? And how do we hear the voices of carers? These are just a few of the themes that stakeholders have been encouraged to think about and to provide comment on.

The issues paper, which was available for community consultation throughout September, generated a robust discussion between stakeholders about the current state of the system. Feedback from the issues paper has been incorporated into the currently circulating discussion paper.

As part of the future direction of out of home care provision in the ACT, there are a number of options for stakeholders to provide feedback to the points in the discussion paper. The paper was released on 14 November, and the Community Services Directorate has facilitated a number of opportunities to hear the voice of the community.

On 21 November, a stakeholder engagement session with non-government agencies and community members was held. This was well attended, with agencies such as Richmond Fellowship and Barnardos attending. Last Thursday was the third ACT carers roundtable. This was attended by kinship carers, foster carers, permanent carers and focused on a number of key areas in the paper. On the 22nd of this month, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body facilitated a forum with interested community members on elements of the paper.

Tomorrow, the Children and Youth Services Council will be provided with a presentation on the key points and how people can respond. Additionally, the paper will be discussed—(Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, how has the out-of-home care system in the ACT changed over the past decade, and what are some of the recent changes that the ACT

government has implemented?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Gentleman for his interest. There has been some change over the last 10 years. For example, the total number of children coming into care has increased, and that is consistent with the national trend. Many of these children entering care will be able to return to their birth families. However, many will remain in the system until they turn 18 years.

The current care system was developed from outsourcing foster care and residential care in the year 2000. Over the past 13 years the system has matured significantly, with the stable of contracted non-government service providers remaining largely consistent through the period.

A new out-of-home care framework was introduced in 2010. As with any area of human services delivery, it is important that we continue to assess and review the

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