Palaszczuk Government extends foster carer allowance
Published Saturday, 16 February, 2019 at 09:00 AM
Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Di Farmer
Foster and kinship carers looking after some of the Queensland’s most vulnerable children will have their allowance extended for children who turn 18 while still at school.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said new funding rising to more than $2.39 million from 2020/21 would make sure children living in foster and kinship care homes continued to be supported at school.
“As a result of the introduction of Prep into Queensland schools, more and more foster children are now finishing Year 12 after they turn 18,” she said.
“Up to now, the foster carer allowance ended when a young person turned 18, but from this year we are extending this for while our children and young people are enrolled at school.
“The whole point of foster care is to provide a safe, secure family home environment for children in care.
“If a child in your family turns 18 halfway through Year 12, you wouldn’t just cut off financial support on their birthday – you just wouldn’t do that.
“That’s why we’ve taken this vital step. To give children in care certainty that if they turn 18 while still at school, they will be supported to complete their schooling and not have to worry that their circumstances could change in the most important and stressful year of their education.
“While we had been supporting children to finish school on a case-by-case basis, this funding gives them peace of mind and security.”
The Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said the additional financial support from 2020-2021 would allow children in care to be supported, through until the age of 19, regardless of their education status.
“Transitioning to independence isn’t something that happens overnight,” Ms Farmer said.
“That’s why we made transition to independence planning a legal requirement from the age of 15 as one of a suite of reforms we legislated with the Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2017, which took effect in October last year.
“These changes provide provide permanency and stability for children, including after the age of 18.
“Children don’t suddenly become adults when they turn 18 or even when they finish school, it’s a process that happens over time and with family support just as it is in any other family.
“This extended funding provides our wonderful foster and kinship carers the financial stability they need to continue to support the young people in their care as part of their family, as well as helping support them to finish high school.
“This adds to support from programs funded by the department, like the Smith Family’s Care2Achieve scholarships, Life Without Barriers’ Next Steps which helps young people who’ve left care to live independently, and The Pyjama Foundation which supports young people in education.
“Our foster and kinship carers are some of the kindest, most wonderful people I’ve met, and they open their homes and their hearts to welcome foster children into their family.
“This funding will support them to do that while the young people in their care transition to independence.”
The allowances will also be payable to long-term guardians and permanent guardians.
This funding is part of the $374 million that the State Government has committed to over three years from 2019-20 to continue existing reforms to strengthen Queensland’s child protection system.
Media contact: Cat Milton - 0447 117 132