Background: Kinship care refers to the care provided by relatives or members of the child’s social network when a child is unable to live at home with their parents, and is the preferred placement option within the Child Protection System.
Kinship care is an important element of the Child Protection System given the number of out of home care placements. According to the latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2013), as of June 30 2012, there were 39,621 children in out of home care in Australia; an increase of 5.4% on the previous year. There are 3526 Victorian children in kinship care. In total, 47% of these children reside in a kinship care arrangement, a higher proportion than in foster care (44%).
There are currently 25 Community Services Organisations (CSOs) providing Kinship Care Support Programs in Victoria. These programs were supporting approximately 750 children as of June 2013. The remaining statutory placements were being case managed within the DHS Child Protection program.