Berry Street says the Victorian Government’s $3.8 billion investment in mental health will significantly improve outcomes for children and young people in care.
“There are almost 12,000 children in Victoria currently living in out-of-home care – including around 450 in residential care on any given day,” Berry Street CEO, Michael Perusco, said.
“Many of these children and young people have experienced trauma, abuse, and neglect, and face significant mental health challenges. They have been crying out for better access to support services – this Budget delivers for them.”
“For too long, our vulnerable children and young people have been unable to access the care they need, when and where they need it. The establishment of dedicated access streams for children and for young people is an exceptional development, and will make a massive difference to their lives.”
The Budget provides funding for 13 dedicated Youth Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services across Victoria, offering tailored support to young people aged 12 to 25; $141 million for five new Youth Prevention and Recovery Care Units; and $16 million for four new HOPE (Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement) sites, specifically designed and delivered for children and young people who have self-harmed or are at risk of suicide.
A further $16.3 million will expand the existing Mobile Targeted Assertive Outreach teams program, which provides specialised outreach support to young people with multiple and complex needs.
“We are increasingly seeing more children and young people entering the child protection system, and presenting with more complex needs and mental health challenges.”
A reformed mental health system – which this Budget will deliver – will help ensure we can provide vulnerable children and young people with the care and support they need and deserve.
The 2021-22 Victorian Budget also provides $171 million for child protection and family services programs and initiatives, and $354 million to implement all 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
“Sadly, there will always be a need for child protection services for children who have suffered abuse and neglect. But, for many families, targeted intervention at an early stage could help them stay safely together, and prevent the need for a child to be removed.”
“We welcome the funding in this year’s Budget for 280 more child protection workers, and specialist support and early intervention programs,” Mr Perusco said.
Berry Street provides services to children, young people and families impacted by abuse, violence and neglect across Victoria, including out-of-home care.