Children who cannot live with their parents can be placed in the care of relatives or close friends.
Kinship care is the care provided by relatives or a member of a child's social network when a child cannot live with their parents.
Aboriginal kinship care is care provided by relatives or friends to an Aboriginal child who cannot live with their parents, where Aboriginal family and community and Aboriginal culture are valued as central to the child’s safety, stability and development. The Aboriginal kinship services are operating in every region of the state.
Statutory kinship placements occur when a Child protection intervention has occurred and a decision has been made to place a child with relatives or a significant friend, and may also involve an order made by the Children's Court.
Private, informal or non-statutory kinship care are terms which may be used to describe arrangements where children are cared for by relatives without any Child protection intervention.
The Victorian Government funds 29 metropolitan and regionally based kinship care services to improve the supports available for children growing up in kinship care. These community based kinship care services provide a range of cultural and support services for children in kinship care and their families close to where they live. These include:
- Information and advice
- Family support services (available to all kinship carers)
- Intensive support services for the most vulnerable children placed in kinship care as a result of child protection involvement.
Kinship engagement workers
The Victorian government's new kinship care model started in March 2018.
The model includes 36 (full time equivalent) kinship staff called Kinship Engagement Coordinators and Kinship Engagement Workers.
The kinship staff are based in each of the department's 17 areas across the state. The teams are available to provide advice and support to kinship carers where there is Child Protection involvement.
See Contacts to get in contact with the kinship teams.
Working with children check
Kinship carers approved by child protection are required to apply for a Working with Children Check within 21 days of a child being placed in their care.
The Working with children check assists in protecting children from sexual or physical harm by ensuring that people who work with, or care for, them are subject to a screening process.
It is free for kinship carers to apply for a Working with children check and it must be renewed every five years.
To apply visit the Apply for a check page of the Working with children check website.
Kinship Carers Victoria - peak body
Kinship Carers Victoria (KCV) is the peak body for all kinship carers. KCV's role is to:
- Link individual kinship carers and carer groups across the state for mutual benefit.
- Promote greater community awareness of kinship families, carers and children in kinship care in Victoria.
- Provide advice for government, organisations and the community on behalf of Victorian kinship carers about improving supports available for children in kinship care.
- Support the implementation and operation of the mainstream and Aboriginal kinship care program model in Victoria and any other future initiatives that improve the formal support services provided for children growing up in kinship care and their carers.
Support for home-based carers
Financial support for home-based carers depends on the needs and age of the child or young person in their care. Read more on Support for home-based carers on this website.