The Liberal National Government today advanced its commitment to safely reducing the number of children entering out-of-home care, with the release of a strategy to refocus its services to the State's most vulnerable families.
Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell said the new Building Safe and Strong Families: Earlier Intervention and Family Support Strategy would guide the reorientation of services with the aim of supporting at-risk families and preventing their children entering State care.
"The last 10 years has seen a significant change in out-of-home care, with the overall number of children in care doubling and a significant over-representation of Aboriginal children in State care," Ms Mitchell said.
"The State Government has had considerable success in reducing the number of non-Aboriginal children entering State care, with Western Australia having the lowest rate in Australia.
"However, we must do better at safely reducing the number of Aboriginal children requiring State care.
"The strategy identifies the need to work with community service providers, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and the Aboriginal community to design new services that meet the specific needs of Aboriginal families."
The Minister said the strategy acknowledged that supporting vulnerable families could not be achieved by one agency alone.
"This strategy targets better information sharing between government and community service organisations to identify and support families whose children are most at risk of entering State care," she said.
"Our aim is to have all government services and agencies working together to increase education attendance, reduce contact with the police and corrective services and prevent children entering care."
The strategy, available at http://www.cpfs.wa.gov.au, complements the Building a Better Future: Out-of-Home Care Reform in Western Australia, and is an essential element of the comprehensive child protection reforms occurring in WA
As at June 30, 2016, there were 4,658 children living in out-of-home care
53% of children in care are Aboriginal, yet they make up only 7% of WA's child population
43% of all children in out-of-home care live with family members
Minister's office - 6552 5400