Aboriginal community groups, including the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA), will be given responsibility for the case management of Indigenous children in out-of-home care.
The Andrews Government has announced $47.3 million in the upcoming Victorian budget to address the over-representation of Aboriginal children and youth in child protection and care and improve cultural connections.
This is in addition to an announcement made earlier this month that siblings in out of home care in Victoria will be able to stay together, or at least in contact.
Families and Children Minister and Jenny Mikakos signed the announcement this week at Victoria's Parliament House, with representatives from the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, the Victorian Aboriginal Children and Young People's Alliance and the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare.
"We're breaking new ground in supporting Aboriginal children and families - this is the most comprehensive and collaborative approach our state has ever seen," Ms Mikakos said.
VACCA pledged their support for the program, with CEO Aunty Muriel Bamblett saying it was vital in keeping kids connected to culture.
“A lot of the children that we work with [are] Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, and a lot of them get placed away from their Aboriginal and community, so they get ostracised from not knowing their community and they go searching for them,” Aunty Muriel told NITV News.
“It can be really traumatising to grow up knowing that you’re Aboriginal but not knowing anything about it.”
The additional funding will now allow agencies like VACCA better manage individual cases overall, while $10.8 million will go towards reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in the justice system.
Both initiatives are part of the 2015 Andrews Labor Government’s plan to transform Indigenous child and family services.