By Josh Bavas
The Queensland Government is hoping financial incentives will help to bring working families into the foster care system as it seeks to find more homes for the rising number of children in urgent need of placement.
The Government was also walking a fine line in the wake of the murder of Logan schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer, since her foster father Rick Thorburn was charged with her murder and her foster brother Trent Thorburn was charged with incest
In response to Tiahleigh’s murder, the State Government enacted the Family and Child Commission’s recommendations
Today, Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman pledged $15 million over four years to help cover childcare and kindergarten costs for foster families in the hope of luring more carers into the system.
Foster carers would be eligible to receive up to $2,000 per year for each child aged one to five.
Foster Care Queensland executive director Bryan Smith welcomed the announcement, saying the incentives provided a sensible motivation.
“Most families have got to work. There is no choice in society today, we’ve got to make our dough,” he said.
“We’ve got to be able to live, so families need to be able to work.
“Potential foster carers can now continue to do that, knowing that their gaps in child care are going to be paid.”
There are currently about 5,000 foster carers in Queensland, but Mr Smith said the demand for more had never been greater.
“We continue to have children coming into care, we’re no different to the rest of the western world,” he said.
“If we could … get up to say, 6,500 carers, we’d be doing very, very well.”