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The case for early intervention in Victoria

Investment in targeted early intervention programs can assist families before issues escalate and result in family breakdown, separation and children entering out-of-home care.

The concerning state of child protection and out-of-home care is at a crisis point in Victoria. A significant shift towards early intervention will not only result in sustainable social and economic benefits to the child protection system but, most importantly, it will deliver better outcomes for children, young people and families.

The compounding force of the COVID-19 pandemic has created confronting new challenges that will have lasting impacts, and it will not be felt equally – it is the families, children and young people already facing adversity that will be most impacted by this pandemic. In the face of the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 a further 4,500 children could enter the out-of-home care system, with up to 27,500 Victorian children in care by 2026.

Commissioned by Berry Street in collaboration with leading agencies across the children and family services sector, including MacKillop Family Services, an independent Social Ventures Australia report projects the impact COVID-19 will have on children and families and the strain this will cause on system already in crisis. The report calls on the Government for decisive action and further investment in early targeted intervention.

The report, Keeping families together through COVID-19: the strengthened case for early intervention in the child protection and out-of-home care system in Victoria, examines impacts of COVID-19 on families and the opportunities for significant reform.