Protecting Vulnerable Children 24/7 Across Regional Victoria

Children in rural and regional Victoria who are at risk of abuse or neglect are being better protected by the Andrews Labor Government.

For the first time there will be teams of specialist child protection workers dedicated to providing on-call, after-hours assistance to vulnerable children and families right across the state. Previously, only 50 per cent of the state was covered by this service.

Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, announced today that more than 19 child protection workers will be recruited to boost after-hours services across Victoria, funded via a $15.6 million boost over four years contained in the recent Victorian Budget 2015-16.

More than 13 of the new positions are for rural and regional areas, including Goulburn, Ovens-Murray, Mallee and East Gippsland.

Ms Mikakos joined child protection staff at the Department of Health and Human Services office in Seymour to make the announcement this morning.

After-hours staff receive and assess reports from the public or other agencies – such as Victoria Police – outside office hours when a child is believed to be in danger. They have the authority to intervene immediately when urgent action is required.

After-hours reports regarding concerns about children’s safety commonly relate to family violence, ice or other substance abuse issues.

This new initiative also improves the workplace health and safety of daytime child protection workers in regional areas who will no longer need to be called out in the middle of the night.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families & Children, Jenny Mikakos

“The extra funding I’m announcing today provides increased protection for vulnerable children in regional Victoria at times of crisis, as well as better conditions for hard-working child protection staff.”

“Having a dedicated child protection team on call overnight right across the state increases the safety of children – no matter where they live.”

“The Andrews Labor Government is making it very clear. We will not tolerate family violence or the abuse of children in any part of Victoria.”

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