The NSW Government needs to fund more universal services that keep children safe and families strong, according to NSW’s peak child advocacy body, Fams.

Fams today acknowledged the NSW Government’s funding announcements prioritising the safety and wellbeing of children in the 2021-22 NSW Budget, but said more needs to be done.

“Every year in NSW 108,000 children are substantiated as “at Risk Of Significant Harm”. In 70 per cent of these cases, the family is not contacted, and no support is offered,” said Fams CEO, Julie Hourigan Ruse.

“That’s why Fams is also calling for more funding for government case workers, and community sector first responders.

“That said, there are certainly some good elements in this NSW budget.

“We were really pleased to see $110 million committed to 25 specialist mental health teams across NSW to better support children who have moderate to severe mental health issues, their families and carers.”

“And we welcome the extension for another year of the Start Strong Free Preschool program, providing approximately two days of free preschool per week to eligible children.

“The formative years of a child’s education are critically important, so I encourage all eligible families to take advantage of this funding.

“There is also an opportunity to have a broader conversation about how we make this a long-term, sustainable solution.

“We know that not everyone can afford user-pays early education in the first place. And the difference in education outcomes between those with access and those without is stark.”

The NSW Budget also committed $12 million over four years to promote adoption and guardianship for children in out-of-home care.

“Adoption or guardianship are the best option for some children who cannot return safely to their birth family. Providing greater support for adoptive parents and guardians is critical to ensuring safe and stable arrangements.” Hourigan Ruse said.

Media contact: Sarah Michael 0401 591 286

About Fams

Children are kept safe by quality services which help kids and families when and where they need it. Fams makes this possible by advocating for better public policy, advising how to achieve sustainable outcomes and acting to help vulnerable children, young people, families and communities.

At Fams we advocate, advise and act. We’ve always been driven by strong values and our aim is Safe Children, Strong Families, Supportive Communities.