Respite Care Consortium

The third Respite Care Consortium report—Strengthening Kinship Families: The role of  respite care—will be officially launched by Dr Lynette Buoy, CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare with an introduction by Janet Elefsiniotis, founding Chair of the Respite Care Consortium, at La Trobe University’s City Campus on Thursday 3 May.

RCCA Roundtable discussion on the research findings will be chaired by Professor Margarita Frederico, Head of School of Social Work and Social Policy after the official launch of the report.

The key focus of the report is kinship care and Aboriginal kinship care. This is the care provided by relatives or a member of a child’s social network when a child cannot live with their parents. For Aboriginal children, Aboriginal family, community and culture are valued as central to the child’s safety, stability and development.

Formed in 2007, the Consortium’s strategy is to build on the strength of parents, grandparents, carers and families to provide safe, secure and loving care for children according to Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University and Consortium Chair, Dr Patricia McNamara.

‘In 2010, in Victoria, our best estimate is that close to 10,000 children are growing up in kinship care. 

‘We believe approximately 20 percent are in statutory kinship placements— placements out of home care arrangements made or maintained as a result of Child Protection involvement,’ says Dr McNamara.

There has been significant growth in statutory kinship placements in the last decade and as that continues to grow so does the growing recognition of the unmet support needs of all kinship carers.

The release of the Report outlines research evidence collected that can be used in practical ways to support and sustain kinship families. 

In this instance it means enriching the experience of family life through offering respite care for thousands of Victorian children and young people living with relatives and non-relatives in kinship care, says Principal Researcher on the study and post-graduate student in the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Juliette Borenstein. 

‘It is important to ensure the safety, stability and positive development of children growing up in kinship care by supporting those that care for children and strengthening support program offerings,’ she says

‘It also means improved opportunities for grandparents and kinship carers to receive the personal and practical support that is enjoyed by most families through naturally occurring extended family and friendship networks.’

ENDS

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Meghan Lodwick

La Trobe University Communications Officer

T:  03 9479 5353 M:  0418 495 941 E: M.Lodwick@latrobe.edu.au  

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