The Albanese Labor Government has committed $44 million in funding to strengthen support for First Nation families and children at risk of entering out-of-home care or already engaged with the child protection system.
Indigenous children are almost 12 times more likely to be placed in out-of-home care or connected to the child protection system. The Commonwealth has committed to the Closing the Gap target to reduce the number of Indigenous children in out-of-home care by 45 per cent by 2031.
The Improving Multidisciplinary Responses program funds holistic services in culturally, geographically and socially diverse communities, focusing on First Nations families with complex needs and driving community-led change.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the program recognises the importance of place-based, community-designed support for First Nations families and children.
“First Nations communities across Australia have a range of unique and multifaceted needs,” Minister Rishworth said.
“The role of government is to listen to communities who best understand their local context, aspirations and what will help families navigate early support services and the child protection system.
“Our targeted investment through the IMR will enhance existing services to continue to provide specialised care to First Nations families and walk alongside them to ensure no one falls through the gaps.”
The funding will enable First Nations organisations to embed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (ATSICPP) and its five elements of prevention, placement, participation, partnership and connection in future service design.
Successful grant recipients were chosen following a detailed selection process by a Selection Advisory Panel working in partnership with independent First Nations representatives, along with Commonwealth, state and territory government officials.
A total of 15 organisations will share the funding as a result of demonstrating strong alignment with the goals of the IMR program.
“These organisations and the services they provide will bring us closer to achieving Target 12 of Closing the Gap to reduce the rate of over-representation of First Nations children in out-of-home care,” Minister Rishworth said.
“The funding will go straight to communities and families, so they can ensure better futures for their children.”
More information about the IMR program is available on the Department of Social Services website.