Thousands of Western Australian carers will receive one-off payments of $500 or more from the state government to help ease household financial pressures experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic.
An estimated 7,359 children living in carer households are expected to benefit from the financial boost, which will be provided directly to foster and family carers, community sector organisation foster carers, special guardian carers and grandcarers in September.
Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk today announced the $3.68 million in payments to assist carers with buying essential items and covering additional expenses to ensure children remain safe, healthy and connected to school.
“Foster carers, grandcarers and special guardian carers do incredible work day in and day out, and we know that work became more challenging at the height of the pandemic,” said Ms McGurk.
“These carers stepped up when the vulnerable children in their care were kept home from school to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and asking questions about why they were being made to stay at home.
“While the financial impact of COVID-19 has been significant for many Western Australians, this payment will go some way to helping carers out and acknowledging their often unsung work.
Carers will receive one-off payments of $500 for the first child in their care, and $250 for each additional child in their household.
The financial boost for carers is part of the McGowan Government’s $2.3 billion COVID-19 stimulus and relief package for households and businesses.
As part of the WA Recovery Plan, the State Government will also provide more than $300,000 for additional therapeutic and consultation support for foster and family carers.
The service will provide up to eight consultation and support sessions for carers, to assist with out-of-home care support and provide strategies to aid stabilisation for children and families once a placement commences.
The State Government is also in the process of finalising a report on its Foster Care Refresh project, which has involved consultations across Western Australia to ensure the Department of Communities and foster carers are working together to deliver the best possible outcomes for children in care.
The report contains recommendations aimed at addressing gaps in the system and improving outcomes for foster families and children in care.
The Minister said the funding would reduce the financial strain on carer households at a time of need and offer greater support to carers seeking to create stable placements for the children they look after.
“Providing family and foster carers with the right support, at the right time and for the right reasons, will bring about the best outcomes for children in care,” she said.