media release

Largest foster, kinship carer payment increase in over a decade

South Australian general foster and kinship carers who give love, support and care to our most vulnerable children under the age of 16 will receive a payment boost next year – the biggest increase in a decade.

 

Recognising their dedication, the Marshall Liberal Government is injecting more than $19 million over the next four years to increase base and respite carer payments.

 

From January 1, 2022, carers will receive an increase of $50 per fortnight to assist with the day-to-day costs of caring for a children or young person in care under the age of 16.

 

Age group

Base rate as at 1 July 2021 per fortnight

Base rate as at 1 January 2022 per fortnight

0 to 4

$363.00

$413.00

5 to 12

$402.60

$452.60

13 to 15

$579.60

$629.60

 

This year, carer payments increased by 1.1 per cent, and in 2020, payments increased by 2.5 per cent. The current carer payment rate for young people aged 16 up to 21 remains $784.40 per fortnight.

 

Carer payments and loadings vary depending on the age and specific needs of the child or young person in care, taking into account the growing needs of teenagers.    

 

In addition to the fortnightly payments, the Department for Child Protection covers other costs including education, public health and dental and, on a case-by-case basis exceptional resource funding.

 

The Marshall Liberal Government will also provide an additional:

 

  • $83.8 million over four years to meet the costs of children and young people requiring a child protection response to keep them safe from abuse and neglect;
  • $1.5 million in 2021-22 to purchase additional residential care facilities in regional South Australia; and
  • $4.6 million across 2021-22 and 2022-23 to fit out office accommodation for increased staff and to provide more accessible offices for contact with clients.

Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson has fiercely advocated for a sizable increase in carer payments.

 

“The love, care and support our foster and kinship carers give our most vulnerable children and young people in care is priceless,” said Minister Sanderson.

 

“The Marshall Liberal Government continues to acknowledge our dedicated foster and kinship carers and we’re saying thank you for their support with a $50 per fortnight increase in their payments for children and young people under the age of 16 – the biggest increase in a decade.

 

“There is no doubt family-based care is the best form of care for our most vulnerable children and young people because it provides stability and permanency that is vital for good outcomes.

 

“This funding boost joins a host of new Marshall Liberal Government child protection initiatives that are delivering better support to our children, young people and their carers, including extending carer payments for young people up to age 21, delivering new Catholic school scholarships and piloting cutting-edge programs so we can continue to improve outcomes for this cohort.

 

“Thank you to all our foster and kinship carers who open their hearts and homes to our children and young people in care.”

 

As at 30 June 2021, there are 2,394 foster and kinship carer households in South Australia with a child currently in their care.

 

The Marshall Liberal Government continues to make many improvements to better support outcomes for children and young people in care, as well as carers. These include:

 

  • Delivering the state-first Stability in Family Based Care program, extending carer payments for young people from age 18 up to 21, commencing on 1 January 2019.
  • Piloting the Next Steps program, which is providing $2.7 million over four years for young people leaving care up to the age of 21 years who require additional support transitioning to independence from care.
  • Delivering the new $3.8 million Treatment Foster Care Oregon pilot program, which will allow our most vulnerable and complex children and young people in care the opportunity to live with a specially-trained carer who will provide full-time one-on-one support. 
  • Partnering with Catholic Education SA in a state-first initiative delivering 200 school scholarships to children and young people in care across SA. 
  • Delivering free ambulance cover for emergency hospital transport for eligible young people leaving care and in a state-first, young South Australians who have left care now have access to increased, free dental services.
  • Doubling carer exceptional resource funding available from $1 million in 2017-18 to $2.73 million in 2020-21. This funding is available to carers on a case-by-case basis.
  • Delivered the Statement of Commitment, developed in partnership with Connecting Foster & Kinship Carers SA and Child and Family Focus SA valuing carers as an essential and respected part of the care team for children and young people.
  • Continuing to increase the number of children and young people in family-based care from under the former Labor Government (83.1 per cent), up to 86 per cent under the Marshall Liberal Government.
  • Delivered a $200 one-off boost during COVID-19 to all South Australian foster and kinship carers for each child or young person in care to help cover the increased costs carers may have experienced during the coronavirus pandemic.