$75k tax-free to care for ‘traumatised’ kids
SOUTH Australia is keeping an eye on New South Wales and its foster care trial, that offers adults a $75,000 tax-free salary to care for the state's most "complex" kids.
The NSW government allocated more than $4.8 million to the program last month which begins in December and will include around 30 children.
The state government is hoping the salary would encourage potential specialist carers to leave their careers and take on a full-time role with the child.
The salary could help ease the strain on group homes, which already fork out more than $500,000 caring for kids that have been traumatised from state-run homes.
Speaking to The Advertiser, South Australian Child Protection Minister Rachel Sanderson said she supported the idea of professional foster carers.
"Anything that could improve outcomes for vulnerable children in South Australia, including better support for our foster carers, is on the table," Ms Sanderson said.
"I will take keen interest in the NSW Government trial findings and look forward to reading their evaluations," she said.
The NSW trial will run until 2020 and will target kids that have experienced "multiple placement breakdowns" in foster care.
The NSW government previously said it was hoping people working in careers including nurses, social workers, teachers or youth workers would consider the $75,000 salary.
The scheme has been operating for three decades and has already seen success in countries including the UK, the US and New Zealand.
"Unfortunately there are some children in out-of-home care with incredibly complicated behaviours - these children often need intensive support so they can thrive through childhood and adolescence," NSW Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said last month.
"The goal is to reunite children with their birth families or long-term carers."
OzChild, an external third party care provider, has been given $4.87 million by the NSW government to run the trial.
Any adult paid the $75,000 salary will be expected to funnel their efforts into helping the child, who could be aged between seven and 17.
Specialist foster carers already typically earn around $45,000 a year but often work a second job for superannuation.