$75k tax-free to foster damaged kids out West
RESIDENTS in Sydney's west will be offered a $75,000 tax-free pay cheque to become foster carers to some of the state's most vulnerable and damaged children under a radical new plan.
A recruitment drive is under way by FACS Minister Pru Goward to enlist people to be carers in the new intensive program, which offers up to $75,000 for those willing to give up their jobs and care for the troubled youngsters on a full-time basis.
The payment is a significant jump on the usual foster carer allowance of between $494 and $748 a fortnight.
Carers are expected to have no other job and dedicate all their efforts to the child who can be as young as seven or up to age 17.
The children will be referred to the program, a first of its kind for NSW, from across metropolitan Sydney and placed with specialist carers in the western suburbs.
Children will qualify for the program, Treatment Foster Care Oregon, if they are unable to remain in the regular foster care system because of difficulties "managing their feelings, thoughts and behaviours" - the result of severe abuse and neglect they have suffered in the past.
The program, which runs with each child for six to 12 months, has been used for more than 30 years in countries including the UK, US and New Zealand.
Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said the state government was committed to investing in an evidence-based program that "improved the lives of our most vulnerable children and young people".
"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," Ms Goward said.
"The goal is to reunite children with their birth families or long-term carers."
OzChild is being paid $4.87 million to run the program as a trial in NSW until mid-June 2020, with an expansion likely if it is deemed a success.
People with experience dealing with children with complex behaviours are encouraged to apply for the program, with 20 carers needed in the next two years.
Carers are limited to one child on the program at a time, with a team of specialists such as psychologists, social workers and family therapists available 24 hours a day for support.
There are about 18,000 kids in care in NSW.