Victoria’s child and family services is providing vulnerable children and families with earlier and more connected support through a unified system.
Children and families facts
Designing a child and family services system that can respond to the changing needs of families
Recruiting an additional 450 child protection practitioners – the largest ever expansion of the workforce
Ensuring every Aboriginal child has the opportunity to learn, practice, thrive and pass on their culture
About Children and families

Child Protection

Child protection is at the frontline - protecting children from abuse, harm or neglect.

We investigate reports of children who are at risk of significant abuse or neglect within their family. We ensure that services help protect children from further harm.

Professionals such as police, doctors, maternal child health nurses, teachers, out-of-home care, early childhood, youth justice workers and registered psychologists can report abuse. So can citizens such as neighbours and family members.

We work with Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and a host of other support agencies to keep children safe.

More information on Child Protection on the Services website and on Children, youth and families on the Providers website.

After-Hours Child Protection Emergency Service

Victorians can report child abuse or neglect to the After-Hours Child Protection Emergency Service. It is available 24 hrs a day to help respond to reports on child abuse and neglect.

More information on Reporting child abuse and neglect on this website.

Information about Mandatory reporting can be found on the Providers website.

Out-of-home Care

We support children who cannot live with their birth families. Children live in a family-based home such as foster care, kinship care, permanent care or residential care.

We work with community service organisations to care for these children and help them stay connected to family and culture.

More information on Caring for children on the Services website.

Leaving Care

Better Futures and Home Stretch support young people leaving care by engaging with them and their support networks early in their transition from care to independence.

More information on Leaving care on the Services website.

Also see Leaving care on the Providers website.

Family services

At times, families experience difficulties which affect family life.

Orange Door and family services support families to equip them to care for their children. It helps improve the long-term stability of the family.

More information  on Family support on the Services website.

More information on the Orange door website.

Aboriginal children and young people

Aboriginal children and young people are over-represented in our child protection and care system.

By building a connection to their culture, country and community, the Aboriginal community and community service organisations help keep Aboriginal children out of care .

More information on Aboriginal self-determination on this website.

Targeted care packages

We work to bring families back together. Targeted care packages help young people make the transition from residential care into a home environment.

More information on Leaving care on the Services website.

Actions and outcomes

Designing an integrated child and family services system

Families will be supported to strengthen their capability to safely care for their children. For children who can’t live at home, they will be supported in a family-based or therapeutic setting.

Action: Continued engagement with child and family services to implement changes to the system.

Outcome: Victoria will have a strengthened child and family services system that can respond to the changing needs of families.

Aboriginal self-determination

Wungurilwil Gapgapduir: Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement and Strategic Action Plan is a landmark partnership between the Aboriginal community, Government and community services organisations to commit to better outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people.

Action: Embed Aboriginal self-determination in child and family services.

Outcome: Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care will be better connected to culture, country and community.

Improving kinship care

Victoria is implementing a new model of kinship care that better supports kinship carers and improves outcomes for children in kinship care.

Action: Implementing new model of kinship care.

Outcome: Victoria’s kinship placements are more stable, leading to improved outcomes for children in kinship care.

Improving kinship care will also assist in preventing children and young people from entering residential care.

The new model also strengthens community connections for Aboriginal children in care and delivers better, more flexible support.

Strengthening the child protection workforce

The Victorian child protection workforce is being strengthened to ensure that practitioners are equipped with the tools and support they need to work with vulnerable children, young people and their families. The Child Protection Workforce Strategy 2017-2020 is guiding the work to strengthen the child protection workforce.

Action: Recruiting an additional 450 child protection practitioners.

Outcome: This is the largest expansion of the child protection workforce in Victoria's history and is designed to help better manage existing workloads, meet rising demand and ultimately keep more Victorian children safe.

New funding model for child and family services

The funding model for child and family services changes on 1 October 2018.

These changes are a part of broader reforms to the child and family services system, to enable:

  • a more seamless service system
  • wrap-around support for clients
  • use of evidence-based practices and outcomes-focused performance management.

For more information about the reform see the Providers website.

Information sharing reforms

Amended Victorian laws empower prescribed organisations and services to share information more effectively with the aim of promoting children’s wellbeing and safety, and better managing family violence risk.

What are the new reforms?

The new reforms aim to improve information sharing arrangements between service providers to assist in getting the right information to the right people at the right time. They are the:

  • Child Information Sharing Scheme
  • Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme
  • Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk and Management Framework (MARAM).

More information is available on the Information Sharing and MARAM website.

Supporting parents in regional areas

The department funds quality programs that give parents the right support to build their skills and confidence and have been proven to make a difference for children and families, including families in regional Victoria.

For more information, see Parenting support on our Services website.