Children Lost and Families Suffering

The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare statement on the Victorian Commission for Children and Young People’s report, ‘Lost, not forgotten.’

We mourn the loss of 35 Victorian children and young people, six of which were Aboriginal, who died by suicide in the last 12 years.

Children who had experienced sexual abuse, witnessed horrific family violence, suffered from mental ill-health and did not receive the treatment they desperately cried out for.

The Victorian Commission for Children and Young People yesterday released a report on suicides of children and young people known to child protection. The report demonstrates that, despite repeated interactions with the child protection system, the risk to these children and young people was left to escalate as they fell through the gaps between services.

Chief Executive Officer for the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (the Centre) Deb Tsorbaris responded to the report saying, “We need to acknowledge the death of every one of these children and young people. These kids were crying out and demanding help, but did not receive the support they desperately needed.”

The Commission found that there were barriers to being able to deliver effective early intervention for these children and their families.

”While extremely difficult to read, I welcome the report and recommendations by the Commission. It articulates how we can better support children, young people and their families to ensure they don’t become another tragic number”, Tsorbaris said.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Maddie, a young person who had been through Victoria’s child protection system, urged decision makers to centre the voices and needs of children and young people in the decision making process, “On the surface it looks like you have got all the access points, you have all the services you need. But there are a many other little things that people don’t realise.”

Despite reports to child protection tripling in the last ten years, the system has not received adequate funding to respond, and as a result, services are being rationed. “We wouldn’t let our kids go to a derelict school and we can’t allow children and young people to go through an under-resourced family support system”, Tsorbaris commented.

The Centre urges government to properly address system demand and implement the recommendations of report so that children, young people and families receive the support they need at the right time.

ENDS

For further comment from Deb Tsorbaris, please contact Nevena Spirovska on 03 9614 1577

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