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Children & families

The wellbeing of children and families is one of the most important responsibilities of governments and the wider community. All the evidence and international research shows us that one of the most effective ways of addressing social disadvantage is by giving families the right support when they need it. This ensures children get the best possible start in life in an environment where they are safe to grow

Families struggle for all sorts of reasons – poverty, disadvantage, mental and physical health issues, drug and alcohol problems, unemployment, family violence. Currently many only receive vital supports once they reach crisis, with many falling through the cracks because services are overstretched and under-resourced. This means that families needing counselling or parenting support get put on waiting lists, often for months which lets problems escalate to crisis point, often leading to child protection interventions.

The Report of the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges facing the Victorian child protection system and the reforms required to strengthen the whole system to promote better outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families. The State Government response and VCOSS’ point of view is outlined in the Child Protection section below.

Demand for out-of-home care for children and young people who do not have safe and stable family lives continues to rise at unprecedented levels and their outcomes continue to be poorer than those of the general child population. Lacking properly funded and managed support as they make the transition, young people leaving out-of-home care become over-represented in youth justice, have poorer health, and are less likely to study or work – to the detriment of their own lives and of the wider community.

The Department of Human Services has released the State of Victoria’s children report 2011 detailing how children and young people in rural and regional Victoria are faring.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will inquire into how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

The first sitting of the Royal Commission…

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The Report of the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry was tabled in State Parliament in February 2012 and provides a valuable overview of the reforms required to improve the services and systems to promote better outcomes for vulnerable children, young…

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VCOSS advocacy on children, young people and families has focused on the review of the Children and Young Person’s Act 1989, and on issues facing Indigenous children, young people and families. Together with other organisations, VCOSS successfully advocated for the best interests of children to be the key principle of the new…

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Indigenous children and young people are one of the most disadvantaged groups in Victoria, experiencing more ill health, and poorer wellbeing and educational outcomes than non-Indigenous children and young people. Advocating to improve these outcomes is a top VCOSS priority.

As part of the 2004-05 legislative Review of the Children…

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