A MULTI-million-dollar trial that will see specialist foster carers enlisted to support children with complex and challenging behaviours will begin in Queensland in September.
The $2.7 million two-year intensive support trial is based on a highly successful overseas model aimed at helping children under 12 overcome significant trauma and go on to have bright futures.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said the trial would be conducted by OzChild which began recruiting last month for at least 10 carers living with an hour radius of Toowoomba and Ipswich.
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Ms Farmer said the specialist organisation has experience implementing the program and will work with family, child therapists, skills coaches and a teacher to deliver the structured program.
“These specialist carers will care for children with complex or extreme needs,” she said.
“Their behaviour often makes it difficult for them to live in a family-based care setting.
“For example, the children may have outbursts of aggressive or violent behaviour.
“Or they may find it hard to make and keep friendships with other children and are often disengaged from school and community connections because of it.”
Ms Farmer said the Treatment Foster Care Oregon program was an internationally proven behaviour modification model that provided intensive support to children, carers and birth families over a 9-12 month period.
“It offers comprehensive training, guidance and support before and throughout the program and has a 70 per cent success rate of settling children back into a stable family environment.”
Ms Farmer said general or even intensive family-based care arrangements were not always able to meet the needs of children acting out with the most extreme behaviours.
“This new program aims to provide stable, supportive family environments for children and young people with very complex needs,” Ms Farmer said.
“We know the best place for children and young people coming into care is a family environment. We want to make that a reality for all children, no matter their level of need.
“This is about ensuring children are given a chance to overcome hurdles from their childhood.”
Ms Farmer said the Queensland Government was working hard to strengthen the child protection system.
“We are making real progress in our efforts to address the needs of children at risk of harm,” she said.
“All children, no matter the challenges they face, deserve the same hope and opportunity that we would want for our own children.”