Kinship care is the care provided to children and young people by extended family or members of their connected social network. Placing a child in kinship care aims to preserve and strengthen connections between children and their family, community and social networks. This leads to increased stability and better outcomes for children in care arrangements.
Meli Kinship Care Program
Meli’s Kinship Care program primarily works with kinship families who are referred by The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH). We work collaboratively with a diverse range of kinship care placements, providing support and comprehensive case management. In addition to this, we support the wider kinship community through the Meli Kinship Carer Support Group and the Meli Information and Advice Line.
Meli Kinship Carer Support Group
Meli facilitates monthly Kinship Carer Support Groups in Geelong and Colac, which are open to all kinship carers. Group meetings are free to attend and held monthly. Groups are a great way to meet other kinship carers in the local area in an informal, relaxed and supportive environment.
These groups offer:
- empathy, understanding and support around caring for children who are unable to live with their parents, and who may have experienced trauma
- help to formulate strategies, in collaboration with carers, to strengthen the family unit
- signposting and/or referrals to other services and other supports, eg Geelong Mums
- assistance with organising or connecting into activities, such as camps and holiday programs
- information and guest speakers from different organisations that are tailored to the group’s needs such as Centrelink, NDIS and Kinship Carers Victoria
- a selection of activities and refreshments
Geelong Support Group
1-12 Waratah St
Geelong West, 3218
Upcoming meetings (10am – 12pm):
Wednesday 4 October
Wednesday 1 November
Wednesday 6 December
Colac Support Group
Christian Family Church
33 Cants Rd
Upcoming meetings (11am – 1pm)
Wednesday 18 October
Wednesday 15 November
Wednesday 20 December
Meli Information and Advice Line – 1300 557 611 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)
The Meli Kinship Care Program provides a phone service to both formal and informal kinship carers, professionals and community, offering information, support and advice.
Meli’s Kinship Care team manages the phone service during business hours, offering:
- Emotional support
- Information about financial support that may be available to carers
- Support around caring for children who cannot live with their parents, and who may have experienced trauma
- Information about other community supports and services, and how to access them
- Support with practical tasks like sourcing camps, school holiday programs and support services for children and young people
- Consultations with community organisations and professionals regarding Meli’s Kinship Care Program
For all enquiries, please contact the Meli Kinship Information and Advice Line on 1300 557 611 or email email@example.com
How to access this service
The service is provided at the request of The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) Child Protection Service.
You can still contact us for information about the Kinship Care Program even if you haven’t been referred to us via Child Protection. Contact the Meli information and advice line on 1300 557 611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.Enquire now
Frequently asked questions
Kinship care is care provided to a child by relatives or a member of the child’s social network when the child cannot live with their parents.
In most instances, you are asked to become a kinship carer or you can offer to provide care for a child whom you know may need care. A member of the Child Protection team from the Department of Health and Human Services will contact you if there is a child in your family or networks in need of care. Potential carers go through a comprehensive assessment including a Working with Children Check and a Police Check.
Formal care refers to situations where child protection is involved and a child has been removed from their parents care. There may be a Children’s Court order in place or this may be a voluntary arrangement between the parents and Child Protection. A kinship carer is entitled to a Carer Payment from DHHS in addition to material aid to support the placement such as bedding and clothing etc.
Informal care is when child protection are not involved, but a relative or other person in a child’s social network is caring for a child. This includes situations where a parent may drop off their child to a relative and ask them to care for the child for a period of time.
The goal is always for children to reunify with their parents. When a care arrangement is in place, a plan is usually developed that details changes parents need to make to keep the child safe, nurtured, stable and secure. The reunification plan can last for 2 years. If after 2 years the parent has not made lasting changes, child protection may make a decision for non-reunification.
However all cases are unique and may differ depending on the circumstances. Even if a child is not reunified with their parents and continues to live with a carer, arrangements may be made to help the child maintain a relationship with their parents outside of living under their parent’s care. Kinship Care can be short term or can be permanent under a Permanent Care or Family Court Order issued via the Children’s or Family Courts.
A kinship care worker is there to provide practical and emotional support to the carer and the child. Your kinship care worker will listen to your frustrations and guide you through the complexities of the kinship care and child protection system. Kinship care workers are trained to understand the effects of trauma and how this impacts on a child’s behaviour and development. The worker can help you to understand and manage these behaviours with the child. The worker can also make referrals to counselling programs specific to the child’s needs and acts as an advocate to support you or the child to receive the intervention they require.