Eligible carers to receive additional $800 a year in major announcement

The South Australian government is introducing a new flexible respite support, with eligible carers to receive an additional $800 each year.

The South Australian government is introducing a new flexible respite support payment that will allow eligible carers to receive an additional $800 each year to help them access various respite-like supports.

Starting from late January, carers will receive a $200 payment quarterly, amounting to approximately $2.15 million annually. South Australia currently has over 980 foster care households with placements and more than 1,720 kinship care households caring for children.

The new flexible respite support payment is designed to assist eligible carers in covering expenses related to services such as gardening, cleaning, or transportation for children under their care. The primary objective is to expand opportunities for South Australian carers to access respite-like help, ensuring they receive the necessary support in their critical role of caring for children and young people.

This year’s state budget also included additional financial support for general foster and kinship carers, with an extra $50 per fortnight for each child or young person under 16 in their care, as well as a 4.8 percent boost in all carer payments to address the growing cost of living pressures.

The decision to introduce the new support payment was made following extensive consultation, involving more than 400 individuals who shared their insights on how to make respite more accessible for South Australian carers. Among the participants were over 250 kinship and foster carers, non-government organisations, Aboriginal community controlled organisations, advocacy groups, and children and young people who offered valuable input.

Minister for Child Protection Katrine Hildyard expressed the government’s dedication to supporting kinship and foster carers, emphasising their crucial role in the child protection and family support system.

“Carers generously open their hearts, homes, and lives to children and young people who are facing really difficult circumstances, and we are indebted to them for all that they do.

“We want to help ensure South Australia’s kinship and foster carers can have relief and support in the way that works for them.”

Fiona Endacott, CEO of Connecting Foster & Kinship Carers SA, welcomed the introduction of flexible respite payments, calling it a “tremendous win” for South Australian foster and kinship carers.

“We are thrilled the current government has listened to the voice of foster and kinship carers and delivered an opportunity for the carer community to decide how respite looks for their families.”

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