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    O'Farrell continues to wage on the vulnerable

    Posted: Thursday, 2 February 2012 | By: John Robertson ,Barbara Perry

    The O'Farrell Government has continued its attack on the most vulnerable in our community – this time cutting support for foster carers by $214 per fortnight, Opposition Leader John Robertson said today.

    Unbelievably, when asked about how foster parents were supposed to make ends meet on $214 less each fortnight, Community Services Minister Pru Goward said carers should ask their foster children for the cash.

    "They should be able to sit down and talk through the fact that the child is getting $213 each fortnight because they are living away from home and that money is intended to be used for their rent and cost of living."
    (Pru Goward, Adam Spencer breakfast show, 2 February, 2012)

    "The O'Farrell Government is waging war on some of the most vulnerable people in the State - foster children and their carers," Mr Robertson said.

    "Cutting the NSW Government financial support for foster carers by $214 per fortnight when the child in their care reaches 17 and can claim youth allowance is a disgrace.

    "Around 1,100 families will be left struggling because of this appalling plan.

    "The Minister is taking advantage of the fact children in foster care can claim youth allowance because 'they are living away from home' – neglecting this is because the State has removed them from their own homes and parents for safety reasons."

    Shadow Minister for Community Services, Barbara Perry said the Minister clearly had little understanding of the circumstances foster families face.

    "All this appalling policy will do is make it harder for foster children to find homes and harder for the government to recruit quality carers," Ms Perry said.

    "It is unlikely foster parents will even be able to ask their children for this extra money. And even if families did do what the Minister suggests, the household budget will still be down $214 per fortnight.

    "The Minister is effectively turning children into boarders and changing their relationship from being a child to a provider.

    "We should be encouraging these children to stay with their foster carers once they turn 17 – not adding extra pressure on families who are already vulnerable because of circumstances beyond their control."

    Tags: Barbara Perry, Barry O'Farrell, children, community, DOCS, foster care, John Robertson, Pru Goward

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