Foster Care Funding
This Office was contacted by an individual who had a family member's two children placed in their care by the Department of Community Services as a Conditional Foster Parent. Within a month the complainant indicated they were struggling financially as a result of caring for their three children and their two foster children.
The complainant requested to apply to become a full kinship foster parent to access financial assistance from the Department. A few months later, the complainant learned that a new social worker was assigned their family case. When the complainant asked about the status of the kinship foster application, they were informed there was no record of an application being submitted.
The complainant alleged the financial hardship subsequently caused them to declare bankruptcy and cancel their wedding. The complainant stated that one week prior to the Alternative Family Care Program beginning, the foster children were returned home. The complainant alleged when they spoke with a Caseworker Supervisor, the complainant was informed they would receive financial compensation for the last month of care.
However, another month went by without contact or funds transferred to the complainant, which prompted their call to this Office. An Ombudsman Representative spoke with a Regional Service Delivery Manager, who stated the original social worker acknowledged there was a conversation about a kinship foster application, but one was never submitted.
The Service Delivery Manager also confirmed that the Department had agreed to provide financial compensation to the complainant however, due to a technical issue the funds were not transferred. Following intervention by this Office, the complainant received financial compensation and was connected with the Service Delivery Manager to discuss how the communication barriers on the front-line impacted them.