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Re-stacking the odds to give kids a chance

Serious family conflict, mental illness, substance abuse, and significant disadvantage can adversely impact children and families. It affects their safety and wellbeing and can result in children entering out-of-home care (OOHC). They often fall through the cracks of complex service systems, leaving them at risk of harm.

But new funding is overhauling the system.
Philanthropists, government, and other key stakeholders have been empowered to work in unison through two networks: The Out of Home Care Philanthropic Funders Network (OOHC Network) and the Family Violence Philanthropy Collaboration Project (FVPCP).

A key part of this new strategy has been to set aside funding for project managers who are leading collaboration across their respective sectors.
“You can’t expect everyone to work differently without resourcing it, which is why we’ve funded the collaboration over multiple years, providing guidance and support to their project managers,” says Equity Trustees Trust Manager Emily Cormack.

The percentage of Victorian children entering OOHC soared by 11% every year between 2013 and 2018, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children more than ten times more likely to be in OOHC.

The OOHC Network, run by Victoria’s peak body for child and family services, The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, is continuing to make an impact by tackling the growing problem.

The OOHC Network’s first grant, for Anchor’s Brighter Futures program, helped young people aged 15 to 23 with an OOHC experience successfully navigate the transitions to independent adulthood. Funders from the OOHC Network have also supported the Home Stretch campaign, which resulted in greater government support for OOHC leavers past their 18th birthday.

Its second grant Growing Up Aboriginal Babies at Home, led by the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA), will work with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, supporting them to keep their children safe, meeting their development goals and preventing entries into OOHC.

The OOHC Philanthropic Funders Network work has been funded through Equity Trustees, by the David Taylor Galt Charitable Trust, and Mars-Stride Trust. It has generated more than $1.5 million of funding from members of the OOHC Network towards the OOHC sector through these grants and support of the Home Stretch Campaign.

The power of collaboration has also brought together several organisations under the Family Violence Philanthropy Collaboration Project (FVPCP), which supports reforms identified through the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The Project, overseen by Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Vic), has attracted more than $1 million of investment from philanthropic partners in family violence projects. A corporate partnership with Aesop in May 2020 distributed personal care products to survivors and specialist family violence practitioners across Victoria and NSW, with a retail value of $1.4 million.
Since the onset of the pandemic in Australia in mid-March, the project partners have pivoted focus and responded to the emerging challenges caused by the pandemic.
This includes coordinating the promotion of COVID-19 responsive family violence projects within DV Vic’s membership to the FVPCP Funders Network, while using the Australian Communities Foundation and Philanthropy Australia’s COVID-19 National Funding Platform.

The investments made have increased consumer participation in the improvement of family violence services and responses, increased evidence and data-driven innovation in family violence service delivery, and improved responses to family violence by the general public.

These initiatives were supported by trusts managed by Equity Trustees including the Alan Murray Testamentary Trust, David Taylor Galt Charitable Trust, Mars STRIDE Trust and the William Buckland Foundation.

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