The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:17): My question is to the Minister for Human Services about the work of organisations that support children overcoming disadvantage. Can the minister please provide an update to the council about the recent merger of two important organisations, namely, Time for Kids and Relationships Australia SA, and the work they do in our local communities?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (15:18): I thank the honourable member for her question and for her interest in this area. Relationships Australia South Australia is probably quite well known to a number of members of this chamber. They provide a range of services, particularly in the family and child protection space. Indeed, my understanding is that they have quite a role in foster care arrangements and counselling and a range of services: gambling, counselling and the like.
Time for Kids may not be as well known to honourable members. It is an organisation which provides care to children from disadvantaged backgrounds, in that they match up a child with individuals, couples and families who volunteer to take the child for one day a fortnight or some other arrangement to provide the family of origin with a break and therefore provide another experience for the child.
The two organisations merged quite recently. We were invited to an event on 20 February. I was pleased that the member for Adelaide and the Minister for Child Protection were able to be there. I understand that Mr Boyer, who is the member for Wright, was there as well. What I think was pretty outstanding of the two organisations is that Time for Kids itself had realised that a merger was a very useful thing for them to undergo.
We have a large number of organisations doing amazing work throughout South Australia, and there are advantages to them merging from time to time to ensure that they have breadth and sustainability into the long term. It can take some time; we have seen similar reform undergone within the domestic and family violence sector with the advent of Women's Safety Services, which has also increased its strength through amalgamations over a period of time.
Since early 2015, the Time for Kids board has been looking at this particular issue. They have provided some data for the 2016-17 year: 154 children were supported in placements with volunteer carers and mentors, 77 children were supported through school holiday programs and 426 children received one or more forms of service or support across the year. They have additional services, including a little pop-up library, emergency relief and financial aid, a seasonal gifting program and access to community events and activities.
Over 13 per cent of the children in respite placements were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, 18 per cent of children in respite placements were from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, 27 per cent of children in respite placements were under guardianship of the minister and 220 community members were registered as volunteer carers and mentors.
I note that another member who attended was Mr Stephen Patterson, the member for Morphett. He and his family are carers in this wonderful program. We wish their new marriage as organisations well into the future as they continue to serve South Australians.