Variety, the children’s charity, has launched a year-long free financial counselling pilot program aimed at supporting Australian families of children who are disadvantaged, sick or living with disability.
Supported by the AMP Foundation, the program aimed to address the statistic that one-in-six Australian children lived below the poverty line, according to a pre-COVID Australian Council of Social Service and UNSW report.
The service would address the unique set of financial circumstances for families raising a child with a disability or illness, including increased medical costs, disruption to parent’s work arrangements, specialised education, home modifications and home support.
Variety Queensland chief executive, Steve Wakerley, said: “We are excited to partner with the AMP Foundation, who also understand that well-timed, one-on-one support from a financial counsellor can make a world of difference for families experiencing financial hardship”.
Variety financial counsellors would assist with managing debt and household budgets, negotiating with creditors, providing Centrelink guidance, accessing utility grants, and helping families understand their financial rights and responsibilities. They could advocate on behalf of families and could refer them to the right service to access legal advice and dispute resolution.
Financial Counsellors Association of Queensland chief executive, Jon O’Mally, said: “Financial counselling plays a key role in empowering families to secure a sound financial foundation and can improve outcomes on a range of measures, including financial capability and consequently health and wellbeing”.