SVA launches Queensland’s First Social Benefit Bond

  • SVA launches Queensland’s first social impact bond, seeking private capital to address social issues in the state
  • SVA is raising $6 million to fund a program to reunify children in out-of-home-care in Queensland with their parent/s
  • Targeting returns for investors of 7.5% per annum, linked to the success of the program
  • This builds on the success of the NSW Newpin Social Benefit Bond, which has been generating strong social and financial returns since its inception

Social Ventures Australia (SVA) is pleased to launch Queensland’s first social impact bond, the Newpin Queensland Social Benefit Bond (Newpin Qld SBB).

SVA is seeking to raise $6 million to fund the Newpin Program that will be delivered by UnitingCare Queensland, which aims to reunify children in out-of-home-care in Queensland to their parent/s. Given the over-representation of First Australian children in the out-of-home-care system in Queensland, this will be a focus for the program.

Investor returns will be linked to the number of children successfully reunited with their families through the program. The Newpin Qld SBB is targeting returns of 7.5% per annum and expects to close by 30 June 2017, prior to the commencement of the program in late 2017. The minimum subscription amount is $50,000.

Newpin is an 18-month program that is designed to strengthen family engagement and enable children to return safely to their parent/s. It will be delivered by UnitingCare Queensland in three locations, with the first pilot commencing in Cairns in 2018. The centres will be attended by both the parent and the pre-school aged children at least twice weekly to undertake parenting modules, therapeutic group meetings, and child development activities. Approximately 200 parent/s (with approximately 560 children) will be referred to the program over the course of five years.

SVA CEO Rob Koczkar commented:

‘Since launching the first Australian social impact bond in 2013, we have seen considerable momentum in this space as demand grows for innovative ways to finance the solutions to challenging social problems. This is a high impact investment opportunity which aims to generate a competitive financial return while creating a lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable children and their families.’

Currently, more than 9,000 Queensland children are living away from their parents in either foster care, kinship care or in a residential service. It is widely acknowledged that, where it is safe to do so, supporting children within their family is highly advantageous to their health and well-being. As well as a heavy social burden, out-of-home-care imposes a significant financial cost; in 2014/15, the Queensland Government spent an average of $50,000 on each child in out-of-home-care.

The Hon Curtis Pitt, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Queensland Government said:

‘Working in collaboration with the social service sector, investors and across Government, we can together achieve positive social outcomes and to address the most pressing social challenges, the Queensland Government is looking at innovative approaches to service delivery.’

Anne Cross, UnitingCare Queensland CEO commented:

‘We are passionate about supporting people to be the best they can be – people from all walks of life, who live in many different locations. With statistics showing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children nine times more likely to be in out-of-home-care than a non-Indigenous child, the time for change is now.’

‘The Newpin Queensland program has the potential to deliver real change for children and their families, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living apart from their parents. We will partner with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, empowering them to lead the development, implementation and delivery of key components of the program,’ Ms Cross said.

SVA has already achieved strong results with the Newpin SBB in NSW which is currently in its fourth year. The Newpin SBB has successfully restored 130 children to the care of their parent/s, and delivered a return of 12% per annum to investors over a three-year period to 30 June 2016.