CHILDREN'S welfare agency OzChild will not be merging with Warrnambool-based Community Connections Victoria (CCV).
OzChild's chief executive officer Tony Pitman confirmed yesterday there would be no merger between the agencies.
CCV chief executive office Bruce du Vergier originally released a statement in early March saying both organisations had been planning a merger for some time.
He said they had spent "two years of working towards a vision of capacity building that strengthens the missions of both agencies".
He also said that CCV would "cease to exist as a legal entity".
Mr Pitman told The Standard his organisation had applied to operate a number of children's services in the south-west region, some of which are now provided by CCV.
"Applications have been made by OzChild for a number of services, to both the federal government's Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and the state government's Department of Human Services (DHS)," Mr Pitman said.
He said OzChild had bid for the programs independent of CCV.
"It is now up to the respective government departments to decide on who they award the programs to, which services will be funded and where the services will be provided. Discussions with CCV continue to determine the most effective way to preserve services to the region, should OzChild be successful in some or all of its tenders.
"We hope to be able to bring our extensive expertise in caring for children and families to the region, having provided children's services in metropolitan Melbourne, regional and remote Victoria for more than 160 years."
Mr du Vergier said the merger plans had been "complicated now by the DHS tender" which closed yesterday.
"CCV and OzChild are talking about a future together as two organisations," Mr du Vergier said.
He said it was difficult to be precise as to what the relationship would be until a "few things are unravelled in the next few months".
"CCV board of directors will be reviewing the future of the agency, including its community service delivery relationship with OzChild, following the outcome of the DHS-tendered services due to be finalised within the next two weeks."
He said a range of agencies from within and outside the region had tendered for the DHS-funded services.
"I've got no idea what DHS is thinking. We'll know that within 10 days. The one known thing is that CCV have not applied (to run the services)."
Mr du Vergier said the CCV board was still planning to wind up the agency with all its assets, liabilities and activities to be transferred to OzChild.