Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$490 million for Family Support Program

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
    Mark Butler MP, Member for Port Adelaide

  • Julie Collins MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services
    Mark Butler MP, Member for Port Adelaide

The Gillard Government today launched the new Family Support Program with renewed funding of $490 million over three years for families and children services to provide more support to vulnerable families, and reduce red tape for service providers.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, the Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services, Julie Collins, and the Member for Port Adelaide, Mark Butler today visited the UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide Communities for Children service in Seaton to announce the program.

UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide will receive almost $4.4 million plus indexation over the next three years, including for the successful Port Adelaide Communities for Children site. This service provides a range of activities for local families including playgroups for babies right up to ten year olds, parenting classes and post-natal depression support.

UnitingCare Wesley is one of 33 organisations in South Australia that will share in $48.8 million over the next three years.

The new Family Support Program provides services in 2,700 locations across Australia to support families, improve children’s wellbeing and safety, and build more resilient communities.

Community organisations funded through the program deliver important services such as parenting skills training, relationship counselling, playgroups and more intensive support for vulnerable and at-risk children and families.

The new Family Support Program is based on extensive consultations the Government held with service providers.

It streamlines more than 20 programs into four to provide more flexibility to meet families’ needs, while making sure the important elements of the current program are retained. The four programs are:

  • Communities for Children services provide prevention and early intervention activities to families with children up to 12 years in disadvantaged communities throughout Australia, including Indigenous families in remote locations.
  • Family and Relationship Services help adults with relationship issues, provide counselling for young people and children, and broader parenting support.
  • Specialist Services help families affected by drugs, violence and trauma.
  • Community Playgroups are playgroups run by parents to provide a friendly and safe environment where mums and dads of young children access early learning development resources and receive peer support.

As part of these reforms the Government is giving service providers more certainty with contracts for Families and Children services being renewed for three years.

This will allow them to focus more on the needs of families, and less on paperwork. Funding will be delivered from 1 July 2011, when current funding contracts expire. This continues funding available for many important programs.

These reforms are part of the Government’s National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, which provides a national approach to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Australian children.

They support our commitment to putting the safety and wellbeing of children at the heart of the Australian Government’s social policy agenda.