Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting children and families in Kempsey

The Federal Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin, today officially launched the Macleay Valley Kempsey Communities for Children Plus service.

In May this year the Australian Government announced the Benevolent Society would receive $3.5 million over three years to work with local families to help them provide a safe, happy and healthy environment for their children as a Communities for Children Plus provider.

Since then the Benevolent Society has been working closely with Kempsey’s Aboriginal leaders to secure their support and tailor future services to the needs of the community.

While visiting Greenhill Public School in Kempsey today, Ms Macklin announced the Benevolent Society would provide $100,000 in grants to local organisations to run summer holiday activities targeted at children under 12 years old.

The school holiday activities will be the first programs provided as part of the new Communities for Children Plus service which will cover Kempsey and surrounding communities including Bellbrook, Crescent Head and South West Rocks.

Ms Macklin said local families and children will be supported through a range of activities, such as intensive parenting services, early learning and literacy programs, playgroups, and after school and holiday activities.

“Vulnerable children from Kempsey and the Macleay Valley will have access to fun, safe and friendly activities during their school holidays under the 2011 Summer School Holiday Program,” Ms Macklin said.

“I encourage local organisations to take advantage of this opportunity to partner with the Benevolent Society to provide the first school holiday program under Communities for Children Plus.”

Ms Macklin said the Benevolent Society would help coordinate the resources of local child and family services and state child protection to intervene early and address problems before they escalate.

“With strong links to child protection authorities and adult services, we can help families at risk from mental health, drug and alcohol or domestic violence issues,” Ms Macklin said.

Communities for Children Plus targets children under the age of 12 who need extra support to reach their full potential.

The model allows the local community to develop and tailor the service to ensure it meets the needs of local children and their families.

The Australian Government is providing $20 million over four years to establish eight Communities for Children Plus sites in communities of high disadvantage. It is a key initiative under the Australian Government’s National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.

For more information about the 2011 Summer School Holiday Program, please contact the Benevolent Society on 0417 999 284.