Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$52 million for children and parenting services

The Australian Government will provide over $52 million to 139 family services providers as they transition to a new, more flexible service delivery model.

The Government is restructuring the existing, fragmented collection of family, parenting and children programs into one integrated whole – the new Family Support Program.

The new Family Support Program will deliver a consistent and coordinated approach to supporting Australian families as their children grow, and as their families change.

It will bring together and build on the strengths of the existing programs to provide a more coordinated and flexible approach to delivering services to children and families.

The Invest to Grow Program, Child Care Links, Responding Early Assisting Children Program, Indigenous Children Program, and Playgroup Program will receive transitional funding, over a two-year period from July 2009 to June 2011, to continue to meet the needs of families and communities.

In Adelaide, for example, Centacare supports families in need through its highly successful mobile Intensive Support Playgroup – the Bilby Bus. Operating since 2003, the Bilby Bus reaches out to families who may be homeless or struggling with domestic violence, mental health issues or social isolation.

Another example is the Kurrajong Waratah Early Intervention Services’ Rural Beginnings project which operates in Wagga Wagga and the surrounding region.

Part of Invest to Grow, this service provides support to young children with disabilities and developmental delays in rural areas offering therapy and education services.

Reflecting the Government’s commitment to child-centred family policy, the new Family Support Program harnesses the resources of government and the ability of community organisations to build strong, resilient families where children can grow up safe, well and happy.