Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$16 million to support local communities

The wellbeing of families and children is central to a range of community-based projects receiving $16 million in Australian Government funding over the next year.

They include a group supporting children while their mothers are in prison, training for volunteers who work with vulnerable families including refugees and migrants and young parents’ workshops.

Thirty-one projects, under the Responding Early Assisting Childhood (REACh) Program, target at risk families to prevent child abuse and neglect.

In Western Australia, the Parents Plus program delivers outreach services into homes along with group based parenting courses. And the New Beginnings program supports men due for parole and release from the Bunbury Regional Prison.

In Queensland, Sisters Inside Inc works with the children of mothers who are in prison and supports families when they are reunited.

Playgroups are also receiving Government funding including one which is working with parents and children where a family member has a hearing impairment and another, in the Cannington area, which supports many refugees.

In the Shoalhaven region, doctors, early childhood nurses, midwives and Koori health workers are helping families – focussing on child development, the prevention and management of behaviour problems, nutrition and child safety.

The 33 projects funded through the Indigenous Children Program (ICP) concentrate on early intervention and prevention in Indigenous families, particularly where children are at risk.

ICP aims to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities by improving parenting skills and fostering early childhood development activities in comfortable settings which incorporate Indigenous culture.

In the top end of the Northern Territory, the Government is funding the Parenting is Caring for Kids Program where Indigenous families with drug and alcohol dependency receive group therapy for eight weeks with follow-up help with parenting.

In Queensland, the Koobara Aboriginal and Islander Resource Centre helps families struggling with relationship breakdown, addiction, social isolation and unemployment. They have opened four playgroups since February and are looking at establishing more this year.

We are also continuing to fund 38 Invest to Grow (ItG) projects including early childhood projects and Child Care Links projects that use child care centres in disadvantaged areas to link families with young children to local support services and community networks.

The Australian Government is committed to child-centred family policy. By extending the funding of these projects, we are providing support services for families and children that meet specific local needs.