Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Perth’s Northern Suburbs And Mining Areas Get Early Childhood Funding

Families in Perth’s northern suburbs of Girrawheen, Koondoola, Balga and Mirrabooka will receive $3.8 million as part of the Australian Government’s $365 million Stronger Families and Communities Strategy.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, announced today that the Smith Family would manage early childhood initiatives for the four northern Perth suburbs.

The funding comes under the Strategy’s Communities For Children initiative, which is designed to engage a community organisation to develop local early childhood initiatives to improve outcomes for young children.

Senator Patterson said: “The Smith Family will also work closely with relevant organisations, services and government to develop an agreed Community Action Plan to support the 3,250 children under the age of five living in the local community.

“This plan might include setting up parent groups, providing parenting courses or improving the coordination of services that support early childhood.

“There is growing evidence and confidence that well targeted early childhood interventions can and do make a real difference.

“Effective early childhood intervention is not just about helping children – it is also about supporting parents, neighbourhoods and the wider community to give children the healthy start they need.”

The mining communities of Kalgoorlie – Boulder will receive $85,000 under the Strategy’s Local Answers initiative. The Strengthening Mining Families in the East Goldfields Project will be extended for another year.

Senator Patterson said: “The funding will enable the continued employment of a project officer who will work with mining families to address issues unique to those involved in the mining industry.

“Western Australia will also share the benefits of the $13.6 million for six projects funded under the Early Childhood – Invest To Grow initiative such as the development of the $4 million Parenting Information Website.

“The website will give parents and professionals high quality information on early childhood development, the health and well-being of children and positive parenting.

“The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, led by former Australian of the Year, Professor Fiona Stanley will receive $2 million under the Early Childhood – Invest To Grow initiative.

“This funding will enable Professor Stanley and a team of experts in children and young people’s issues to continue their vital work.

“The new Strategy focusses even more on children’s development during their formative years and it provides strong support for Western Australian families and families throughout Australia.”

The highly successful Balga High School Child Care Facility will receive $90,000 under the Local Answers initiative to continue their program for two more years. This is an innovative service that provides young mothers with free childcare and a support program enables them to continue their studies

More information can be found on the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy at FaCS website