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New Intensive Family Support Program in the NT



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New Intensive Family Support Program in the NT

Date: 7/04/2011

Joint Media Release with:

Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health, Member for Lingiari

Five communities in the Northern Territory are the first to benefit from a $25 million Australian Government investment in new parenting support services to protect children from neglect and abuse.

The intensive Family Support Service is part of the Commonwealth’s response to the Growing them strong, together report by the NT Board of Inquiry in to the child protection system.

Starting this month, the new services will support families in Darwin Town Camps, Palmerston Town Camps, Palmerston Township, Wadeye and Katherine/Mataranka.

The Intensive Family Support services will work with parents whose children are identified as vulnerable or at risk of neglect to help them develop better parenting and household management skills.

Parents referred to income management by NT Department of Children and Families child protection workers will be a priority for the new service.

The non-discriminatory income management system ensures welfare is spent, first and foremost, in the interests of children on food, clothing and housing.

Among the supports offered by the services will be home visits and face-to-face and group sessions designed to develop life and parenting skills, such as understanding child development, keeping children safe, and preparing nutritious meals.

The Parenting Research Centre and the Menzies School of Health Research will be working closely with the services. This will help to build a rigorous evidence base which will be used to ensure the best outcomes for children at risk.

The protection of vulnerable children is one of the greatest responsibilities of all governments.

The Intensive Family Support services constitute one aspect of the Australian Government’s efforts to help strengthen parenting skills and child protection in the NT.

Since 2007, we have increased the police presence and night patrols in remote communities, funded 7000 meals for children each school day, provided thousands of health checks for children, and delivered safe houses and more support services.

To reduce overcrowding in remote communities, we are investing $1.7 billion over 10 years in housing in the Northern Territory under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.

This has so far delivered 215 new houses and 1240 rebuilds and refurbishments.