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New service to help over 100 of Rockhampton's most vulnerable families

EARLY INTERVENTION: Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman in Rockhampton with Dr Katrina Lines from Act for Kids (inset) to announce funding for a program to help struggling families in the area.
EARLY INTERVENTION: Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman in Rockhampton with Dr Katrina Lines from Act for Kids (inset) to announce funding for a program to help struggling families in the area. Chris Ison ROK191017cfamilies3

A NEW service to start up in Rockhampton next month will tackle issues faced by vulnerable families before they reach crisis point.

That crisis point is reached when family members take out Domestic Violence orders or have the Department of Child Safety become involved in their situation.

The service, which will help vulnerable families with things like budgets, drug and alcohol problems, relationship issues, mental health and other day-to-day struggles, will see Act For Kids opening its doors in Rockhampton.

The charity organisation which was established to prevent child abuse and neglect is currently advertising to fill nine positions the $4.57 million funding from the State Government to operate the family support service for about five years.

Act for Kids Executive Director of Services Dr Katrina Lines said it was expected the service will help over 100 families from Rockhampton to Yeppoon to Mt Morgan per year.

"Some families might need help getting to doctor's appointments, school drop-offs, budgeting advice, setting routines at home or parenting courses,” Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said.

"It can also include counselling, domestic violence intervention programs and family mediation. This is a hands-on, in-home practical support service to help families stay safely together.

"These services work with families who are willing to access help so that their problems don't escalate to the point of needing contact with the child protection system."

Dr Katrina Lines from Act for Kids which is about to start operations in Rockhampton.
Dr Katrina Lines from Act for Kids which is about to start operations in Rockhampton. Chris Ison ROK191017cfamilies2

"This program is particularly something to celebrate because it gets in when the problems are small and gets to the front end of the problems before they escalate and before they become demonstrably bigger issues that require a lot more intervention and cost a lot more money,” Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne said.

Dr Lines said Act for Kids runs eight of these services across the state and have been doing it for quite some years now.

”We know that they create real outcomes for children and families,” she said.

”We partner with families to help them achieve their goals and dreams that keep their kids safe and loved and nurtured.

"Domestic violence is one of the major referral reasons for a lot of families.”

There are 23 of the support services currently running across Queensland with more than 5700 families benefiting from these specialised services since they were established two years ago.

"Just last month we started our family support service in Woorabinda through the new Wellbeing Centre,” she said.

"That is a community controlled organisation that will be providing the same service to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

"They are already getting great engagement from the local community.”

Ms Fentiman said the service was part of a total $65 million investment over five years to roll out new and expanded family support.

"I am delighted that we are also boosting child safety services throughout Central Queensland with 12 new child safety staff already on the ground and 33 more on their way over the next two years,” she said.

"This is in addition to increasing the Rockhampton Child Safety Service Centre's operating budget in 2017-18 and investing in 21 new regional staff this year to support more vulnerable families in the region."

Families can also be referred to other supports including access to housing, child care, emergency relief payments and rental assistance. For more information go to www.communities.qld.gov.au/gateway/reform-renewal/child-family

Topics:  act for kids child safety domestic violence kids in crisis shannon fentiman



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