Funding extension for family and children services in Western Sydney

Friday, 24 April 2020

Local family and children service providers in Western Sydney will continue to provide family and children services through the Morrison Government’s extension of funding for another 12 months.

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said the extension would ensure essential services were available to local families and children.

“The Morrison Government is supporting service providers who work tirelessly on the ground to ensure the right supports are available for families and children,” Senator Payne said.

“Gateway Family Services, Richmond Community Services, Peppercorn Services Inc, Woodville Alliance, SDN Children Services, Boronia Multicultural Services and FOCUS Connect provide essential preventative and interventional services that make a real impact on families in need, and this package will help make sure they can continue their important work.”

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the funding will be provided from 30 June 2020 for 12 months after current arrangements expire.

“This extension will allow the Government to work with stakeholders to identify the programs that are working well and how we can better deliver local services,” Minister Ruston said.

“We are committed to improving family and child wellbeing by intervening early and addressing known risk factors.”

Overall the Morrison Government will commit more than $225 million to extend families and children services across the country over the coming 12 months.

Richmond Community Services’ executive officer, Yatra Sherwood, said the funding extension was an investment in the Hawkesbury region and would allow them to continue to offer programs, such as the Tools for Parents program, that make a real difference in the community.

“The news of this extension of the funding is fantastic for the Hawkesbury community and surrounding areas. We have been running this Tools for Parents program now for seventeen years and the demand for this work in the Hawkesbury has never diminished,” Ms Sherwood said.

“This is not only early intervention, it’s also prevention. Evidence shows how you parent is how your child will parent, so teaching these essential skills to young parents has an intergenerational knock on benefit. We are extremely grateful to continue to have the opportunity to offer this program in the Hawkesbury and beyond.

Gateway Family Services’ CEO, Greg Lazarus, said the extension funding was a welcome announcement that supports a broad range of services for the local community and anticipated it to extend their capacity to meet community demand.

“Gateway Family Services appreciates the extension of DSS funding under the Children and Parenting Support Services. This funding enables GFS to offer a range of parenting groups and programs, supported playgroups, Community based Mobile Hubs and an Early Childhood Centre Mentoring Program (ITAV) in the Blue Mountains/Nepean LGA’s,” Mr Lazarus said.

“The extension of funding is most welcome. We look forward to working with the Department during the next 12 months in reviewing and extending the capacity of these significant community programs for parents and children.

Peppercorn Services’ executive officer, Andrew Tuck, welcomed the funding extension which would allow them to support children and families experiencing mental health issues and engage with other local service providers for more comprehensive support.

“We deeply appreciate the continued support by the Department for this vital program. It is making a difference every day to the lives of vulnerable families and young mothers across the Hawkesbury,” Mr Tuck said.

The provision of another 12-months funding to Peppercorn Services will enable the LINCS Volunteer Home Visiting Service to maintain support to dozens of young mothers and families across the Hawkesbury. After bushfires, floods, and now a looming COVID-19 emergency, this support from the Department of Social services will enable Peppercorn to support more vulnerable families experiencing trauma, anxiety and stress.

Woodville Alliance CEO, Pam Batkin, said the extension was funding an effective mental health program for families and ensured their continued engagement with the local community.

“Woodville Alliance is delighted that the Government is continuing to fund this very effective early intervention program, which we have delivered since 2013. Strong mental health and resilience are essential for healthy communities,” Ms Batkin said.

“Evidence shows that getting in early, before problems escalate, is the best way to improve long term mental health outcomes. We look forward to continuing our work in partnership with government, schools and other community organisations to deliver these important services to the diverse children, young people and families of Western Sydney”.

SDN Children Services CEO, Kay Turner, said the extended funding would support the continued investment into mental health and mitigate emerging risks in children and families.

“SDN welcomes the extension of this funding to support the wellbeing, learning and development of children. These children and families have complex needs and this funding connects them to community resources and supports and helps to reduce the risks that come from isolation.”

Boronia Multicultural Services’ Chairperson, Margaret Kyle, was pleased that vital mental health services would continue to be available for children and families and contribute to a stronger and safer community.

“The one-year funding extension is very welcome news. It means we can continue to provide Children and Parenting Programs to our local community over the coming year: we will continue to support parents and children; build strong community connections; help to keep kids safe and develop their skills in a fun and friendly environment. Longer-term funding certainty will enable us to continue this important work past June 2021.

FOCUS Connect’s Community Services Manager, Lee-Ann Jones, said the funding was great news to continue their family services and support for the local community.

“We are excited on receiving the news of the grant extension for a further 12 months. The extension will enable Focus Connect to support 30 families with children 0-12 with case work, run parenting programs and provide two early intervention playgroups for families with children 0-5 years,”

“These programs have been developed to support CALD families within our community to build on their strengths in the areas of; family well-being, health, education, child development and social connections.

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