The Australian Government is investing more than $443 million over 10 years to strengthen the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal children, youth and their families in Northern Territory communities, as part of the Stronger Futures package.
This funding will help support families by continuing to fund playgroups, home and parenting support services, youth workers and safe houses to communities for the next decade.
The Australian Government’s investment will also allow for a major expansion of the number of Communities for Children sites in the Northern Territory, offering a range of services to help parents provide a safe, happy and healthy environment for their children.
Over the next six years the number of Communities for Children sites in the Northern Territory will increase from four to 19, with a focus on remote locations.
They will provide services including early learning and literacy programs, parenting and family support programs, and child nutrition advice.
Local communities will have a say in which services they want delivered to meet the needs of local families and local Indigenous organisations will be partners in delivering these services.
The funding will also provide for the continuation of two Mobile Child Protection Teams and provide an extra 12 Remote Aboriginal Family and Community Workers. This will mean there will be 47 Family and Community Workers in remote locations funded by the Australian Government, providing intensive parenting support and education services to prevent the removal of children at risk into out of home care.
Other initiatives funded to help families and young people as part of the Stronger Futures package include:
• 8 existing supported and intensive playgroups for a further 10 years to help develop children's social, emotional, physical and cognitive abilities,
• $31 million over 10 years to continue to support up to 225 early learning and child care places at nine crèches in very remote Aboriginal communities, helping prepare children for school and contribute to better health and developmental outcomes,
• $99 million over 10 years for Intensive Family Support Services which will provide continuing practical parenting support in up to 23 locations for families with children at risk of entering the child protection system,
• continuing support for 16 women’s safe houses in urban and remote areas to protect the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal families and children through crisis accommodation and support services,
• continuing the Youth In Communities Program over 10 years in more than 30 remote communities. The program focuses on keeping young people connected with school or training, helping prevent youth suicide, self-harm, and alcohol and substance abuse.
As well as improving the safety and wellbeing of children and families, these initiatives will help increase the involvement of children and young people in education and training, and improve the capacity of Aboriginal organisations in remote communities.
The funding will also help to provide job opportunities for Aboriginal people. Local service providers will have to show they have strategies in place to train and employ local Aboriginal people in order to receive Australian Government funding.
Building healthy families, giving children the best start in life and supporting young people are all crucial parts of creating stronger futures for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.