Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Early Help for At-Risk Families

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Early Help for At-Risk Families

Article excerpt

Byline: Kerri-Anne Mesner kerri-anne.mesner@capnews.com.au

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

It will offer support 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 open Act For Kids in Rockhampton.

The charity organisation, which was established to prevent child abuse and neglect, is currently advertising to fill nine positions with 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 would help more than 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."

Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne said the program was particularly something to celebrate.

"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," Mr Byrne said. …

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