A new $2.1 million service to better support vulnerable families has been launched on the Gold Coast.
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman today visited the new Nerang hub that brings together Child Safety staff and specialist support workers in one location to provide wrap-around support to families needing a helping hand.
“This is the first time we have partnered with Act for Kids and the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast to improve responses to children and families who come to the attention of Child Safety,” she said.
“Having child safety workers and specialist support workers with skills in helping manage domestic and family violence, parenting problems and alcohol and drug addiction, means we can start our hands-on work with families from the moment they come to our attention.
“Around half of the families known to Child Safety have also experienced domestic and family violence in the past year.
“That’s why it’s so important we have specialist workers assisting our hard-working Child Safety Officers to get the best results possible for children and families.
“This hub is the first example of a more integrated and coordinated approach to child protection that fosters a shared responsibility across government, non-government and community sectors for supporting vulnerable families and children.”
Ms Fentiman said the Nerang hub was part of the Palaszczuk Government’s efforts to provide the best possible services and support for vulnerable families and their children to help address and overcome the issues that have brought them into contact with the child protection system.
“The new, integrated and co-located service allows families to access services and support as soon as an investigation and assessment is under way,” she said.
“We want to see hubs rolled out right across Queensland and we currently have a tender process open for similar models to be rolled out in Far North Queensland, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Roma, Bundaberg and Maryborough.
“At the heart of this approach will be specialist responses to domestic and family violence, child development and parenting as well as culturally responsive services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and families.
“The Nerang hub will ensure we can meet the needs of children and their families more quickly and begin working with them at a grassroots level while we also undertake an investigation process into any concerns about their wellbeing.”
Ms Fentiman said the state-wide rollout will occur throughout the remainder of 2017.
Gary Poole, Regional Director of Act for Kids, said the new approach was based on test models which had been successful overseas and short-circuited a lot of bureaucracy.
“It’s a very good approach, and if it works here as intended, we are hopeful it will make the lives of women and children on the Gold Coast safer,” he said.
“This new pilot, called Assessment and Service Connect (ASC) will assess and prioritise cases which in a combined approach, bringing together valuable expertise from many different agencies.”
“The innovative ASC is intended to be a one-stop shop with more than 360 cases being screened in a year, which is a fair number. The objective is for the non-governmental agencies to partner seamlessly and effectively with government departments to identify risks and rapidly bring shared expertise and resources