New intensive program to support vulnerable children in Cairns

30 June 2015





Act for Kids will expand its therapeutic services in Cairns after being awarded funding by the Queensland Government to deliver the state’s new Intensive Early Childhood Development Support program, designed to provide therapeutic support and early childhood education for young children.

The Intensive Early Childhood Development Support program will provide support to vulnerable children aged from birth to five years, focussing on learning, social and emotional development of children affected by abuse and neglect.

The Queensland Government’s Department of Education and Training and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services has invested $2.5 million worth of funding for six services providers to deliver the pilot program across Townsville, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Cairns, South Brisbane and Bundaberg.

Matthew Looker, Cairns Program Manager at Act for Kids, said the new Intensive Early Childhood Development Support program is another step forward in evidence-based programs that increase outcomes for local families.

“Act for Kids has provided free prevention and treatment programs in Cairns for many years. The new program will go a long way to addressing Cairns’ growing need for early childhood education and age-appropriate therapeutic interventions.

“Our multidisciplinary therapists are skilled at using an integrated approach to support the emotional and developmental needs of young children to help them overcome the damaging effects of trauma from abuse and neglect.

“Many young kids who experience trauma suffer significant social, emotional, physical and behavioural effects from their early experiences. The time they will spend with us will ensure they receive wrap-around therapy and the skills they need before they start day care or school,” Matthew Looker said.

Member for Cairns, Rob Pyne, said the funding was part of a new intensive early childhood development pilot program to help families most in need of support.

“This new funding will allow Act for Kids to develop a program that supports the learning, social and emotional development of children affected by complex issues such as domestic violence, abuse, or neglect.

“These services could include therapeutic early childhood education and care focussing on social or language development, intensive supported playgroups, and programs for parents and children such as home visits that engage families in familiar environments.