On 17 March 2017, Act for Kids officially launched a service to help children overcome their experiences of neglect and abuse in Rosedale, Gin Gin and Isis State schools.
With the help of funding support from Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN and the Department of Education, Act for Kids provides a therapy service to help children overcome their experiences of neglect and abuse through individual therapeutic support, group programs and counselling for families with a range of challenges.
The therapy program aims to improve safety, support children to achieve developmental milestones, stabilise at school and improve the wellbeing of children who have experienced trauma through abuse and neglect. We do this by assisting children to understand and manage their emotions, assisting parents to understand and support their childs developmental, social and emotional needs and improving communication within the family. We work with parents and carers to support growth in their efficacy and confidence to meet the needs of their children.
Our vision is for the service to extend and provide a range of specialist speech and occupational therapy services to create an integrated service model. This model would include a team of psychologists, family therapists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists and early education specialists who would work together to develop a personalised program for individual children identified, at no cost to the families referred, said Act for Kids Regional Director, Thomas McIntyre.
Tracey Warhurst, the PHNs General Manager for Wide Bay, said the Bundaberg program was great news for children and local families who needed some additional support.
Just like most parents, we want all children to get the best possible start to life in primary school, and from our engagement with the community weve had really positive feedback about this program, Ms Warhurst said.
We identified community concerns around access to early intervention services in the Bundaberg region, which aligned with our assessment of local health needs.
Our data shows a high rate of developmentally vulnerable children in the Bundaberg region. The evidence has shown that there is a strong link between education and long-term health.
Research shows that children from low-income families are more likely to experience social difficulties, behavioural problems and psychological distress.
When aligned with the identified community need we felt Act for Kids was the best provider to deliver local services offering support and therapy to help children overcome the effects of abuse and neglect.
Act for Kids Regional Director, Thomas McIntyre, said the PHN was the right partner for the new service.
The PHN shares our vision for all kids to have the right to a safe and happy childhood, free from abuse and neglect. We can provide early and appropriate support to kids and young people who need some help.
Sadly 656 children were confirmed as abused or neglected in the Central Queensland region in the 2015/2016 financial year. We know child abuse and neglect can lead to lifelong problems, so our specialist teams work with these children, Thomas McIntyre said.
Photo credit: Laura Hunt / ARM