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Nationally, child protection notifications and substantiations continue to rise. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are disproportionately represented in the statutory care system across Australia, with out-of-home care rates almost ten times that of other children.
The consequences of child removal are profound: devastating families; deepening inter-generational trauma; triggering poor life outcomes; and eroding culture and community. We know that working with families early prevents issues from escalating, reduces the need for alternative, out of home care and promotes healthy child development.
Save the Children's Family Protection Support program works with parents and caregivers referred to us due to their children being at risk of abuse or neglect. Through the delivery of parenting courses, workshops and intensive specialised support, Save the Children works to intervene early to prevent abuse and neglect of children in isolated and marginalised communities.
The program works with whole families. We support them to access drug, alcohol, domestic violence and mental health specialist services. Families are mentored in their homes and local communities to develop and enhance their parenting skills, many for up to a year. Education sessions provide participants with positive parenting techniques and new ideas about caring for children that help reduce disadvantage and prevent the abuse and neglect of Aboriginal children.
Through early intervention the program aims to increase the parenting skills and confidence of disadvantaged families and provide referrals to access support services. The program includes regular community events to encourage families to build strong relationships and interact with others.
The $30,000 investment from Footprints will help pay for an additional family support worker specialising in complex family violence issues, who will work with families referred to her in the community. This role helps divert children from the child protection system. Similar roles are able to work intensively with 20 high-needs families per year.
We work with local community services including the parenting research Centre, Gidgee Healing and both the Australian and State Governments.
The Family Protection Support program is part of Save the Children Strategy 2019-21 where we are working to ensure Violence against children is no longer tolerated.