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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 intergenerational 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 both with children and parents, grandparents and guardians. Save the Children 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 $20,000 from Footprints helped to pay for a family support worker to continue their work with 11 high-needs families, helping to divert children from the child protection system.
Family Protection Support is a continuing project, with a new term starting in September 2019.