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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1667 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

have seen changes in family structure brought about by divorce, re-partnering, increased geographical mobility, and increased number of mothers in the work force, and increased poverty, particularly among sole parent households. These changes in family structure have left families isolated, under growing stress and often less able to provide support to each other.

Research shows that community-based family support programs, integrated with individual programs targeted at at-risk families, produce better outcomes.

The government, through the Department of Education and Community Services, provides a range of other support programs for families that I would like to draw to the attention of members.

Under the community services program, the government provides substantial funding to children and families. There is a wide range of individual programs giving a broad level of support. Let me give you a flavour of some of these.

Vacation care for adolescents with disabilities is a program that provides 16 places for after-school care and vacation care, operating from locations on the north and south side of Canberra. The Barnardos young mothers group provides support services for young mothers. Canberra one-parent family support targets sole-parent families and their dependent children. Supporting families with adolescents is early intervention support service for young people and their families. These are just some of the programs the government already funds.

There is also the Child Health and Development Service, commonly known as CHADS. CHADS works in partnership with families and their communities to assist children's development. CHADS staff work in partnership with families to ensure that children have the opportunity to develop to the best of their ability. CHADS services target children from birth to 12 years who have delays in their development or have a disability. They also work with the families and carers of these children, with preschools and schools and with other community agencies.

Yet another innovative program offered by my department is the parents as teachers program. This program was designed to support parents before the birth of their child and during the child's first three years. Trained parent advisers make monthly home visits to provide practical information and support to families.

The government has committed to a range of new initiatives that provide support to families. The government has provided an additional 55 centre-based, child-care places in the growing centre of Gungahlin, with new transportables added to the two existing child-care centres at Nicholls and Ngunnawal. The government is also building a new 90-place child-care centre in the Gungahlin Town Centre. This centre is due to open in mid-2003 and planning is well under way.

I also recently announced that the government will be undertaking a project to examine the issues associated with recruiting and retaining staff in child-care, and related work force planning issues. Community and Health Works, an independent not-for-profit organisation, will conduct an inquiry into demand and staffing in child care in the ACT.

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