Page 489 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 16 February 2005

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MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support. Minister, the ACT government committed in the Canberra social plan to establish child and family centres, with the first centre to be opened in Gungahlin. Can you please inform the Assembly of work recently completed in Gungahlin in seeing this important community facility open, and what services will now be available to the people of Gungahlin?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. The child and family centre in Gungahlin has recently opened, fulfilling a flagship commitment in the Canberra social plan to put in place a new form of community-based service delivery, starting with Gungahlin and proceeding to Tuggeranong. The Canberra social plan committed the ACT government to provide local services with a focus on support and early intervention, including health, education, parenting and family support services. The opening of the Gungahlin child and family centre will provide universal and targeted early intervention and prevention services to children and families within the Gungahlin region. The opening of this centre is part of the government’s commitment to improve services in Gungahlin, to ensure that it is an attractive place to live and that people are able to access adequate government services and support.

The child and family centres will include new features such as an integrated service model where services are networked and easily accessible, client focused service delivery, outreach in community settings so that services are available where they are needed most, and important partnerships between government, the community sector, service clubs, charities and businesses, ensuring that the best practitioners provide the best service.

At times, children and their families require additional assistance. The child and family centre in Gungahlin will work closely with families to determine the additional assistance required and the best way that this can be provided across the government and the community. Seven community outreach workers have been employed and include two maternal and child health nurses, a speech pathologist, a psychologist, a social worker, an early childhood educational specialist and a maternal and child specialist with early infant mental health qualifications. The management team comprises a centre manager, a team leader who has added qualifications in sociology and teaching, and a clinical specialist with qualifications in welfare sciences who is currently undertaking a masters degree in community development. Gungahlin centre manager, Di Butcher, will be well known to Canberrans through her role heading up the 2003 bushfire recovery centre.

A range of services is now directly provided through this centre, including many important clinical services such as early child and maternal clinics, including immunisation services; speech pathology services, including monthly Therapy ACT drop-in clinics for speech pathology services; and ongoing individual and family case management with families identifying more complex issues.

In addition, Housing ACT will shortly commence sign-ups from the centre for clients being allocated a property within Gungahlin. Housing ACT workers will also use the centre as a base when undertaking client home visits, debt recovery appointments and/or individual case management meetings. Relationships Australia will operate from the

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