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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 17 September 2015) . . Page.. 3235 ..

pleased to acknowledge the important work of organisations that work to prevent child abuse and neglect. In particular, I was thrilled to hear that dad’s place, which is part of the Canberra Father’s and Children’s Service, or CanFaCS, was a recent recipient of the play your part awards for the ACT this year. National Child Protection Week starts on Father’s Day every year and is a good way to incorporate the important role that fathers play each and every day in supporting safer families.

CanFaCS provides crisis accommodation and outreach support services to fathers with accompanying children who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. CanFaCS is a not-for-profit, community-based service incorporated in the ACT. It opened in 2002 and is the only crisis accommodation service in Australia specifically funded for homeless fathers who have their children in their care. CanFaCS and dad’s place are committed to strengthening family relationships and promoting self-care and the care of others. They recognise that separated and homeless fathers have particular support needs and that the quality of their ongoing relationships, especially with their children, can be greatly enhanced if the correct supports are in place.

They acknowledge the important contributions that fathers can make to their children’s lives and have as a guiding principle the achievement of positive outcomes for children, in particular. Their experience is that supporting fathers also indirectly increases the wellbeing of mothers, extended families and, indeed, the whole community.

Dad’s place is a vital service here in the ACT. It provides an overnight home stay for dads who may have regular care of their children or may not have regular care, only occasional care. In general terms, dad’s place provides overnight accommodation in a home that can be furnished with bedding, certain toys, pictures on the walls, all specific for that father and his children. The service is provided in consultation with the mother where that is appropriate. They have a designated caseworker. They have assistance to access other services that may support the family and, most importantly, it is the comforts of a normal home and a safe environment.

More specifically, CanFaCS and dad’s place can provide safe and secure accommodation, inclusive and accessible service responses, a case management framework that is strengths based, client directed and focused on achievable outcomes, information on entitlements and responsibilities under family law, income support, housing and child support processes, sensitive and respectful counselling, skills training and parenting education, assistance to identify and access other services that may be useful and assistance to re-establish a secure and stable base from which to develop independence and self-reliance and to which it is safe to bring children.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Anthony Rochester, the executive officer of Connections ACT, and also Michael Costigan. Michael is unfortunately about to leave Connections ACT because he has been involved since the start-up of the Tara Costigan Foundation, and Michael will now be spending all of his time on the Tara Costigan Foundation.

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