Additional Communities for Children Services
Additional funding of $42.5 million over four years is being provided for the Communities for Children program under the Government's Building Australia's Future Workforce package.
Communities for Children services provide locally tailored initiatives to parents and their children, such as playgroups, parenting education classes, mentoring and support groups, and early learning programs.
This additional investment will help ensure that parents have the support they need to give their children the best start in life by building parenting skills and confidence, and access to early learning and development opportunities.
Why the Government is doing this
The evidence is clear that children from jobless families experience worse developmental outcomes and delays, including poorer health and educational outcomes and are at greater risk of intergenerational transfer of welfare dependence.1
Findings from the Communities for Children evaluation demonstrate that the service model has had success in improving outcomes among the most vulnerable children and families, particularly in relation to children's language skills, parental joblessness rates and mothers' involvement in the community as well as reduction in harsh parenting practices.
Services to assist single parents enter the workforce
Extra funding of $19.1 million will be provided for Communities for Children services nationally to support vulnerable families including Parenting Payment recipients affected by payment eligibility changes.
The enhanced Communities for Children service model will ensure disadvantaged families receive the support they need to effectively participate in the workforce, and develop their children's skills ready for a successful education.
There are currently 49 Communities for Children services across Australia.
Communities for Children in targeted locations
As part of the new approach to supporting teenagers and jobless families being trialled in 10 targeted locations, $23.4 million is being invested in new and existing Communities for Children services. Where there is an existing Communities for Children service in a trial site, additional funding will be provided to work with teenage parents and jobless parents as part of their new participation requirements.
These locations are:
- Burnie, Tasmania – Centacare Tasmania
- Hume, Victoria – Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust
- Logan, Queensland – The Salvation Army (Qld) Property Trust
- Kwinana, Western Australia – The Smith Family
- Playford, South Australia – Anglicare South Australia
- Shellharbour, New South Wales – Barnados Australia
- Wyong, New South Wales – The Benevolent Society
Three new Communities for Children services will be established in:
- Bankstown, New South Wales;
- Shepparton, Victoria; and
- Rockhampton, Queensland.
These services will also work on a voluntary basis with parents who have their income support payments income managed. Further information about the new participation requirements for teenage parents and jobless families, and income management in targeted locations can be found at www.budget.gov.au.
Services to support teenage parents, including from the three new sites, will commence from 1 January 2012. Extra services will commence on 1 July 2012 for jobless families in the 10 trial sites. Additional funding for Communities for Children services to support unemployed and vulnerable families nationally will start on 1 July 2012.
How Communities for Children works
Communities for Children has a unique 'collaborative' model where:
- Each site has a 'Facilitating Partner' that is the lead agency for the site. This is the agency the Government funds.
- The facilitating partner then sub-contracts with other local non-government organisations to deliver programs in their areas of expertise - 'community partners'.
- Each site establishes and maintains a 'Coordinating Committee' of non-government organisations and other stakeholders (for example, police) who oversee program development.
Examples of activities being implemented under Communities for Children include: home visiting; early learning and literacy programs; parenting skills training; and child nutrition programs.