The Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), launched by the former Australian Government in June 2007, has a particular focus on the wellbeing of children and young people.
Existing children's and parenting services in the Northern Territory are being provided with additional funding, while new services are being established in priority communities including expanded coverage in areas outside major communities.
Existing services under the Invest to Grow and Indigenous Children Programs are delivering an expanded range of services under the NTER, including resources for families and community workers, additional parenting and early childhood development activities, and support to vulnerable Indigenous families to address complex issues such as substance abuse and family violence.
Projects are aimed variously at improving childhood nutrition and family knowledge of good nutrition practices; improving knowledge about pregnancy, birth and parenting for young people; improving parenting and family functioning to support early childhood learning and transition to preschool and school; and improving families' access to support services such as housing and health.
Five additional facilitated playgroups are being funded under the NTER. These playgroups will increase the number of disadvantaged Indigenous families and children able to access a playgroup in the NT and develop the parenting skills of vulnerable families.
Two mobile Intensive Support Playgroups (ISPs) are already delivering services to 9 community outstations around Tennant Creek and Katherine. A further three Locational Supported Playgroups (LSPs) in Milingimbi, Numbulwar and Yuendumu will begin delivering facilitated playgroup services in mid 2009.
The strengthened parenting programs support early childhood development and growth and promote school engagement and performance. Early childhood programs and playgroups provide a place where children can play and parents get together in an organised and routine environment.
The Australian Government is also providing extra support for programs to curb alcohol and drug abuse and anti-social behaviour among young people.
The NTER Youth Alcohol Diversion measure is aimed at young people, primarily 12-18 years old, who engage in or are at risk of alcohol and other substance abuse. This measure aims to engage young people in a range of culturally, age and gender appropriate social and recreational activities, to counterbalance the adverse influences that can lead to substance abuse. It also aims to build youth services infrastructure and provide local employment and training opportunities for Indigenous people.
Funded projects have included sport/recreational infrastructure builds or upgrades, purchase of sporting equipment, employment of youth workers, special events and other organised activities and school holiday programs.