Improving Multidisciplinary Responses Program
The Improving Multidisciplinary Responses (IMR) program is designed to centre First Nations cultural knowledge in the design and delivery of the child and family services. The program will address the risk factors for neglect and abuse in the home, in partnership with parents and carers.
The design of the IMR program reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to the four Priority Reforms in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap:
- One (Formal Partnerships and Shared Decision Making)
- Two (Building the Community-Controlled Sector)
- Three (Transforming Government Organisations)
- Four (Shared Access to Data and Information at a Regional Level).
The department is co-designing and implementing the program with First Nations representatives. IMR supports the engagement of First Nations people through shared decision making. This is a key principle under Closing the Gap. Decision Making will be shared from design through to implementation and evaluation.
First Nations organisations will lead the funded initiatives. These will complement and support existing services and activities. They will improve service delivery in culturally, geographically, and socially diverse contexts.
These will include:
- centering First Nations cultural knowledge in the way that services are designed and delivered
- applying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle: A guide to support implementation. The aim is to keep children safe in family, culture and community
- strengthening First Nations organisations and communities to provide support to families.
The IMR program is a priority action under Safe and Supported: the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031. It is also a measure in the Commonwealth 2021 Closing the Gap Implementation Plan to support achieving Target 12:
By 2031, reduce the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45 per cent.
The IMR program will contribute to Closing the Gap social and economic outcomes. This includes building the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector.
A grant opportunity was open from 9 February to 5 April 2023.
Successful grant recipients were chosen following a detailed selection process by a Selection Advisory Panel (SAP). The SAP included First Nations people with experience leading or working in Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations, with multidisciplinary service systems, or with other relevant expertise, along with Commonwealth, state and territory government officials.
A total of 15 organisations will share in funding as a result of demonstrating strong alignment with the goals of the IMR program. Funding will support community-led projects in regional, remote and metropolitan areas across Australia reflecting different community aspirations, operating environments and local priorities that will contribute to reducing the number of First Nations children in out-of-home care.
Details of successful organisations were published on GrantConnect.
Pre-recorded video explaining the IMR grant opportunity.