Enhancements are being made to existing child and family support services over the coming months, as part of the Australian Government's commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of children and families on Norfolk Island.
A new Child and Family Wellbeing Team will be established with Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Services (NIHRACS), working closely with families, the community, and other services such as childcare, the school, police and Anglicare to improve the safety and support for children, young people and families on Island.
The Child and Family Wellbeing Team will incorporate the existing Child Welfare Officer and provide other support services for children and families including:
- information for new parents about parenting in the early years;
- specialist counselling services for children and young people;
- health promotion activities for the community to improve men and women's health and raise awareness about common health issues such as diabetes, breast cancer, depression and anxiety, as well as issues such as domestic violence and drug and alcohol misuse;
- respectful relationships training, called ‘Love Bites’, for young people on Island;
- training for police, health, education staff and other service providers on Island and
- new crisis accommodation arrangements for victims of domestic and family violence.
Child welfare services on mainland Australia provide information and support for families through all stages of their child's development: for parents with newborns, in the early years and through to high school. Providing support to parents and children early in the life of the child and early in the life of a problem can stop issues from occurring, or prevent an issue from getting worse.
By establishing a Child and Family Wellbeing Team on Island and funding additional services for children and families, the Australian Government is working to deliver the same level of services for the Norfolk Island community as is available on mainland Australia.
If you would like to find out more about the enhanced services for children and families on Norfolk Island, or are interested to participate in future training opportunities, please contact the Child and Family Wellbeing Team on 22687.
If you have any concerns for the safety and wellbeing of a child or young person please contact Norfolk Island Police on 22222 or the Child Welfare Officer on 22687 (landline) or 51115 (mobile).
As a reminder, the national sexual assault and domestic family violence counselling service 1800RESPECT (phone 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800respect.org.au) and the Kids Helpline (phone 1800 55 1800) are available on Norfolk Island. These helplines are free to call and can provide confidential advice and support for those seeking help.
Child and Family Wellbeing Team
The Team will be established as part of the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service (NIHRACS) and will be based at DCA circle number 9 initially while new premises in Burnt Pine are being sought.
A Team Manager will lead up a specialist team focused on providing services to local residents. The Team will comprise of a Child and Adolescent Counsellor, a Health Promotion Coordinator and a part-time Administrative Officer.
Both the Child and Adolescent Counsellor and Health Promotion Coordinator have been funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health after extensive consultation with the community by the Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network.
Tanya Smith, who has been welcomed to NIHRACS as the interim Team Manager for the Child and Family Wellbeing Team, comes with extensive experience working in social services and engaging with communities in isolated and remote locations. Tanya's focus will be working closely with the School, Anglicare, Police, and families to build on their strengths and support them through challenging times.
The Child Welfare Officer will provide support to families to help give their children a good start in life. From time to time, they will also assess reports made and concerns raised about the welfare of children and young people and take action to ensure children, young and their families are well supported and safe.
The Child and Adolescent Counsellor will provide therapeutic counselling services and support to children and young people who may be struggling with anxiety, grief, depression or be faced with other challenges. The Health Promotion Coordinator will work closely with other services and the community to improve awareness on common health issues including mental health prevention, diabetes, breast cancer, sexual health and raise awareness on domestic violence and other issues such as drug and alcohol misuse.
Once the full team is on board and services begin operating in early 2018, the Norfolk Island community will have the opportunity to name the new Child and Family Wellbeing Team.
Training for Professionals
The NSW Education Centre Against Violence will be working with service providers on Island to improve responses to domestic violence and child abuse. ECAV will deliver a forum in late March 2018 for police, teachers, nurses and NIHRACS staff, child welfare staff and Anglicare. The forum aims to enhance how the community responds to instances of domestic violence and child abuse.
School teachers, youth workers, nurses, counsellors and police, as well as church and community leaders will be trained during April 2018 to deliver a school-based education program called ‘Love Bites’. Widely available on the mainland, ‘Love Bites’ focuses on the development of respectful relationships and violence prevention for 12–17-year-olds.
Through this ‘train the trainer’ program run by the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, students will have the opportunity to participate in ‘Love Bites’ later in the year.
Crisis Accommodation for victims of domestic and family violence and their children
Short term arrangements for crisis accommodation is available, if required, for victims and their children seeking safety following family and domestic violence.
Information about new crisis accommodation arrangements can be accessed by contacting either the Child and Family Wellbeing Team (22687), the NIHRACS Social Worker (22091), Norfolk Island Police (22222) or Anglicare (22232).