The Bligh Government has committed more than $238,503 over three years to strengthen services and support for abused and neglected Indigenous children and young people in Yarrabah.
State Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said Child Safety Minister Phil Reeves had confirmed the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council would receive $79,501 per year for up to three years to establish a new Recognised Entity service in Yarrabah.
They would also receive one-off funds of $2,300 for office and computer equipment, he said.
“This funding will enable the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council to provide comprehensive cultural and family information and advice to Child Safety Services, in order to support vulnerable Indigenous children in Yarrabah,” Mr Pitt said.
“The Recognised Entity will participate in all major decisions involving Indigenous children who have been harmed or are at risk of harm in the Yarrabah area.”
Mr Pitt said Recognised Entities provided advice to Child Safety Services on a range of issues, including whether children should be taken into care, who they should stay with and how to keep the children in contact with their culture.
“Recognised Entities also explain the child protection system to the children, parents and foster carers, as well as provide information to families to help them understand the statutory system,” Mr Pitt said.
Mr Pitt said it was a sad fact that as at 30 September 2008, more than 600 children and young people in Far North Queensland could not live safely at home because one or both of their parents abused or neglected them. More than 440 of these children were Indigenous.
Mr Reeves said the Bligh Government was committed to working closely with Indigenous organisations such as Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council and local communities to improve child protection services.
“Thanks to our community partners such as Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council, children and young people who have been abused or neglected are receiving the support they need, have a safe place to stay and a much brighter future.”
Mr Reeves said the funds for Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council were part of last year’s record 2008-09 child protection budget of $586.6 million.
“Protecting our children is an enormous responsibility. That’s why we are investing another record amount of $638 million in child protection in the 2009-10 State Budget.
“Despite the global financial crisis, the Bligh Government is committed to maintaining our essential child protection services.”
For information on becoming a foster or kinship carer, contact 1300 550 877 or visit www.childsafety.qld.gov.au