Media Release: $85 million to strengthen families in the NT and APY Lands

The Australian and Northern Territory governments are delivering a joint initiative to better support families in the NT and Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, South Australia, to make positive and sustained life changes to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of their children.

Federal Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston and NT Minister for Territory Families and Urban Housing Kate Worden announced yesterday the Australian Government was investing $45 million and the NT Government $40 million to deliver early intervention parenting support programs over the next five years. 

Minister Ruston said this was the first major funding announcement since the Children and Families Tripartite Forum was established and aligns with its goals of collaboration and coordination.

“Through our Children and Family Intensive Support program we are making sure governments are working together and, most importantly, supporting Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to deliver programs for First Nations families designed and delivered by First Nations people,” Minister Ruston said.

“Program participants will have access to parenting and life skills training such as goal setting and budgeting, group workshops promoting strong family and community relationships and they will be connected to other counselling, rehabilitation and support services.

“This program builds on our commitment to meeting the targets under the Closing the Gap Agreement including reducing the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care.”

Minister Worden said the Territory’s Family Support Services provide targeted and culturally secure intensive support for families in times of need to help keep children safe, thriving and connected to their family and community.

“We want to provide all children with the best possible environment to learn and grow, by keeping them safe and at home with their families,” said Minister Worden.

“The 13 successful providers are led by Aboriginal or multiethnic organisations who deeply understand the complex needs of at-risk children and families.

“Placed-based services and local decision making is at the heart of family support services across the Northern Territory, and we are proud of our ongoing work with local communities to shape these services.”

Formerly known as Intensive Family Support Services and Intensive Family Preservation Service respectively, the CaFIS and FSS programs were redesigned in line with recommendations of the Productivity Commission Report on Expenditure on Children in the Northern Territory.

The redesign and grant rounds were undertaken in collaboration by both governments to ensure a complementary distribution of early intervention family support services across the Northern Territory and APY Lands.

CaFIS will be delivered by 11 service providers, 10 of which are Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations:

Top End Region:

  • Mala'la Health Service Aboriginal Corporation
  • Save the Children Australia (in partnership with Thamarrurr Development Corporation)

Big Rivers Region:

  • Kalano Community Association Inc
  • Katherine West Health Board Aboriginal Corporation
  • Yugul Mangi Development Aboriginal Corporation

Barkly Region:

  • Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation

Arnhem Region:

  • Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation

Central Region:

  • Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation
  • Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi (Aboriginal Corporation)
  • Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council Aboriginal Corporation
  • Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation.

APY Lands, SA:

  • Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council Aboriginal Corporation

Spread out across the regions, the 13 successful FFS applicants who will be providing programs and support are:

Greater Darwin Region:

  • Children’s Ground
  • MacKillop Family Services (in partnership with Danila Dilba)
  • CAAPS Aboriginal Corporation (in partnership with Anglicare NT)
  • Melaleuca Australia

Top End Region:

  • Wangatunga Strong Women Group Supported by Red Cross
  • Mala’la Health Services Aboriginal Corporation – this is the first time Maningrida will receive a FSS provider in the community.

Big Rivers Region:

  • Save The Children (in partnership with Jawoyn Association)
  • Yugul Mangi Development Aboriginal Corporation
  • Katherine West Health Board

Barkly Region:

  • Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation (in partnership with CatholicCare NT)

Arnhem Region:

  • Yalu Aboriginal Corporation

Central Region:

  • Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation
  • Akeyulerre Aboriginal Corporation (in partnership with Anglicare NT).

This work will also complement other reforms in the Northern Territory, including the 10 Year Generational Strategy and the Coordinated Funding Framework, both recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory that aim to further strengthen Commonwealth and state government funded services across the Territory.

Successful CaFIS and FSS providers have been funded until 30 June 2026, with services commencing in their regions from later this year and into early 2022.

To learn more about Children Family Intensive Support, visit the DSS website. For information about Family Support Services, visit the TFHC website.

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