What are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Family Centres?
The National Partnership Agreement for Indigenous Early Childhood Development saw the establishment of 38 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Family Centres (ACFCs) across Australia. The Centres were a major initiative of all Australian governments in the development of integrated services that respond holistically to the needs of our young children and their families.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Family Centres in communities across Australia are community-driven hubs that not only provide high quality early childhood services to Indigenous children, but also support or connect vulnerable families to access an array of integrated services that are having significant impact in improving the safety, health and wellbeing of families and communities. These services are key providers of local employment and training – enabling local people to have access, often for the first time, to employment. Essentially they are one-stop shops to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have the best possible start, and can go on to attend, participate and excel at school.
SNAICC’s role as a focal point for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Family Centres
SNAICC acts as a focal point of contact for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Family Centres. We invite you to contact us if you’re an ACFC and would like to have a yarn, or to bring up a particular issue. We can also help you to get in touch with other ACFCs in your state, or across Australia.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Family Centres – funding challenges
Federal funding for the 38 Centres was discontinued in July 2014. Some states, including Western Australia and New South Wales, have provided temporary funding, with many ACFCs being forced to operate at a significantly reduced rate. Others, such as South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania, are managing the Centres directly. The Queensland Government has announced continued funding for their ten Centres – the majority of which are Indigenous owned and operated. Victorian ACFCs have not received any state funding and are operating on substantially reduced budgets.
SNAICC is committed to supporting the sustainable operation of the Centres and works collaboratively with them to profile their operations and identify issues and support needs. SNAICC continues to lobby at the state and national levels for sustainable, adequate and equitable funding to ensure the long-term operations of the Centres as integrated child and family support services. SNAICC is also lobbying for ongoing Government support for existing community controlled, community based child and family support services, including Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services.
SNAICC ass developed a series of profiles to provide an overview of the 36 services still operating. The profiles detail the key features of each participating service, namely: programs offered; governance structure; funding; engagement with families and communities; and some highlights on outcomes for children and families. The profiles aim to deepen understanding of the work of these services and their impact, as well as to foster sharing and exchange amongst services themselves.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Family Centres: Changing futures with our children and families
SNAICC has prepared a number of informative resources that profile ACFCs, and support our work to ensure sustainable funding.
- Early Years Pathways – Strong Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families
This fact sheet explains the importance of a sustainable, resourced Community Early Learning Program to provide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander integrated early years services, and outlines why investment in this area is so critical. It also highlights a number of case studies of the amazing work of these Centres, and the impact they are having not only on the children in community, but also families and community development as a whole.
SNAICC has developed a beautiful video with Bubup Wilam Early Learning Aboriginal Child and Family Centre on the journey of Bubup Wilam to date. This video highlights the unique approach taken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Family Centres.
- Caring for our Children and Families: Profiling Child and Family Centres – SNAICC report August 2012
This resource profiles the Centres in their early stages of development. SNAICC hopes that this resource will also help to increase awareness of the Centres, their objectives, the set up process and the support that these and other services require to provide quality, accessible and sustainable services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
SNAICC has also undertaken work to consider what is needed in service coordination and collaboration that responds effectively to the needs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families through the Centres. These issues are discussed in the recent SNAICC policy paper, Coming Together.
Other relevant documents include:
- Integrated service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children & families – Literature review March 2012
- Opening Doors Through Partnerships – SNAICC Report April 2012
Are you a service provider, parent or community member who also feels passionate about ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children can access culturally appropriate, high quality early childhood support? Or does your organisation want to join our campaign? If so, we would love your support! One way you can do this is to write to or call your local MP or Federal Minister. Just contact us and we can give you further information and a template letter to give you some ideas!
Your support will help to raise the visibility and collective voice on this critical issue.
Who to contact
For more information on, or to get involved in, SNAICC’s work supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years services please contact: Emma Sydenham – [email protected]