June van de Klashorst

June van de Klashorst

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Richard Court

Richard Court

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    State Government releases plan to support families

    17/12/2000 1:00 PM
     
    17/12/00

    A five-year State Government plan with more than 80 initiatives to benefit families and build stronger Western Australian communities was released by Premier Richard Court today.

    Creating Connections 2000 - 2005 acknowledges families as the fundamental unit in society. It also recognises that patterns of family life are changing rapidly and responding to these changing needs.

    Mr Court said that earlier this year the State Government, through the Family and Children's Policy Office and Family and Children's Advisory Council, conducted meetings around the State to find out which issues were important to families and individuals.

    "The plan is a response to that extensive feedback and it builds on the significant initiatives the State Government has already taken to strengthen families,” he said.

    "We regard supporting families as one of the most important contributions Governments can make, as strong families create strong communities."

    Family and Children's Service's Minister June van de Klashorst said Creating Connections 2000 - 2005 included $6.5 million in new funding for seven initiatives, with support for other initiatives within existing budgets.

    She said the new initiatives included:
    • a Family Information Service established through Online WA. It would have information on all State Government services for families and have free telephone access;
    • services for fathers and men in crisis. This included accommodation, counselling and group support in the metropolitan area;
    • a multimedia campaign on fathers and men in families. The campaign would promote men as nurturers and carers of children through high profile role models;
    • services for families in conflict at the time of separation or divorce, including programs to help parents focus on their children's needs and courses to assist people representing themselves in the Family Court;
    • services for children as witnesses of domestic violence. Existing counselling services would be extended in the metropolitan area, as well as new services in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Murchison, Goldfields and South-West;
    • lifetime links with families and communities. The program would provide grants for innovative community pilot projects to increase contact and mutual respect between people of all ages with a focus on families and communities in rural and remote areas; and -
    • establishing five new mobile children's activity services based on Fremantle's successful ‘Buster the Fun Bus’. The services would be in the north-west, south-west and east metropolitan areas as well as the South-West and Mid-West regions. The services also allowed families who would not otherwise seek information to be put in contact with services.

    Other initiatives in the plan include:

    Families and Children
    • providing for the development of 32 new occasional child care services based on the flexible neighbourhood model;
    • through the Working in Partnership with Parents strategy, expanding the range of services and supports available to families and young people experiencing drug-related problems;
    • increased funding for new and expanded out-of-school, weekend and holiday programs, out-of-home respite strategies for rural families, and crisis and emergency respite for people with very high support needs;
    • supporting research into migrant families from Asia, Europe and the Middle East in order to learn from the family strengths that have enabled them to successfully settle in Australia; and -
    • funding non-Government services for women to reduce postnatal depression.

    Families, Neighbourhoods and Communities
    • supporting the planning of a Children's Centre at a city location suitable for families and children. It would incorporate the Museum of Childhood, an indigenous storytelling area, a performance space, 'learning through play' areas and parenting information resources;
    • through the New Living program, undertake major refurbishments of residential areas in Forrestfield, Langford and Midland and in the country at Albany, Carnarvon, Esperance, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and South Hedland;
    • improving security in and around public housing through improved urban design such as better street lighting, safer public open spaces, avoidance of laneways and security upgrades. Also, all new Ministry of Housing constructions will be fitted with barrier screens and windows; and -
    • providing a playgroups support service in the Murchison and Pilbara.

    Families, Governments and Business
    • through the FamilyOne business Strategy, developing research on family friendly workplace practices, develop models of good practice, conduct awareness campaigns about the benefits of family friendly workplaces; and -
    • through FamilyOne, developing best practice guidelines for family-friendly customer service across a range of industries; promoting an awareness of family friendly customer service and developing an across-Government focus on families as customers.

    Mrs van de Klashorst said the Family and Children's Policy Office would continue to update Creating Connections 2000 - 2005 each year as well as reporting on achievements and new commitments.

    She said over the next five years the plan would:
    • improve the well-being of individual families and children;
    • help build stronger links between families, their neighbourhoods and communities; and -
    • help create family friendly workplace and services in both the Government and private sectors.

    "The plan recognises that strong families provide a secure environment in which to raise children, care for the sick and aged and to nurture and support individuals," Mrs van de Klashorst said.

    Media contacts:
    Owen Cole, Minister van de Klashorst, 9481 7810
    Justine Whittome, Premier’s office, 9222 9475