Western Australia's estimated 203,000 parents now have a new telephone life-line and specialist information service to help them deal with difficult children.
Managing child behaviour and difficult family relationships have been found to be key parental concerns, involving nearly half the calls to a new 24-hour parent-help telephone line.
Family and Community Development Minister Eric Ripper gave the details today during the launch of the Parent Information and Referral Service (PIRS) in Mount Lawley. The service was promoted through the current 'Grow Together' campaign which sought to improve communication between adults and children.
"Being a parent is one of the toughest and most vital jobs which anyone can do," Mr Ripper said.
"Effective parenting, which can be boosted through access to timely advice and support, is fundamental to the general health and well-being of our community."
Mr Ripper said the PIRS, which provided specialist counsellors to advise on child development problems, was just part of the more than $4 million allocated in the State Budget to support and inform parents.
This allocation included:
· $3 million in Social Advantage grants of up to $5,000 for parent education and early intervention initiatives;
· $500,000 for the 'Grow Together' community information campaign, which included community resource materials and media advertising;
· $370,000 for the continuing operation of the Parent Help Centre which provided parenting courses and individual counselling;
· $200,000 for a statewide parenting skills program to help parents control behaviour without violence and to resolve parent-teen conflict;
· $92,000 for the establishment of the PIRS, including extra staff, and an expanded information data base;
· $50,000 for a Parent Information and Referral Kit to be given to every family in which a baby is born from the start of next year.
Mr Ripper said in the month the PIRS had been operating, the telephone service (272 1466 or 008 807 648 for country callers) had received 375 calls.
More than 43 per cent were from parents concerned about managing child behaviour or parent-child conflict, more than 36 per cent were seeking advice on day care, playgroups of financial and accommodation matters, and the remainder concerned issues such as marital problems, post-natal depression and domestic violence.
"Parents need to know there is a broad range of parenting skills, self-help, training and information services available," Mr Ripper said.