2016 Play Your Part Award Recipients

National

yourtown for Kids Helpline

Kids Helpline (KHL) is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25. It was created to give children and young people somewhere to turn when they needed help.

Many children and young people seek assistance and support in relation to child abuse concerns. This may involve allegations relating to physical, sexual and emotional neglect and harm, as well as exposure to domestic and family violence (DFV) or issues relating to experiences in out-of- home care.

KHL offers a number of primary prevention initiatives that seek to reduce vulnerability to harm before it happens, including a wide range of age-appropriate resources available on the KHL website for independent help-seeking by children and young people. Some of these resources are specifically about child abuse or DFV. Others focus on supporting children and young people to protect themselves – like building resilience and respectful relationships. KHL provides counselling and support for children and young people affected by child abuse, to reduce the impact of harm once it happens.

ACT

YWCA Canberra (lead), The Smith Family, PCYC, Tuggeranong Child and Family Centre and the ACT Education and Training Directorate for Child Aware Local Initiative (CALI) Project, South Tuggeranong

CALI is a community-led program about connecting children and their families to school, and to provide parents with better access to the services and supports they may need to better support their children’s development, education and wellbeing.

It was recognised that early intervention and prevention activities were critical in keeping vulnerable children safe in the identified area of South Tuggeranong where 24.6% of children were identified as vulnerable through the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI).

CALI is proud to have been part of a successful collaboration between the community sector, government and the community itself, that has strengthened their relationships and created a safe and inclusive space for children and their families to engage in programs that are suited to their needs, and that have direct benefits.

Pictured: Richard Cooke, CEO NAPCAN, Francis Crimmins, Executive Director YWCA Canberra, The Hon. Senator Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Social Services

QLD

Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association – Ipswich Branch For Deadly Dukes Program

Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association, Ipswich Branch runs the ‘Deadly Dukes’ program; a variation of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. The program uses traditional cultural practices to build a sense of identity and pride in the young people and create an environment of belonging and togetherness. This experience provides individuals with alternative coping strategies, teaches them how to overcome negative behaviour by reverting back to cultural practices, and helps to keep them engaged with education.

The young people who engage in the program have displayed long term commitment to their own development, empowering dignity of choice, resulting in positive behavioural changes. They now voluntarily perform many community services within the Ipswich region, building capacity in the community and encouraging others to follow their example by becoming positive role models.

In 2015 alone they delivered cultural activities to over 4000 primary school students in the region, taught traditional dance and performed at over 20 events such as NAIDOC celebrations and Cultural events.

Within Ipswich the percentage of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people between the ages of 18 – 24 who are fully engaged in work, study or training is sitting at only 37.4% compared to 66.4% for non-indigenous young people of the same group.

QLD

yourtown for Parentline

Parentline is a confidential telephone and online service that provides professional counselling, education and support for parents and carers of children and young people in Queensland and Northern Territory.

The aim is to enhance the safety and wellbeing of children and young people by educating, guiding and supporting parents and carers to enrich their parenting strategies and skills.

Parentline helps parents and carers:

  • obtain a better understanding of the way their family works
  • believe in themselves and their own skills and strengths
  • develop strategies for changing how things are done in their family in a way that suits their family’s needs
  • identify their information needs-counsellors can provide callers with relevant tip sheets regarding more than 100 topics.

Telephone and email services operate between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week. Web counselling is available 11am to 2pm, Tuesday and Thursday. Parentline is one of the only services of its kind that provides ongoing professional counselling and support to parents and carers.

NT

Smile-A-Mile Fun Bus & Toy Library Incorporated for the Smile-A-Mile Fun Bus & Toy Library

Smile-A-Mile provides a Toy Library and mobile play sessions to regional and remote communities in the Top End.

The friendly staff advise on appropriate toys by getting to know the children and families. This builds a supporting partnership that parents rely on when choosing toys they know will be fun, safe and educational.  Smile-a-Mile works with allied health professionals when choosing toys to cater for additional needs. This service is greatly appreciated by families who would not be able to afford some of the quite expensive resources required for their child’s therapy and optimum development.

There is a strong focus on play experiences where children have the opportunity to build resilience, self-identity, creativity and develop social skills. Children are given free time to play and build skills, confidence and wellbeing; thus learning the ability to keep themselves safe and cope with life’s difficulties. The play session is also an opportunity for mums and dads to meet, relax, enjoy time with their child and talk in an informal setting about parenting issues.

NT

Katherine Isolated Children’s Service for their Mobile Playgroup

Katherine Isolated Children’s Service (KICS) service approximately 25 Indigenous communities and 25 pastoral properties (cattle stations) over a vast area of the Northern Territory, South of Katherine, to the WA and Qld borders and down as far as Tanami Downs and Brunette Downs.

KICS has two teams of two people that travel in a Toyota with a trailer load of toys, games and fun delivering playgroup in an outdoor setting to give very remote and isolated children the chance to participate in early childhood learning through a play-based program.  The teams leave Katherine on a Monday and camp during the week delivering playgroup at a different venue each day.

Last year KICS delivered playgroup to 63 different venues. In the July- December 2015 time period, KICS had 1550 children attend playgroup, 1200 of whom identified as Indigenous and over 1050 of whom were in the 0-5 age group.

VIC

Children’s Protection Society for the Mentoring Mums Program

Mentoring Mums is an innovative program that for seven years now has recruited and trained mentors to assist vulnerable new mothers. The volunteers are women who have been mothers or who have some experience parenting and are carefully matched with mums who might have experienced family violence, are isolated or from a low socio-economic background and struggling personally with caring for their baby.

Mentors visit the mother in her home, develop a relationship with her and offer her emotional support at a sometimes difficult transitional stage.  They help her get out of the house, go to the park, the library, or simply have a coffee and chat. Mentors also help mums attend important early years appointments.

Last year 19 new mentors were recruited, the pool of 32 mentors assisting 56 new mothers over 2014/15. The program not only provides a positive impact on the mother’s life but ensures their child(ren) develop normally in a safe environment for the critical early stages of their lives.

Of the families involved with Mentoring Mums, approximately 15% are from refugee backgrounds and a third of all mothers are from a CALD background. Last year Mentoring Mums partnered with the Brotherhood of St Laurence in a small scoping project to adapt the program to suit the needs of refugee and emergent communities in the north of Melbourne with a focus on the Iraqi, Iranian, Indian and Sri Lankan communities.

VIC

Ardoch Youth Foundation for Education Volunteer Program

Ardoch’s Education Volunteers Program provides schools in disadvantaged communities with 250 adult volunteers each year to support the students’ education. Ardoch works locally in Geelong, Frankston, Melbourne’s West and Inner Melbourne to ensure we are recruiting skilled volunteers from the school’s local community.

Students form healthy, positive and mutually valuable relationships with adults in a safe and protected environment. Ardoch ensures students are forming these relationships with adults from their own community who have been thoroughly screened in line with the most up to date child safety standards.

With a 6 month minimum commitment, the children are able to build substantial relationships with volunteers and thus increase the children’s sense of wellbeing, trust and confidence. As well as general classroom, literacy and numeracy support, our volunteers bring in their own life experience to enrich the learning experience of the students, such as gardening, cooking, engineering, career mentoring and much more. As Ardoch works in disadvantaged communities, these interactions provide students with an inspiring example of positive role models from their own community that they would not be exposed to otherwise.

SA

Know Before You Load App Review Service by Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM)

The Know Before You Load App Review Service (including the Children and Gambling Watchlist) was developed (and is maintained) by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) to assist parents in finding age-appropriate and enjoyable apps for their children, and for the prevention of harm from games which promote simulated gambling behaviour.

The apps selected for review are those currently most popular with young children. The reviews are prepared by child development professionals and provide descriptions of the features of apps and highlight areas which may be of concern to parents such as:
– in app purchasing
– online profile of persons playing the game
– age recommendations
– behaviour needed to play game
– advertising and product promotion
– gender stereotypes and sexual references
– gambling and simulated gambling content, that promote habits of mind that can be harmful

SA

Individual Award: Sarah Decrea

Sarah Decrea is an employee at Relationships Australia South Australia who has been recognised for her work in the Playford region of Adelaide.

Currently Sarah is the senior worker in Ngartuitya (means ‘for the children’ in Kuarna language of the Adelaide Plains) providing a range of programs that she has re designed and made culturally appropriate for Aboriginal families in the region.

The parenting programs build parenting skills, knowledge and confidence, encourage and support pride in Aboriginal culture, and support families to sort out their complex issues through intensive case work so that they can focus on parenting.

Sarah has designed the professional development training day, ‘Working Better with Nunga Kids’ to  instill deeper understanding of how workers can adapt their thinking and doing to better support Nunga kids. Her willingness to gently bring non-Aboriginal workers to a place of more confidence and understanding to support Aboriginal children is making a positive difference to families.

Herself a Torres Straits Islander woman, Sarah exemplifies the message of Play Your Part, in her personal life where she is involved in the community in other ways including sports organisations.
Pictured: Sarah Decrea and the Relationships Australia South Australia team

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NSW

Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation for WINGS Drop In Centre

Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation in Wilcannia runs the WINGS Drop In Centre, which is literally the only activity available to Wilcannia’s children and young people after school and in school holidays.

Wilcannia is all too frequently affected by grief, loss and violence and WINGS is the ‘go to’ place when families are struggling with dramas at home; a safe haven where children can be guaranteed a feed, a friendly face and someone to talk to.

Wings provides transport to and from the centre, a healthy afternoon snack, age appropriate activities, access to support services and a safe place for kids to be kids. The Centre means children have somewhere to go and something to do after school rather than wandering the streets and getting into trouble. For local workers they also offer support to help them reach full potential including positive emotional wellbeing programs, self-esteem and body-image groups for girls, and healthy cooking classes.

Of the approximately 100 children enrolled in school in Wilcannia, each day on average between 30 and 40 children come to the Drop In Centre; with up to 90 children attending holiday activities.

NSW

KARI for their School Scholarship Program

The scholarship program supports Indigenous students entering years 11 and 12 in Western Sydney. Each year approximately 100 Indigenous students benefit from the KARI scholarship program, based on a simple concept of:

  • Financial assistance ($500)
  • General advice and guidance
  • Education Forums
  • Education Camps.

Results for the students include:

  • Better school retention and performance
  • Clarity about their education and career prospects
  • Improved social connection
  • Better connected to their culture
  • Better education and job outcomes when they finish school

TAS

Children and Youth Services For Child Health and Parenting Service (CHAPS)

The Early Years, Child Health and Parenting Service, or CHaPS, is a community based child health service that focuses on the early years of a child’s life, from birth to age five. ChaPS is part of Children and Youth Services, DHHS. Data shows that over the past few years, over 95% of new parents engage with ChaPS after the birth of a child.

CHaPS teams are a recognised and trusted community based nursing and allied health professionals located in over 60 sites in Tasmania. CHaPS services include breastfeeding support, growth and developmental surveillance and screening, and parenting support via clinic appointments or home visits.  At various sites across the state universal and targeted parenting groups are conducted. CHaPS teams work in partnership with parents to monitor growth and development during the critical early years of childhood, using an early intervention, relationship-based framework.

View 2015 Winners