$2.5m child and family centre moves a step closer

PREMIER David Bartlett has announced the appointment  of “social inclusion community liaison officers” to engage local communities in their soon-to-be-established “child and family centres”. It is understood that former Valley Vision staffer Katrina Higgins has been appointed to the New Norfolk position and her erstwhile colleague Ian Brown will undertake similar work at Risdon Vale.

Child and family centres have been promised at New Norfolk, Burnie, Ravenswood, Beaconsfield, George Town, East Devonport, Chigwell, St Helens, Huon Valley, Queenstown and Clarence Plains, and further centres for Latrobe, Invermay/Mowbray, Goodwood, Risdon Vale and Warrane/Mornington were announced late last week.

Mr Bartlett said the aim of the new centres was to instil a lifelong love of learning in young children.“I am determined to see that our children get the best possible start in life in every way,” he said.“I want Tasmania to be a national leader in the start that it gives its children and I believe we are on that track.We have the opportunity to shape lives for the better and our Child and Family Centres will help do that.”

Mr Bartlett said each of the centres would cost about $2.5 million each and the appointment of the social inclusion community liaison officers was “integral to promoting social inclusion through community engagement and participation, particularly with isolated, disadvantaged and at-risk groups, and where possible, they have been drawn from their local communities.”

Work on the first 11 centres was already under way as part of the State Government’s $76 million strategy to help children get the best possible start in life. “Child and family centres are an important part of our comprehensive strategy to enable every Tasmanian to reach their potential, at all stages of life and we plan to build up to 30 statewide,” Mr Bartlett said.

The state has also received $8 million through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Partnership for Indigenous Early Childhood Development to establish an integrated child and family centre at Bridgewater with an annexe at Geeveston.

Click here for an explanation of the role of child and family centres.

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