What we do

What we do

The Child Nutrition Program receives referrals in the main from hospitals, community clinics, other NPYWC teams, parents or other concerned family members. Children who are not thriving or are otherwise at risk may simply come to the attention of staff in their day-to-day work. Due to the large number of clients, the NPY region is partitioned into five areas for Child Nutrition work: East 1 and 2, Central, West and Town.


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The town-based staff provide case management and nutrition support to clients when they are in Alice Springs, including children who require hospitalisation and nutrition rehabilitation. Other team members are assigned to the four remote sectors, and are required to spend half of their time out in the region, working with locally based Anangu wherever possible.

The Program Manager provides regular support and supervision, both to ensure a high quality service, and to allow staff to discuss issues in what can be a difficult and sometimes traumatic work environment.

The main components of the work of the Child Nutrition team are:

Case Management

  • Individual education for mothers in Alice Springs and on communities, including store and purchasing advice and help with feeding techniques;
  • Individual case planning and intensive case management support and advocacy for mothers and carers where children are identified as at risk, particularly through failure to thrive;
  • Intensive nutrition rehabilitation through assisted feeding programs;
  • Assistance with clinic and hospital visits;
  • Referrals to external services and advocacy for clients with these services;
  • Joint case management within NPYWC, most frequently with the Youth Program and the Domestic Violence Service;
  • Financial support: emergency assistance for immediate needs and brokerage funds to support case plans.

Early Intervention and prevention

  • Community-based Nutrition workshops to assist families to increase their ability to care for children, with a focus on good nutrition for those aged 0-5 years;
  • School-based workshops;
  • Community development to improve the skills, knowledge and resources of communities to support children in need of care;
  • Store monitoring and support including the implementation of the Mai Wiru (good food) stores policy in APY communities (SA8) and store recommendations and monitoring in WA and the NT.

Intensive Family Support Service (IFSS)

  • The Intensive Family Support Services (IFSS) is a service offered to families to help them improve the health, safety and wellbeing of their children. The focus of the program is on parents and caregivers of children aged 0–12 years where they have been referred by child protection agencies due to substantiated neglect or where they have been identified as being at high risk of experiencing neglect.
  • The NPY Women’s Council Intensive family support service is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Families and Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and began in late 2011 to provide intensive support to vulnerable and disadvantaged families in the NT communities of Docker River, Mutitjulu, Imanpa and Finke.  IFSS will now also be provided to families in the APY lands in SA.
  • The aim of IFSS is to help families develop the skills and access the supports they need to promote the safety, health and wellbeing of their children. This includes skills and supports around basic child care and home safety, ensuring children receive the care and supervision they need to remain safe and happy, the right medical treatment when it is needed, and have access to education and other learning environments.  The service is a flexible, practical and intensive service that is tailored to the needs of each family.  Trained workers provide intensive practical supports and structured education to parents and caregivers in their communities and homes to develop and enhance their parenting skills. IFSS workers may work with families for up to 12 months.
  • IFSS is a parenting support service that works with the whole family. IFSS is not a specialist needs service; but IFSS is committed to working with families who have high and complex needs, and supporting them to access the appropriate specialist services, such as drug and alcohol, domestic violence and mental health services.

The Program has also won several awards, most recently including: State and National Winner Heart Foundation, for the Mai Wiru Stores Policy (with Nganampa Health Council Inc.) 2007; runner up, Outstanding Delivery in Child and Maternal Health: Excellence in Indigenous Health Awards, 2010 and highly commended, Excellence in Prevention & Community Education for the FASD ‘No Safe Amount’ campaign/DVD: National Drug & Alcohol Awards 2011.