Image: Rhett Hammerton

Our Child and Family Wellbeing Service works with children and families to address barriers that affect child, family and community wellbeing. A key objective is to increase families’ capacity to care for children. It is an early intervention and prevention service focussed on families with children aged 0-5 years and who are considered to be ‘at risk’. The service has two key program areas: the Child Nutrition Program; and the Walytjapiti Program (Intensive family support).

Child Nutrition Program

Our Child Nutrition Program supports families to care for the health of their young children by addressing nutritional concerns and looking at the broader influences on the wellbeing of the child and family.

Nutrition intake is affected by many factors and the program therefore uses a holistic approach to address the issues affecting a family’s ability to provide their children with the best start to life.

We receive referrals from hospitals, community clinics, other NPY Women’s Council programs, parents, or other concerned family members about children who are not thriving or are otherwise at risk.

Our Child Nutrition Program also offers community, group, and individual education regarding parenting and nutrition, particularly in regards to babies and young children.

In addition to working with child and parent centres, crèches, and pre-schools, our staff work with families outside of these facilities – families who are often isolated and facing complex social issues within their immediate family.

We also work with stores across the region to develop nutrition policies, assist with the purchase and labelling of healthy food, and educate managers, store workers and customers of the benefits to healthy eating.

The main components of the program are:

  • Case Management
  • Individual education for mothers, including store and purchasing advice and help with feeding techniques
  • Individual case planning and intensive case management support and advocacy for mothers and carers
  • 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 with other services in NPYWC
  • Financial support

Walytjapiti Program (Intensive family support)

The Walytjapiti Program is a voluntary, intensive family support service for families who have children aged between 0-12 years where neglect has been substantiated by a statutory child protection department, and/or where there is a high risk of neglect occurring.

The Walytjapiti Program commenced in 2012 as part of the Stronger Futures initiative and is now offered in four Northern Territory remote communities and four communities in the APY lands of South Australia (Docker River, Amata, Mutitjulu, Ernabella, Finke, Indulkana, Imanpa, and Mimili).

Referrals can be received through statutory child protection workers or directly from members of the community or other community-based agencies.

We work from a trauma-informed framework and provide regular and intensive support to families due to small caseloads (six to eight families per case manager), providing them with significant opportunities to improve their quality of life and the safety and wellbeing of their children.

Some aspects of the work that the Walytjapiti program undertakes include:

  • Case Management
  • Ongoing assessment of the child’s needs as well as parents’/caregivers’ strengths and stressors
  • Home visits and carrying out direct work with the family
  • Individual and group parenting education and support
  • Development of peer support and mentoring
  • Workshops and bush picnics
  • Referrals to other services
  • Inter-agency collaboration
  • Advocacy

Working with the Family

We involve the whole family in case planning and remain sensitive to the constantly changing pressures and influences that impinge on positive care of children.

We are flexible and creative in our support offerings and our case plans reflect this. Our positivity in challenging situations encourages families to value small steps they make to improve the safety and wellbeing of their children.

Education and developmental programs

In addition to working with referred families, we work with community groups and other service providers on programs that enhance family functioning.  We also present workshops relating to child health and development and positive family relationships.