First Steps Count

child and family centre

  • The Family Centre trains professionals to work in partnership with families.
  • A happy, safe, supportive, welcoming and inclusive environment
  • Connecting community with support services & skills
  • Facilitation of intensive family support services for children and their families.
  • Provision of life skills education and recreational facilities for general health and wellbeing of children and their families.
  • Provision of a referral service for children and their families.

our children are our future

we know that first steps count

Drive social inclusion strategies

The management committee plans to directly support through this project’s objectives to assist some of the Region’s most high-risk and disadvantaged residents. There is a pattern of disconnect that is denying our children a healthy opportunity to shine.

Long-term economic return achieved through early childhood investment.

Australian Government sources note that each $1 spent on early childhood services conservatively generates a $7 return to society. By being proactive early with children that are in the most vulnerable and ‘at risk’ situations we can ensure that a positive outcome is a reality. We have to act now, not watch as the present situation deteriorates completely.

Efficient delivery of existing services to leverage greater outcomes from existing government dollars.

It takes a Community to raise a child

No longer can we stand by and say it’s not our responsibility to recognize and support our children. We all have responsibilities to advocate and speak up for those that have no voice. The Family centre will offer mentoring, education and community support as well as specialized services. Volunteers will be incorporated into the very fabric of the centre. The Elders of the local Aboriginal community will be involved during all steps of the process.

Our Services

The Centre will operate as a not-for-profit incorporated association. The following are some of the services that will be provided:

  • Therapy:
    Families will be able to access therapists in a non-clinical (family friendly) environment. Speech pathologists, Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists and Trauma Counsellors will be able to use child friendly spaces (inside and outside).
  • Assessment:
    Multidisciplinary assessment services will be available. Rather than parents having to go through several assessments to determine their child’s needs, services will work closely together throughout the assessment process.
  • Provision of integrated early intervention services:
    These services will be offered for children (0-12) and their families, especially where poverty, distress, suffering, misfortune or helplessness occurs. The Centre “Connector” will ensure that a strong partnership is formed with the services needed and that the support is integrated and functional.
  • Collaborate with school education providers:
    The aim is to support vulnerable or disengaged students throughout their educational journey. This can take many shapes depending on the needs of a particular child. We have a strong partnership with Manning Gardens Public School and other Taree Schools. The Centre will directly support Regional Plan targets such as improvements in early childhood learning and care and school participation rates

  • Community Garden and Kitchen: Families will be involved in setting up bush tucker and edible permaculture gardens and learning to take food from the gardens to the table. Specific training and workshops will be available about gardening, food preparation and cooking. Social events and working bees will be a regular part of the Centre’s activities.
  • Support early childhood education: Assist childcare providers to develop strategies to increase access to early childhood education and comply with the immediate and longer-term national reform requirements. Train educators to work in partnership with families.

“I offer my full support to the work that the First Steps Count Inc. committee are committed to carry out on behalf of our Aboriginal families. It is so important that we look after our children and get them through life as strong Aboriginal people. I see this project as a way to develop strong families and communities in this area. I look forward to working with the committee and making a difference for our children.”
Aboriginal Elder

Developmentally vulnerable children in this community (currently 29.3% in Taree-Gloucester, an increase of 3% since 2009) well above the national average as measured by the AEDI.
Childcare services in the precinct have roughly 80% Aboriginal children enrolled.

Q and A

Is this just another Preschool?
No the FSC Family Centre is not a Preschool or a childcare centre. It is a unique Family Centre that offers a place for families & community members to form strong connections with each other & other support services. It is a place where families can feel welcomed & access a wide variety of services, support, training & skills.
What can the Family Centre offer that isn’t already in town?
Services will be available at one place and rent office space at the centre. The Centre is in partnership with all support services presently operating in Taree and will establish strong partnerships with services that already visit the area. In addition other gaps will be addressed by forming new partnerships with other specialist services such as Aboriginal services, Universities, Government agencies, Hearing Australia, Sydney Cochlear centre.
How will you get families to use the centre?
Families and community have been engaged from the early stages of planning & will continue to be involved throughout the construction process. They will have strong connections as services begin to formalize their partnerships with the centre. Families can be as involved as they choose. They may wish to learn new skills, access support services, get involved with the community garden, come to playgroup, visit Paediatrician, connect with
What services will be available at the Family Centre?
Some services/groups will rent rooms for regular outreach visits/meetings. Services such as Paediatrician, Early Childhood nurses, Antenatal services, Autism support group, Parenting groups, disability services, Intalink Therapy Solutions, Allied health services, Communities for Children, therapists, Out of home care, Respite care, counselling will be available at the Centre. Many other government agencies and NGOs will also be involved.

More Information

Business / Governance Plan Click Here to Download
Establishment Chronology Click Here to Download
ARACY / FSC Partnership Submission Click Here to Download
Key points of Operation Click Here to Download
The Project in Brief Click Here to Download
Service Model Click Here to Download
The Importance of Investing in the Early Years Click Here to Download

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