Theme 5: Families and Children

FAMILIES & CHILDREN – Fraser Coast community social plan

An update on ‘Families & Children’, presented by Kirsti Kee from Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre (Management Committee)

StrategyActionIdentified CommunitiesCurrent Contacts / Current Status
5.1 Support and promote the education of parents in improving parenting and coping skills5.1.1 Promote the concept of the ‘family as first educator’ and provide support for this to occurAcross RegionLocal Level Alliances across Queensland are responsible for identifying the family support services that local communities need, and how that need can be met.

The alliances are a key element of Family and Child Connect services, and are designed to ensure families are supported with an integrated mix of services that respond to local needs and issues.

The Fraser Coast Local Level Alliance is facilitated by Churches of Christ – Children, Youth & Families and includes representatives from organisations working with children and families.

There are many organisations working with families and children on the Fraser Coast:
Act for Kids
Time for Grandparents Program
Australian Red Cross – Community Services
Bay Families
Centacare Community Programs
Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs
• Intensive Family Support
Relationships Australia
UnitingCare Community Family Support Service

Bay Families in conjunction with City Women, has established the Bub Hub at the Neighbourhood Hive. This a playgroup setting for young parents to connect with each other and to receive parent mentoring. The group currently meets each Tuesday.

The Bub Hub project was pitched at a Fraser Coast Community Ideas Pitch Night.

The Confidence in the Kitchen Project (marketed as Creative Kitchens Program) was a series of 4 week community-based cooking skills workshops aimed at increasing cooking skills and confidence and promoted the eating of a more nutritious diet (including packing lunchboxes for children). The program also included how to shop, budgeting, reading nutrition labels & the importance of eating together (dinner table conversations).

The Read Bears Program is a simple, but effective program aimed at Year 1 students (6-7 year olds). Students are given a hand-made, donated Read Bear with an attached tag enabling the child to personalise their bear with a name. Children take he bears home and read to them every week night. This provides children with more motivation to read books by having a “friend” to read to. It also encourages parents & siblings to be involved in reading with the child at home.
5.1.2. Encourage the development of playgroups – including outreach groups in smaller communities and week-end playgroups – and promote attendance at theseThere are a number of playgroups operating on the Fraser Coast including Play With Your Kids – a program managed by the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre and funded by the Department of Education, Training and Employment. Qualified staff work together to provide you and your children with opportunities to learn through play in a safe and supportive environment.

The objectives of the program are:
• To work in partnership with parents by facilitating playgroups that provide a variety of play experiences and activities that support the physical, emotional and social development of children from birth to prep.
• To provide parenting information and support to parents on a variety of issues and needs.
• Foster opportunities for parents to develop valuable social networks with other families
5.1.3 Provide and promote opportunities for families to play togetherFraser Coast Parks and Recreation Areas
The standard for measuring green space uses acreage/hectares per 1000 people. The Fraser Coast Regional Council currently maintains 1795.4 hectares of parkland/reserve.
This information is not broken down into individual subsections however overall we currently have 17.25 hectares per 1000 residents on the Fraser Coast.

Comparisons can be made with the international median for park provision. Currently this median sits at 14.2 hectares per 1000 residents globally. The Fraser Coast is well over the median which is positive. There is value in knowing the parkland/reserve space per region to highlight any areas of need in particular communities. We can then look at ways to showcase what we currently have and promote their use to families in the region.

There is the potential for taking the playgroups out into the local parks, which would both highlight the natural spaces we do have available and at the same time promote and encourage participation in playgroups through exposure. Outdoor play is valuable for overall health in early years. It can be beneficial for strengthening physical skills, encouraging curiosity and imagination, building immunity and increasing spatial awareness and cognitive ability.
5.1.4 Recognise and support the involvement of grandparents and other family members in the care of childrenTime for Grandparents Program
5.1.5 Initiate a ‘Compassionate Community’ program encompassing the idea that we all play a part in bringing up children.City Women Hervey Bay is a group of women who have joined together to support other women and families in the region. Their initial projects are:
Bub Hub – support for young parents
Hope in a Suitcase – providing children entering foster care and/or out-of-home care with a new suitcase filled with new age-appropriate clothes, toiletries and games/activities.
5.2 Promote and support early intervention and prevention strategies for families needing additional support5.2.1 Promote services provided in the community and encourage parents to access theseToogoom, Burrum Heads, Bauple, GlenwoodQueensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health provides a range of resources for parents and health professionals.

Perinatal health checks are used to provide information on local services in a way which suits the target clientele.
5.2.2 Investigate the provision of outreach services to communities with young familiesOngoing
As a result of Covid-19, many families and services have become more accustomed to communicating via telelinks, zoom, etc.
5.2.3 Assist parents to recognise developmental milestones and seek assistance if these are not achieved This assistance is currently provided through programs such as Bay Families, Bub Hub and Community Health.
5.3 Investigate ways to provide cultural knowledge and awareness for indigenous children in foster care5.3.1 Convene a stakeholder group to develop a plan Indigenous CommunitIndigenous Community