Attorney-General (AG) Michaelia Cash has invited applications for 20 new children’s contact services providers – who help facilitate safe supervised contact and facilitate changeovers between caregivers – in areas of need across Australia.
On Friday the AG announced the government would provide an additional $40.7 million to make children’s contact services more accessible for families.
“Navigating relationship breakdown and separation can be stressful for families, particularly where complex or difficult parenting arrangements exist,” the AG said.
“Children’s contact centres play a critical role in Australia’s family law system by ensuring that families can access safe, child-centred support to allow children to stay connected with both parents.”
Cash said applications to deliver the ‘vital’ services, which support children of separating or separated parents either maintain or re-establish a relationship with both parents and other significant carers in their lives, were now open.
“Establishing 20 new services will ensure that more Australians are able to utilise these vital services,” she said.
The government wants providers to support 20 centres nationwide including Wide Bay, Outback Queensland, South West Sydney, the Hunter Valley excluding Newcastle, Outback Northern Territory, Outback (North) Western Australia, the New England and North West, North Adelaide, North West, Gold Coast, Far West and Orana, North East Perth, Hume, Mid North Barossa, Latrobe – Gippsland, Cairns, North Sydney and Hornsby, Riverina, and North West, Outer West and Outer East Melbourne.
The AG’s Department chose the 20 locations after consulting with the community. Funding will be allocated to regions with the greatest estimated demand for children’s contact services, a statement from the department said, and based on factors such as distance from existing centres, target population and socio-economic disadvantage.
The new centres add to another existing 64 providers around Australia, which received a $68.8 million top-up in the federal 2021-22 budget.