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Early Help Focus Of Child, Youth & Family Services

Early Help Key Focus For New Department Of Child, Youth And Family Services

Finding more ways to provide early help for at-risk children, young people and their families will be a key task for the new Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, which begins operations today (October 1).

The new Department - whose short name will be Child, Youth and Family - replaces the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Agency (CYPFA).

Child, Youth and Family also takes over a range of statutory responsibilities from the Director-General of Social Welfare, in particular guardianship and custody responsibilities. CYPFA was previously part of the Department of Social Welfare.

Child, Youth and Family chief executive Jackie Brown says establishing the new stand-alone Department is part of a greater focus on the needs of at-risk children and young people.

"The Government has been clear about the direction it expects Child, Youth and Family to take. We'll be concentrating more on prevention by providing increased early help to those children, young people and families most at-risk. Identifying new ways to provide this early help will be one of our biggest initial tasks.

"Naturally, we will continue to provide frontline crisis services and residential care, as well as dealing with young offenders. But by increasing our focus on prevention of abuse, neglect and youth offending we aim to have an even bigger long-term impact on achieving good life outcomes for children and young people in this country.

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"Critical to achieving this greater emphasis on early help will be our ability to build closer alliances with other state and community-based agencies in the social service provider sector.

"By working together we can make a greater impact with our resources for the benefit of those we help. We have already seen the power of working together more closely through the Government's Strengthening Families initiative. We want to get even more out of Strengthening Families," says Ms Brown.

Child, Youth and Family will have an annual budget of $300 million, compared to CYPFA's $270 million budget. The Department will employ the equivalent of nearly 2000 full-time staff.

New Child, Youth and Family signs will take about six months to introduce throughout the country, so people coming to the Department's office will still see CYPFA signs for some months yet. A distinctive Child, Youth and Family logo, developed at a cost of $18,000, will be a feature of the new signage.

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