Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women

Empowering Families Innovation Fund

The Queensland Government is committed to establishing a three-year $6 million Empowering Families Innovation Fund to generate and support new programs and initiatives that reduce the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system and help keep kids safe and well.

The Fund comprises:

Empowering Families Innovation Grants

These grants aim to ignite game-changing ideas for initiatives, programs or ways of working which will keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children safe, well and connected to family, culture and country. It is a $3 million program distributed across three grant rounds over three years starting with Round 1 in June 2017.

Round 1 – closed in June 2017 with 49 applications.

Six applications were successful with funding of over $250,000.

  • North Coast Aboriginal Corporation for Community Health - ‘Kalang Jarjums’ - Sunshine Coast, Gympie. Focusing on the unique and complex kinship structures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and how these relate to parenting in contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander settings.
  • Northern Peninsula Area Family and Community Services Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation – ‘Protecting our Children Media Project’ – Northern Peninsula Area. Aiming to build the self-efficacy and capacity of community members to recognise, report and address child protection issues using localised videos and radio messages from local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heroes.
  • Early Learning Schools Australia – ‘Early Years Culture Time’ – Townsville. Integrating local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wisdom and culture into service delivery using local arts and education programs.
  • Footsteps to Freedom – ‘Empowering Families’ - Ipswich and close surrounding areas. To empower families with culturally appropriate independent court support, assessments and case plans.
  • Puuya Foundation – ‘Women's Leadership Program’ - Lockhart River. To plan, deliver and evaluate a Women’s Leadership Program. Building a collaborative leadership network of empowered women to strengthen relationships, support families, build parenting skills using the wisdom, knowledge and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Gundala Kindergarten Association – ‘The Gundala Jarjums and Family Hub’ – Wynnum, Manly, Lota, Capalaba, Hemmant, Tingalpa, Alexandra Hills. Develop a model based on cultural knowledge systems, shared responsibility and community leadership including a Bush Foods and Bush Medicine garden as a physical knowledge and meeting space that brings people together and keeps children, families and the community connected to Culture, Spirituality, Country and Community.

Round 2 – Closed in April 2018 with 67 applications received.

Six applications were successful with funding over $1 million.

  • Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement - The Back Tracks – Kids and Kin’ - Toowoomba region. To establish kinship and community connection for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the care system who are not living with family.
  • Cherbourg Regional Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Services - ‘Connecting Kin’ - in and around Cherbourg. An intensive project that works with families where children are living with grandparents or another relative with no long-term plan in place and where the children are at risk of entering care.
  • Inala Wingara Incorporated - ‘Cultural Stewardship’ project - Brisbane District. Matching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aunties and Uncles as Mentors with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care.
  • Brisbane Indigenous Media Association - ‘The Family Album’ - Brisbane District, South East Region and Statewide. A series of videos of young people and adults sharing their experience of reconnecting with families and communities after leaving out of home care.
  • Cape York/Gulf Remote Area Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Care (RAATSICC) – ‘Our Community Our Home’ – Cape York and Gulf communities. A suite of culturally informed resources for use by foster and kinship carers outside the identified communities.
  • Central QUeensland Indigenous Development - ‘Creating and Nurturing a Pipeline of Indigenous Foster Carers’ - Rockhampton. A digital marketing campaign targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.

Round 3 - Applications for grants between $5,000 and $200,000 will be sought early in 2019.

First 1000 Days Australia initiative

We are investing $1.5 million over three years (January 2017 to December 2019) to partner with the University of Melbourne to introduce the First 1000 Days Australia program to Queensland. The program aims to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children the best start to life by improving the health and wellbeing of parents and children from the time a child is conceived to their second birthday. It will address a broad range of issues which affect the early development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and work closely with the community-run Family Wellbeing Services, initially at two sites—Moreton Bay and Townsville.

Early childhood education and care initiative

Early Childhood Development Coordinators

This initiative seeks to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families’ engagement with the early childhood education and care system. Early Childhood Development Coordinators are placed within Family Wellbeing Services across eight regions. From mid-2017 to mid-2019, the coordinators will work to enhance the capacity of Family Wellbeing Services workers to address early learning needs and engage directly with families to assist with access to early learning services. This aims to ensure that the responses provided to families take into account a child’s early learning needs and creates strong linkages with early childhood services.