The Palm Island Children and Family Centre (CFC) is a $4 million, purpose-built facility that delivers important education and health services for Palm Island families.
The opening of the CFC has proven to be a major milestone for the people and future of Palm Island. For the first time, local families will not have to leave the island to access a wide array of antenatal, postnatal and parenting support services under the one roof.
Located on Reid Lane, the CFC provides services from General Practitioners, Aboriginal health workers, child educators, and family support workers. Visitors to the centre have access to services including early childhood education and care, parenting and family support services, and child and maternal health services which will help to build capacity in the community through the provision of specialist support services and advice.
The building includes a large open plan central hub, consultation rooms, an adjunct child care room, dedicated rooms for parents, a toy library and offices. A large covered deck has been built on the southern side of the centre overlooking the outdoor play area.
Local residents were involved in the on-site construction of the building and the Palm Island Elders Group continue to have an important advisory role to the service.
Since its launch, the CFC has grown to provide a number of early education and healthcare services, including:
- Early childhood education and care services: playgroup, adjunct care, transition from early childhood to school. In partnership with Mary MacKillop Goodoo Day Care Centre: long day care services, childcare, early learning programs including kindergarten and the local schools.
- Family and parenting support services: parenting resources and programs, home visiting, counselling, nutrition programs, healthy and safe home environments, individual support for children and families.
- Child and maternal health services: basic health and development screening, antenatal and postnatal maternal care, immunisation, well-being checks, child health, early childhood allied health (oral health, speech pathology, optometry, etc).
- General advice and information on a range of early childhood and family issues.
- Linkages and referral pathways with other community and government services, including the Joyce Palmer Health Service.
The CFC incorporates a video conferencing facility
Jointly funded by the state and federal government under the Closing the Gap agenda via the Indigenous Early Childhood Development National Partnership, the CFC focuses on delivering services to families with children from birth to eight years that optimise their children’s development.
The aim of the Palm Island CFC is to improve outcomes for the target group by providing access to integrated services that are responsive to community needs under the three key service delivery components of early childhood education and care, family and parenting support and child and maternal health services. The ethos of the service is to help meet the health, education and social wellbeing needs of children on Palm Island and give them the best start to life.
Through the Indigenous Early Childhood Development National Partnership Agreement, the Queensland Government partnered with the Australian Government to invest $75 million into the establishment of ten children and family centres across the state by mid-2014.