Bet­ter ac­cess to sup­port ser­vices

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

State Gov­ern­ment fund­ing for Unit­ing to ex­pand al­co­hol and other drug-mit­i­ga­tion ser­vices in Vic­to­ria has led to a new pro­gram in the Wim­mera.

The Wim­mera pro­gram is de­signed en­able par­ents whose chil­dren are sub­ject to a fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion or­der to ac­cess the ser­vices faster.

The ser­vice will com­ple­ment al­co­hol and other drug, AOD, and child and fam­ily ser­vices of­fered by Unit­ing, in­clud­ing CHILDFIRST, sup­port, fam­ily coun­selling and me­di­a­tion.

Unit­ing acting Wim­mera sup­port for fam­i­lies and com­mu­nity man­ager Josh Koenig said the new fund­ing would pro­vide much-needed sup­port for vul­ner­a­ble groups and al­low Unit­ing to ad­dress an in­creas­ing is­sue in the re­gion.

“Across our In­te­grated Fam­ily Ser­vices pro­gram, in ap­prox­i­mately 65 per­cent of cases, there is a need for AOD sup­port. His­tor­i­cally, those peo­ple have had to ac­cess sup­port via the same path­ways as ev­ery­one else and the wait­ing lists could mean that be­ing re­united with their chil­dren took a lot longer,” he said.

“Now we will be able to work with par­ents to of­fer in­ten­sive, wrap­around sup­port. This will aid their re­cov­ery and in­crease their abil­ity to pro­vide a safe en­vi­ron­ment for their chil­dren. Our fo­cus will be on help­ing par­ents meet the con­di­tions of their fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion or­ders so they can be re­united as a fam­ily as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

Step for­ward

Unit­ing ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Wendy Sturgess said the fund­ing was a ma­jor step for­ward in ad­dress­ing the im­pact of al­co­hol and other drug use in the Wim­mera.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to mak­ing AOD ser­vices more ac­ces­si­ble in the Wim­mera. Bet­ter ser­vices will mean more re­cov­ery and fewer lives lost,” she said.

“Ex­ist­ing ser­vices have of­ten strug­gled to meet the de­mand and more in­ten­sive ser­vices such as detox and re­hab are only avail­able in Bal­larat and Mel­bourne.

“The fund­ing com­mit­ted by the gov­ern­ment is a step in the right di­rec­tion to bridge some of the gaps in our ser­vice sys­tem and pro­vide es­sen­tial sup­port to in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies at risk of harm.”

Unit­ing will also roll out ad­di­tional ser­vices in Mel­bourne’s North and West Metro re­gions, other ar­eas of western Vic­to­ria and in Gipp­s­land.

Wim­mera peo­ple can call Unit­ing on 1800 195 144 for more in­for­ma­tion or to ac­cess sup­port.

Unit­ing in Vic­to­ria and Tas­ma­nia is a com­mu­nity ser­vices or­gan­i­sa­tion with a pur­pose to in­spire peo­ple, en­liven com­mu­ni­ties and con­front in­jus­tice.

Its char­ter is to build ca­pac­ity and con­fi­dence in chil­dren, young peo­ple and fam­i­lies, peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, older peo­ple and peo­ple newly ar­rived in Aus­tralia. It works with peo­ple at risk of or ex­pe­ri­enc­ing fi­nan­cial cri­sis, home­less­ness, men­tal ill­ness and prob­lems with al­co­hol and other drugs, by em­pow­er­ing them with the sup­port they need to suc­ceed.

The State Gov­ern­ment has pro­vided $1.9-mil­lion in fund­ing to Unit­ing in Vic­to­ria and Tas­ma­nia through the De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices.

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