Better access to support services
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.”
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.