The unique, long-term project, called Children’s Ground, works to surround children with safe, loving and trauma-free environments, based on a strong cultural foundation.
It focusses on learning, family health, economic development, community development, and cultural development.
Founded by CEO Jane Vadiveloo and Chair William Tilmouth in 2011, it aims to allow children to grow into adults, in control of their social, cultural, political and economic life.
It will receive $5.4 million over three years, expanding the program in both Central Australia and Arnhem Land.
Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM said the funding would build on existing government support for Children’s Ground in Alice Springs.
“The best people to change our health are our people,” said Minister Wyatt. “The Children’s Ground approach promotes local warriors for health and wellbeing, to help guide children and young people through their first 25 years of life.”
“Our team greatly welcomes this recognition and support, which is an invaluable opportunity to ensure the involvement of Elders and all community members in developing education and health services,” said Ms Vadiveloo.
“It is critical to ensuring long-term, enduring change and delivering community based, self-empowered health for First Nations peoples.”
The Children’s Ground Family Health and Wellbeing program embraces not just the child but also their family and their community in determining their future.
“It integrates health promotion and prevention by building relationships with the circle of people in which they live,” Minister Wyatt said.
“Implemented through Children’s Ground learning and cultural teams, the focus is First Nations languages and systems, while also linking strongly with quality primary health care.
“By giving our children respect for both traditional and contemporary culture, I am confident the Family Health and Wellbeing Framework will continue making a real difference.”
Children’s Ground teams include cultural health practitioners such as traditional healers and bush medicine producers, Aboriginal health workers, health promotion and public health practitioners, social and emotional wellbeing experts, community development and environmental health workers, and nutritionists.
The Children’s Ground expansion is funded through the Indigenous Australians Health Program, which is providing $3.9 billion to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next four years.