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Grow up strong kids in Yuendumu
“Grow up strong kids” is how locals in Yuendumu, 300 km northwest of Alice Springs, refer to child development.
And thanks to the hard work of local strong women, the Northern Territory Government and Australian Government funding, Yuendumu’s children will grow up stronger than ever.
The recent opening of the Yuendumu Child and Family Centre (CFC) means that up to 65 children from babies to six years of age can be looked after through five integrated services; early learning, health, child care, parenting and family support, in one location.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and the Northern Territory Minister for Education, Peter Chandler, in jointly opening the Centre, recognised the importance of the CFC creating a better future for local children.
“The provision of quality early childhood services helps to set kids on a path to a healthy life and success at school and beyond,” Minister Scullion said.
“The Central Desert Regional Council operates the child care service in the Centre and this year will also run a playgroup to be delivered to different camps in the community. It is these sorts of services that will ensure Yuendumu’s future leaders will have the best start to their lives possible.”
The opening of the Child and Family Centre is the result of a close working relationship between Yuendumu’s strong women, the Northern Territory Government and the Australian Government.
The local strong women became involved in the early childhood reference group and advised the Government about what services needed to be offered, what the Centre needed to look like and what it might need design-wise.
As a result, traditional cultural approaches to parenting and lifestyle to improve diet, education and natal care will be a feature of the ‘Strong Women, Strong Babies, Strong Culture’ programme available at the Centre
The Minister also noted the important role the Centre will play supporting local parents.
“One of the first-rate education programmes that will be delivered at the CFC is the ‘Families as First Teachers (FaFT)’ programme,” Minister Scullion said.
“The FaFT programme is essential in remote communities like Yuendumu for early learning and is a family support programme for Indigenous families with children aged up to three.”
With the Centre providing employment for local community members and a nurse and Indigenous health worker onsite two days a week to conduct health checks and immunisations, locals are optomistic about the future of their children and the whole community.