Family and Child Connect Service opens in Townsville

Published Friday, 10 April, 2015 at 02:53 PM

Minister for Disability Services, Minister for Seniors and Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland
The Honourable Coralee O'Rourke

Support services for vulnerable children and families in Townsville have been bolstered, with the opening of a new Family and Child Connect Service.


The community-based intake and referral service was officially opened today by the Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland and local Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke.


Mrs O’Rourke said the free service at Hermit Park, which would also service the outlying areas of Palm Island, Ingham, Burdekin, Charters Towers and Hughenden, would help build stronger families and keep children safe at home.

“The new service helps get families back on track before their problems escalate and intervention is needed by Child Safety,” she said.


“Families who find themselves in need of support will be able to contact the service for assistance – and professionals like teachers, health workers and police, as well as members of the community who have concerns about a child’s well-being, will also be able to refer families to the service for advice and information.


“This new service is designed to support vulnerable families by assessing their needs and referring them to the most appropriate, free, support service.”


Mrs O’Rourke said the Townsville Family and Child Connect Service would provide additional assistance for at-risk families in the area and was an excellent example of government and non-government organisations working together.


“The Townsville Family and Child Connect Service will be run by Mercy Family Services and Palm Island Community Company – helping more families receive the support they need to care for their children’s well-being and safety,” she said.


Mercy Family Services Executive Director Steven King says the service played a vital role in the community.


“This initiative is important as families can be supported through community organisations so their children and young people don’t end up in the child protection system,” Mr King said.


“The service is staffed by a team of specialists who have an extensive knowledge of community resources and experience in domestic and family violence and child protection.


“There are also dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers available for families that wish to engage their services.”


The service will have a departmental child protection practitioner to assist with identifying and responding to more serious concerns that may require intervention.


The service is located at 111 Charters Towers Road, Hermit Park, and opening hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 8:30am-5.30pm, and Tuesday 8:30am-7.30pm. Phone 133264 for more details.


The Queensland Government has committed close to $3 million this financial year to establish new Family and Child Connect Services around Queensland, with seven services currently up and running.


This new service was being delivered as part of the Carmody Report reforms to Queensland’s child protection system.


Service system integration, cross-agency coordination and addressing service delivery gaps are key recommendations of the ‘Not now, Not ever’ report that was handed down to the Premier on 28 February by the Dame Quentin Bryce’s Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence.


The Government was examining the taskforce recommendations to determine how improved support can be provided to families and individuals experiencing violence.


For more information about the Family and Child Connect Services visit



Media contact:                                  Minister O’Rourke’s office                  0417 119 473