State & territory jurisdictional reports: Activity relating to mental health reform prior to the implementation of the Fourth National Mental Health Plan

15. Develop tailored mental health care responses for highly vulnerable children and young people who have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or other trauma

Page last updated: December 2010

Department of Health and Ageing

  • Mental Health Response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires provides funding for:
    • Community Capacity Building – including mental health training, professional development and support to primary and secondary schools affected by the fires and frontline training for non-health professional community leaders and key community members. The professional development is being targeted to the teachers and school staff in these schools to better respond to bushfire affected children, better identify those with early signs and symptoms of mental health disorders which may require professional assistance and understand when to refer to appropriate services and
    • Supporting Health Professionals - the delivery of specialised training and support to GPs, general nurses and specialist mental health practitioners.
  • The Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma Loss and Grief Network is a web based network, with website content that is informed by a panel of experts in different areas related to children and adolescents and their trauma, loss and grief. It aims to link stakeholders and resources by providing up-to-date information; an online forum for people to communicate and share information and expertise; and key resources to help people understand and respond to the diverse and complex needs of these children, adolescents and their families. Top of page

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

  • The National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children is a long-term approach to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Australia's children. The National Framework was developed by the Australian Government in partnership with state and territory governments and the non-government sector, and was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments in April 2009. The National Framework will operate through to 2020 with the first three year action from 2009-20012 currently underway. Developing tailored mental health care responses for highly vulnerable children is a priority under the Framework.
  • UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disability - Article 7 of the Convention relates specifically to children with disability. Australia is obliged to ensure that steps are taken so children have the same rights and freedoms as other children, and that when making decisions for or about children with disability, the most important this is what is best for the child. The Convention also requires that laws and administrative measures must guarantee freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse. In case of abuse, countries must promote the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of the victim and investigate the abuse (Article 16).
  • National Secreteriat Program - FaHCSIA provides funding to Women with Disabilities Australia and Children with Disability Australia to provide 'grass roots' policy advice to the Australian Government and other agencies on national issues affecting people with disability and their families. This policy advice assists government to better target services to the needs of people with disability. Top of page
  • The Family Support Program is an umbrella program with three core service streams:
    • Community and Family Partnerships - provides intensive and coordinated support targeted at significantly disadvantaged communities and families and especially vulnerable and at risk families and children.
    • Family and Parenting Services- provides early intervention and prevention services to families to build and strengthen relationships, develop skills and support parents and children.
    • Family Law Services (Attorney-General's Department responsibility) - assists families to manage the process and impacts of separation in the best interests of children.
      N.B. Attorney Generals also funds family and children's services
  • Indigenous Children Program – focuses on early intervention and prevention in Indigenous families, particularly where children are at risk
  • Indigenous Family Violence Program – supports families and communities to break the cycle of violence
  • Personal Helpers and Mentors Round Four funding targets vulnerable people with mental illness who are humanitarian entrants, Forgotten Australian, the Stolen Generation or homeless. Participants are required to be 16 years or older unless they reside in a remote community where there is no age restriction.
  • Families and Children's Policy - Targeted prevention and early intervention programs for children and their families (9) – the Commonwealth and state, through the Early Childhood Strategy, are working on support for vulnerable children and their families, including mapping of relevant services (including mental health).