Department of Human Services

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Friday 1 October 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

I am writing to you having just spent an amazing four days on the Eyre Peninsula visiting DHS staff and a number of partners to see first-hand some of the important work that is being done to support our regional communities.

Following a recent meeting with SA Health, the SA Housing Authority and leaders of NGO service providers to consider our preparedness for an outbreak of COVID-19 in regional South Australia, I also felt it was very timely to visit our providers and communities in the Eyre Peninsula, and discuss their services and response plans in place.

My first stop this week was to Port Lincoln where I spent time with the teams from West Coast Youth and Community Support, Aboriginal Family Support Services (AFSS), and DHS's Safer Families staff.

West Coast Youth and Community Support provides excellent youth and family support and early intervention services on behalf of DHS to the local community, and I was pleased to be able to advise Bernie Joyce that the Families and Youth Counselling Service funding will be extended for another year.

At AFSS, I met with the workers providing services to Aboriginal families and their children as well as our gambling help services in the region. We discussed how the new Intensive Family Support service is rolling out in the region and how we can improve communication.

After two days in Port Lincoln, I travelled to Ceduna where we have established and manage the Ceduna Services Collaboration (CSC) with a number of organisations in the region. I visited the Red Cross Community Hub, Far West Community Partnerships (FWCP), Save the Children Australia and our Safer Families team at the Ngura Yadurirn Child and Family Centre. I also attended a meeting concerning the coordination of the Vulnerable Persons Framework at the Ceduna Hospital.

The Red Cross Community Hub provides a safe, welcoming, and supported environment for local and transient community members seeking support or assistance, or simply a place to connect. I met with Brenton Niemz and he walked me through the model of service providers from a range of different agencies and working at the same table to meet needs.

I was also honoured to be joined at Red Cross by Wayne Miller, CEO of the Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation and hear more from him about his vision for empowering community. A Vision which drives the FWCP where Jessie Sleep leads an approach dedicated to giving the community a platform to have a greater say in what resources are invested in Ceduna and influence decision making.

I visited Save the Children’s supported accommodation service for young mothers who are at risk of homelessness, domestic violence, or other concerns. Following my time with the Save the Children organisation, I was pleased to catch up with the Executive Director of Nursing at Ceduna Hospital, Andrew Lane, to discuss the coordination of the Vulnerable Persons Framework which our Department first developed and implemented in 2014. The framework involves key organisations working together to assist people at risk of death or injury due to illness, alcohol and substances, or other factors.

I also enjoyed a stay in Whyalla where I visited the Haven Safety Hub, Centacare Catholic Country SA (CCCSA) and spent time with our staff at DHS's Safer Families and Youth Justice unit locations.

The Haven is our new early intervention service that is set to open in October and will provide targeted information and referrals to women and their children experiencing or at risk of domestic, family or sexual violence. In that meeting I was humbled to speak with a number of hub volunteers, many of whom have lived experience and hear how excited they are about their opportunity to help others.

Centacare, which is hosting The Haven, is a leading community service provider in the region, offering emergency financial assistance, financial counselling, family support and early intervention, and access to education and support programs. I discussed with Jen Cleary and her leadership team the critical role they are playing in supporting their regional community and local remote Aboriginal communities during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The trip was a wonderful opportunity to connect with DHS staff and service providers, and see the outcomes that continue to make a difference for those we support in regional communities.

Have a safe and relaxing long weekend, and if you haven't already, book in for your COVID-19 vaccination through the SA Health website.

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 1 October 2021

Page last updated : 01 Oct 2021

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