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(L-R) Dr Katrina Lines, CEO of Act for Kids, Sylvia Bhatia, QCoal Foundation CEO and Christopher Wallin, QCoal Foundation Chair.

QCoal Foundation and Act for Kids are pleased to announce a new partnership which will fill a significant gap in service delivery for children in Central Queensland.

Re-ACT CQ, the pilot program of the new partnership, will expand crucial and high demand trauma-informed therapy services in regional and remote Queensland, with an initial focus on Central Queensland.

Cases of children experiencing abuse and neglect have been increasing. In 2021-2022, more than 470,000 reports were made to child protection authorities in Australia with 45,548 of those substantiated. This equates to 125 children every day and includes 6,249 Queensland children who experienced abuse or neglect.

In response to this need, QCoal Foundation has entered into a three-year partnership with respected ‘for purpose’ organisation Act for Kids which will facilitate the establishment of a pilot program delivering face to face sessions, including in outreach locations, and therapy delivered by telehealth. QCoal Foundation has committed $150,000 per year for three years.

The program will fill a gap in the Central Queensland region which currently has very limited multidisciplinary therapy services to support children and young people and will include support for an additional therapist based in Rockhampton in Central Queensland.

QCoal Foundation CEO Sylvia Bhatia said that research has shown the impact of children experiencing abuse or neglect was amplified in regional and remote areas due to a lack of available trauma-informed therapy services.

“Without treatment and support, abused and neglected children can experience poor future health, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, juvenile offending, criminality and incarceration,” Sylvia said.

“In line with our mission to build resilient regional and remote communities and our social venture approach, we were keen to partner with a leading for purpose organisation and devise an innovative solution.

“This pilot program, Re-ACT CQ, will fill a significant gap in Central Queensland and will allow both partners to gather data to better understand both need and impact. We hope it will create a positive and lasting change in these children’s lives,” she said.

Act for Kids CEO Dr Katrina Lines said Act for Kids’ emphasis was on prevention and early intervention through a trauma-informed, holistic approach to therapy that supported improved outcomes across the community.

“Trauma-informed therapy involves working with children and their families through an integrated approach including psychology, speech pathology and occupational therapy that addresses their individual needs to help them heal from trauma and achieve future goals,” Katrina said.

“This new pilot program has been made possible by the partnership with QCoal Foundation and their generous commitment and dedication to help vulnerable children, where we know there is significant demand. It means many children will now receive the vital support that they deserve to go on and lead happy lives.

“We are already experiencing plenty of early engagement about this new program which reaffirms the strong community need, and we are grateful to the QCoal Foundation for the opportunity to extend our services in Central Queensland, particularly in out-reach locations where there has been limited support available to kids,” she explained.

Interested stakeholders in Central Queensland can contact the Act for Kids team about the pilot program via email at: Re-ACTCQ@actforkids.com.au.

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