SERVICE providers at Cranes are hopeful a five-year funding commitment for their Family Relationship Skills Program could be the first step towards a more secure sector.
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan this week announced Federal Government funding of $1.47 million for two community support programs operated by the Grafton-based service provider.
The Family Relationship Skills Program (FRSP) will receive $929,725 over five years to support families, strengthen relationships and improve the well-being of children and young people, while a further $538,000 will provide 8200 hours of respite care under the National Respite Carers Programme (NRCP).
Mr Hogan said he was proud to have lobbied for funding for both programs, which meant Cranes could continue to offer programs to "help build the resilience of families to respond to life's challenges by strengthening the relationships within families and improving the well-being of children."
Cranes client services manager Annette Rushby said it was encouraging the FRSP has been secured for five years, which would provide assurity to both clients and staff.
Previous government-funding arrangements had a three year limit, but were mostly renewed every twelve months.
"It's really hard to plan with 12 months worth of funding," she said.
"It's hard just to advertise positions when that's all you can (safely) offer them."
Ms Rushby said the funding situation had been extremely stressful in recent years.
"I've been working in this industry since the eighties and I've never seen the sector in such turmoil," she said.
"Just the uncertainty and the changes are really unsettling, but we're remaining positive that we'll get through these tough times."
Last financial year Cranes held 36 workshops involving 243 parents from Grafton, south to Macksville, west to Bellingen and north to Yamba.
Cranes' acting chief executive Russell Begg said in line with the Government's Closing the Gap objectives, the organisation also focused on increasing Aboriginal participation and was successful in establishing strong links with the community resulting in 18 per cent Aboriginal participation.
The main parenting courses to be presented include Confident Parenting, Understanding Your Child's Brain, Responding not Reacting and Standing Strong.
Mr Begg said Cranes also trialled a new program developed by The Early Childhood Foundation Bringing up Great Kids, which was run over six weeks; a reflective program aimed at promoting positive and respectful parent/ child relationships.
"This program was very well received and will now be offered each term," he said.
Mr Hogan said the rollover funding for the Carers program would provide much needed time-out for carers in Clarence Valley, Kyogle and Richmond Valley.
"It is important that we care for the carers," he said.
"They carry a heavy emotional and physical load looking after their loved ones. As a society, and as a government, we must give them support and respite."