$18m in support for Central Australian children
The Sector > Policy > Federal Government commits to Central Australia’s children with new investment

Federal Government commits to Central Australia’s children with new investment

by Freya Lucas

September 13, 2023

The Federal Government will invest $18.4 million to support children in Central Australia with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism.


The initiative is part of the $250 million plan for A Better, Safer Future for Central Australia, and the addition of this funding will more than double the number of First Nations children with neurodevelopmental issues who can access assessments through the Child and Youth Assessment and Treatment Services (CYATS) Program.


CYATS is a specialist service providing formal diagnostic assessment, speech pathology and occupational therapy intervention for Aboriginal children and young people with neurodevelopmental delay or disorder.


The expansion, which is now underway, will allow neurodevelopmental assessment of around 200 First Nations children and young people each year, compared to 90 children per year currently. 


Additional staff have already been recruited, including two clinical neuropsychologists, one occupational therapist, two speech pathologists, a clinical case coordinator and an Aboriginal family support worker.


The CYATS teams will also be able to work with schools, other service providers and the youth justice system.


“We are working in partnership with the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, the largest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health organisation in the NT, to improve health services for First Nations children and young people in the region,” Minister for Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney said, “because we know that early support and intervention for children with neurodevelopmental issues can make a big difference at school, at home and in the community.”

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