North Queensland RAFS back on the road

16 February 2012

The North Queensland Remote Area Families Service (RAFS) team from Frontier Services is back on the road again.

The mobile service offers crucial support to families across remote North Queensland, providing early childhood advice and support for parents with young children in isolated areas.

Due to road conditions, the team has been carefully planning their initial visits to isolated families, with its main programs rolling out in early April.

Field Coordinator Barb Hawes said RAFS support to isolated families was even more pertinent this year due to Cyclone Yasi, which devastated many remote families in North Queensland last year.

“Depression is really starting to hit from Cyclone Yasi. Families have spent all year just trying to get on with it. Now, after the holidays, we are seeing the cracks,” she said.

The RAFS team liaises closely with other services in the Frontier Services network including the Savannah Regional Health Service and the Dalrymple Rural Family Support Service to provide the best possible care for the parents and children, who often become like family to the team.

“Some of the people we visit regard us as family and we think of them that way too,” said Ms Hawes.

Many remote families and communities cannot access mainstream early childhood services. The five Frontier Services RAFS teams travel a combined 160,000km across remote Queensland every year to fill this gap with their network of mobile early childhood specialists.

RAFS services include mobile playgroups, kit boxes that provide families with early childhood resources and activity ideas, one-on-one advice on early childhood development and parenting and general support for isolated parents. The teams operate from Longreach, Charleville, Mount Isa, Emerald and Mareeba

“Thousands of families across Queensland receive support that they otherwise would have no access to at all,” said Frontier Services National Director Rosemary Young.