Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families Since the Federal Government’s controversial intervention in the Northern Territory in 2007, reports of child abuse among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the state has doubled. Protecting children from abuse and neglect is a crucial part of Save the Children’s work, both in Australia and overseas. But we know in order to conquer this issue, we must address the root causes and develop culturally appropriate solutions that meet the needs of the whole family. That’s why we run an Intensive Family Support Service to help parents with complex problems meet the emotional, developmental and physical needs of their children.Why providing family support is important In 2017, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory found that about 50% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the Northern Territory now come to the attention of the child protection system by the age of 10. Many of these families experience complex issues that contribute to violence and neglect towards their children, such as intergenerational trauma, domestic and family violence, mental health problems, family homelessness and precarious housing, and parental drug and alcohol problems. By addressing these issues and helping parents and guardians to develop healthier coping strategies for their children, we can help ensure children aren’t exposed to abuse or neglect, and families can work towards becoming healthy, happy, safe and strong. Save the Children’s Intensive Family Support Services program We aim to help families keep children in their homes, communities and culture, and out of the child protection system. We work with families who are at risk of recurring child neglect. Support is available to Indigenous and non-Indigenous families with children aged up to 12 years old. Support Workers help families to develop and enhance their parenting skills in areas of care that are most likely to reduce neglect. They often visit families two to three times a week to make sure children are adequately supervised and have their physical, health, emotional, developmental and educational needs met. They offer practical support within a home, and help families reach out and attend services available to them, such as support for drug and alcohol addiction. Our approach is culturally sensitive, intensive and tailored to the individual needs of a family. Support can be provided for up to 12 months – although extended when needed – so families have the time to make long-term positive change.