The Stronger Communities for Children program (SCfC) is a community development program designed to ensure that people in communities have a real say in what services they need and how they are delivered. The SCfC is a place-based approach supported by local and external organisations. The SCfC resources and supports communities to own and lead local decision-making through cultural leadership in a Local Community Board (LCB), which is informed by strengths-based and evidence-based practice to develop a community plan.
- Stronger Communities for Children (SCfC) is currently operating in 10 sites in the Northern Territory. Five sites commenced in the second half of 2013, with four-and-a-halfto five-year funding agreements, and the remaining five began in June 2015 with two-year funding agreements.
- The SCfC resources an overarching Quality Service Support Panel (QSSP) and, in each site, a Facilitating Partner (FP) to support the LCBs to develop a community plan. The community plan articulates the vision for the community and the services required to achieve it. Community members’ feeling of ownership and pride have increased as a result of developing the community plan.
- Implementation of the community plan is resulting in delivery of a suite of holistic integrated services determined and/or designed by the community. The SCfC is improving collaboration and getting the community, stakeholders and service providers all working together on a common goal.
- The SCfC is influencing change in the communities even without requiring any additional SCfC funding. It is achieving this through its ability to get other jurisdictions to fund activities or programs or projects that they were otherwise not aware of, or thought were not possible, or did not know how to do in community.
The evaluation found that the SCfC is a catalyst for harnessing the aspirations of the community. It builds the momentum needed to drive local creativity and innovation into responding to complex social issues. The resourcing of the SCfC builds capacity for the community to lead, plan and implement the locally designed service responses. This capacity strengthening is an important precursor to delivering positive outcomes for children and their families. There are early indications of progress towards improved family functioning, positive participation in education, participation in cultural events and safety and wellbeing of children and young people and their families. The journey of developing and implementing the plan is building local capacity, increasing employment and improving social cohesion. Achieving the vision in the community plan will, in time, contribute to the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and Closing the Gap outcome indicators.