City cries out for new counsellor

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

LOCAL children are having to wait up to a month for counselling through the Community Advisory Service due to a lack of resources.

The ongoing problem has prompted Gladstone City Council to rally the state government to provide funding for a child support worker, with the current level of need becoming unmanageable.

Community Advisory Service family support worker Veronica Laverick described the demand as "huge'', with appointments for the free counselling service currently booked out until the middle of July.

'How can children realise their full potential? Because there's a glitch in the system they aren't getting the support they need,' she said.

'At the moment if we had someone needing the service we would have to tell them to go to Rocky.'

Mrs Laverick said the child support worker would provide counselling for a range of issues, including behavioural and family problems.

In 2001 the Community Advisory Service successfully secured 12 months' funding for a child support worker. During the 12 months the service had a quota of children to help in order to make it feasible.

However despite reaching that quota in just six months, funding was discontinued due to flaws with the proposal being used.

During this week's meeting the council discussed the need for a child support worker, describing the need for one as desperate.

"At this time the Department of Families had identified services for children at risk as the greatest unmet need in the Gladstone region,'' Mrs Laverick said in a report to Council.

Mrs Laverick added that nearly a quarter of the Gladstone city population, or 6603 residents, was under the age of 15, highlighting the need for increased services.



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