Program to help vulnerable Latrobe families

Latrobe Valley families affected by alcohol and drug use will be able to access new treatment services from Uniting Gippsland following state government funding.

Uniting ReGen executive officer Laurence Alvis said the funding covered the whole state, however, it was really encouraging 50 per cent of the funding actually went to regional areas, taking further pressure off people to travel to metropolitan areas for their treatment.

The $1.9 million program will prioritise parents whose children are on a Children's Court family reunification order to allow them to access drug and alcohol treatment services faster.

A magistrate will place a child on a family reunification order when their safety and development is at risk at home.

The child can only reunite with their family once their parents address the conditions of the order, which could include alcohol and other drug treatment.

Mr Alvis said the program helped to identify the issues which led to a child being removed from their parents.

"The evidence tells us there is very strong correlation between drug and alcohol and mental issues and family violence," he said.

The program will look at what interventions are needed, such as counselling, detoxing, or residential or non-residential rehabilitation to address the family reunification order.

Three new full-time roles will be created at Uniting Gippsland which will cover the areas of Bass Coast, Baw Baw, East Gippsland, Latrobe, South Gippsland and Wellington.

Mr Alvis said it was an ongoing program and would be in the Gippsland area as long as it showed it was meeting a local need.

For more information about the services available and referral process, phone Uniting Gippsland on 5144 7777.

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