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Community

9 September, 2020

Giving day to help Cairns kids

Today you can make a big difference in the life of local kids who are doing it tough. To celebrate Child Protection Week, Act For Kids is holding a “Giving Day” today, where every dollar donated on their website will be matched by sponsors.

By Tanya Murphy

david dini
Act For Kids Cairns Regional Director David Dini leads by example when it comes to caring for kids. He’s pictured here at the Cairns Aquarium with his grandchildren Ava and Oscar.

Act For Kids Cairns Regional Director David Dini said the state-wide target was to raise $50,000 in donations, which is needed more than ever to support their work in preventing and treating child abuse and neglect.

Mr Dini said their services centres had been in greater demand since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID has severely impacted on our ability to fund raise, and at the same time, social isolation measures mean kids are spending more and more time confined with people who could harm and neglect them, with less access to help,” Mr Dini said.

“Since restrictions began, there has been a 30% increase in the number of families being referred to our Family and Child Connect service and we are seeing families who have never had to ask for help before.

“Every single day in Australia, 130 children suffer abuse or neglect, and 95% of children who suffer neglect and abuse are harmed by someone they love and trust - a family member.”

A well as their Cairns Centre, Act for Kids operates more than 26 centres with a team of more than 400 staff from Adelaide all the way up to Cape York Peninsula.

Their services include integrated therapy, support for vulnerable families, special workshops to empower kids, and safe houses in remote Aboriginal communities.

Last Thursday, at the Queensland Child Protection Week Awards, Act for Kids won the inaugural Child Safe Organisation Award.

In the leadup to Father’s Day on Sunday, Act For Kids also ran a campaign to encourage fathers to spend quality time with their kids, with the slogan “Being Present is the Best Present.”

Mr Dini said the impact of a supportive, loving and engaged father figure can be life-changing for a child.

“Being an active father figure is one of the most important things dads, stepdads, granddads and uncles can do for kids,” he said.

“Sadly, society often places less value on the role of fathers, however having a father or father figure as a stable source of love and encouragement helps ensure that children grow up happy and healthy.

“Our research has found that children who have an actively involved father or father figure show improved emotional wellbeing, increased learning outcomes, fewer behaviour problems and stronger family relationships.”

The former Cairns Police Inspector, who retired from the police force last year after 44 years of service, said that being a supportive Dad and grandfather was the most important job of all.

“Being a father to me meant being there and helping and supporting them, for example helping with schoolwork, going to sports and being part of their lives,” he said.

“My kids are in their 30s now, and they still consult me for advice before they make a big decision on anything, which means a lot to me.”

To donate, or for more information, visit www.actforkids.com.au.

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