3-Month Pilot Program Underway In Alice Springs

3-Month Pilot Program Underway In Alice Springs

Northern Territory Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield

Operation Tjupi-Tjala Is New Pilot Child Protection Program

Victor P Taffa

A new 3-month pilot program is currently underway in Alice Springs aimed at delivering a more agile response to child protection concerns and to provide an extended after-hours service.

Operation Tjupi-Tjala commenced in November 2017 and will be trialled for 3 months until the end of February 2018.  

Aim of the pilot program is to assess the benefits of extended child protection capabilities outside standard office hours. The program will also look at the reasons why young children are on the streets, and work with their families to address potential safety concerns at home.

Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield said that the Northern Territory Government is overhauling the child protection system with smart, evidence-based action.

“We have to get children on the right path, to stop them ending up on the streets and into a cycle of crime. We have listened to the community’s concerns about young children being on the streets at night and we are implementing responsive evidence-based services.” Minister Wakefield said.

“Operation Tjupi-Tjala is currently working in partnership with the Northern Territory Police in the Alice Springs CBD on weekends and during the evenings to build meaningful relationships with high-risk children and their families.”

“We will conduct a comprehensive internal evaluation at the end of the pilot period before we commit to any future spend or rollout across the Northern Territory.”

Operation Tjupi-Tjala team is made up of existing Territory Families’ child protection staff. Key operational responsibilities include:

  • Working with the Northern Territory Police to identify and engage with young people in need of support or who may be causing anti-social issues in Alice Springs
  • Working with the high-risk young people and their families to identify why their behaviour may be occurring and what alternative services or responses would be best suited to support them in the long-term
  • Supporting court work, child protection orders, and the fast-tracking of case closures
  • Completing Foster and Kinship Carer assessments and processing interstate transfer orders for children in care when required

Operation Tjupi-Tjala

Operation Tjupi-Tjala is named after one of the main Aboriginal Dreaming’s in Central Australia, the Honey Ant dreaming. Tjupi and Tjala are the Luritja and Pitjantjatjara words for Honey Ant respectively.

The name was chosen to reflect its meaning of creative development, adaption and transformation, which is what the Operation is hoping to achieve; adapting to a new way of working within the child protection space and being creative in the way we work with children and families in Central Australia.