Every Australian child has the right to access quality health, education and developmental services.
Where you live should not be a barrier to access services nor a cause for disadvantage, yet children in rural and remote communities have health and development needs that are not being met.
Country children are up to five times as likely as children living in urban areas to have challenges with their developmental health, coupled with even greater difficulty getting the services and support they need.
Early intervention is critical. Children who do not receive the right care at the right time are at risk of mental ill health, higher rates of chronic disease and a greater tendency towards unemployment, homelessness and crime.
The right support at the right time can be the difference between a country child thriving or falling behind.
A growing demand
180,000+ children across rural and remote Australia need health and wellbeing support but cannot access services because of where they live.
Limited access to services, long waiting lists and long distances to travel for these services only exacerbate the problem.
A growing complexity. Kids presenting with trauma in our Paediatric Developmental Program has doubled since 2017 to around 40% of children in 2021.
The lasting impacts of drought, floods, bushfires and COVID-19 have increased the demand for trauma-related services.
Our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of children who live in rural and remote communities.
We believe that healthy country children are critical to our nation’s future and we are dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of children living in rural and remote areas.
We support children’s developmental, mental and behavioural health by providing country children aged up to 12 with multidisciplinary health, education and disability services at our Centre for Country Kids in Manly, via telehealth and in their local community.
For 97 years, we have been meeting the needs of country children and families across rural and remote Australia. In 2020/21 we supported 12,406 children, families and communities with our services.
Why we ride
Country communities have had a tough couple of years – relentless drought, devastating bushfires, floods, mice plagues, and a global pandemic have had devastating impacts on so many.
The coupling of existing disadvantage with the impact of disasters has seen a drastic increase in the number of country kids needing developmental and mental health services.
Each year, we help hundreds of country kids and their families find the answers they need through our Paediatric Developmental Program (PDP). In keeping with our long history of innovation and evolution, this program has been adapted over the last two years to meet the challenges and needs of families in rural and remote communities are facing.
Appointments are delivered through a combination of residential visits to Manly, online via Telecare and in community via PDP outreach visits. This hybrid delivery model has allowed us to reach and stay connected with more families who may have otherwise fallen through the gaps.
The Paediatric Developmental Program is our flagship program, and is delivered to families at no cost. The gap – about $4M per year – is funded through fundraising, partnerships and philanthropy.
In 2022, we're going the distance to close the health gap for country kids by riding over 430km from Tamworth to Glen Innes. Our goal is to raise $300,000 to directly support country kids and families in the Paediatric Developmental Program.
"Royal Far West is unique. Without a doubt it saved [our son] Leith and our family, and we are so grateful for the ongoing care and support. Because of where we live, and the lack of access to services, we could never have given Leith the opportunities he deserves. His life, and ours, have been enriched because of the wonderful care he receives at Royal Far West.