MacKillop Family Services’ Substance Abuse Family Support (SAFS) Service commenced as a pilot in 1996 and has been consistently funded through the Victorian Department of Health and Ageing since 1999. The SAFS service assists families living in Western Melbourne where one or both parents are experiencing prescription medication, illicit substance or alcohol misuse.
The program aims to reduce the impact of parental substance misuse on dependent children by assisting parents to understand how their drug and alcohol misuse affects their children, and to assist them in the reduction or cessation of their drug or alcohol use to minimise risk of relapse.
SAFS provides a holistic range of strategies and services to support families, which are further enhanced through the collaborative interagency relationships that have been developed by the service since 1996.
Pictured: Richard Cooke – NAPCAN Chief Executive Officer, Principal Commissioner Bernie Geary OAM – Victorian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Katrina McClement – MacKillop Family Services, Hazel Hayes – MacKillop Family Services, Madelene McGrath – NAPCAN National Stakeholder Manager, David Cameron – MacKillop Family Services.
This initiative really showcases NAPCAN’s message: that children are a great source of social capital and can provide valuable and insightful input when properly consulted. This initiative gives children and young people a voice, empowering them to be involved in decisions that the council make – which ultimately affect them.
Wollongong Council first implemented this initiative in 2004. In 2013 the Council received an award from the National Out of Schools Association, for its work in involving school aged children in the design of playgrounds and the development of the Wollongong Community Strategic Plan.
The initiative ensures that Council staff involve children and young people in planning and solving issues that affect them where possible. The initiative sees Council staff engaging children and young people at schools, childcare centres, youth centres, playgrounds or wherever appropriate. To date over 1000 children and young people have been consulted by staff.
In addition to giving children and young people a voice, the initiative aims to give them an understanding that they have a right to participate in governance of their city; with the ultimate goal to facilitate the growth of connected communities where everyone feels empowered to actively participate in city life and learn about positive ways in which they can affect change.
This is an example of a great way to connect communities and ultimately create safer environments for children and young people.
The Early Years Project is an initiative of Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation and is now a collaboration of many partners. The project grew out of a desire to address issues which are not directly health related and yet represent some of the many social determinants of good health. The program aims to improve the development and wellbeing of Aboriginal children in far west NSW in Broken Hill, Wilcannia, Menindee and Ivanhoe.
The Early Years Project is made up of four main components that work collectively to promote the importance of the early years in a child’s life. The components include:
All components involve parents and have a strong focus on ensuring that attendees feel safe. The steady growth of the project and the increased community demand is a testament to the success of the program meeting a community need.
The project has a two way learning approach, in that it helps mainstream services to better understand and better meet the needs of Aboriginal families to understand what to expect of mainstream services such as pre-schools.
Well done to the Early Years Project Team for sustaining and developing an initiative that bring families and services providers together to focus on the wellbeing of children. The team’s ability to expand and sustain the project in isolated communities is a real credit to the individuals involved.
Pictured: Claudette Dixon from Maari Ma, and The Honourable Gabrielle Upton, Minister for Family & Community Services.
Southern Cross Kids’ Camps (SCKC) is a national organisation that has been operating since 2001. SCKC currently runs across 10 locations nationally. The camps provide a week of 1:1 adult mentoring for children and young people who have been exposed to abuse or neglect.
The camps are a 5-day mentoring program aimed to enhance the self worth and confidence in each child. More than 400 trained volunteers provide support and mentor the children and young people throughout the 5 days. The camps provide support for 300 children and young people each year. This is an inspiring initiative that is based on so many volunteers from various communities giving up their time to enhance the welfare and wellbeing of children and young people.
Pictured: The Hon Mary Wooldridge – Victorian Minister for Community Services, Carolyn Boyd – Founding Director of Southern Cross Kids’ Camps, Principal Commissioner Bernie Geary OAM – Victorian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Denni Lind – Southern Cross Kids’ Camps.
Protection Thru Play has been running since September 2012. The program was developed to meet the identified needs of the communities in Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Mt Morgan, Kabra and Gracemere. In 2013, over 250 adults and 300 children participated in the program. 2014 is already seeing increasing numbers of attendees.
Protection Thru Play supports 11 playgroups throughout areas of the Capricorn region to implement the program that is made up of twelve topics. These topics include content and child engagement activities that are designed to improve the health and wellbeing of children.
To build sustainability the program has embedded education sessions for parents that focus on building their knowledge and understanding of child development, as well as accredited training courses for each of the partnering organisations. By providing these training courses the program recognises parents and carers as the key stakeholders in children’s lives.
‘Connectedness’ is one result of the program of which the Protection Thru Play team are most proud, and believe this will guarantee the success of the initiative. The program is connecting families with families, families with service providers, children with children, children with service providers, and service providers with service providers – a great example of an initiative thats success is built on collaboration.
Pictured: NAPCAN President Teresa Scott, Megan Wyland from Family Planning Queensland and Steve Armitage Family & Child Commissioner.
Jillian Locke is a volunteer with Fair Game’s Healthy Communities Program.
Jillian has a nursing background and a passion for health promotion and disease prevention. This led Jillian to develop and coordinate the delivery of Fair Game’s ‘Healthy Communities Initiative’, which is now in its third year in WA. This program provides at risk populations within WA with valuable education in evidenced based health practices. The program focuses on preventing illness and enhancing wellbeing not only in health, but in all aspects of life.
Over the last 3 years the program has educated over 1,500 participants from remote and regional WA. The development of the program is a reflection of Jillian’s incredible passion for the health, wellbeing and safety of WA’s children and young people. It is because of Jillian’s passion that children and young people in isolated areas of WA are gaining valuable education about important preventative health practices.
Thank you Jillian for playing your part.
The PEGS program is an inspiring initiative that was developed in collaboration with nine local organisations, initially led by the Smith Family and Gray School. The organisations signed a formal agreement in June 2012. The program’s focus is on encouraging, supporting and empowering the Gray School Community to access quality school and community services.
The program demonstrates the collective benefits of community partnerships for children, young people and families. The PEGS partnership is aimed at promoting stronger family and community involvement in the Gray School community and better coordinating services and programs so that there is ‘no wrong door’ for families and students at Gray Primary School. The program demonstrates an interagency model that works to ensure better outcomes for families.
The NT’s FAST program, which is one of NAPCAN’s 2014 National award recipients, provided a solid foundation for the PEGS program to build on. The result of the culmination of the two programs is that the school is seeing higher student attendance rates, improved relationships between parents and the school and have built a culture of trust, openness and collaboration amongst families and service providers in Palmerston.
Pictured: Catherine Phillips – Regional Programs Manager The Smith Family NT, Sue Beynon – Principal Gray Primary School, and The Hon John Elferink Minister for Children and Families.
The Shaken Baby Prevention Project (SBPP) is based at Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The project began in 2001 and has continued to expand nationally and internationally. This project is the result of a successful collaboration of many individuals and organisations, both past and present.
The project developed a film and associated resources to educate parents, carers and professionals about responding safely to crying babies and the dangers of shaking babies. The goal of the project is to raise community awareness that shaking a baby and any other physical abuse of a baby or child is dangerous.
This is a great initiative which is contributing to keeping babies and children safe – congratulations to the many people and organisations associated with this project.
Pictured: Sue Foley from The Shaken Baby Prevention Project receiving the award from Ms Kerryn Boland NSW Children’s Guardian.
Together 4 Kids is a specialist therapeutic service offered by Relationships Australia SA to children aged 0-12 years who are at risk of homelessness and/or have experienced homelessness, and may have experienced domestic or family violence or other trauma. This unique service was established as a result of the homeless sector reform in 2010 that was committed to provide services to “children in their own right”.
Together 4 Kids has forged strong relationships with other service providers and provided training to over 800 sector workers which has had a demonstrated impact on shifting an ‘adult focused’ culture to a more ‘child inclusive’ paradigm when dealing with children and families at risk of homelessness or who are homeless. Together 4 Kids is currently in the process of creating a sector-wide tool for screening and assessing the needs of children, ensuring that all homeless services can effectively provide support to children in need.
This inspiring initiative is another great example of how collaborative practices can work to keep children safe from harm and ensure better outcomes. This has been evidenced by 21% of children stating that after 3 months of receiving a service they had a significant improvement in the area of emotional wellbeing. Also, after 6 months 50% reported a significant improvement. Well done to the Together 4 Kids team.
Pictured: The Together 4 Kids team.
Point of Engagement (PoE) was established in 2007 as an early intervention program for ‘at-risk’ families aiming to improve the health and safety of their vulnerable infants and siblings. A recent analysis of the PoE demonstrated that the program generated a net positive social return on investment, with each $1 invested in 2011-13 creating approximately $2.50 of social and economic value. The most valuable outcome of the program was the reunification of families, which created substantial benefits for mothers, their new born babies and young children. The program identifies at risk infants and their young siblings resulting in their essential health care needs being attended to, and their living environment and routines improving. For those children found to be in immediate danger, they are separated from their parents and placed in a safe environment. The community service providers and government agencies working in partnership with PoE to support the mothers also benefit from an ability to reallocate funding and focus on providing their core services. Over the long term it has assisted parents to achieve long term reduced substance use and or abstinence, resulting in improved family relationships, and family reunifications, and increased self-esteem and confidence. Another innovative element to the program is teach infant massage to parents. Infant massage help the parent and their infant develop and nurture the attachment relationship, communication, healthy infant brain development and increases responsiveness and sensitivity in parenting.
Sallyanne McShane devotes herself to children in need from visiting young patients in hospital to supporting families with a child with a disability whilst caring for her own children, two with special needs.
The single mother of three devotes her time to numerous child-focused organisations. Her volunteer work includes visiting patients at the Royal Hobart Hospital’s Children’s Ward to brighten their days. Sallyanne works tirelessly to promote the safety of children, in particular children living with a disability.
She started with Playgroup Tasmania, as a parent and became a facilitator of support groups for families with children with a disability or chronic illness.
Sallyanne has been described as an inspiration to the parents who attend. She is often the voice for many through her advocacy for children’s and family’s rights.
Sallyanne is inspiring in her commitment to improving the lives of children. She is a fantastic example of an individual who is playing their part to promote the safety and wellbeing of children in their community.
Richard led the ‘Boss of My Body’ DVD project in 2012. Richard’s initiative saw the development of a DVD featuring the children of the Burringarrah Aboriginal Community. The DVD provided the children with what looked like a lot of fun in its filming. The DVD provided a platform for the children to communicate their messages about protective behaviours in a way that was meaningful and fun to them. The creation of the DVD saw the children take ownership of their message and provided a foundation for broader discussions not just within the Burringurrah Community, but many other communities as well.
The ‘Boss of My Body’ DVD has now been shared throughout many communities within Australia and overseas and used as a tool to have important protective behaviours conversations with children. Richard’s commitment and vision in relation to this project makes him a very worth recipient of NAPCAN’s Inspiring Individuals award.
The Breaking the Silence Schools Program was first trialled in 2009, and has since been delivered in over 200 schools to 110,000 students contributing to building more respectful, safer and more inclusive Australian schools.
The program is a unique professional development program that supports school leaders to drive a culture of respect and reduce violence in their respective schools and communities, to increase the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
The program has provided a platform for schools to become agents of social change by providing the schools with a framework, strategies and tools for preventing men’s violence against women. The program involves significant partnerships between schools, parents and community. Consequently, the programs messages are getting out to communities and creating meaningful and sustainable positive social change.
The program has seen some fantastic outcomes; Ray Pooley, White Ribbon Ambassador, and former Principal of San Souci Primary School stated that; “Since implementing the White Ribbon Schools Program, suspensions relating to bullying, and aggressive and violent behaviour have decreased by approximately 80%”.
The White Ribbon campaign provides the scaffolding for men and boys to become actively involved in driving positive social change by making “women’s safety a man’s issue too”.
This is an initiative that demonstrates a fantastic prevention initiative that has demonstrated success, is replicable and sustainable. Well done White Ribbon on this fantastic initiative.
The Supporting Kids and Youth (SKY) program is an initiative of the Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (VACRO) that first started in 2008 and now provides services to approximately 13 families and 35 children each month.
The SKY program is made up of two components for children, young people and their families impacted by parental involvement in the criminal justice system.
Key to the success of the initiative, is the strength of the relationships between the SKY team and the relevant service providers, including the Department of Human Services and Department of Education. It’s a great initiative that showcases a flexible and collaborative approach which emphasises the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people through a criminal justice lense.
The SKY program’s focus is on a disadvantaged and vulnerable group of children and young people who are often ‘hidden’ victims of crime.
Pictured: Richard Cooke – NAPCAN Chief Executive Officer and the VACRO team (Romy Same, Susan Wilson, Nicole Fairchild and Melanie Field Pimm).
The SoSAFE! program is an initiative of Sexual Health and Family Planning in the ACT. The program was first trialled in 2002 and began to be delivered in 2004, and has been delivered to over 500 people in the ACT to date. It is now also being delivered in Tasmania.
The SoSAFE! program is a set of visual and conceptual tools designed to promote social safety to clients with an intellectual disability. The program is used to train people who have an interest in the social safety of children and young people with intellectual and other disabilities.
The program is delivered to children and young people, carers, parents, teachers, health professionals and community workers. The program has a focus on promoting healthy sexuality and relationships. It teaches about the appropriate type and degree of verbal and physical intimacy. SoSAFE! provides visual communication tools for reporting physical and sexual abuse, and works to facilitate and maintain much needed support networks for the child or young person.
This inspiring initiatives’ goal is to change the lives of people with disabilities by giving them a voice, information, education and acknowledgement of their rights to live free of abuse and fear of exploitation.
What a fantastic initiative that has a clear aim of promoting the safety, welfare and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our community.
Pictured: Elle Reid and Rose Gagliardi from Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT, with Dr Sue Packer AM, NAPCAN Vice President.
The Families and Schools Together (FAST) program has developed a process whereby it is acknowledged that the formal education in school and the daily life of families need to be ‘in step’ with each other. The program has a focus on strengthening the relationships between the parent and the child, the family with other families and support services in order to provide the most optimum environment for children to grow.
The FAST program has been running in the Northern Territory since 2003 and has 3 different streams for families; Baby FAST, Kids FAST and Youth FAST. The FAST program is currently operating across 16 different sites in the NT. There are currently 120 people trained to lead the project and 650 family members participating. This is a fantastic achievement when viewed in light of some of the remote communities where the program is operational. While the FAST program is currently only based in the NT, it is clear the program is replicable, as it has been tried and tested in the challenging logistical environment of the NT. The programs ability to be replicated is the reason that the FAST program has been awarded a National award.
The FAST program aims to empower communities to recognise and use their own resources and assets to strengthen their families. The FAST program trains local people from within the communities.
The FAST NT program strengthens the relationships between schools and daily family life; to ensure better outcomes for children, young people and their families.
Pictured: Mal Galbraith – Manager FAST NT, The Hon Jon Elferink Minister for Children and Families, and Phillip Dhamarrandji – Trainer FAST NT.
Lucas is the State Coordinator with CREATE Foundation QLD. His role involves leading and supporting a team of workers to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in out-of-home care. This is something that Lucas excels at. He is a passionate advocate and goes above and beyond.
Lucas is an inspirational role model, involving children and young people and considering their views in all aspects of decision making. He ensures that the voices of children and young people are head in many forums across QLD.
Lucas has been instrumental in improving the out-of-home care experiences for children and young people. Advocating for children and young people is clearly not a job for Lucas – it is a passion. How lucky the children and young people of QLD are to have such a strong advocate.
Congratulations to Lucas, an inspiring individual who goes above and beyond.
Pictured: NAPCAN President Teresa Scott, Lucas Moore and Steve Armitage Family & Child Commissioner.
Ernest is Team Leader of the Night Patrol within Roper Gulf Regional Council Numbulwar community. Ernest has worked with the Night Patrol for five years, and been a Team Leader for the past year. Ernest’s peers attest to the fact that he has a natural flair for engaging with kids and youth. Ernest spends time talking to youth at schools in afternoons, making sure they are heading home or to sporting activities. He is considered a role model within the community, and encourages youth to get involved in activities in order to keep them safe and out of trouble. He ensures that these young people get to their training, and get a routine of keeping up with their commitments. Ernest does his patrol within the Numbulwar community from 6pm up to 2.30am five nights per week. He walks the streets, and engages with the young people whom he encounters. He offers them a lift home, and speaks to the parents/families/carer when he arrives. He spends many hours every night talking to and delivering children to a safe environment whilst also diverting children and youth from negative activities through mentoring and positive support. There is no doubt that Ernest is indeed an inspiring individual and one that has a special way with people. The genuine interest and time he gives these young people is making a difference to their lives. While Ernest is undoubtedly good at his job, it goes further than that. He is a role model to children and young people whether he is at work or not, and has a genuine interest in and gives time to children and young people. In National Child Protection Week, NAPCAN encourages everybody to be someone who gives time and genuinely listens to children.