2017 Play Your Part Award Recipients

National

Peter Lowson for 30 years dedicated to working with the children and young people of Alice Springs

Peter has dedicated his life to improving the lives of children and young people and is highly regarded in the Alice Springs Community He has established and coordinated educational and vocational programs for young at-risk men and women from town camps, provided support and information for young people in crisis situations and established the Tangentyere Aboriginal Council’s Drum Atweme program. He is known and respected by many Aboriginal families whose children have been part of generations of drumming with Drum Atweme (for more information about the program, see below). In 2010 Peter won the Music in Communities leadership award for mentoring indigenous youth. In 2013 he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to Indigenous youth through music (for his work with Drum Atweme). Peter was also awarded The Centralian Citizen of the Year in 2013. Peter has performed, recorded and toured with national and international artists.

National

Central Goldfields Child Aware Local Initiative for “Build Your Village Here”

The Central Goldfields (CALI) Group in Victoria was established in 2014 by a collective group of dedicated and passionate local parents. This is a Child Aware Local Initiative led nationally by the Australian Centre for Child Protection and Families Australia. It is one of seven sites across Australia participating in this researched, community capacity building initiative. The local volunteers developed and launched the website “Build Your Village” with the aim to have all children in their Shire connected and supported through outreach to marginalized, new and expectant families in the region. These Community Champions meet regularly and seek to link families to a variety of activities, social networks, information and resources, partnering with other family friendly groups, activities and initiatives. They are achieving their vision that –  “through forming strong and healthy connections with other children and their families, the children in our community will be confident, safe, happy, healthy and creatively engaged”.

Website: http://yourvillage.yacs.org.au/

National

University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute for the Dads and Daughters Exercising and Empowered (DADEE) Program

DADEE is a world-first community based program developed and run in Newcastle, NSW. It has been studied and proven to improve the social-emotional wellbeing and physical activity behaviours of girls by engaging their fathers in positive lifestyle role modelling and effective parenting strategies, all whilst strengthening the father-daughter bond. Developed and evaluated by a world-class team of health education researchers at the University of Newcastle, the DADEE program has been delivered to over 270 dads and 340 daughters in the Newcastle region of NSW. DADEE has received a recent extension of their funding at the University of Newcastle to enable the program to continue within the region for the next 3 years.

Youtube clip: https://youtu.be/ONfiB5-6nGg

ACT

YWCA Canberra for WINYU Early Childhood Service

The team at WINYU Early Childhood Service facilitate the only Canberra service that incorporates a research based, trauma informed approach and a facility design that was created by early childhood specialists. Adopting a philosophy that includes a socio-cultural approach to early childhood development, the service operates with authentic flexibility, with spaces catering for all children, all the time.The holistic focus of the trauma informed early childhood education and care afforded to all children and families accessing WINYU means that people are treated respectfully and empowered to make positive life choices. By availing children the highest quality education and care environment it means that families are resourced to make positive choices about their parenting and care of children. Whilst children attend WINYU they are safe, and affords their parents / carers the opportunity to have positive caring role models and time to attend therapeutic appointments / referrals to meet their needs (and the needs of their whole family).

NT

Tangentyere Aboriginal Council for the Drum Atweme program

The Drum Atweme Program is run as part of the Family and Youth Services within the Tangentyere Council in Alice Springs. The program was established to meet the needs of high risk children and young people from the town camps of Alice Springs who were experiencing boredom, depression, low self-esteem/confidence and exposure to violence, alcohol and drug use. Through the use of drumming and percussion music, the program encourages young people to be part of a positive and publicly popular activity whilst developing personal and social skills and supports young people to become independent role models. By bringing families, schools and other service providers together, the program opens up the lines of communication. Families feel they are able to speak up about any issues and are supported to find the right service to help them. The program also works with families regarding educational support for their children. Many of the young people involved in the program have obtained traineeships and full time employment.

NT

The Smith Family, Gray Family Centre and Gray Primary School for Parent Engagement at Gray

Since 2012, The Smith Family and Gray Primary School have been working together to engage parents in their child’s education. Most of the parent engagement activities take place at the Gray Family Centre where parents are encouraged to drop in whenever they need information or support. Parent Yarns are held at the Family Centre, where parents are encouraged to share with the group what is important to them about their child(ren) and how the school might support them in their role as parents. The program draws deeply on the knowledge of trauma informed practice and gives parents the opportunity to learn parenting skills and share with each other to build supportive safe networks. The Parent Engagement program has built many parents’ confidence. So much so that a group of Aboriginal parents have begun their own Family nights and are inviting families who have not been engaged with the school or Family Centre.

TAS

Kennerley Children’s Homes for The Community Respite Program

Kennerley’s Community Respite Program provides a positive, safe and nurturing environment for children when their family are in need of support. Respite care is designed to provide support and assistance to families that are experiencing difficulties. Many families are quite isolated and have no extended family or friends in a position to provide a parent with a break from the challenge of raising children. Respite care is usually set up in a manner to best suit the child, their family and the carer and is designed to provide the child with a positive experience. For example the placement may occur over a weekend once a fortnight for three months. The Program provides in excess of 1300 additional respite placements to families every year, and where possible, assists families to remain outside of statutory intervention. Kennerley believe that respite care on its own is frequently not the answer to solving families’ issues, therefore the program links families in with services who can work with them through parenting issues.

TAS

Family Planning Tasmania for Growing Up Program

The Growing Up Program combines best practice in Protective Behaviours Education and Relationships and Sexuality Education to provide a comprehensive, age-appropriate program for students from Kinder to Grade 6.  The Program develops students’ understanding of physical development; self-esteem and self-concept; communication skills; resilience and persistence; social and life skills. Students develop skills to identify feelings and emotions, particularly feelings that may act as early warning signs that something is wrong. Students also identify adults who they can talk to, or their trust network. The Program aims to increase positive communication between parents/carers and their children and provides a parent/carer information session with every program which covers the program content and the ways in which parents can support their child’s learning. This allows parents to engage in traditionally difficult conversations, providing opportunities for more positive parent/child interactions.

SA

Flinders University in collaboration with Uniting Care Wesley Bowden – Inner Southern Homelessness Service for a multifaceted child focussed prevention strategy

This team has devised education and support packages to ensure that the staff at Inner Southern Homelessness Service (ISHS) are Child Aware in their practice. The team ensures that the children attending ISHS are provided for, above and beyond the supports and services normally provided in the homelessness sector, by connecting children to developmentally appropriate activities and needs e.g. playgroup, kindy and school. This provides parents with a break and the child with safe environment surrounded by trusted adults. The team has also organised fundraisers to provide displaced children with the basics of childhood, such as clothes, toys, school uniforms, and connections to community services to promote ‘more eyes’ on the children. The ISHS also provides services to the parent/s in order to support the parenting behaviours and issues that may arise due to housing displacement and homelessness. The staff connect the parents with the support they need to parent effectively and in a manner that is protective of children. All of the interventions and support activities provided have been evaluated and researched by the team to ensure the activities meet the needs of the children.

SA

Mid Murray Council for Mid Murray Family Connections Network

The MMFC is a collaboration of community leaders, state and local governments, non-government and government services, educational institutions, community organisations and interested residents. The MMFC network formed with the single objective of ‘reducing emotional vulnerability of children aged 0-8 in the Mid Murray region’ and recognises that this requires shared responsibility from all sectors of the community, as well as long term commitment from all stakeholders, to produce large scale and long lasting results. The MMFC network has been broken down into four working groups, with each group aligned to one of the four Key Result Areas, which are focused on the following results: ‘Children and their caregivers share strong attachment’, ‘Children are emotionally resilient’, ‘Children are engaged learners’ and ‘Children and their caregivers are safe and supported’. Strategic actions for each Key Result Area, are aligned with established institutions in the community. These institutions help to create visibility around children, can play a protective role, and are capable of providing support to children and caregivers. In 2016 the focus of the MMFC network was development of the ‘Community Accountability Plan’. The focus for 2017 is action and securing services and outcomes for children and their caregivers.

VIC

FMC Mediation and Counselling for Students Talking About Relationships (STAR)

Developed by FMC, the STAR program is a series of three interactive programs delivered by expert child counsellors and child psychologists. ‘STAR’ teaches part of the essential curriculum at schools. It is a fun way to learn skills around self-management, emotional management and developing healthy community, family and school relationships. The program is delivered from a psycho-educational perspective, to build resilience, emotional and interpersonal skills in upper primary students (grades 5 and 6). FMC works collaboratively with schools and in classrooms to coordinate and facilitate the STAR program, with schools being key to informing and promoting the program with the parents. Teachers are present for the facilitation of ‘STAR’ so they can hear the strategies that are delivered which can then be integrated and reinforced daily in the classroom.

QLD

The Creche and Kindergarten Association (C&K) for The Family Place

The Family Place is a child and family centre in Woodridge which provides non-stigmatising support for Logan families through fun and welcoming free activities. The centre is a universally accessible soft-entry point for families to access primary prevention and early intervention services. In addition to a range of evidence-based parenting programs and support groups, The Family Place runs huge “PlayCommunities” that draw families from all over the city, including those from many different cultural backgrounds. The Family Place provides opportunities for social connection and alleviates isolation in a culturally diverse city. The program was co-designed with children and families, resulting in a sense of belonging and pride for a community that is often portrayed in the media as a dangerous place to live and raise children. The centre provides FREE, fun and engaging activities that supports healthy child development and helps parents to develop positive parenting styles through mentoring, evidence based parenting programs, case coordination and peer to peer support.

NSW

Coonamble Shire Council for the Coonamble Library

The Coonamble Library re-invented itself to become a “community living room” as a response to the lack of venues for children and young people to gather in Coonamble. The library transitioned from a facility that received very limited visitation by children and families to a thriving hub that provides a safe space for children and their families to gather, connect and learn. The library runs after school activities and a full school holiday program, which is the only activity option available for children in the community. A Council Community Development Worker is located in the library and is strategically placed in a position that is highly visible to community members. The aim of the role is to connect with children and families and the focus involves creating genuine relationships with children, providing a safe location and person in their lives. The Librarian and assistants are multi-functional, often working more like Youth Workers than Librarians. The facility acts as a “community living room” and, through its equipment and programs, encourage children’s well-being and growth.

NSW

Home-Start National Inc for Home-Start Volunteer Home Visiting

Home-Start volunteers and parents work together to prevent family crisis and breakdown and provide a safe, nurturing home for the children. The Volunteers support parents with young children by visiting the family’s’ home every week. The free service is available to any family with at least one child under 5 years of age. During their weekly home visits, volunteers provide an extra pair of eyes overseeing the children, extra hands to relieve physical daily stress and a regular positive influence on the whole family. Information on subjects such as the importance of play, nutrition, hygiene, daily routines, budgeting, healthy life choices also add to enrich parental knowledge increase parental confidence. Families also develop broader social networks through encouragement from the volunteers, such as playgroups and family picnic days, which provide physical and emotional outlets for both parents and children. By giving parents informal, in-home, long term support, they are able to cope better, reduce their stressors, and provide a more stable and nurturing environment for their children.

View 2016 Winners