Our Uniting teams from Family Group Homes, Child and Family Therapeutic Service and Futures Foster Care supported hundreds of children, young people and parents throughout the year.
Family Group Homes
Uniting Family Group Homes (FGH) is an out-of-home care service that provides therapeutic care and support for children and young people who have experienced significant trauma and can no longer live with their families.
We have 48 placements in FGH, which were full for the entire 12 months of the year.
As we innovate to recruit and retain the specialist carers we need to support children and young people with complex and high-level needs, we’re also building the capacity of our team and embedding practice within a therapeutic framework.
The behavioural and emotional needs of the young people who enter our care are carefully recorded and assessed. This includes identifying impacts on daily functioning due to multifaceted traumas, challenging behaviours, and diagnosis/disability that can have significant impact.
In the first half of the year, 3 young people were diagnosed with autism and intellectual disability. These diagnoses enabled access to additional services that the young people needed but had not previously had access to.
We’ve also assisted schools and educators to build knowledge of trauma-informed approaches when dealing with young people who have experienced trauma.
Not every family can ‘get back together’. But for a mother with 3 young people in one of our Uniting Family Group Homes, it’s been a success story.
Our team worked collaboratively with mum, the siblings, and Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS) to give the family the best possible chance of a positive and successful reunification. With a therapeutic approach, our team addressed the fears and worries of the siblings to help them feel at ease, resulting in one child returning to school fulltime after missing an entire term.
Child and Family Therapeutic Service (CAFTS)
Our Uniting CAFTS team provides therapeutic support to children, young people and families who have been impacted by child sexual abuse.
During the year, we supported 39 adults and 139 children.
A peer support group was formed in Merriwa to discuss the impacts of child sexual abuse in their families. Parents and carers met once a week for 6 weeks, with the meetings taking place alongside ongoing individual counselling sessions.
The group discussed attachment and parenting after trauma, emotion coaching and the impact of trauma on brain development, as well as self-care. Parents were able to interact with their peers in a judgement-free environment where they felt safe to share their experiences.
The CAFTS team found that parents developed a broader understanding of trauma and a greater sense of their child’s needs in relation to the trauma they experienced.
For some parents, the group also created new connections and friendships that have provided ongoing social and emotional support.
At Uniting, we connect foster carers with children and young people who have complex support needs and aren’t able to live in their family home.
Our foster carers provide children and young people with a stable, secure and nurturing family environment where their fundamental daily needs can be met. This is critical for the wellbeing children with a history of significant trauma and abuse, and high support needs due to disability or illness.
The children in our care are supported to make choices about the activities they like to participate in. All children are supported attend school as well as the medical and therapeutic appointments they need.
Daryl is much like many 8-year olds. He loves animals and the outdoors and is lucky to live on a semi-rural farm where he spends time with dogs, mini pigs, ducks, horses and birds. Most of the time Daryl listens to instructions and is able sit still for a while. He’s a kind and social boy, who enjoys swimming, karate, bike riding and track running.
Daryl has lived with his foster family since 2012, with his older sister joined him a year later. Because he has Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and Cerebral Palsy, Daryl has high and complex needs. But his foster carers have a good understanding of what he needs to thrive.
As he gets older and his motor skills and coordination develop, Daryl can climb and run longer distances. He even tried out for the Special Olympics and ran in third place. One day, he hopes to compete in a triathlon with his sister, but he still struggles with pedalling a bike uphill. Together with his physiotherapist, Daryl is working towards this goal.
It’s not all sport and nature for Daryl. He has an education assistant to support him at school as well as a speech pathologist and occupational therapist to help him develop his speech and writing abilities. A range of other health professionals at Perth Children’s Hospital also attend to his needs.
Daryl is doing really well, and we can’t wait to see him on the Olympic podium in years to come.