Every family is different. And we believe that every family has strengths and resources that can be built on to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children.
Our trauma-informed approach supports families to navigate the every-day challenges they face, with a focus on parenting skills and the development of coping strategies to build long-term resilience.
Our Uniting Attach program supports parents concerned about their drug and alcohol use. It’s for families with children 8 years and under and lasts for 4-6 months.
Our team also supports parents to address issues that cause harm to themselves and their children so that families remain together.
COVID lockdowns required our team to hold appointments by phone or video call, but Attach has been able to return to home visits for most of this year. Our clients are reporting a rise in mental and physical health, as well as an increased capacity to deal with Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) related issues.
Client engagement has remained high and cancellations have dropped significantly. Parents in the program have shared that the program has an extraordinary impact, and helped them become a better parent.
We’re proud of our team’s strength and commitment over the challenging past year and their ability to respond to the needs of their clients.
‘I found this to be the life-changing help that I needed in order to become a better parent and return to being a fully functioning individual.
Rachel helped me with every aspect of my life and helped me to rediscover my self-esteem, self-worth and a way to handle my emotions and deal with them without having to turn to alcohol. I will never be able to thank her and the program enough.“
Parents Under Pressure (PUP)
Our Parents Under Pressure (PUP) team supports families with children under 12 years old who are experiencing issues that may affect their parenting. These include depression, anxiety, substance misuse, family violence and financial stress.
This year we partnered with Sing and Grow to provide an 8-week music therapy program for parents and children. Sing and Grow uses music-based play to improve the quality of parent-child interactions and improve child development outcomes. The success of Sing and Grow led to the development of a regular PUP Parents Group.
Social isolation is often a key concern of parents in the PUP program. The PUP Parents Group runs during school terms to support parents to extend their community support network, and parents are also encouraged to engage via a private PUP group on social media.
Family Carer Support Service (FCSS)
Family Carer Support Service is run in partnership with Kinship Connections Aboriginal Corporation, providing support and assistance to carers of children who aren’t able to live with their immediate family.
Our team responded well to the rapidly changing environment this year, quickly adapting to the multiple snap lockdowns and continuing to support families.
This year, our team worked to connect carers with other supports like the NDIS. One family carer was able to access in-home support, gardening support, and financial assistance to buy glasses because of their NDIS funding.
Intensive Family Support (IFS)
Our Intensive Family Support (IFS) team assists parents with parenting skills and family functioning, helping to create safe and nurturing environments for children. This includes learning about child development, family relationships and home management, with a focus on family preservation and reunification.
Our team faced 2 big challenges this year:
- An increase in high-risk referrals due to Family and Domestic Violence (FDV)
- The end of the COVID housing moratorium leading to many families facing potential homelessness.
While our team is concerned about the rise of FDV referrals, it has led to an increase in access to valuable training for working with families experiencing FDV.
IFS continues to receive positive feedback from Department of Communities – Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS), and the service is consistently rated 9 out of 10.
Mooditj Yorga Together Walking (Family Violence Support)
Moorditj Yorga Together Walking (MYTW) supports Aboriginal women who are experiencing – or are at risk of – family and domestic violence. The team helps women feel safe and supported, and to build the skills they need to respond to future adversity.
The end of the rental moratorium in March had a devastating impact on the people supported by MYTW. Our team found it difficult to find safe, suitable and stable accommodation for women and families escaping FDV. Several families were also forced to move out of their rental homes.
Some reported that 60% of their income was being used to pay rent due to a lack of housing options. We referred almost 80% of MYTW clients to our Financial Wellbeing Services for financial assistance or emergency relief.
Our team worked collaboratively with Relationships Australia to host the Aboriginal Family Safety Project workshop in September. The workshop engaged Aboriginal community members to contribute towards the design, development and delivery of an Aboriginal Family Safety program. Clients felt empowered about the opportunity to have their say in the design of the program.
“I have received assistance from Maria for 6 months now. I was helped with a VRO, housing transfer, counselling, relationship problems with my kids and family, Centrelink issues and a whole bunch of other stuff.
I feel safe now and I felt supported and listened to. I also got my sister to go to the Young Mums group and she really thinks it’s great and has helped her. I know I can also ask for help if I need it again in the future. Thanks for everything”.
We received a WA Police Community Safety and Crime Prevention Grant this year to run a group focused on empowering young mums to be independent, confident, and build their support networks. The Young Mums Group often came together with the Women’s Yarning Group to share their stories and create a space for the older women to offer encouragement and advice.
Women accessing MYTW have voiced that there’s not enough services and help for men wanting to change and better themselves – family is men’s business too. In response, our team formed a support group for men who wanted to make these changes. Women whose partners attend the men’s group report feeling safer, that their partners have shown awareness of their behaviours, and that they are applying a more positive approach to parenting. One man expressed that the group gave him the strength and motivated him to change his life and create a better future for his children.
Tom* was referred to the weekly Men’s Group by his partner, who is supported by the Uniting Family Violence team. The couple share 2 children.
Tom started attending the Men’s Group on a weekly basis. In his initial assessment, Tom expressed his desire to change but didn’t know how, as he felt isolated and unsupported. He reported that, during COVID-19 lockdowns, his relationship with his partner had deteriorated and his drinking had increased. He said he often felt angry and unmotivated, and found it hard to express his emotions without aggression. But he also said he wanted to provide for his family and set a good example to his children.
Through the group, Tom began to open up and built a good rapport with the facilitators. He began to use the skills he learned in relation to his behaviour, and actively tried to improve his relationship with his partner and children. Tom reported that he was only drinking in social settings and was aware how his behaviour can change under the influence of alcohol.
The program facilitators supported Tom in his search for employment by helping him update his resume and referring him to Aboriginal employment agencies and training. He is now working part time as a warehouse operator, and feels proud that he is able to financially support his family. Tom says the skills he learned are valuable to both his home and work life when dealing with stress.
Tom’s partner reported that things at home have ‘improved dramatically’ and feels that she is now able to communicate how she feels without feeling threatened.