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Tree of Shade

by PeakCare Qld on 15th May 2015

Home -> Articles -> 2015 -> May -> Tree of Shade

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Recently, we saw the weather turn again on Queensland. This time Southeast Queensland bore the brunt. Areas like Caboolture and Deception Bay were hardest hit. They always have been areas of the greatest disadvantage according to BoysTown. This is an area that BoysTown has long spent its resources on due to its high needs. Glugor Young Parent’s Program, exemplifying a huge tree of shade and hospitality is one of the key programs BoysTown has been running in this area for over a decade. It’s apt at this time that this and other programs are available in this area of Southeast Queensland.

As soon as the weather impacts were noted, Minister Shannon Fentiman in her Media Release stated the following: “My heart goes out to all those whose lives have been turned upside down by this terrible storm. We’re offering support to those whose homes were inundated to help them get back on their feet.”

The Palaszczuk Government has announced financial support for the communities hit hardest by these torrential storms in south-east Queensland. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited storm-affected residents with Cr Allan Sutherland, the Mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council. She stated: “It’s awful to see the impact of this storm, with some houses inundated by up to a metre of water. We’re offering those residents in the worst affected streets immediate hardship assistance.” Premier Palaszczuk also noted the spirit of community: “It is so heartening to see the way the community has come together to help each other. Neighbours and families are offering meals, a place to stay and accommodation in a wonderful display of community spirit. …I have announced targeted assistance measures funded by the State Government to lend a helping hand to those hit hardest. Targeted assistance is available to people living in the worst affected streets in Deception Bay and Rothwell and one street in Mango Hill”.

BoysTown as a service long ago recognised the need for Deception Bay to have services to assist children and their families. Over 11 years ago they established the Glugor Young Parents Program, named after a tree via its Malaysian connection to shade and hospitality. Glugor was established through the support of a donor family committed to improving the opportunities available to families caring for young children and continues to offer support, parenting skills development and early childhood development programs in Deception Bay. It provides a combination of parenting and life skills workshops and tailored responses to support a whole-of-family approach, including play-based education and development activities for infants and toddlers. These activities and workshops are delivered in a purpose built, safe and supportive environment.

The program aims to assist parents through a focus on child wellbeing and developmental processes by using the Early Years Learning Framework. It aims to support parents through what is going on for them whilst also focusing on their learning about the needs of their children. The program staff document the achievements of each child in terms of their activities, social interactions and preparation for schooling. This is particularly relevant for children who may be isolated or haven’t had access to formal child care.

Supportive case work and interactive activities between parents, carers and children to help stimulate the knowledge of parents about their children’s needs is key.This program also focuses on various other needs for young families in order to build their parenting and life capacity such as: literacy, training, community connections, on-going learning and development opportunities and employment options. This program is also currently focusing on early intervention by running the Circle of Security program for young parents at the Deception Bay High School.

Maintaining a focus on the most disadvantaged and most isolated is why BoysTown remains so committed to this program. As Elisabeth Kobierski, BoysTown’s National Community Services Manager, Counselling Services states: “There is great need in that community. We have long been committed to working with children and families in Deception Bay in order to meet the need.”

Glugor incorporates relevant child health and other community workers in offering programs to young families on site and through outreach activities. Referrals to the service come from Redcliffe and Caboolture Hospitals, via Social workers, other agencies, self-referrals and through peers who have previously participated.

Child and Family Workers and Child Development Workers together with their Team Leader offer parents and carers the opportunity to develop new skills through having some fun and enjoying the company of other young families, sharing ideas and experiences and attending specialist Expressive Therapy for young children. Furthermore, organised activities for parents and their children and workshops about parenting that include building on life skills, healthy eating, budgeting, self-care, healthy relationships and personal support that are offered both on site and through outreach provide the key to ensuring the success of this program for young families and their children.

BoysTown also offers other pertinent programs in Deception Bay:

The Starfish Program delivers early intervention and prevention responses targeting children and young people aged up to 18 years of age who are at risk of poor mental health outcomes. This program also includes their families and is based in the Moreton Bay Region. BoysTown offers free services that focus on empowering, valuing and respecting children, young people and families through short term support, long term case management, counselling, workshops, group activities and community outreach, mental health education and community development activities. The program works towards the following aims:

  • Children and young people have improved emotional health and wellbeing
  • Children and young people are better able to manage the different aspects of their lives
  • Families and carers are able to get help to support their children and young people
  • Communities have a better understanding of, and response to, mental health issues that affect children and young people

The Starfish Program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Other important offerings of BoysTown in the Deception Bay region are Expressive Therapies as noted in PeakCare’s blog post earlier this yearand Communities for Children (CFC).

Communities for Children (CFC) is an early intervention and prevention program for families with children who are at risk of disadvantage and are disconnected from community and services responding to the needs of children and their families. This program aims to support and enhance early childhood development and wellbeing for children in disadvantaged communities, including those faced with child protection issues, by offering the necessary support required through targeted, evidence based approaches to vulnerable families requiring intervention in areas such as: health, safety, education, parenting support, communication and participation in the broader community.

BoysTown works in partnership with the Deception Bay CFC Committee, local agencies, businesses and the community to create positive and sustainable outcomes for children from birth to 12 years of age. As the Facilitating Partner for Communities for Children in Deception Bay, BoysTown is responsible for the contract management and funding of direct services to children and families.

These include:

  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Family Networker project with Murriajabree
  • The Healthy Activities project with Kidfit Pty Ltd
  • The Beginning Young Parent’s Program with Deception Bay Community Youth Programs
  • The Library Language Outreach Project with Moreton Bay Regional Council Libraries
  • The Pasifika Families project and the Give Me A Break initiative with the Deception Bay Neighbourhood Centre

BoysTown also funds and supports the work of the CFC Deception Bay Child and the Family Alliance to support Deception Bay as a strong, child friendly community that understands the importance of children and applies this capacity to maximise the health, well-being and early development of young children at the local level. The CFC program receives funding assistance from the Federal government.

Deception Bay is an area that has been supported significantly by BoysTown programs over many years. This organisation has seen the need and has responded accordingly regardless of whether government funding has been forthcoming. Many of their projects are self-funded due to BoysTown’s assessment of this area having significant needs.

Whilst acknowledging the work of BoysTown in the Deception Bay area that spans over a decade and will fortunately continue for this population as long as BoysTown has the means, it is also important to acknowledge that there are current and immediate issues for this area as a result of the recent ravaging storms. Immediate Hardship Assistance under State Disaster Relief Arrangements is available, along with Essential Household Contents Grants and Structural Assistance Grants. Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman has noted that 30 Community Recovery and Red Cross staff were already on the ground helping those in need:

Working with Moreton Bay Regional Council, we’ve set up a locally-based Community Recovery Hub at Rothwell Community Hall in Morris Road, a one-stop-shop run by Council, my department, Red Cross, Lifeline and GIVIT representatives,” Ms Fentiman said.

Anyone affected and needing support and assistance to recover from this event can either contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 or visit the Community Recovery Hub at Rothwell. Further information is available atwww.qld.gov.au/community

If people need counselling services, please phone 1800 543 354.

Those who’d like to access the essential and on-going community and family support services of BoysTown mentioned in this post, please go to: http://www.boystown.com.au/

Whilst we always publish from a Queensland perspective, it is always important to be aware of other major issues. We speak here of the terrible weather of late that impacted Southeast Queensland and our government’s response. We are fortunate to live in a State so readily willing and able to provide solace in times of adversity, be it through government or non-government organisation responses such as BoysTown’s. We also note the horrific consequences of the recent Earthquake in Nepal that requires substantial support and aid. To support this vital cause please contact the following aid organisations:

http://www.redcross.org.au/news-nepal-earthquake-tracing.aspx

https://www.savethechildren.org.au/donate/nepal-earthquake-appeal

https://www.oxfam.org.au/my/donate/earthquake-devastates-nepal/