New service supporting Nowra and Shellharbour families

Posted on 18 Apr 2017

At risk children living on the NSW south coast are set to benefit from a multi-million-dollar intensive support program aimed at keeping vulnerable families together.

MacKillop Family Services, in partnership with South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation, Waminda, will provide a new Family Preservation and Restoration Service in Nowra and Shellharbour, targeting vulnerable families with children aged 0-17 who are experiencing a range of issues including domestic and family violence, substance abuse and mental health illness.

The service is part of the NSW government’s $90 million Their Futures Matter reform to provide improved support for children and families at their most vulnerable.

MacKillop’s NSW State Director, Maryanne Jacobs, said the program’s goal was to keep children safe in their own home.

“We know children have better education, health and social outcomes when they can remain living at home,” said Ms Jacobs.

“We also understand that safe, nurturing and stable home environments are provided by strong and healthy families. This program works to strengthen and assist families to understand what community support services are available and how to access them. Families will be offered intensive home-based support, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”

The Family Preservation and Restoration Service uses an internationally tested and recognised model called Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare that targets the causes of harm, treats trauma and prevents children from entering out of home care. In New York, similar services saw a 50 per cent reduction in the number of children in foster care over a 10-year period.

The program offers families support that includes parenting education to family counselling and home managing skills.

Waminda CEO, Faye Worner said a program that focused on the preservation and restoration of families, rather than out of home care was “ground breaking” for Aboriginal families.

“This is the reform that we have been waiting for. We have always advocated to keep families together and this program enables us to support them with the services they need to shine,” she said. “We are so excited to be part of a program that is evidence based and takes into account the importance of culture in keeping families together.”

Pictorial/interview opportunities

NSW Member for South Coast, the Hon Shelley Hancock MP will visit Waminda on Tuesday 18 April at 1pm to meet with Maryanne Jacobs (MacKillop Family Services) and Faye Worner (Waminda) to discuss the new program.

Waminda is located at ‘The Hub’, 122 Kinghorne St, Nowra.