Annual Report 2019

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Value

Early Childhood Early Intervention

As a partner of Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI), we are helping families with children who have a developmental delay or disability understand the value and importance of early intervention, early childhood support and how to access the NDIS.

Not knowing how to access appropriate support services for a child who is missing out on important learning opportunities can be extremely stressful for carers and parents, and in some instances can lead to a breakdown of their own mental or physical health.

This was the case for Fatma, whose five-year-old son Bayram was often physically aggressive, lacked empathy, and had no friends at school. His behaviour alienated Fatma from her family and the community. When Bayram was diagnosed with autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Fatma found accessing the NDIS intimidating and overwhelming. 

We linked Fatma to our ECEI staff who supported her through the NDIS funding process, and our Family and Child Connect services built supports to help her cope with stress. We also worked with Bayram’s local school, coordinated access to a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, psychologist and physiotherapist to address his developmental delays and increase his ability to stay in the mainstream education system.

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Partnership

Mura Buai Torres Strait

In January 2019, the Mura Buai Torres Strait Wellbeing Service began delivering services across the Torres Strait Islands. This is the first time a service of this kind has been delivered in the Torres Strait by a local community controlled organisation. 

The establishment of this new service was made possible by the Queensland Government’s Our Way policy reform and a partnership between the Mura Kosker Sorority Inc. and The Benevolent Society. Under Our Way, $16 million (2017-21) was committed for 33 new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing programs to be delivered by community-controlled organisations, in a co-design process between the Queensland Government and QATSICPP.

Mura Kosker Sorority Inc. recognised the potential of the wellbeing service model but understood that they would need a mainstream partner to assist the tender process and provide specialist services in the new model. The partnership with The Benevolent Society offered a pathway to securing the tender, and establishing a new community controlled service across the Torres Strait Islands. 

The Mura Buai team has 10 fulltime employees located on Thursday Island, including an engagement officer, caseworker, team leaders, intake and referral officer, and three Benevolent Society service specialists. 

We are proud to have helped build this new service and will continue to look for opportunities to learn and improve our services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

Integrity-Ageing

Integrity

Ageing

Our Assistance with Care and Housing (ACH) has been helping older Australians on low incomes access suitable housing for close to 20 years. 

We link clients to appropriate housing and care services, providing continuous support throughout the referral period to identify any warning signs that they are in danger of slipping into homelessness or are losing contact with the services they need. 

Bill, who at 75 retired from working in construction, was referred to us for help with his public housing application. We learned he had been living in a boarding house for several years, paying half his weekly income for a single room with an unclean shared bathroom and kitchen. 

While helping Bill with his application we took him for a tour of our own affordable accommodation for him to consider as an option. Bill loved it. We helped him apply, be assessed as a priority and move in to Mirrabooka, where he has since made friends with many of the residents.  

We use our experience of working with people like Bill to continue to advocate for the reforms necessary to support financially disadvantaged older Australians. 
Up High

Innovation

Resilient Families

Resilient Families is our evidence-based, intensive family preservation service. Funded on a two-year payment by results model, the first of its kind in an Australian child protection context, the program is currently keeping 93 per cent of children safely with their families. 

Maria and Steve have a long history of complex interrelated traumas that have affected their ability to care for their two children. Both parents suffered significant abuse as children, leading to ongoing mental health issues as adults. There have been notifications for domestic violence between Maria and Steve, drug use, and inconsistent care provided for their children. 

We built a trusting relationship with Maria and Steve, explaining the program’s strategies and how it could help them in the immediate and long-term. Referrals to additional services for both parents were made, their children were enrolled in playgroup and childcare, and we prepared safety and problem solving plans. 

The development of family capacity requires skilled practice and commitment to support our clients when the going gets tough. We continue to work with Maria and Steve to build on the positive changes that they are making to keep their children safe at home.