After working collaboratively with a family for one year, it was with great joy that our team heard some reflections back from the mother about her experience with our service.

The family were referred through FaCS in relation to excessive discipline, which was considered abusive. In our Intensive Family Support we are able to offer multiple aspects of our service to a family, as well as supporting with brokerage money for essential items, childcare fees etc. Our team worked with Mum on counselling for her own childhood issues and the way this impacted her parenting. She also had support from our Parent Education worker around alternative forms of discipline. Two of the children attended our kids therapeutic groups, and also individual counseling with our teen’s/children’s counsellor. At times of financial crisis, when Dad’s work slowed down, we were able to pay for essential items. We also paid for childcare to support a great transition to school for one of the children.

We acknowledged together the changes that had occurred: calmer atmosphere at home; less yelling and hitting between children; no yelling or hitting from parents to children; improved relationship with the school; one child attending childcare; and kids getting to school on time. Mum also noted that addressing cultural differences between her home country and Australia, and considering which parts of her culture she wanted to retain and which to leave behind, was a significant turning point. She has also spoken to extended family about these issues, and they have now made changes to their parenting and grandparenting practices.

As we finished our work together Mum became teary, saying that she would miss us, but that she felt the family was ‘ready to spring out on our own’. She had a mental picture of the family being like a rundown house with scaffolding on it. As the repair process was finishing the scaffolding was coming down. Separately, Dad also saw a similar picture of their family being a new house being built, with scaffolding surrounding, and that now they have finished rebuilding. Mum said ‘I can’t believe that we are finally here, that things are going well, and all the changes I’ve made – it’s a feeling of freedom’. In relation to difficulties with her son at school she said ‘Good changes are happening at school, and he is feeling proud. Dark clouds have lifted and we can see good days coming’.

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