‘Listening to the Voices of Children’ November 2016
The LOMA Children’s Resource Worker, Julie Maggs, organised our recent forum focussed on children who have experienced trauma and abuse.
Julie decided to dedicate the forum to this issue, because of it’s relevance to the lives of many of the children who come into contact with housing and homelessness services.
The forum kicked off with a presentation by Lis Steen of Uniting Care ReGen, about their Mother and Baby Withdrawal Unit. This new program garnered a great deal of interest because of it’s unique and specific focus on supporting parents to withdraw from drug or alcohol use while providing them with education, advice and skills to effectively parent.
Next up was Rachel Johnson of the Mallee Family Care ‘Out of Home’ program, who provided an overview of the out of home care system for children who are unable to remain with their family of origin. Rachel’s talk generated a great deal of discussion amongst the audience, some of whom work children in care, while others cited their experiences as foster carers or touched upon their experiences in working with Child First and Child Protection.
Rachel’s discussion was particularly topical due to the an episode of the Four Corners, ‘Broken Homes’ that aired on the ABC the night before and examined what happens when the out of home care system breaks down.
We then heard from Mary Andriolas and Cassandra Klabbers from the Mallee Sexual Assault Unit who spoke about responding to disclosures of sexual assault, covering everything from how to respond appropriately to disclosures, reporting to Child Protection and ways of supporting survivors in the wake of making a disclosure. Again, this topic generated a lot of discussion amongst the audience and Mary and Cassandra answered a number of questions about the best ways to approach such a sensitive issue.
On day two, Chris Hutchison of the Australian Childhood Foundation presented on ‘Building Creative Therapeutic Strategies’.
Chris began her session by presenting information of the effects of trauma on the developing brain. The evidence of reduced brain function in response to trauma was confronting, but made less daunting by the further information presented that demonstrated all of the ways that workers, parents, carers and significant people in children’s lives can work toward repairing and reducing those effects.
Thank you to all those workers who attended the forum.
We really enjoyed your enthusiasm and curiosity in engaging with presenters and hope that the knowledge and information shared by presenters continues to support you in the important work that you do in our region.
Resources from the forum are available under their respective topic areas on the LOMA ‘Resources’ page under ‘Practice Information’ .