A trailer of treasures is heading to Penola to give geographically isolated families and children vital access to new play experiences.

Loaded with educational resources, the Wattle Range Mobile Toy Library aims to nurture child development, learning, confidence, imaginative play and resilience. Parenting and community services information can also be accessed from the library, run by Centacare’s Family Connections Program (FCP).

Catch the trailer at the FCP playgroup at War Memorial Park, from 10am to 11am, on Thursday, November 21 and Thursday, December 5. The playgroup will run for a further 30 minutes, finishing at 11.30am.

Funded by the Stand Like Stone Foundation, One Forty One Plantations, and the Sidney Myer Fund, the toy library boasts more than 100 items which can be borrowed for free, for up to two weeks at a time.

The FCP team reports that grandparents especially appreciate being able to borrow educational resources on a fortnightly basis without the expense of purchasing items.

Meanwhile, the playgroup is running weekly this term, through to week 8, finishing on Thursday, December 5. In the event of wet or cool weather, the playgroup moves indoors to St Andrews Presbyterian Church Hall, Arthur Street.

For more information, phone Centacare South East 08 8303 6630.

 

Foster care is a truly family affair for Marianne Langes.

Growing up, the 64-year-old shared her home with four siblings and three much-loved foster children, whom her parents later adopted.

Marianne is now following in her parents’ footsteps, as a Specialist Short Term Reunification Carer at Centacare.

For the past three years, she has played a pivotal role in a care team that has wrapped around a brother and sister, and their birth family.

The primary aim has been to see the children return home.

Marianne has done whatever she can to nurture the relationship between parent and child, and respond to the children’s often complex needs.

“I’m a single carer who’s never had children so it’s been a steep learning curve, but they’ve changed my life,’’ she says.

“They have brought so much laughter and love into the house. There is never a dull moment. Every day they give me some sort of surprise, be it big or small. It’s just a joy.’’

The pull of familial ties is close to home for Marianne who watched her brother search for his identity in his early twenties.

“I just saw in him that real need to be reconnected to birth family and I think that’s why I chose reunification,’’ Marianne says.

Specialist Short Term Reunification Carers support and encourage family connection and contact for children in their care, and help them to frame meaning about their experiences.

In recognition of the outstanding care Marianne has provided, she was recently invited by the Department for Child Protection to a two-day Adelaide workshop with therapist and international speaker, Bonnie Badenoch.

Bonnie’s focus is on helping trauma survivors and individuals with significant attachment challenges to reshape their neural landscape to support a life of meaning and resilience.

Children in care often face complex challenges due to family complexities and part of Marianne’s role is to help children make sense of events.

“I’ve had to have a flexible brain in trying to sort out what to do with some of the children’s issues,’’ Marianne says.

“The workshop helped me to think how I react to the children and it affirmed some of the things I have done with them and left me with two impact statements – I see you and I am here – and the other is to hold the brain with compassion.

“With the children, I’ve learnt the importance of being present; to just be with them, and that I don’t always need words and to jump on a problem.’’

Marianne is grateful for the support and training she has received at Centacare and highlights the fortnightly home visits made by Foster Care Support Workers.

“That has been really great – the time given to you to listen to you,’’ she says.

“I know it’s about the children but a lot of it is the support of you which makes a real difference.

“I’ve no regrets with anything I’ve done in my life, but this I think has fulfilled me the most and given me more rewards than what I’ve given to the children.’’

Do you have lived experience or a special interest in mental health?

Centacare is recruiting new members for the Mental Health Consumer, Carer and Community Advisory Group (C3AG).

The group provides meaningful input on the way our mental health services are delivered and is an opportunity to share community wisdom, feedback and new ideas relevant to the sector.

We operate within a strong ethical and culturally-inclusive framework, informed by the values and principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

As a C3AG member, you will use your professional or lived experience of mental illness or mental health issues in an advisory capacity.

In addition to providing feedback on proposed new policies, plans, procedures, materials and projects, you will:

·         Partner with Centacare to make meaningful change

·         Identify any service gaps or concerns from a community perspective

·         Participate in education and training of staff, and in research as consultants when requested by the C³AG Coordinator

·         Be willing to express a point of view and share ideas that contribute to positive participation within the group.

We value your perspective! There are no restrictions on age, gender, ethnicity or ability.

C3AG members meet bi-monthly for two-hour meetings and receive $180 for three hours, including one-hour preparation time.

The meetings are conducted in an informal way at 45 Wakefield St, Adelaide, from 4pm to 6pm. Basement car parking is available.

For more information, please phone Kim Formosa (08) 8215 6781.

headspace Port Adelaide and the Thrive program have been recognised in the 2019 Adelaide PHN Primary Health Care Awards.

Delivered in partnership with Adelaide Medical Solutions, Thrive was awarded second place in the Integration and Collaboration Category for bringing primary care services into a mental health care setting for young people.

The Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in improving the health and wellbeing of our community across the Adelaide metropolitan region.

Thrive is an office-based youth mental health program, run from headspace Port Adelaide, which aims to address the mental health care needs of young people aged 16-25 years in western Adelaide who are experiencing severe and/or complex mental illness.

Senior Youth Mental Health Clinicians and a Youth Support Worker with lived experience partner with young people, their family, friends and other services to support individuals to achieve their mental health and wellbeing goals.

The Awards highlight how effective partnerships can improve peoples’ care and health outcomes. This helps create a health system that works seamlessly to provide the right care at the right place at the right time.

Thrive

Eligibility

To be eligible for Thrive services, the young person must be:

  • ​​Aged 16-25 years
  • Living in the western region of Adelaide
  • Diagnosed with or at risk of severe anxiety and depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and/or psychosis (not first episode of psychosis, which is addressed at headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program at headspace Adelaide)
  • Experiencing significant psycho-social complexity which necessitates multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approaches to their mental health care needs
  • Seeking support with their mental health care needs

Services Provided

At Thrive, eligible young people can access:

  • ​​Engagement support and biopsychosocial assessment
  • Clinical care coordination
  • Psychological therapies (individual and group)
  • Peer work interventions
  • Linkages with functional recovery supports
  • Multi-disciplinary, multi-agency approaches to mental health care

Young people can access Thrive services for up to two years, as clinically indicated.

For more information please email headspaceportadelaide@centacare.org.au or phone ​8215 6340

 

It’s hard not to be happy in the company of Bob Hillier and his trusty treadly, Phyllis.

For more than a decade, Bob has run errands around Elizabeth on the bike named after his mum, clocking up 33,000km and helping countless people along the way.

Elizabeth Rise Shopping Centre is a regular stop.

Whatever the weather, Bob is there each week to collect bottles for recycling and check in on the shopfronts and familiar faces he now calls friends.

At Dad’s Business HQ, `Bottle Bob’ is best-known for his jokes and masterful brushstrokes.

Touched by the way Dad’s Business supports fathers and families, the longtime artist recently gifted the HQ  an oil landscape, which now hangs proudly above the front door.

With three children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, Bob is happy to share the odd parenting tip too!

He also gives his time to Arts North Elizabeth where he has been painting since 2008, in between helping with the upkeep of the studio.

Thank you for your generosity, Bob, and for always putting a smile on our faces when you and Phyllis ride by.

 

Former Afghan refugee Arefa Hassani intended only to find herself when she began advocating for the needs of others.

In speaking up for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, Arefa hoped to rebuild the self-worth and confidence she’d lost amidst the challenges of settling in a new country.

A decade on, the 26-year-old is now recognised nationally as a game-changing leader – and a determined voice – for vulnerable communities.

“I think maybe I’m an accidental leader,’’ says Arefa, who will today speak at the global Women in Leadership Summit in Adelaide.

“I see it more as a sense of responsibility. Very few women in my community are vocal because of the social inhibitions they’ve grown up with.’’

The Summit will bring together some of the nation’s brightest minds to advance women in leadership.

A Pastoral Care Worker at Centacare, Arefa will speak about creative, courageous and collaborative leadership as part of the Emerging Leaders Fireside Chat.

A key theme will be the power of storytelling and conversation in community, government and business.

“Conversations are so powerful,’’ Arefa says. “What better way to develop empathy and understanding of others than through stories and sharing life experiences?’’

Arefa will point to her new fortnightly podcast, Fresh off the Boat.

“It’s a space to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly,’’ she says.

“Adapting to a new society is very, very hard for any community.

“It’s like having a double personality; you have to try and navigate both worlds and sometimes it gets confusing for everyone.

“That can have consequences, so being able to have conversations in a very honest and raw way is really important.’’

Arefa arrived in Adelaide in 2006. Four days later she turned 14. The family settled in Waikerie where her father picked oranges.

“Everything was just so new to me and I didn’t have enough people around me to help me adapt and absorb what was going on, so I dug myself a deep hole.

“It was a long, long journey back out of there but I managed somehow.’’

Through advocacy work in Canberra and Sydney, Arefa says she grew in courage and learned to socialise and make friends.

She began volunteering for Welcoming Australia, set up the English Tea language program for older refugee women, and helped establish the Babar Mazari Foundation, which provides support for victims of violence and the education of children in Afghanistan.

Arefa was this year Nominated for the 2019 SA Young Australian of the Year.

For many people experiencing panic anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder or an eating disorder, feelings of isolation can be an obstacle to recovery.

It is easy to feel lost and alone, and cut off from the people you love and the person you used to be. This can be made worse when those around you struggle to understand what you are going through.

In a PACE Recovery Support Group, you will meet other people who understand how you are feeling.

The groups aim to foster hope and resilience by allowing participants to share their experiences and skills in order to help one another build a long-term plan for recovery and wellbeing.

The groups are co-facilitated by a PACE Peer Worker who has a lived experience of recovery.

If you are looking to grow your support network, learn strategies to help you in your recovery, or are just keen to come along and sit in on a group, contact PACE today on 8159 1400 or email the team at pace@centacare.org.au.

The groups are ongoing and new members are welcome. People aged over 16 can attend. There is no charge, and you’re welcome to bring a support person or family member with you.

PACE currently offers the following Recovery Support Groups:

(Click on a group to access dates and times)

Panic and Anxiety

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Eating Disorders

 

 

Pre-loved shoes will be used to create a sole-ful labyrinth in Victoria Square on Tuesday.

The labyrinth pattern will be drawn with donated shoes, which those in need can take for free after walking its path.

Leftover shoes will be donated to the Hutt St Centre.

The labyrinth is being facilitated by Centacare as part of Lunch in the Square, a celebration to mark Mental Health Week.

Centacare Support Worker Carole Schroeder has been facilitating labyrinths for 15 years and says they are often confused with mazes.

While mazes are made to puzzle the mind, labyrinths can relax it.

“A maze is a game; it’s a place to think your way out of,’’ says Carole.

“In a maze you lose yourself; in a labyrinth you find yourself.

“A labyrinth has twists and turns but offers a single pathway into the centre and the same pathway out, so it’s intuitive; it can be a way of slowing down the mind.’’

This will be the second walking labyrinth Carole has facilitated with shoes. Previously, she used footwear to create a community labyrinth in Eden Valley.

“The whole town got together and donated their shoes and it was a huge hit,’’ she says.

In October last year, Carole and the Barossa Community Labyrinth group, together with the Barossa Mayor, officially opened the permanent Barossa Community Labyrinth – which doubles as a walkable public artwork – in the Barossa Bushgardens.

“Labyrinths have been around for at least 4000 years,’’ she says.

“Their resurgence in recent times has been associated with walking meditation and an active way to practice mindfulness.’’

Hosted by the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia, Lunch in the Square begins 11am Tuesday, October 8 and runs til 2pm. There will be activities, arts, crafts, games, music and more.

If you’d like to donate shoes for the labyrinth, contact Broady Robertson at brobertson@centacare.org.au or phone 8215 6700.

 

 

 

 

 

Foster and Kinship Carer Month has begun. This is a chance to say thank you for everything foster and kinship carers do. For people like Jeannie, foster care is not just a job; it’s a precious opportunity to make a difference to the lives of our smallest and most vulnerable. This is Jeannie’s story.

 

 

This video was made a year ago. We still have the same twins in our care, and it has been a roller coaster ride to say the very least.

We have had good days, bad days, and some days where we didn’t even want to get out of bed.

Foster caring isn’t something for the half-hearted; we are here to care for the most vulnerable in our society. These little people are our future, and they deserve only the best care and support that we can possibly give.

As a foster carer, we work 24/7. We don’t get sick leave or annual holidays, but then again you don’t get sick leave or annual holidays with `family’, and while in our care, this is what the children are to us.

“All we want is to make a difference, and to make positive changes in their lives – but we don’t do this alone.”

A good sense of humour and a fantastic support network keeps me going on some of the worst days. I am blessed to have a wonderful partner and son, so when things get a bit much, one of us can just get away from whatever the situation is and just breath.

Laughter is the best medicine and it’s amazing what you can find funny after a particularly trying day, when the kids are tucked up in bed and we have a glass of wine for company! But it’s important to have this time to recharge and hash over the day’s events, and sometimes laugh, when really all you want to do is cry!

 

 

My son has really connected with the twins and is like a big brother to the children, especially the boy who really loves the male figure in the house.

The little boy wants to be just like Liam, and often goes and changes his clothes or shoes to match what Liam is wearing – it’s really cute.

Liam takes the twins out every Sunday for a few hours to a play cafe, the beach, or park, and it just gives us a chance to recharge our batteries and have that short time of peace and quiet which really soothes the soul.

The twins are an absolute joy – on a good day! But their short time on this earth has been less than ideal. The trauma and neglect these children have faced should never have happened to any child, and their pain and suffering can be seen every day of their lives.

The boy used to be so angry, with absolutely no self-regulation. He would lash out and scream at anything and everything – not even the family pets were safe. All we could do was keep himself and his target safe.

This little boy kept dark secrets from being told not to tell, which obviously weighed heavily on him, and I believe he targeted his sister as he was angry at her for not being able to keep him safe.

The little girl had low muscle tone and both twins had poor vocabulary and pronunciation. If lying was an Olympic sport, the girl could potentially win gold for Australia! These were usually purposeless lies, but we think this was her `norm’ from an early age being trained in deceit.

“Fifteen months later, the change in these children today is unbelievable.”

At four, they were both in nappies full-time. The boy has now been nappy free for quite some time, and the girl is nappy free during the day. She is very proud that she is a `big girl now’.

The boy’s angry outbursts have just about ceased, leaving typical five-year-old outbursts, and we are left with a young man who just wants to give and receive so much love.

The twins see a speech therapist, and the change in the children is remarkable. Every professional we see cannot believe how far they’ve come. This is still very much a work in progress but, for children with Global Development Delay, they are certainly on the right path – and they are catching up with their peers.

The girl’s low muscle tone has vastly improved with correct nutrition and exercise. She has the most beautiful smile, which she constantly reminds us of.

The children are enrolled in the most fantastic kindy, where the staff are all trauma informed. This has made a huge difference to them. The boy is not labelled as a trouble maker. Instead his actions are understood and supported. We will be eternally grateful to this bunch of professionals.

The kids also have help from a podiatrist, a paediatrician who has known the twins from a very young age, and we have access to psychologists who have given us invaluable insight and strategies into the twin’s behaviour.

Although we foster the children, there are so many others who support us to support them, and we all work together towards positive changes in their lives.

Last but definitely not least, we have the team at Centacare.

Every single person we have come into contact with has touched our lives and been vital in the success and fantastic changes we now see in the twins.

“The team at Centacare knows the interests of children are of paramount importance, and know that by supporting us, we can better support them.”

We have the most fantastic foster care support worker who listens to us endlessly, and we never feel that we are wasting her time. She helps us better understand issues, and also helps us put things into perspective.

She lifts us up when we are down, and always follows up any queries we may have. We know she has many clients, but she always makes us feel like we are her number one.

So, thank you Centacare, and thank you, Dani, for all you do for us and the children.

* If you would like to follow Jeannie’s lead and explore becoming a foster carer, please phone our team on 8159 1400 or email fostercarerenquiries@centacare.org.au For more information about Foster and Kinship Carer Month, please visit the Department for Child Protection.  

 

(L) Jennifer Boyle, Senior Foster Care Support Worker; and Jeanne, foster carer.

The drive back to work from a home visit is a critical time for Eve Beaumont.

“It’s a good space to make sense of what’s just happened because sometimes it’s pretty full-on,’’ says the Family Preservation Senior Practitioner.

“We can nut out what’s just taken place and what sort of actions need to happen after that.’’

In her role, Eve supports case managers and social workers as they walk alongside vulnerable families to address safety concerns and build parenting capacity.

This can take her into their homes twice a week, for up to a year.

“We are coming into their lives at a really, really vulnerable time, when they are quite worried about whether their children are going to be in their care,’’ the 28-year-old says.

Often this is due to “persistent issues’’ such as drug and alcohol use, domestic violence, medical neglect of children, and poor hygiene in the household.

“Due to some of those complexities, you are definitely facing risks just getting out of the car and knocking on someone’s door.

“Often if might not be the clients themselves but it could be other associates or environmental factors that we need to consider.’’

A new study, released this week by Centacare and UniSA’s The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise, reveals the personal cost of helping others.

For example, absorbing trauma “through osmosis’’ and sensory experiences, through to regular issues with sleeping.

“There’s smells, sights, things that you can never unsee and the feelings that come with that,’’ Eve says.

“You might see something in someone’s home and it brings up a feeling associated with something else from years ago. You’ve got to quickly get yourself together sometimes.

“There’s a lot of sadness, even just leaving a visit. You’ve got kids that are screaming out to take them with you; children that are hugging you and you know they shouldn’t be because you’re a stranger.

“Someone could tell you their story and you never could have put two and two together and been prepared for what they are about to say.’’

The study, Understanding Vicarious Trauma, identifies the inspiration that frontline staff take from clients’ small wins, and how sharing their trauma by simply doing their job can be transformational.

“Other professions get tangible feedback around progress, but we get it in a really unique way,’’ Eve says. “Sometimes we’ll get drawings or cards from the kids. It’s always amazing when they give you one and you’re in it.

“And there are the passing comments from parents, that, if you don’t notice then, almost kind of slip away.

“It’s those little glimmers we get. When we see them, we try and promote them and really celebrate them with families.’’

In 2018/19, Family Preservation supported 68 families, including 173 children.

“By the end of the 12-month intervention, we’ve often got families saying `can you stick around’, and that’s pretty amazing when, at the beginning, it was difficult for them to ask for help because in their minds everything was fine,” Eve says.

“There are times you get in the car and you do just drive past the beach or get yourself a coffee to not just disregard those moments.’’

Centacare

Meeting the Challenge

Centacare Catholic Family Services is a Catholic welfare organisation delivering a range of services across the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Client Services

45 Wakefield Street Adelaide SA 5000
T 08 8215 6700 | F 08 8232 8920
E enquiries@centacare.org.au

Opening Hours

Monday – Tuesday | 9am – 5pm
Wednesday – Thursday | 9am – 9pm
Friday | 9am – 5pm

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