Every family is different. And we believe that every family has strengths and resources that can be built on to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children.

Our trauma-informed approach supports families to navigate the every-day challenges they face, with a focus on parenting skills and the development of coping strategies to build long-term resilience.


Intensive Family Support

Our Intensive Family Support (IFS) team assists parents with parenting skills and family functioning, helping to create safe and nurturing environments for children. This includes learning about child development, family relationships and home management, with a focus on family preservation and reunification. We also advocate for those who need it.

We’ve worked closely with Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS) throughout the year, building on existing relationships to work collaboratively on each case to ensure families are given the best chance at a safe reunification.

A significant increase in family violence and mental health issues saw us working closely with our Uniting Domestic Violence Support service to assist several families. This ensured we could provide the necessary supports such as Violence Restraining Order applications, safe accommodation and plans to keep people safe.

Likewise, our Attach drug and alcohol service helped support families who were struggling with substance use, particularly during COVID restrictions.

We introduced a pilot program to include an Aboriginal Cultural Broker within the IFS team. Our broker successfully engaged with fathers in culturally-informed ways that they knew and trusted. It’s hoped that the positive outcomes seen through this pilot will inform future approaches to supporting Aboriginal families.


A letter from Michelle

We want to thank you for your support, wisdom, encouragement and ears.

While we found our experience with children’s services extreme, horrible, confusing and daunting, the one bright spot was meeting you. If every proverbial cloud has its silver lining, then you wonderful ladies were ours.

Your skills, understanding of our difficult situation, friendly ears, knowledge and wisdom were something we never expected. Not just the skills you shared, but how you shared them with us.

You made us feel at ease. Our sessions were not what we expected – an adequate description would be “a vent with friends, and swapping ideas”.

Thank you for giving me skills to have such open, frank, honest and meaningful communication with each of my family members. You have gifted me more than I could ever explain or attempt to explain. And the simple thank you I have to offer seems inadequate.

Thank you for treating us with respect, friendliness and honestly.

Thank you for being wonderful.

Michelle


Domestic Violence Support

Our family violence support program is for Aboriginal women who are experiencing – or are at risk of – family and domestic violence and who live in the Fremantle, Cockburn and Melville areas.

We’ve continued to build networks with Aboriginal employment agencies throughout the year, assisting the people we support to find suitable and sustainable employment.

We also established strong working relationships with the Department of Training and Workforce Aboriginal Development Centre, Maxima National Indigenous Employment Services, Ochre Workforce Solutions, Wirrpanda Foundation and the Matera Foundation.

These connections resulted in outstanding outcomes for the women we support, with two women enrolled in training programs and another gaining full-time employment.


Tracy is a young mum of 2 who was referred to Uniting due to concerns over escalating domestic violence she experienced from her former partner of 8 years.

Throughout her relationship, Tracy was physically, emotionally, financially and verbally abused. Even after her recent separation, she was stalked and harassed, with threats being made to harm her and her children. She suffered from depression and anxiety and was finding it hard to cope.

Along with domestic violence issues, Tracy had a large utilities and housing debt from not being able to access her own money. Our worker supported Tracy to apply for a VRO, which was granted and served.

In collaboration with WA Police and the Family and Domestic Violence Response Team, our team arranged to have Tracy’s house ‘flagged’ and have a mobile duress installed on her phone. We also advocated for her to get priority housing, with sensor lights and security grills installed on her existing property while she waited for a transfer.

Our Uniting Financial Wellbeing Service provided counselling to help with her debts, and assisted her in working out a sustainable budget.

In time, and with the help of counselling and trauma group-work at the Ottey Centre, Tracy rebuilt her self-esteem and confidence while learning techniques and strategies to help with her anxiety. This helped her build strong boundaries to keep her and her children safe. Tracy returned to work as a hairdresser and began planning her first ever holiday with her children.


Attach

Our Uniting Attach program supports parents concerned about their drug and alcohol use. It’s for families with children 8 years and under and lasts for 4-6 months.

This year we’ve had 100% of families report that they’re satisfied with our service. We’re proud of this achievement, which is a result of a tailored service which meets the needs of families, as well as continuity and consistency of support both pre- and post-COVID.

Adapting our service to include Zoom sessions, no-contact deliveries, phone sessions, text messages and several engagements in a week meant that families felt supported.

During the pandemic, the families we support through Attach stated a 41% reduction in alcohol and other drug use.


Family Carer Support Service

Our partnership with Kinship Connections has continued to grow and develop throughout the year. We’ve worked closely with the agency as they have taken a more active leadership role in the delivery this service — an intentional approach aligned with fostering genuine and empowered partnerships with Aboriginal agencies.

Our Family Carer Support Service team provides support and assistance to carers of children who are unable to live with their immediate family. During the period we made some real inroads into securing more suitable housing for the families we support, and we continued to walk alongside carers to identify their goals and support them in achieving them.