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Michelle wins international Triple P award supplied by Justine Stewart 1 March 2014

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n Indigenous mum who has just won an international award with the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program says she can relate to parents because of the problems she experienced in her own family. Michell Forster, a mum to three boys, was struggling with her youngest child when she was being trained to deliver Triple P in her role as a family support worker. Then, at home, she started trying out the strategies and suggestions from the Triple P course she was being trained to deliver. The changes began to occur within a few weeks. Within eight weeks, life was much calmer and Michell felt as if she was back in control. “None of us are perfect, definitely not me,’’ Michell said. “But I’ve seen the positive difference Triple P has had in connecting people to their children and allowing their families to lead happier, healthier lives and I have lived that story.’’ “I have older boys and they never pushed me to the limits like my baby did. “Some parents say they love their children but didn’t like them much and I know that feeling. It’s very challenging to like a person when they are constantly demanding and frustrating you in the home, at school, in the community – and that brings huge stresses for us. We start to worry about their future.

Michell’s work in making parenting support normal to people in the community was recognised at the recent Helping Families Change Conference in Sydney where she was selected from practitioners around the world as the Triple P practitioner of the year. An Indigenous liaison coordinator and family support worker for Triple P, Michell was nominated for her outstanding engagement of regional Queensland communities, her achievements in using Triple P to help reunify families whose children have been removed, and for her work in normalising parenting support for Indigenous families. The Triple P researcher who nominated Michell, Lauren Hodge , said Michell was extremely passionate about improving outcomes for Indigenous families. “Michell has a way of making everyone in the room feel comfortable by her effective use of problem-solving skills, especially

when extremely emotional topics come up in group situations,’’ Lauren said. Michell shared the International Triple P Practice Award with former Sierra Leone refugee Frank NewahJarfoi who delivers Triple P in Wagga Wagga to a number of culturally diverse families, including those with African heritage. Michell believes the program is vitally important not just for the children of today, but for future generations to come. “I truly believe that the skills and strategies that Triple P has to offer can help contribute to closing the gap,’’ Michell. “We can help our children grow up healthier physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. “We help people to ensure they take care of themselves as a parent, have realistic expectations, have a positive learning environment, provide a safe, interesting environment and manage misbehaviour in a consistent, effective manner that does not involve smacking. “Parents are then able to get up in the morning and manage things better. They can get their children off to school ready to learn, they’re able to identify ways to reduce stress in their life and their children thrive as a result. “They become confident, helpful young people with a great future. Our children can grow up with better life skills and have a positive outlook that they can hand down to their children. This will benefit generations to come. That’s got to be a positive thing.’’

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Michelle forster wins international triple p award  

An Indigenous mum who has just won an international award with the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program says she can relate to parents beca...

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