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WINTER 2014

CONNECTIONS NEWS

›› SECURING A BETTER

FUTURE FOR CHILDREN

›› CONNECTIONS UNITINGCARE CONFERENCE

›› SHARING THE

connections.org.au

BLESSINGS

MESSAGE FROM ANGELA FORBES, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Welcome to the Winter edition of the Connections News! In this edition and in the lead up to the end of the financial year, we highlight one of our programs – a program that has a proven track record of breaking the cycle of destructive family behaviour and ask you, our supporters, to help ensure the sustainability of a program that is providing families with a second chance. Keep reading to find out what program we are talking about and how it is making a lasting difference. Just last month, we hosted the inaugural Connections UnitingCare Conference – Making a difference in the lives of children and families. This two-day event was a resounding success with over 200 delegates from across the country coming together to discuss the many

issues facing our sector at the moment. I would like to thank all those who helped put this event together and would like to acknowledge our sponsors and supporting organisations for their generous contributions. This is a jam-packed edition that I hope you will enjoy reading. Thank you for your support!

Angela Forbes Chief Executive Officer

SHARING THE BLESSINGS It’s more blessed to give than receive Birthday Blessings encourages people to share the love, support, and blessings they receive on their birthday by making a donation to Connections. In return for your valued contribution, a beautiful hand-written card will be sent to yourself, or a loved one you have nominated, along with information about who your contribution will support. The birthday cards are handmade and sourced from a community development orientated organisation to ensure that this program really does spread the blessing! By being part of Birthday Blessings, you are showing your support of the work we do with marginalised and disadvantaged children, young people, and families in need. Your

contribution ensures that we are able to continue our important work of providing specialised services that make a real difference in people’s lives.

» FIND OUT MORE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS OR TO REGISTER TO BE PART OF THIS PROGRAM VISIT CONNECTIONS.ORG.AU OR FREE CALL 1800 137 036.

Angela Forbes


SECURING A BETTER FUTURE FOR CHILDREN ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ – Benjamin Franklin Connections constantly seeks to embody this idea by proactively engaging in preventative and early intervention programs designed to make a practical difference in people’s everyday lives, giving them a better chance in life now and in the future. One such program is Newpin (New Parent and Infant Network), a centre-based, intensive, therapeutic approach to breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect. Newpin works with families with children aged 0-5 who are under stress. Through the provision of intensive supports, Newpin aims to break the cycle of destructive and negative family behaviours by improving the self-esteem and self-worth of parents. Waiting until a crisis occurs is both less effective and more costly than intervening early. Newpin does this. Newpin gives families a second chance. Without your support Newpin is at risk of not continuing. Help us make sure we can provide as many families as we can with a second chance. Your donation will help us ensure the sustainability of Newpin – a research-based program that has a proven track record of positively changing family relationships at a core level.

» DONATE TODAY SHOW YOUR SUPPORT OF THIS PROGRAM CONNECTIONS.ORG.AU

CONNECTIONS UNITINGCARE CONFERENCE In mid-May, Connections hosted the inaugural Connections UnitingCare Conference Leading Practice – Making a difference in the lives of children and families. The two-day event provided delegates with a platform to present and promote new ideas and practices that are leading the way in making a difference in the lives of children and families. Featuring speakers from around the world, delegates covered topics such as; traumainformed practice; evidence-based practice; cross-sectoral work and partnerships; and quality systems, feedback and evaluations. Hosting a conference such as this requires significant commitment and resources. With that in mind, Connections would like

to acknowledge our many sponsors and supporting partners for their generous contributions. We would also like to thank all our speakers who shared their experiences of leading practice and The Conference Managers for their hard work in helping us put together an event such as this. Thank you!

» FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CONNECTIONS UNITINGCARE CONFERENCE VISIT CONNECTIONS.ORG.AU/ CONFERENCE


REDUCING THE FEAR Connections is pro-actively responding to the increasing prevalence of violence against women and children in the community amid rising fears for the safety of women and children in violent family situations. Speaking recently with journalists, Connections General Manager, Community Services, Trish Chapman expressed her belief that ultimately we need to find ways to empower women to feel safe and supported to take their children and leave. 'We know that the number of women reporting family violence to police is increasing but at

the same time, a significant number of these women are subsequently compromising their own safety and that of their children by not following through with intervention orders.' Connections, in partnership with Victoria Police, have begun piloting the Family Violence Linkages Program to support families in the Shire of Cardinia.

'This is the first program of its kind as it involves a concerted effort between Victoria Police, Connections and other family violence services in order to deal with the pressing issue of family violence in a much more efficient way.’

» FIND OUT MORE

The program aims to engage and link women with family violence programs and services as well as set up referral pathways for them to access their and their children's legal right to safety.

ABOUT THE WAYS CONNECTIONS IS SUPPORTING WOMEN AND CHILDREN, VISIT CONNECTIONS.ORG.AU

SUPPORTING YOUNG MUMS STARTING OUT An innovative and unique program run by Connections is offering young mothers the opportunity to gain more knowledge and further their skills by becoming a Peer Support Worker with the Starting Out program. Starting Out is a community-based support program for young, pregnant and parenting women up to the age of 25 years, their children and their partners. Peer Support Training helps young mothers develop the knowledge and communication skills that can be used to mentor other young parents within the program.

a directed forum for mothers to share their fear and concerns with their peers.’ For young mother Freya, accessing Starting Out and completing the Peer Support Training program gave her the confidence to go back to school and study nursing. ‘The best thing about Starting Out was that I never once felt alone. There was always someone who was willing to help me when I needed help with my baby or when I just needed someone to listen to me.’

Connections’ Starting Out Team Leader, Bronwyn Clarkson, believes that having Peer Support Workers who have been young mothers themselves is a great source of support.

» FIND OUT MORE

‘Starting Out works because it has young mothers talking to other young mothers about the issues they are facing as well as providing

CONNECTIONS.ORG.AU

ABOUT CONNECTIONS’ ARRAY OF PROGRAMS AND SERVICES VISIT

WE HAVE LIFT OFF Connections has just launched a brand new website connections.org.au Have you checked it out yet? This new site has a striking new way to illustrate our important communityfocussed work. We love feedback… We want to know your thoughts. Let us know what you think of our new site on Facebook or Twitter.

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Connections News

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Edited by Cameron Ballinger, Resources Officer and Kirrilee Torney, Acting Manager, Community Relations.

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Connections News Winter 2014