What do you enjoy most about your role?
I feel incredibly privileged to work with some of Australia’s bravest kids. Providing therapy for children aged two to 18 and their families means that every day looks very different. At Act for Kids, our philanthropic funding enables us to work outside of a traditional model so that we can really meet our client’s complex needs. Being able to support vulnerable children to lead safe and happy lives and overcome the impacts of the abuse and neglect they have experienced truly is the best job in the world.
Can you share a bit more about how your Integrated Therapy process supports young people?
The impacts of child abuse and neglect are pervasive and complex, affecting a child’s emotional regulation and psychological wellbeing, motor skill development, social skills and relationships, and speech and language development. As an integrated service of Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Pathologists, we can support kids and work with them to address their needs from the safety of familiar faces. We work closely with stakeholders such as schools, foster carer’s, social workers and caregivers to best support the children and young people we work with.
What are some of the challenges that Act for Kids has faced delivering integrated therapy during the pandemic?
The pandemic has added an additional layer of uncertainty and instability to our client’s often already chaotic lives. Something as simple as wearing a mask in therapy can be challenging for children who have an impaired ability to establish safety in adult relationships, or read facial expressions. Additionally, Act for Kids transitioned exclusively to Telehealth therapy for a number of months over the course of the pandemic, which was challenging to say the least. So much of our role relies on the use of self to regulate our children and build safety in the physical space, which can be very tricky over a screen.
Can you share a bit more about the launch of your Reconciliation Action Plan?
As the Reconciliation Action Plan representative for Adelaide, I am part of national implementation group committed to growing and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are disproportionately represented in the Child Protection System. As an organisation we are committed to the reduction of this overrepresentation, whilst striving for constant improvement in the way we support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.
Do you have any other updates from Act for Kids?
Act for Kids is continuing its advocacy efforts to get a minimum standard set for protective behaviours programs in the national school curriculum. Our team has been writing to all sides of government to seek support so that we can continue to prevent childhood trauma and empower kids to seek help if they felt unsafe.
Act for Kids and Future Generation Australia
Future Generation Australia’s funding provided integrated therapy for over 400 children in 2021 who have suffered abuse and neglect.