Keeping the family together in tough times
When seven siblings were removed from their family in Northern NSW, their situation was challenging in the extreme. Swift action from St Joseph’s Cowper helped the children not only find caring accommodation in the local area, but also addressed their many needs to build a hopeful future.
St Joseph’s Cowper has been providing care for children and young people unable to live with their families for 104 years.
Its therapeutic residential care service provides care and support for highly traumatised young people with the aim of transitioning them into less restrictive models of care, either with their family or stable foster care, as soon as appropriate.
When the emergency referral for the seven Aboriginal children came in, there were no Aboriginal carers available in Northern NSW.
St Joseph’s Cowper responded and placed all seven children within 24 hours of the referral. Two of the children were placed in foster care with an authorised carer, while the other five were accommodated in a family group home on the St Joseph’s residential setting, close to their other two siblings.
“The emphasis is on making all the children feel safe and connected,” the CEO says. “They are able to have whole sibling group activities regularly so they know each other is safe and available to each other.”
St Joseph’s Cowper ensured all the children had immediate health checks, along with educational assessments to help them with their needs. Two of the children who have special needs will have those needs addressed and managed, with interventions for hopeful remediation.
“They will be provided with care in a stable, loving, caring and safe environment, for as long as it takes for assessments of family members to be completed. Hopefully we can then provide kinship placements for these young children,” says the CEO.
“We will advocate for these children to ensure they have the best outcomes possible, keeping them together as a family group, providing hope for them for the future.”