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Presentation on theme: "FAMILY MENTORING FOR DIVERSE COMMUNITIES Helping parents access services."— Presentation transcript:

1 FAMILY MENTORING FOR DIVERSE COMMUNITIES Helping parents access services

2 OVERVIEW  Organisation Contexts  Working together  What is family Mentoring?  Program Logic  In action  Supporting evidence  Challenges  Questions

3 What is VICSEG  Victorian  Cooperative on  Children’s Services for  Ethnic  Groups  VICSEG

4 NEEDS OF NEWLY ARRIVED FAMILIES  Settlement services  Employment  Language skills  Learning the community you find yourself in  Needs of children – Services for Children

5 NEEDS OF SERVICES FOR CHILDREN  What is Maternal and Child Health?  What vaccinations are needed?  Why childcare?  What is playgroup?  What is Kindergarten?  School readiness?

6 THE FAMILY MENTORING PROGRAM Peer mentoring program to support migrant and refugee families to understand and access programs for children and families by:  Providing direct support and cultural advice to service providers  Assisting families to access, communicate with & utilise services and health care  Supporting families transition to services and schools

7 PROGRAM LOGIC Target + Context + Resources Action = Outcomes

8 The TARGET is… RECENTLY ARRIVED migrant families with YOUNG children The CONTEXT is… An OVERWHELMED service system which focuses on families in CRISIS and is DIFFICULT for families to navigate

9 The RESOURCES to address the issue are… Family mentors Supervision, training & ongoing peer mentoring Community support Admin support

10 The ACTIONS include… Information and support for families to access ECEC services and Transition to support specialist services Support for service providers when working with CALD families and Education on culturally responsive service delivery

11 The OUTCOMES are… MEDIUM TERM ↑ interaction with other young children and families ↑ informal social networks ↑ Demonstrated capacity to work with CALD families (service providers) SHORT TERM ↑ exposure to EC activities ↑ willingness & confidence to access ECEC services ↑ knowledge & skills working with CALD families (service providers) LONG TERM ↑ rates of school readiness ↑ family functioning ↑ working together to respond to the needs of migrant families (service providers)

12 WHAT’S THE EVIDENCE? O utcomes of the Family Mentoring program E vidence about the key aspects of the program:  Paraprofessionals  Peer mentoring  Culturally specific support

13 OUTCOMES OF THE FAMILIY MENTORING PROGRAM  For children, outcomes include:  ↑ social skills (learning how to play with other children, making new friends)  development of skills necessary to transition to kindergarten  For parents:  ↑ knowledge about the child and family service system and increased confidence in accessing those services  ↑ capacity to interact with their children “Some mothers were… concerned… that they could not read to their children because they could not speak English. The Mentor explained that they could tell the story to their children by looking at the pictures and describing what was on each page” (LDC Group, 2011, p. 71)

14 OUTCOMES OF THE FAMILY MENTORING PROGRAM  For families  ↑ in the number of migrant/refugee families accessing services (e.g. kinder)  For service providers:  ↑ skills in engaging families from migrant/refugee backgrounds: “We are now clearer about our own cultural bias – the association with the Mentor program has enabled our own personal exploration” (service provider) (LDC Group, 2011, p. 89)  ↑ connections between services - mentors work across the service system  For refugee communities:  ↑ capacity of refugee communities to promote the value of services to families who belong to those communities Source: LDC Group, 2011

15 THE EVIDENCE BASE: PARAPROFESSIONALS  Evidence favours qualified home visitors (see Gomby et al, 2005; Holzer et al, 2006; Olds et al, 2002)  Paraprofessional from migrant/refugee backgrounds bring about positive outcomes for mothers of young children from migrant/refugee backgrounds (see Paris & Bronson, 2006; Paris et al, 2007)  For a traumatised population, important to have people who families feel comfortable with; refugees may fear anyone who is, or is perceived to be, a ‘government authority’ (Arney & Scott, 2010)  Paraprofessionals from a migrant/refugee background have the capacity to “compassionately offer emotional and concrete assistance” to infants, parents and families (Paris & Bronson, 2006, p. 45)  In an overwhelmed service system that needs to focus resources on families in crisis, paraprofessionals are a viable option for vulnerable and at-risk families

16 THE EVIDENCE BASE: PEER MENTORING  Peer mentoring has become a popular model for supporting vulnerable families  Many examples of peer led mentoring programs have led to improved outcomes for children and families:  Peer mentoring programs for low-income breastfeeding women (see Alexander et al, 2003; Clifford et al, 2008; Dykes, 2005; Hoddinot et al, 2006, 2007)  Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities (UK) trains parents to deliver parenting groups in their own communities (see Day et al, 2012)  Peer led programs can enhance the knowledge, skills and employment opportunities of peer mentors themselves (Cupples et al, 2011), “a mechanism for building social capital” (Day et al, 2012, p. 53)

17 THE EVIDENCE BASE: CULTURALLY SPECIFIC SUPPORT  Improves the capacity of service providers to “culturally attune” to needs of communities and improve outreach capacity of staff (Craig et al, 2007)  Bicultural workers from the same cultural background as clients can facilitate engagement with families (Codrington et al, 2011)  Evidence regarding ‘provider-client matching’ (i.e. where clients and staff share the same background or circumstances) is mixed (Mistry et al, 2009)  Provider-client matching can improve program utilisation, communication, client engagement and program completion (Mistry et al, 2009)  Culturally specific services are useful when families have experienced trauma because they provide a familiar setting which helps them feel safe (Sims et al, 2008)

18 CHALLENGES OF THE FAMILY MENTORING PROGRAM  Mentors are not always available due to limited working hours – no other service for families when mentors are not available  Increasing demand (awareness of the program, increasing immigration)  Mentors feeling overstretched  Privacy and confidentiality in tight-knit communities  Boundaries for mentors  Resistance to culturally specific programs and paraprofessional programs from service providers

19 VIDEO CLIP Building Connections - VICSEG Resource and Mentoring Program for Refugee Families

20 And we won an Award!


22 Colleen Turner l Coordinator Western Area Programs T: 0427 437 324 Myfanwy McDonald l Senior Project Officer Murdoch Childrens Research Institute T: 03 9345 4463 For a copy of the reference list for this presentation email Myfanwy

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