Our 2017 Tax Appeal will provide cultural support to refugee families whose children may be at risk of harm. Our work aims to keep families together and end the cycle of trauma they may have experienced through generations.
Our Family Support Services work with families from many different cultures in many parts of Sydney and in some cases, across New South Wales. We always strive to work with families in ways that are appropriate for them, including speaking their language and understanding their culture’s view of family and of parenting. We know families from different cultures can experience difficulty accessing support services and we want to change this.
Manager Nick Ludgate explains, “We realised families were not approaching us when they really needed to or were not telling us when our suggestions weren’t comfortable for them. This was especially true for refugee families who have suffered trauma in their country. We knew that we needed to do as much as possible to support these families to ensure their children remained safe. This led us to the introduction of our Cultural Support Service.”
Our Cultural Support Service transforms how we are able to engage with refugee families. Donations will assist us to recruit social work or other suitable allied health students from universities and TAFE colleges who have a culturally diverse background and have fluency in their own language, to be employed as co-caseworkers.
Co-caseworkers work directly with our professional caseworkers and the family to provide language translation and culturally relevant information, offering sensitive responses to complex issues. We ensure that families feel understood and are comfortable to ask questions to allow them to gather more information about the support that is offered and to put in place strategies that help children thrive.
The use of a culturally-sensitive approach has already achieved a good outcome for a dad and son from Iraq who came to Australia having lost contact with the boy’s mother. We supported the family to become more connected with their new community by teaching them about Australian culture, supporting the father to attend English classes, assisting with the sons transition to a new school and improving their attachment through parenting strategies and positive experiences. We arranged for the son to attend swimming classes and community activities with his father. This led to the father and son developing a much more positive and loving relationship enabling the boy to feel safe and happy in his new home country.
With our Cultural Support Service working with refugee families, no longer will cultural differences become lost in translation and no longer will this place children at risk.
To donate to our 2017 EOFY Appeal, please visit www.catholiccare.org/donate.