Help, hope, and a radiant outlook

Michelle and Sean* are parents to an eight year old boy with special needs and identify as Indigenous Australians. Due to concerns about childhood neglect, specifically providing adequate food, they were referred to LCN’s Brighter Futures program.

During the initial engagement phase, our Caseworker realised that the family required support to access the correct income support payments. As a matter of urgency, Michelle and Sean needed material aid, including food, clothing, bedding, cleaning items and money to keep their car running. In addition, they needed budgeting and financial counselling, access to paediatric appointments for their son, as well as being taught how to maintain a hygienic home environment.

Over time, it became clear that the family faced additional serious and complex problems, with domestic and family violence an issue, as well as a decline in the child’s health when he suffered a life-threatening illness. The priority was to ensure a safe environment for Michelle and her son, and make sure that he could access ongoing specialised medical care. Our Caseworker put together a plan that started with identifying Michelle’s strengths and parenting skills, including how she maintained a home, how she managed money and what she had been doing to keep her child safe from harm.

Referrals for medical care and other support were made for Michelle, including help from her GP, a financial counsellor, community transport, FACS Housing and Victims Services. Our Caseworker provided one-to-one structured education sessions with Michelle, including our parenting education program, connected parenting, and teaching various living skills.

By focusing on Michelle’s strengths, our Caseworker empowered Michelle to develop a maintain a functional household routine that benefitted both herself and her son.

Over two years in our Brighter Futures program, this lovely young family achieved the goals they set for themselves with active participation and commitment. During this time, Michelle completed several parenting programs and her son continued to engage with specialised medical practitioners and has made significant improvements with his health. He has also re-engaged at school and is now participating actively in school activities.

Michelle and her son are living free from domestic and family violence, and Michelle is providing a stable home environment by managing her budget, maintaining a clean home, and preparing suitable and adequate food. The future is now looking much brighter.

* Names changed to protect anonymity.