06/01/2021 | Michelle Lensink MLC | Rachel Sanderson MP | Better Services

A new two-year pilot program targeting young Adelaide mums who need specific parenting support is aiming to improve outcomes and stop the need for child protection interventions.

A new two-year pilot program targeting young Adelaide mums who need specific parenting support is aiming to improve outcomes and stop the need for child protection interventions.

Funded as part of this year’s State Budget, the $900,000 Breathing Space pilot will be delivered by Catholic Family Services, targeting mothers aged under 25 across metro and southern Adelaide who may benefit from extra support to learn and grow as parents.

Each mother will work with a team of experts including a case manager, senior practitioner, women’s health nurse and financial counsellor.

The pilot forms part of the State Government’s $40 million Child and Family Support System reform, where agencies are working together to better support families who need help much earlier.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the State Government was using the latest data and evidence to redesign the way vulnerable families and children are supported.

“We know that young mothers under 25 who have experienced the removal of their child through child protection system, or have been removed as a child themselves, are far more likely to need a helping hand as a parent,” said Minister Lensink.

“Through this pilot program, family support workers will work directly with our particularly vulnerable young mums to focus on their own development and help them overcome past traumas that could impact their parenting, as well as give them practical advice about a range of topics, including sexual health.”

Breathing Space is one of four new pilot programs the State Government is currently funding that seek to reduce child abuse and neglect by providing earlier and more targeted support to families and their children.

“Through our new pilot programs, we’re expecting to achieve more effective support for our most vulnerable children and families, a reduction in the need for statutory responses from child protection and healthier family environments where children can thrive,” said Minister Lensink.

Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson said she had seen first-hand how this program works overseas.

“Since our child protection delegation to Leeds last year, I’ve been advocating to implement this initiative that is based on a very similar program working with young, vulnerable mums in the UK – and is seeing good results,” said Minister Sanderson.

“We know the main reasons why children enter care and stay in care for longer is that we’re working with families who are often dealing with multiple and complex issues, including domestic and family violence, drug and alcohol misuse and mental health issues.

“The Breathing Space pilot is a chance for us to wrap-around our most vulnerable young mums and provide them with the support they need to get back on track and our ultimate aim is to stop the need for their children entering the child protection system.”

Young mothers overcoming trauma will be referred to the Breathing Space pilot program via a partnership with the Department for Child Protection, birthing hospitals and the Department of Human Services.