Backing our community

Backing stronger social connections

In 2019-20, our active First Nations staff group helped guide our development of a First Nations Cultural Framework. This framework complements our Reconciliation Action Plan and outlines our commitments to build cultural competence and create strong connections with our First Nations clients, staff and community.

Culture can be a great source of strength. Our Youthlink team introduced yarning circles in 2019, providing an opportunity for young First Nations people to connect with local Elders. We are privileged to share our premises with the Logan District Elders. They provided inspiration and advice in 2019-20.

Our First Nations staff help us keep reconciliation and cultural connections in mind.

Connections with community and culture remained a high priority in 2019-20. Informal supports and a strong sense of cultural identity are sources of great strength that help people sustain positive change in their lives.

Our staff continued to explore new ways of helping clients create their own ongoing support networks. “It Takes a Village” training by Encompass at our 2019 staff conference emphasised the benefits of informal social support in protecting children’s safety, reducing parents’ stress and ultimately reducing reliance on services.

Our Sure Steps family coaching team prioritises the development of networks and support connections for their clients: families living in public housing. Many of
the people we support need specialist help for such issues as mental health, alcohol and drug concerns, disability services, and domestic and family violence. In 2019, our partners at Logan Together commissioned a review into the ability of our Sure Steps families to access the services they need. This important research highlighted gaps in the existence, visibility, availability and responsiveness of critical services in Logan, which we will work together to address.

One of our longest-running teams, our Step by Step family support program, began a significant shift in 2019-20. Step by Step incorporates a First Nations-focused service called Burrabilly. From January 2020, the team began specialising in work with young parents aged less than 26 years. Young parents have been identified by the Logan community as a group that needs targeted supports and opportunities. After reviewing evidence, we redesigned our program to work in ways young parents have told us they want, including group activities so they can connect with other young families.

Our Intensive Family Support team works in the fast-growing western Logan corridor and Beaudesert, along with our Domestic and Family Violence Service and our Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare program. In 2019-20, these teams increased their integration to meet client needs, working together to provide support and connect vulnerable families with culture, friends, family, the community and other services, such as housing or health, if needed.

  • We will take a lead role in bringing the community together to improve supports for young parents to reach their potential and achieve their dreams.
  • Our Cultural Framework will be implemented across YFS in 2020-21, improving our responsiveness to First Nations peoples.

South East Queensland’s COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020 caused great hardship. Elderly people were asked to stay at home, some people had to self-isolate and essentials were in short supply in the shop. Financial hardship was significant and sudden for many people who lost their jobs. For some, such as New Zealand citizens who are not eligible for Centrelink benefits, this was a devastating blow.

YFS worked fast with Logan City Council to establish the Logan Response Hotline. Between March and June, Hotline staff organised more than 660 deliveries of such essentials as food and nappies. Our partnership between Council, the State Emergency Service, Lighthouse Care, Givit, OzHarvest, Substation33, generous donors and volunteers helped the Logan community weather the initial impact of the pandemic.

YFS teams funded by the Australian Department of Social Services use the SCORE outcomes assessment tool, providing common measures across our financial hub, Step by Step young family support and Project Hera domestic violence service.

The people supported by these teams made significant gains in meaningful connections with the community, their families and other services during 2019-20. Our combination of informal and formal supports protects people against future crises by increasing their wellbeing and enabling them to get help earlier.

Other YFS teams also measure changes in people’s support networks. For example, families linked with the Thriving Families Project improved their social connections by 67%.

Increased connections

(based on a five point scale)

Community participation - pre
Community participation - post
Family functioning - pre
Family functioning - post
Engagement with relevant support services - pre
Engagement with relevant support services - post

Source: SCORE outcomes

Samantha connects with new supports

“YFS changed everything. My life is 100 percent different to what it was when I first met them. I’m going in a different direction now. It’s a direction I have never been in before so it’s all new, but it’s a better direction. My daughter is a lot happier – everything’s a lot happier. I don’t intend to go backwards.”

Samantha was bordering on homelessness when she first connected with us. Our housing specialists backed her with securing a home and our families teams provided parenting support. We also guided Samantha towards the NDIS so her daughter, who has a vision impairment, could access the support she’s entitled to receive.