Our Family and Community Programs are managed by Kerrell Bourne. After working for one of Australia's largest non-government family support organisations (The Smith Family), Kerrell came to The University of Newcastle in 2001. Since then she has collaborated with several government departments and local non-government organisations and develops very successful outreach partnerships.
In 2010 her work in the community sector in the Hunter region was acknowledged when she was a finalist in the University of Newcastle's 'Alumni Award for Exceptional Community Service'.
In 2013, Kerrell successfully implemented a new outreach project with local high schools to encourage the uptake of tertiary education of students from low socio economic backgrounds.
Kerrell coordinates our voluntary home visiting program and manages the Hunter Outreach Project. She oversees and promotes a perinatal health project with marginalised families, and develops and manages a respite program for families living with a child with a rare disorder.
Kerrell also lectures in Volunteering and wrote the first University of Newcastle undergraduate course in Volunteering Perspectives and Management.
Family and Community Programs
Drawing on his doctoral research, Dr Chris May is funded through Ageing Disability and Home Care to work with practitioners in disability services to develop resources and tools to promote and foster positive parenting partnerships. Additional funding has been provided to support the design and production of some excellent resources.
Hunter Outreach Project will merge with our previous Home Start program during 2015 due to changes in the funding specifications from the Department of Family and Community Services. Collectively they will continue to provide outreach family support, parenting programs and skill development to families living in the lower Hunter Valley.
Special Need Unlimted Group (SNUG) is funded by the Steve Waugh Foundation (SWF) and will provide 6 retreats in 2015 for families with children with rare conditions. Students from a range of health disciplines will contribute as volunteers and students on placement. This year the SNUG programme will explore opportunities for new innovations & developments and will also focus on enhancing data collection and reporting.
Funded through the Higher Education Partnership Programme (HEPP), Uni4You is a collaborative project between the FAC, the English Language and Foundation Studies (ELFS) unit and the University's Centre for Excellence & Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE) to provide intensive recruitment and support to people in low socio economic status communities to take up Open Foundation. The programme ran in North Lakes, Raymond Terrace, and Cessnock in 2014.
This new project has received funding from NSW Family and Community Services Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) to support the transition to the new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) so that the impacts upon families who access disability services are not detrimental.
Community Connect is a new initiative that builds on the work of Uni4You and the FAC's student placement program. Using a community hub model, Community Connect will value add to the University's existing programs such as AIM HIGH, Uni4You, Deadly Streaming and Schools Visit Day by coordinating, linking, promoting and building on these university outreach activities in the chosen communities. The program will incorporate a university student placement and volunteer program to enable students from a wide range of disciplines to work inter-professionally and collaboratively on projects developed in consultation with the relevant community.
One of the exciting objectives of this project is to contribute to the strengthening of UoN as a leader in Assets Based Community Development practice and family and community engagement.
Students on Placement
In Feb 2015 we will have 4 x new students on placement. We will welcome a 3rd year social work student we who will be with us for 3 months, and 3 x Nutrition and Dietetics students in their final year will do a 5 week placement with the Family Action Centre.
Family Inclusion Strategies Hunter (FISH)
Family Inclusion Strategies Hunter (FISH) is a group of practitioners
and family members involved in the child protection and out of home care
service system in the Hunter Valley of NSW. A report on the outcomes of
a family inclusion practice forum held in mid 2014 is available from
this link. The practice forum explored ways to improve and increase the
inclusion of parents and family in the lives of children and young
people in out-of-home care.
Further activities, forums and reports will be generated during 2015.
Great Young Talkers
With funding from Family & Community Services Housing NSW, this project aims to enhance family and support agencies' capacity to reduce educational disadvantage by
improving speech and language development in low SES communities.
Staff from support agencies will be provided with training to support families to identify concerns, seek appropriate supports, and encourage suitable interventions that will support child development .FAC will engage Speech Pathology specialists to support activities and identify support service such as Family Support Services, Early Learning Centres, Schools as Community centres, community playgroups etc. to promote project activities.
Following the successful Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Healing Foundation Deadly Dads project (2011-2013) the FAC now manages a similar HEPP funded project called Deadly Streaming. The Deadly Streaming project supports and encourages students to remain engaged in their education by providing cultural connection activities which also include their parents and /or extended families.
The project delivers specific culturally appropriate support to Indigenous fathers to enhance their fathering experience, strengthen their fathering knowledge and skills and promote a positive self-image for Aboriginal men who have parenting responsibilities. The project objectives are based on strategies recommended by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) regarding the building of parenting capacity in Indigenous communities.
The National Indigenous Education Action Plan (NIEAP) highlighted the importance of the time around the transition to high school when school attendance is likely to fall away for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The Deadly Streaming project is designed to help these children succeed in education at a time when they are most likely to lose their drive and enthusiasm to succeed.
NIEAP states that "To avoid the continual loss of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent in the transition from primary to high schools, it is imperative that we create 'dedicated' high school environments of excellence. Such schools will need to establish student support mechanisms in co-operation with their primary feeder schools and parents."