Our Family and Community Outreach 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 UON in 2001. Since then she has collaborated with several government departments and non-government organisations and develops very successful outreach partnerships.
Under Kerrell’s excellent management our state funded family programs continue to meet their annual performance targets. This is a huge achievement given the significant transitions to changing service delivery specifications. Attendance at parenting programs are reaching or exceeding target numbers, and overall satisfaction with service delivery is very high. Our staff work in challenging and complex circumstances on a daily basis while they conduct the ground-breaking family and community work for which the Centre is so well known.
The Steve Waugh Foundation continues to fund our respite program for families living with children with rare disorders (known as the SNUG Program). The continued engagement of student volunteers from a wide range of disciplines is a particularly valuable aspect of the SNUG program.
The Our Health Rules project, is funded by our Communities for Children Facilitating Partner The Smith Family. This project contributes to the strengths and skills of the community by enhancing knowledge relating to healthy food choices and nutrition.
In 2013 we ran a pilot project to test and evaluate various types of support mechanisms offered to students from vulnerable communities, who are studying Open Foundation. In 2016, eighteen students who enrolled in a UON Enabling Program had participated in our Uni4You program preparatory activities in Semester 2, 2015. We are currently developing a comprehensive evaluation framework for this work which is financially supported by UON and its Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education through funding from the Commonwealth Department of Education.
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 provides 5 day residential retreats for families with children with rare conditions. Students from a range of health disciplines contribute as volunteers and students on placement. The whole family attends the retreat together and a program of activities is designed so that every attendee can participate.
Uni4You offers intensive support to people in the University of Newcastle’s Enabling Programs. Activities include study preparation workshops, learning support groups plus personalised social-emotional support.
The activities provide individuals, from areas historically under-represented in the general university population, with the skills needed to prepare for university and study successfully.
The activities has been designed to support the lifelong learning continuum of the Widening Participation activities offered at UON.
The program is funded through the Australian Government Higher Education Participation Program (HEPP).
The Uni4You project involves The University’s Family Action Centre, the English Language and Foundation Studies (ELFS) Centre and The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE).
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.
A joint project brought to you by Communities for Children Raymond Terrace-Karuah, in partnership with the FAC and facilitated by the Smith Family. The aim is to improve the health and well-being of families and children living in the Port Stephens, Karuah, and Tea Gardens regions of the Hunter.
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."
The Caravan Project
The Caravan Project was the initial project that gave rise to the work and identity of The Family Action Centre and it’s outreach activities.
The Caravan Project grew out of an emerging concern during the 1980’s for vulnerable families forced into permanent residence in caravan parks during a resources boom in the Hunter Region of New South Wales Australia. A lecturer in Early Childhood Education investigated the issues at that time, and sought philanthropic funding to address the emergent social and educational needs of families and children living in environments not suited to permanent occupancy, and not sanctioned by legislation.
The Caravan Project has changed over time, and is now known as The Hunter Outreach Project (HOP). HOP receives funding from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, in recognition of its role in family support and child protection.