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.
The Hunter Outreach Program is a unique mobile support service for families in the lower Hunter area. The program offers services which build on existing community strengths and foster positive relationships within families.The Hunter Outreach team offer regular activities and groups in caravan parks, manufactured home villages, boarding houses, social housing estates, refuges and other locations where families live. The service is available to any family with at least one child under 18 years. All activities are offered free of charge. Referrals are accepted from individuals and support services.
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).
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
The Centre hosts a range of students from various disciplines in an inter-professional placement unit, and also provides opportunities to student volunteers, to participate in our family support programs, where they liaise with human service workers in education, health, and family and community services.
Family Inclusion Strategies Hunter (FISH)
Family Inclusion Strategies in the Hunter (FISH). FISH is an alliance of practitioners and parents in the New South Wales Hunter Valley who are working toward greater family inclusion in child protection and out-of-home care practice and better relationships between parents, family and children in these systems.
The Deadly Streaming Project provides school based activities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) students to improve school attendance, to support connection to culture, and to encourage cultural sensitivity in schools. The main objective of this project is to support ATSI students to culturally identify and promote a sense of cultural competence and to support schools to become more culturally sensitive thereby leading to improved educational outcomes for ATSI students.
The Caravan Project
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. 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.