A woman in a red top throws a small purple ball to a young girl

Therapeutic services team in the ACT Together Consortium

In the ACT, Australian Childhood Foundation has joined two of Australia’s most respected child welfare organisations – Barnardos and OzChild – to create ACT Together, a large consortium that provides support services to children and young people who are unable to live safely with their birth parents. ACT Together aims to reduce the duplication between different government and non-government agencies and ensure better provision of stable, nurturing, long-term care for those children and young people.

The Foundation’s therapeutic services team has the clinical oversight of the work of the consortium, and is responsible for delivering a range of specialist therapeutic services to children and young people and their carers. Our team of 12 therapeutic specialists supports and educates staff and carers about trauma-responsive and relationship-based practice, and its importance in caring for children who live in foster, kinship and residential care. This approach helps everyone understand the impact of trauma that children in out of home care have experienced, and be curious and empathic about what feelings and needs children’s behaviours communicate to us.

Each therapeutic specialist also supports children’s care teams to ensure that their needs are consistently understood and met by those who care for them. We work collaboratively with carers, caseworkers, schools and other professionals and build strong relational networks of caring adults for children or young people to help them heal from the effects of trauma, to grow healthy and thrive.

A selection of the Foundation's Big Tree Dolls.

Heartfelt – New domestic and family violence program

In June of 2022, Australian Childhood Foundation in Canberra submitted a successful proposal to the Family Safety Hub of the Community Services Directorate for a group program for children and mothers who have experienced domestic and family violence. This pilot allows the Foundation to work collaboratively with the domestic and family violence sector, focusing on the needs of children and their recovery from trauma associated with domestic and family violence.

The current pilot phase includes the offering of:

  • The Heartfelt Children’s Group

A therapeutic experience for children, based on the Foundation’s Big Tree Dolls, their stories and the themes within them. For children 5-8 years old we offer the original Heartfelt Program and for 9-12 years olds we offer the Heartfelt Story Crafters Program.

Both programs support the children in their recovery journey through a group program in a supported and nurturing environment that validates their experiences. This gentle therapeutic intervention offers children opportunities for growth, imagination, fun expression and healing.

  • Bringing up Great Kids- Parenting After Violence

A mindful, reflective and respectful parenting program with a focus on building loving and nurturing relationships between mothers and their children post family violence. The program supports parents to understand both themselves as parents and their children post family violence through the nurturing and supportive environment of the group.