Communities for Children (C4C)

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About Communities for Children Murraylands

 

Communities for Children Murraylands is facilitated by ac.care in Murray Bridge and works in collaboration with our community partners, committee and key stakeholders to deliver positive and sustainable outcomes for children and families in the regions of the Rural City of Murray Bridge (including Callington), Mid-Murray and Coorong Districts.

Communities for Children’s community partners aim to improve the health and well-being of families and the development of young children, from before birth through to age 12 years. They aim to create strong child-friendly communities that understand the importance of children and apply this capacity to maximise the health, well-being and early development of young children at the local level. Events and workshops are on the ac.care CfC Murraylands Facebook page.

 

 

Our valued community partners are:

  • Centacare – A number of programs and activities are delivered by our Community Partner through our Fathers and Families Program. The program aims to support families to prepare for children before birth and to build knowledge and understanding to support parents in their role. Promoting the importance of positive fathering in the development of children and the family as a whole is provided. Activities such as Ante-Natal sessions, Family nights, Beyond Kayaking and Parenting programs are some of our services on offer.
  • Tailem Bend Community Centre –The Tailem Bend Community Centre provides educational and social opportunities for their local community. Communities for Children Murraylands have partnered with the Tailem Bend Community Centre and offer a range of activities and programs for families and children aged 0-12 years living in the Coorong, Rural City of Murray Bridge and Mid-Murray regions, and the Karoonda township. Programs such as Parent Child Mother Goose Supported Playgroup, school holiday activities, parenting programs and more.
  • Playgroup SA – The vision of Playgroup SA is that all children in South Australia are developmentally on track. Playgroup SA support families and communities to improve children’s development. As a Community Partner they deliver PEEP LTP Playgroup weekly during term in Callington. They also offer developmental checks.

Australian and International evidence confirms that the early years of a child’s life are a critical time in their development and the foundations for learning, behaviour and health.

Communities for Children takes an early intervention approach that supports families to improve parenting skills and ensure the health and wellbeing of children.

 

 

Who will benefit?

In general, Communities for Children focuses on improving early childhood development and wellbeing of children from birth to 12 years and may include children up to 18 years.

What is the role of ac.care?

We build on local strengths to meet the needs of individual communities and to create capability within local service systems, using strong evidence of what works in early intervention and prevention.

As the facilitating partner, we collaborate with other organisations to provide a holistic service system for children and families.

How is the service delivered?

We fund other organisations (known as community partners) to provide services targeted to their community as identified by community consultation and a local committee.

Services include parenting support, play-groups, evidence-based programs for students, group peer support, case management, home visiting, community events and life skills courses.

What programs are available?

Current programs available across Centacare, the Tailem Bend Community Centre and other partners include:

  • Parent/Child Mother Goose
  • Seasons for Growth
  • Drumbeat
  • Tuning into Kids
  • Bringing up Great Kids
  • Circle of Security
  • Celebrate Connection
  • 123 Magic and Emotion Coaching
  • Dads Net
  • Beyond Kayaking
  • School Holiday Activities
  • Family and Individual Support
  • Family Fun Time
  • PEEP LTP Playgroup at Callington
  • Child Friendly Murraylands Business Awards
  • Celebrate Connection

Fees

All Communities for Children activities and programs are FREE

Referrals

Not required

Contact

ac.care Murray Bridge
8531 4900 or email communitiesforchildren@accare.org.au

 

 

Communities for Children is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services.

Children’s Contact Service

The Children’s Contact Service (CSS) enables children of separated parents to have safe contact with the parent that they do not live with in circumstances where the families are unable to manage their own contact arrangements.

The CCS offers supervised visits and change-overs for children of separated families in a safe, neutral, caring and supportive environment. Children can have supervised visits with their parent that they do not live with, or with significant others. ac.care workers also facilitate change overs between parents.

During both supervisions and change-overs parents do not have contact with one another and, therefore, children aren’t exposed to potential conflict, and parents are protected.

The aim of the service is to support families to move to self managed arrangements.  We offer a flexible approach to service delivery including partial supervision and off-site visits.   We develop case plans with clients to support them to move to self managed arrangements.

Getting Started

Assessment interviews will take place with both parents separately, at least one week prior to the commencement of service use. A familiarisation visit for the child/children and parents will be arranged before service use commences.  This involves meeting workers and being shown around the facilities to ensure children and parents feel comfortable before their first session.

We will do our best to follow court ordered times, but this may not always be possible. Copies of all relevant Parenting Orders and Intervention Orders are to be provided to the Centre at the first opportunity.

Opening Hours

The service provides supervisions and change overs on Friday afternoons and weekends.

Staff are available for support and information Monday-Friday at the Mount Gambier Family Relationship Centre.

ac.care does not operate on Good Friday and Christmas Day.  Clients will need to make alternative arrangements on these days.

The Children’s Contact Service is funded by the Department of Social Services.

As of July 2023, ac.care no longer charges fees for this service, which includes inquiry, intake and assessment, information and support services, as well as supervisions and change-overs.

Children’s Contact Service Application Form

Service Requested:(Required)
PART 1 – APPLICANT DETAILS
DD slash MM slash YYYY
Address(Required)
Are they aware you have made contact with the Children’s Contact Service?(Required)
PART 2 – CHILD/REN DETAILS
DD slash MM slash YYYY
PART 3 – RELATIONSHIP HISTORY AND CURRENT ISSUES
Is there a current Family Court Order or Parenting Plan in place (Please tick) Please provide a copy
Is there a current Intervention Order in place? (Please tick) Please provide a copy

** Please note in some cases Intervention Orders may not make it possible for our service to facilitate contact. A variation may be necessary before we could proceed with your application.

DD slash MM slash YYYY

** Please note that each parent/guardian must complete and return separate application forms. Following this separate assessment interviews will be held before parents/guardians can use the Children’s Contact Service. This process can sometimes take between 2-6 weeks and is subject to availability of the service

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Download Children’s Contact Service Application Form PDF

Family Relationship Centre


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ac.care supports families and relationships of any makeup and at any stage – helping new parents adjust, providing counselling and workshops to help sustain and improve relationships with children, partners and extended family; and assisting parents and children with positive connections after separation.

The Family Relationships Online website www.familyrelationships.gov.au offers access to a range of services and resources, as well as information to help families understand how to resolve disputes without going to a family law court.

The website also includes information about Family Relationship Centres, family mediation, and other specialist services for families and children.

Publications and factsheets on family law services, services for children and parenting after separation are available on the website. These are also provided in a number of other community languages.

Mount Gambier Family Relationship Centre

Family and Relationship Counselling

ac.care provides non-judgmental, confidential and low cost counselling to individuals, couples and families.

Our service covers a range of issues including:

  • Relationship issues
  • Family functioning and conflict
  • Family violence – both those who are victims and those who use violence
  • Separation
  • Grief and loss
  • Managing stress
  • Support with a crisis

Contact us on (08) 8721 3500 or care@accare.org.au

John’s StoryJohn contacted the Family Relationship Centre for help. His ex-partner Kylie wouldn’t let him see their 8 year old child Sam, because John did not have a suitable place to live.John and Kylie agreed to work on this issue. First they attended the Parenting After Separation Workshop. It was here that Kylie had her “aha” moment and came to the realisation that it was very important for Sam to develop a relationship with his Dad.At the follow-up Family Dispute Resolution session they developed a plan to find a suitable place where John and Sam could spend time together. John and Kylie now have open lines of communication, are able to talk regularly and arrange for John to spend regular time with Sam. John was even working with ac.care’s accommodation services on finding appropriate housing.* Note all names changed to protect clients’ privacy

Runaway Success 14 year old Crystal had run away in a state of distress because of unbearable stress and endless arguments with her parents. She returned home but was thinking of running again. Her Mum too was distressed and deeply concerned about her daughter’s wellbeing. We addressed parenting strategies with her Mum, as well as practicing some of the tried and true standards: love, patience and consistency. The focus then switched to Crystal, encouraging her to contemplate the positive contributions she brought to the family. Crystal and her parents developed a refreshingly new view of their love and support for each other. Crystal’s Mum also embraced the opportunity for change and together she and her daughter agreed to regular outings, shopping, going for a walk in the evening or just an occasional catch up. The disruptive spirit lifted like a veil.  Our work with the family was over three weeks from referral to amicable family agreement. Seven months on and family members are enjoying each others company and most importantly Crystal has no thoughts of running away. *Note all names changed to protect clients’ privacy

Magic Bullet On rare occasions it is the magic bullet question that can turn things around. Our youth worker and guitar virtuoso Mark was asked to speak to Josh in Year 9 about his highly disruptive behaviour in class. As an introduction Mark sent Josh a curved ball and asked, “Josh, why do you think I’m here?” Josh, caught a little on the back foot said he thought Mark was there to talk to him about unacceptable behaviour. Josh then disclosed that he hated being in trouble all the time and was quite ready to accept change. As the conversation continued Josh developed some of his own strategies. Subsequently Josh was able to make changes which turned out to be most effective. Today he is one of the top students in his year and enjoying the newly acquired status. *Note all names changed to protect clients’ privacy

Strong Families Strong Communities

This targeted early intervention response to families experiencing risks to child safety is offered using a holistic and trauma-informed case management approach.

Strong Families, Strong Communities aims to empower families and promote activities and support that diverts families from entering statutory child protection services.

Keeping children safe in the home, community and Culture

ac.care delivers this new program in the following Local Government areas:

  • Berri Barmera Council
  • Renmark Paringa Council
  • Rural City of Murray Bridge
  • Mount Barker District Council
  • District Council of Grant

Are you eligible?

There are some criteria that determine if a family is eligible, and a short referral access form can determine if your family will fit the program. Some considerations are:

  • Do you live in a service area?
  • Do you have children living in the home and have some worries and concerns around their safety?
  • Risk factors include family and domestic violence, alcohol and drug use, mental and physical health, housing stress (housing instability, suitability).
  • Have you recently worked with an Intensive Family Service and require a step-down service response to maintain safety?

Based on population data and research and as part of the Child Family Support Services Reform priority is given to certain population groups that have evidenced a higher need for support services and early intervention. These are:

  • Infants at risk
  • Parents younger than 23 years of age.
  • Adolescents experiencing challenges with a history of, or current trauma.
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families experiencing multiple and complex needs.

Who can refer?

  • Self-referral
  • Community services, including and not limited to childcare centres and children’s centres, education sites, paediatricians, aboriginal health services, financial counselling services
  • Department of Child Protection
  • Intensive family services providers
  • SA Health
  • South Australian Housing Authority
  • Child and family safety networks
  • Other services.

Contact ac.care Family Services clinical coordinator Michelle George for a referral form or information.
Phone: (08) 8580 5300 | Mobile: 0428 109 411 | Email: Michelle.George@accare.org.au

Community forum to inspire people to open hearts and homes to children

PEOPLE passionate about the welfare of children are urged to attend a foster care forum this month in Strathalbyn to learn how they can make a difference in young local lives. Foster carers are needed to support vulnerable children unable to live with their birth parents in the Murraylands, Fleurieu Peninsula and Adelaide Hills. Regional … Continued
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Decades of care leaves proud legacy for Muir family

THE story of Murraylands couple Jock and Lynette Muir is one of generosity, kindness and true dedication to helping children in need. Decades ago, they opened their home to foster children with the support of country agency ac.care, providing a safe and loving environment, and ultimately changing the course of the lives of young people in their care.
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Childhood foster support prepares Jess to thrive as young adult

Become a foster carer – learn more MAKE every opportunity count has long been a mantra for Mount Gambier teenager Jess Tresidder, who is about to embark on her next journey studying a double degree at the University of South Australia. It is the latest goal set by the 18-year-old who has been a high … Continued
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Mount Gambier foster care manager swaps roles to help flood-affected residents

A MOUNT Gambier social worker witnessed first-hand the impacts of the River Murray flooding on Riverland communities after volunteering for three weeks to support affected residents. ac.care Limestone Coast foster care service manager Sherri Winter was a welcoming and compassionate presence for residents seeking support at the Riverland emergency relief centre in Berri. Ms Winter … Continued
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Fleurieu couple’s lives transformed by foster care

"He's done more for us than we have for him," says Fleurieu Peninsula foster carer Tony about the boy he has welcomed into his family with wife Laura.
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National Child Protection Week highlights need for foster carers

CARING adults living in regional South Australia can play a key role in ensuring the state's most vulnerable babies, children and young people receive safety, care and support when they need it most.
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Mount Gambier foster care coffee morning

Do you have space in your heart and home to offer a child in the Limestone Coast your love and support as a foster carer?ac.care is seeking caring adults to become foster carers to support vulnerable local children long-term, short-term, in emergency situations or to provide occasional respite for other carers. You can find out … Continued
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Foster Care information session coffee morning – Berri

Do you have space in your heart and home to offer a child in the Riverland your love and support as a foster carer? ac.care is seeking caring adults to become foster carers to support vulnerable local children long-term, short-term, in emergency situations or to provide occasional respite for other carers. You can find out … Continued
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Foster Care Information Session – Renmark Library

Become a foster carer with ac.care Join Brenton at Renmark Library, on Tuesday 22nd February at 4.30pm for an information session about the process to become a foster carer and to have your questions answered. To find out more, call 1300 ACCARE (1300 222 273) or email care@accare.org.au
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Lions helps share festive thanks to carers

LIONS clubs have helped ac.care share gratitude to foster carers on behalf of the community for the remarkable contribution they make to supporting young lives. When COVID-19 concerns prevented Christmas events being held to bring carers, children and ac.care staff together to mark the end of the year, Lions clubs answered the call for donation … Continued
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Foster family shares joy of Christmas

THREE young siblings welcomed into a country South Australian family last year are looking forward to everything about celebrating Christmas in the stability, safety and care of their foster home this December.
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ac.care Locations

ac.care is a dynamic organisation servicing the South Australian communities the Limestone Coast, Murraylands, Riverland, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.

Our mission is for all country people to have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.

Please find our service locations here or use our contact form to request a service.

Mount Gambier
Head office and Foster Care

70-72 White Avenue Mount Gambier, SA 5290
PO Box 1842 Mount Gambier SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Community Centre

22-24 Ferrers Street Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Family Relationship Centre

1 Helen Street (cnr Bay Road) Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday
9am to 5pm
Tuesday
10:30am to 5pm
Wednesday
9am to 5pm
Thursday
9am to 5pm
Later by appt
Friday
9am to 5pm

Berri Community Centre
Servicing the Riverland

5 Kealley Street Street Berri, SA 5343
PO Box 1345 Berri, SA 5343
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Murraylands Centre
Servicing the Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula

29 Bridge Street Murray Bridge, SA 5253
PO Box 2090 Murray Bridge, SA 5253
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm

Millicent
Community Centre

57-59 George Street Millicent, SA 5280
PO Box 378 Millicent, SA 5280
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
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