About Us

ABOUT PUT THEM FIRST

Put Them First’ started as a conversation between two passionate carers back in 2018. We have since grown into a small group of dedicated volunteers and advocates. What began as an exchange of ideas and similar experiences, has now become a determination to raise awareness of the issues around children in alternative care and also, to make a real difference in their lives. 

Some current practices for children between 0 and 2 years old going into foster care, can result in significant trauma. The care system faces many resource and support challenges which need to be urgently addressed, so that carers can go back to what is essentially their most important role – to put the safety and wellbeing of the child first.

At Put Them First, we are committed to making positive changes in the current care system because all children and young people have the right to be safe, receive loving care and have access to the support they need to reach their full potential in life.

OUR MISSION

To build and operate a network of facilities, known as as ‘Lullaby Houses’ across Australia. These facilities will provide the much needed support to children and their carers. To become thought leaders in this space. To empower people to engage in safe behaviours and practices for the best outcomes for children aged 0 – 2years.

OUR STRATEGIC GOALS

There are several goals that we are committed to achieving, in order to make the positive changes we wish to see in the existing care system.

This is how we plan to achieve our goals:

Strategic Goal #01

Strategic Goal #01

Establish a mentoring program for carers and biological parents

Strategic Goal #02

Strategic Goal #02

Establish our first ‘Lullaby House’

Strategic Goal #03

Strategic Goal #03

Establish a department for ‘Advisory and Research’ within PTF

The establishment of a mentoring program is aimed at improving the child’s environment and their experiences, particularly for families on the path to reunification. Educating both alternative and primary carers, will ensure the children have better outcomes, opportunities and future prospects. 

The issues to be addressed in the mentoring program include the following:

  • The collaboration and sharing of parental knowledge and skills to increase primary carers confidence and abilities.
  • Reinforce the need for age-appropriate play time with toys.
  • The skills to recognise the reason for a babies cry.
  • The ability to remain focussed on the child during contact sessions, to improve attachment and positive connection.
  • Monitor the primary carers motivation to be positively and permanently reunified.
  • Post-reunification support, referrals to support groups and courses such as ‘Circle of Security’ and ‘Triple P’.

The mentoring program will include a range of training courses for carers of children aged 0-2 years, or those wanting to welcome that age group into their homes. We will facilitate workshops in the following areas:

  • How to care for addicted babies (using simulation babies)
  • How to care for traumatised children
  • How to care for children with special needs (dietary, medical or developmental challenges)
  • Establishing routines for eating, sleeping, playtime etc
  • How to support a child’s needs for learning and stimulation
  • How to address behavioural issues and discipline appropriately
  • How to respond in medical emergencies

These sessions would be facilitated by an experienced Specialist Paediatric Nurse or other specialist relevant to the training offered.

We will be including workshops for stress and personal well-being, to ensure carers are looking after their own needs, in order to be the best carer they can be. Our mentorship program will not only increase the education of the carer, but reinforce how important they are in facilitating a positive outcome for the child.

Our first step will be to establish a ‘pop-up’ Lullaby house to be run as a pilot program. This will involve sharing spaces in medical centres or similar facilities to monitor the success of the program, before planning the construction of a purpose-built facility.

The purpose-built Lullaby House will provide a home-like nursery environment for contact visits between biological families and their infants in care. It will also provide a space for carers to receive training and attend workshops to support the development and well-being of the child whilst in alternative care.

Contact visits are currently conducted at Child Safety Service Centres, which is only necessary in circumstances of violence or abduction risk. Alternatively, our nurseries at Lullaby House will be spacious, welcoming and well-suited for contact visits. Whilst some family visits would be supervised, it is envisaged that this would not always be necessary.

We want to support alternative carers by providing a quiet space to relax during contact visits, possibly talk with other carers or a Put Them First volunteer. This way they do not have to drive back home or wait in their car until contact hours are over, instead they can relax with a book and enjoy free tea or coffee.

The establishment of a board of advisory will include experienced paediatric nurses, social workers, child safety representatives and foster carers, whom will provide a network of services to bring about positive change for medically fragile infants.

It is our goal that a network of qualified and experienced professionals, backed up by research, will address issues in the current care system and bring about legislative change. 

A board of advisory will not only support carers, but advocate for the prioritisation of the well-being of the child. It will also remove the barrier for potential foster carers, who may be concerned there is not enough practical support readily available to them.

PLEASE RAISE YOUR HAND

If you believe in our mission, please consider joining us a volunteer.

Our Team

Director

Leanne Robson

Leanne has been a carer since 2006. In that time, she has

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Director
Sasenka Abeysooriya

Sasenka Abeysooriya

Sasenka is a skilled and passionate strategist, innovative thinker and strong communicator

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Director & Treasurer

Daniel D’Souza

Dan is a qualified CPA with over ten years commercial experience. He

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CEO and Founder

Heather Roddick

Heather is the passionate, driven and committed CEO and Founder of Put

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