ABOUT PUT THEM FIRST
Put Them First was birthed by a conversation between two current, passionate carers who shared similar views and experiences and determined that things could be done better.
Awareness needed to be raised and a real difference sought. They both felt that they could bring about reduced trauma through advocating for positive changes to practices for 0-2 year olds. They decided to try to give them a voice and ‘Put Them First’.
It didn’t take long to realise that there are gaps in the system. These gaps urgently need to be addressed and changed.
These initial conversations led to further conversations and slowly the team is growing with like-minded people who share the same desire to see change. Change for the better to ‘Put Them First’.
What is it?
Lullaby House is a purpose-built facility designed to provide a home-like environment for contact visits between biological families and their infants currently living in alternate care. It will also provide a space for carers to receive training around caring for infants who have entered foster care suffering withdrawals or who present with other medical and/or developmental challenges.
Who is it for?
Parents of infants in care
We have a vision that these facilities will be a place where biological families will come to have their contact visits with their infants in care. Currently these visits happen at Child Safety Service Centres, however, the Child Safety Practice Manual states ‘Family contact visits will only be held in a CSSC where there are legitimate reasons for doing so, such as threats of violence or risk of abduction’. For this reason, we believe our nurseries, which we see as spacious, welcoming and fitted out as a home nursery with a few extras, will be an ideal and well-suited space for these visits to occur. Whilst some family visits would be supervised, it is envisaged that this would not always be necessary.
Currently when carers bring the infants they are caring for to a contact visit they either drop off and come back, or they sit in the car or the Child Safety Service Centre waiting room. We want to provide a space where the carer can sit, and maybe talk with other carers, or a Put Them First volunteer, or totally zone out with a free tea or coffee and a book, in a quiet relaxing space.
Parent Mentor Program
As part of the family visits, some families who are on the path to reunification would be referred to our mentoring program. Our Mentors would come alongside biological parents and share parenting knowledge and skills in the hope that they would increase in confidence with their own parenting skills. We want to help them understand the need for age-appropriate play time and toys. We want them to be able to recognise babies cry and what that cry means. We want them to be focussed on baby during their sessions. We believe that if they are focussed on bub during their session and are intimately involved in what is happening with bub during their time together, that will assist them in becoming attached to their child and therefore want to do whatever it takes for them to be positively reunified, meaning, that reunification would be a positive and permanent experience, for bub and their parents.
Post reunification the mentor program would continue in the form of phone support, as well as referrals to parenting support groups and courses such as Circle of Security and Triple P.
Training for Carers
Our training facility would be for existing carers of 0-2 year olds or those wanting to welcome that age group into their homes. We will facilitate workshops as follows:
- Addicted babies (using simulation babies)
- High Needs
- Sleep training, and more
These sessions would be facilitated by an experienced Specialist Paediatric Nurse or other specialist relevant to the training offered.