You can support refugee families to settle and prosper

Settling in a new country with a young family can be extremely challenging for anyone. Now imagine moving countries under deeply traumatic circumstances, with little to no support. Then imagine trying to get yourselves set up and learn to navigate Australia’s complex system of services for children. This is a situation that many families from refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds face alone every day.

We know that the first few years of a child’s life are vital to shaping their future. If left behind in those critical years, children run the risk of staying behind for the rest of their lives. The Refugee Child Outreach (RCO) is an early intervention program designed to support newly arrived families with young children of refugee or asylum seeker background with the tools and support they need to set their children up for learning in Australia.

Refugee families

Connecting families to local networks and resources:

“I am so excited, I can get Arabic books, I can read and so can my children” – RCO assisted a mother and her three young children to catch the bus and access their local library.

The program seeks to improve the life chances of young children from migrant backgrounds by focusing on their developmental needs and connecting them to early years support. It also provides direct assistance to parents by building their parental capacity and linking them to employment and education opportunities and social networks.

Assisting with community integration:

A family arrived in Australia, and within a few weeks, the RCO had linked them to the school holiday program at the local recreation centre. The support worker also accessed funding for the children to attend the centre two days a week after school. They connected the mother with a mentor volunteer on those days so she could practise conversational English.

Pathways to employment opportunities:

“I could not even work out how to use public transport.” – A mother said she felt so stupid when she arrived in Australia. She was a lawyer and suddenly felt like she was nothing as she can’t practise in Australia.

“I will be in work again.” – With the support of the RCO, this mother is more confident and has commenced the process of finding work with the Brotherhood’s Given the Chance team.

Thanks to generous support this year, the Refugee Child Outreach program has successfully:

• delivered weekly workshops to the Iranian Women’s Group which consisted of 12 women and 21 children (total 33 participants) to understand their early years and family needs. The RCO support worker provided each family with an average of 12 hours support

• connected women and their children to many local support services which included play sessions

• engaged and delivered intensive 1:1 case support to 12 families (17 children) across Hume

• referred 24 families and 38 children to 80 local social and health service providers

• commenced planning for school holiday and Christmas break activity programs.

If you’re interested in supporting our Refugee Outreach Program, contact the Fundraising team on 03 9483 1301