Emily and baby Connor (Caboolture Young Mothers for Young Women participants) at home together. Photography: Katie Bennett

Working with new
partners in Caboolture

Micah Projects is excited to be working with and responding to the needs of young women who are pregnant and parenting in Caboolture. This community has a pregnancy rate amongst women under 20 of 10.5%, double the national rate for the same population (4.7%).

After successfully responding to a tender from the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women for the Moreton area, Micah Projects worked with the Metro North HHS Caboolture Hospital to establish a new Wellspring Hub to work with this young population.

The service is based on the evidence and effectiveness of Young Mothers for Young Women (YMYW) in Coorparoo, Brisbane. Caboolture Young Mothers for Young Women has been adapted for the local context and is part of a ‘measuring for outcomes’ initiative with the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women. Unique to Caboolture is the embedded midwife who works within the Caboolture YMYW team including three days a week at the Caboolture Wellspring Hub.

Working with young women as they embrace pregnancy and parenthood was one of the first services provided by Micah Projects. Over the years new models of support have been adapted with the input of young women and their families. We integrate evidence-based programs that focus on both parent and child during pregnancy and life as a family. Peer support workers have remained an essential ingredient in connecting and engaging
with young women.

As our goal is to provide effective responses to young women, their partners and children, the integration and training of workers in the specialised ‘Parents as Teachers’ curriculum has been foundational in developing Caboolture YMYW.

The pillars of ‘Parents as Teachers’ are:

  • making effective decisions with young women about needs and aspirations through child and parent assessment
  • increasing access to screening for children’s developmental stages
  • providing early childhood education and planned family support with parents in line with curriculum through outreach and home visits
  • community connections (group work)
  • connecting with other services and resources in the community.

For a young woman like Selena (not her real name) this approach means having the Midwife and Family Support and Advocacy Worker come to her home and meet to complete assessments, plan support, book in for birth at the hospital and complete ante-natal checks. She can be supported to complete housing applications, linked to domestic violence legal support, and transported to a clinic for blood tests and specialist appointments and to the Wellspring Hub to collect clothing and essential items for her baby.

When Selena comes to ‘The Baby Bunch’ group she meets peer workers—young parenting women and other young women—and finds new friends. She asks questions about how to burp a baby and what are the best nappies. She also watches other young parenting women practice tummy time with their babies and is involved in discussions about child development and how to support a baby’s growth.

Building networks and connections within the Caboolture community has been a focus during this implementation phase. We have learned about vital issues and priorities from young women and their families, such as:

  • building connections and pathways with services
  • responding to domestic and family violence
  • children’s health
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • housing and homelessness.

While the new Caboolture hub is in its early months of operation, the team have already noted the significant impact they are having in the lives of the children, parents and families they are supporting. There is much work to be done, but the future is looking brighter for young women and their families in Caboolture.

Longest-serving volunteer Jamie cutting the cake for Hope Street Café’s first birthday with Hon. Jackie Trad (left) and Maddie (right). Photography: Katie Bennett.

Providing opportunities through social enterprise

This year saw the completion of Micah Projects first funded round of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work (SQW) Project: The Hope Street Social Enterprise—providing training, employment and social inclusion.

Funded through the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, the project ran from March 2017 until May 2018, with a total of 53 enrolments over three intakes.

  • 38 participants attained full or part certification with a total of 20 graduates securing employment.
  • Five project participants re-engaged with education after completion of the program, with another student receiving a Certificate IV traineeship opportunity.
  • Five students were hosted by local West End/South Brisbane businesses for work experience, with four graduates finding employment in the area through local businesses.

Both the Hope Street Café and Hope on Boundary Café played a significant role in supporting trainees to develop their skills beyond TAFE. Tailored training plans were developed for participants with a particular focus on customer service, cash handling, and food and beverage production. The training program was designed to complement and expand TAFE learnings, in real-world cafés that are also safe and supportive learning environments with mentoring provided by hospitality professionals.

As well, the Hope Street Cafés delivered hundreds of hours of supported training to community volunteers.

The completion of the inaugural SQW program culminated in a joint celebration: a graduation ceremony and Hope Street Café’s first birthday party. It was a fantastic evening which demonstrated what makes the social enterprise program so special. Graduates celebrating with their hospitality peers, Micah Projects staff and training partners TAFE Queensland chatting with local community members who support the café with their regular patronage. We were pleased our local member Hon. Jackie Trad joined the party.

The journey for Hope Street Cafe has taken many twists and turns. In our first year of operation our biggest customer was the local development construction crews which saw us sell 14,613 bacon and egg rolls in our first 12 months (40 per day!). Now the construction has come to a close we are focused on engaging with the new residential arrivals in South Brisbane while also continuing to be a welcoming and economically inclusive space for our neighbours in Brisbane Common Ground. We are down to selling a more manageable 100 bacon and egg rolls per week.

In March, Hope on Boundary Café received funding from Brisbane City Council to improve amenities in the café and expand our capacity to provide training, employment and social connection to the local community.

Micah Projects Social Inclusion team ‘The Hive’ has fostered social connection by delivering a quarter of
its programs in conjunction with the Hope Street Cafés. They facilitate a diverse mix of programs including the ever-popular community meal, where
the Hope on Boundary Café served over 300 restaurant-quality meals in a relaxed alfresco setting.

As well as these ongoing programs, ‘The Hive’ have delivered a variety of one-off events, some of which have created economic income for participants. The United Artists Project held group and solo exhibitions across the two cafés, representing 116 artists and selling just under $6,500 worth of art.

John Doherty at the opening of his solo exhibition at the Hope Street Café. Photography: ‘The Hive’

Thanks to the generosity of the Morgans Foundation in supporting the lease of a van, we have expanded our catering service. We now offer event or private catering off-site and with the support of the local unions and other businesses, we’ve seen that aspect of the business grow. Every catering order with us helps to create positive pathways for people who face barriers to employment.

We have high hopes that our next Skilling Queenslanders for Work program will achieve the same outstanding outcomes. We aim to continue creating pathways in the hospitality industry for people while also maintaining our reputation as an active café space helping to create community and break social isolation.

We thank our team, volunteers, partners and the Department of Small Business, Employment and Training for their involvement throughout our first SQW program and we look forward to celebrating our future successes with them.

Read Hope Street Café alumnus Jadene's story

Related:

Inclusive Health and Wellness Centre

GP and Nursing Clinic

310 registered Patients

923 appointments

Dental Clinic

193 refferals

490 appointments

$152,000 in-kind value from Tzu Chi volunteer dentists

Linkages with Mobile Healthcare Van and Community Services

1,670 individuals seen

644 individuals seen (sponsored by Brisbane City Council)

Wellness Program

499 treatments

$40,000 funded by donations

Podiatry

75 patients (co-located 1 day a month)

Inclusive Health
and Wellness Hub

Driven by a vision to ‘overcome health inequality: leaving no one behind’, Inclusive Health Partnerships has consolidated a Health and Wellness Hub providing services in:

  • General Practice (GP) services
  • Dental services
    Wellness services including acupuncture and massage services
  • Podiatry services
  • Women’s health services based on a strategy to address the gaps in healthcare access by women experiencing domestic and family violence.

Designed to support the healthcare of vulnerable populations, this initiative is part of a developing ‘hub and spoke’ healthcare model that takes account of a person’s health in the context of their housing, community connection, and gender and economic status. Partners in this model include the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, Micah Projects’ homelessness, family support and domestic violence support services and the Brisbane City Council funded mobile health service which included seeding funds for the GP and Nursing Clinic. We thank the Brisbane City Council for their continuing support.

Read Scott's story

“What I love about my work is the community we build and the voices we give to those most vulnerable in our society.”

Khloe, ED Frequent Presenters Program.
Staff member for 5 years.

Carlos (Street to Home Support and Advocacy Worker) and Carla (Street to Home After Hours Registered Nurse) providing support and advocacy in Roma Street Parklands. Photography: Katie Bennett.

Brisbane Alliance to End Homelessness continues the collaboration from 500 Lives 500 Homes

In 2017, the 500 Lives 500 Homes campaign came to an end having successfully exceeded its goals. The campaign had seen a coalition of over 30 government and non-government agencies work together in Brisbane to house 580 individual and family households over a period of three years.

The campaign confirmed beyond a doubt that the internationally recognised, evidence-based Housing First principles could be successfully employed in Brisbane and that homelessness is solvable.

Over the three years the 500 Lives 500 Homes campaign was underway, many lessons were learned and insights gained, contributing to a great wealth of knowledge about how to prevent and end homelessness. The campaign also highlighted the power and potential impact that can be realised when organisations work together to deliver a coordinated approach to ending homelessness.

When the campaign came to an end, an alliance of organisations recommitted to the vision of ending homelessness in Brisbane: the Brisbane Alliance to End Homelessness (BAEH).

BAEH via its member organisations in Brisbane is implementing our Housing First Roadmap which allows us to know people who are experiencing homelessness by name, their circumstances and what they need. We do this by use of ‘The Vulnerability Index—Service Prioritisation Decision Assistance Tool’ (VI-SPDAT) developed by OrgCode in the USA.

Micah Projects has recently taken the opportunity to review the VI-SPDAT tool in the Australian context. Our interstate partner Paul Flatau from the Centre for Social Impact, The University of Western Australia (CSI UWA), has assisted us to refine the tool and rebuild a more efficient data base. This allows us to match people to appropriate housing and services.

Professor Paul Flatau and his colleagues from CSI UWA produced a groundbreaking report in May 2018 titled The State of Homelessness in Australia’s Cities: A Health and Social Cost Too High. It represents the first analysis of the consolidated Registry Week data across Australia; data collected during the many local campaigns to end homelessness. This data provides a significant contribution to understanding people experiencing homelessness, especially street homelessness. It is complementary to the Census and national administrative data for homelessness services, the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection.

Through the BAEH, and its national affiliate the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (AAEH) Micah Projects will continue to work collaboratively with fellow organisations, and all levels of government towards our goal of ending homelessness in Brisbane.

 

“What I love about my work is breaking down barriers and judgements around services and assisting people to regain access to things denied to them due to their history: housing, income
and a feeling of safety.”

Westy, Street to Home. Staff member for 10 years.

1,606
people engaged with Lotus Place

1,433 people attended events, participated in group work, or were provided with information

533 people were supported with the Royal Commission

609 individuals were supported through Find and Connect

176 people accessed all three of the above types of support

We were honoured at our last Annual General Meeting to have as our guest speaker Commissioner Bob Atkinson AO APM. Commissioner Atkinson was Queensland’s Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

In its five years, the Royal Commission:

  • held 8,013 private sessions
  • received 25,964 letters and emails
  • held 57 public hearings
  • published 52 research reports
  • released 3 major policy reports
  • made 2,575 referrals to authorities (including police).

The Commissioners delivered their final report of 17 volumes to the Governor General on 15 December, 2017. Bob Atkinson told us that at the beginning of the five year Commission they didn’t actually know if people would come to the newly established private sessions “Would people be prepared to come forward and talk to someone they had never met, about something so deeply hurtful and personal?”

So many people came forward that the Commission was extended from three years to five years.

Commissioner Atkinson said “it was a privilege to listen to what had happened to people during the private sessions. Their courage in coming forward to assist the Royal Commission was very commendable. In doing so they unavoidably had to relive what had happened to them. I was grateful for and impressed by the professional and caring support given to many people by Lotus Place support workers before, during and after their private session hearing.

“It is my view that such compassionate but necessarily professional support is one of the most important aspects for adult survivors of child sexual abuse in assisting them to cope with the ongoing trauma related issues that impact on their quality of life.”

In the last financial year Lotus Place workers supported 533 people to interact with the Commission (up 13% from the previous year of 468 people). Many Lotus Place participants told their story of sexual abuse for the first time, and for those who attended the Royal Commission private sessions, the experience was challenging and reassuring.

Being believed by the Commissioners and their staff assisted in this vital step of the healing journey.

We have a 22 year history at Micah Projects of working with people to seek recognition and validation for their experiences of abuse as children in institutional settings and other out-of-home care.

As the Royal Commission both listened to and validated survivors and advocates it had the power to ensure that the responses of institutions be placed on public record, and that the culture of secrecy and coverup that was silencing victims be ended.

Bob Atkinson concluded his speech at our AGM with a heartfelt call for all of society to be vigilant and share in the responsibility to hold our institutions to account.

“For a child to reach their potential to the full, they need education, food, shelter and so on. But underpinning all that is a need for safety. A child must be safe. It is up to all institutions, and our whole society, to prevent sexual abuse of children and, if it does happen, respond effectively.

“And we must support survivors and their families, their health and wellbeing, their pursuit of acknowledgement, redress and justice.

“Preventing the sexual abuse of children is the responsibility of our whole society—we need to make our country a place that is safe as possible for children and as respectful and supportive as possible for survivors of abuse,” Bob Atkinson.

The voices of people who experienced abuse in institutions and other out-of-home care have been given legitimacy, their persistent efforts are creating justice (as slow as it has been), and they have changed the power imbalance. Institutions of power are now being held to account.

What I love about my work is the positive change we see in people and systems.”

Heidi, Lotus Place.
Staff member for 6 years.

Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council Chair Kay McGrath OAM speaking with a police officer at the Candle Lighting Vigil during Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Month, May 2018. Photography, Katie Bennett.

Brisbane Domestic Violence Service: adapting and improving

Micah Projects has welcomed the opportunity to be an active participant in the implementation of the Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland recommendations aimed at ensuring women and children are safe in the home and in the community.

Micah Projects Brisbane Domestic Violence Service (BDVS) is committed to providing services within an integrated response, specialist domestic violence framework. We do this in collaboration with key stakeholders such as Queensland Police, Queensland Health, DV Connect, Law Courts, Women’s Legal Service, Women’s refuges, homelessness services and the many community advocates who are passionate about making a difference. BDVS and the Brisbane Regional Department of Communities, Child and Family are working together to create opportunities for integration in Brisbane.

BDVS is organised to maximise a continuum of services from crisis and immediate safety through to recovery and stability in the home and community. To do so we have been continually refining how our service is organised, particularly in co-responding with police so as to maximise women and children’s safety 24/7.

However, our ability to continue to support women through the full impact of domestic violence is greatly limited. The demand for services far outweighs the current investment. The capacity of our staff to provide the full range of services within adequate time-frames, so as to manage both risk and needs and to ensure safety and quality of life, is limited by funding. Not by our vision and aspiration to do so.

Our commitment to gender equality is demonstrated through our ongoing community education to prevent domestic violence through raising awareness, partnering with community advocates and supporting women with lived experience to have a voice in the community.

It is critical that we continue to learn and adapt to working within an integrated response while maintaining our core vision to work in partnership with women for their and their children’s safety and protection.

We have to walk the path of developing a system while being a responsive service in step with the diversity of experience and needs of women and children. We have to be focused on the fact that women’s equality is part of the solution to ending violence against women. Wherever we work, live or enjoy our friends and family, understanding our contribution to women’s inequality and experience of violence is critical to bringing about change in relationships and in the community.

We affirm our commitment to adapting and improving our responses in Brisbane city to create this change. The loss of life and of freedoms of women and their children due to violence is unacceptable.

Micah Projects acknowledges the leadership, investment and commitment of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Minister Di Farmer, Attorney General Yvette D’Ath and all other stakeholders in government and community in the implementation of the ‘Not Now, Not Ever’ report by Dame Quentin Bryce.

Young Mothers for Young Women

139
families received targeted support

93 women with
104 children accessed
125 groups

273 women received antenatal care across
283 clinics through the Mater Young Mothers Partnership Program

24 women accessed
34 appointments across
26 co-located GP clinics (women’s health and contraception)

23 women accessed
32 appointments across
18 Centrelink community outreach clinics

Wellspring Children and Families’ Hub

The latest in the network of Wellspring service locations received a long overdue face-lift. The hub works with vulnerable families with children 0–5, building their capacity to care for and protect their children.

After many years of planning and preparation, the renovation of the first floor of Wellspring Hawthorne was completed. This multi-purpose space allows the full vision of this site to be realised—a place that recognises the importance of working with both parents and children together and provides tailored services for the critical needs of children in families experiencing crisis. We thank Education Queensland for funding the renovation.

Families accessing the hub may be experiencing the effects of homelessness or domestic violence or other issues that impact on a family’s life, such as child protection, family law and justice. Services offered through the hub are focussed on early intervention. The hub works to connect and support families and equip them with the information and tools to provide a healthy and safe home, support their children’s development, and engage in their community.

Families and children can access holistic planned family support, quality early childhood education and care, and evidence based parent-child groups.

The fully licenced and accredited childcare facility allows families to have their children participate in a play-based learning program while parents access support, attend appointments or address crises. It reduces significant barriers to child care for vulnerable families and provides a welcoming and nurturing environment that supports children’s development and learning. This allows us to provide a dual generation response, considering and responding to the needs of both parents and children.

The recently renovated space offers further opportunities for community-based early childhood health and development screening and other visiting specialist services. It also serves to strengthen networks and service linkages for families, across health, legal, income, training and education support.

Wellspring Hub for Children and Families is a place where families can come together to learn, be listened to, and interact with other families and with their children, in a supportive and positive environment. We work to ensure every family is supported to give their child/ren the best start in life.

Read Peer Worker Steff's story

“What I love about my work is the community, creativity and company of the babies, children and young women
I interact with daily.”

Chrissy, Young Mothers for Young Women. Staff member for 14 months.

Micah Projects and partner organisation representatives celebrating Pathways’ achievements.

Pathways – Hospital Admission and Discharge Service Pilot Project completed

The Pathways Hospital Admission and Discharge Service was a pilot project located in the Home for Good Housing and Homelessness Hub and funded over four years by the Queensland Department of Health. The pilot was completed on 30th June 2018, but the lessons and strategies will continue.

The integration of clinical care with housing and homelessness services has proved to be an effective strategy to improve outcomes for individuals, whilst creating effective referral pathways to improve service system responses.

464 people were referred from hospitals and important outcomes were delivered to those who received longer-term intensive support and health care.

Micah Projects appreciates the partnerships with St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane (lead agency), Brisbane North Hospital and Health Service (HHS), Brisbane South HHS, and key personnel within partner hospitals who supported and championed the program. A full list of partners and funders is located here. Micah Projects will continue to advocate for funding for this model of community-based integrated care.

 

Related

A public dance celebration of strength and resistance, coordinated by Vulcana Women’s Circus, WaW Dance and NIA Australia, March 2018. Image kindly provided by Cr Vicki Howard.

2017–18
Fundraising Highlights

July 2017–June 2018

  • BDO Australia’s Brisbane office and Staff Workplace Giving Program raised funds throughout the year to support our programs.

August 2017

  • St Laurence’s College held their Annual Walkathon and raised funds to support Homelessness and Housing.
  • Rugby League Brisbane’s ‘Women in League’ raised funds to support Brisbane Domestic Violence Service.
  • Brisbane Boys College Basketball held their Annual Alumni game and raised funds to support Homelessness and Housing.

September 2017

November 2017

December 2017

March 2018

  • Zonta Club of Brisbane held their Collective Giving event to raise funds to support Young Mothers for Young Women.
  • Datacom raised funds to support Brisbane Domestic Violence Service.

April 2018

  • Crowbar Entertainment—Luke Henery held a photographic exhibition titled ‘Everybody Deserves a Home’ and raised funds to support our programs.

May 2018

June 2018