Foundations to Flourish

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  • Foundations to Flourish

    Providing Therapeutic Transitions to Schools for Children

    who have Experienced Trauma

    Presenters:Angela KretzProgram Co-ordinator Act for Kids Wooloowin

    Marina Ringma-McLarenEarly Intervention TeacherAct for Kids Wooloowin

  • Reviewing the Problem - Child Abuse & Neglect

    Who are Act for Kids & what do they do?

    Theories underpinning practice

    What is Trauma?

    Early Education Program Key Focus Areas

    Transitioning from EEP to Prep


    Presentation Overview

  • Child Abuse and Neglect

    Child abuse and neglect is one of Australias

    biggest and most misunderstood social

    problems. Despite being under-reported,

    Australian authorities confirmed 40,844

    children were abused or neglected between

    2013- 2014

    Harm is defined in legislation as detrimental

    effect of a significant nature on the childs

    physical, psychological or emotional


    Child abuse is typically categorised as

    Physical, Emotional, Sexual, and Neglect.

    Abuse is usually a pattern of behaviour; rarely

    the result of a single incident

    The effects of child abuse and neglect can be

    significant and lead to lifelong problems.

    Impact brain development

    Hippocampus memory function

    Pre-frontal Cortex learning

    Corpus Callosum LB/RB connection

    Impact physical development

    Overall growth - malnutrition

    Impairment of fine/gross motor skills

    Impact social/emotional development

    Language delays

    Inability to form attachments

    In the long term it can lead to drug and alcohol

    abuse, mental illness, difficulty developing and

    maintaining healthy relationships,

    unemployment and all sorts of social


    The outcomes for children if someone takes

    action to protect them can be overwhelmingly


    With early and appropriate support, children and

    young people can overcome their experiences.

    Its also true that with the right kind of support

    parents can often change their behaviour,

    routines and environment to provide a safe and

    caring home for their children.

  • How big is the problem?

    In 2013-2014 there were 304,094 notifications of suspected abuse or neglect

    reported to Australian protection authorities; one child every two minutes

    In 2013-14, 40,844 Australian kids suffered abuse and neglect*. Thats one

    child every 13 minutes suffering abuse or neglect.

    94% of abused kids are harmed by someone they know and should be able to


    83% of the kids we see are harmed by a natural parent

    Over half of the parents we engage with report they too were abused as


    Child abuse costs the Australian economy at least $10.7 billion*

    Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Child protection Australia 2013-14. Child welfare series no. 61. Cat. No.

    CWS 52. Canberra: AIHW.

  • About Act for KidsAct for Kids is an Australian not-for-profit charity providing free professional therapy and family support

    services to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.

    Established as the Abused Child Trust in 1988, we have been helping Australian families keep their children

    safe for more than 27 years. During that time we have grown from one part-time therapist to a team of over

    300 providing services state-wide and interstate.

    In 2008, at the ripe old age of 20, we changed our name to Act for Kids to better reflect our broader range of

    services, and to share a positive call to action across communities.

    Our Purpose

    To prevent and treat child abuse and


    Our Vision

    All kids have a safe and happy childhood, free from abuse and


    Our Values

    We are a professional, ethical team who is caring, courageous and collaborative.

  • Act for Kids Services


    Provision of

    individual and

    family therapy

    utilising a variety of



    practice across


    team & stakeholder




    Connects families to

    community services(IFS/RAI)

    Early intervention

    counselling, coaching

    & psycho-education

    for children & families

    provided within the



    ServicesThe SafeKIDS

    Program is a


    between Traditional

    Owners and Act for

    Kids, and aims to

    keep kids in their

    local community

  • Act for Kids Services Cont.


    Services EEP



    program - grade 1

    kids (LTBSWEAF)


    therapeutic support



    EducationTrauma informed


    Government &



  • ACT For Kids - WooloowinAct for Kids Wooloowin

  • ACT for Kids Objectives

    To work with children and young people (0-17) who have experienced trauma as a consequence of abuse and/or neglect.

    To engage with their families and/or carers around family functioning, communication, parenting, and the impact of abuse and trauma on child well-being and safety.

    To provide holistic integrated interventions that utilizes assessments and therapy to achieve identified goals and outcomes for families, their children and young people.

    To work with children and their relevant stakeholders to improve their social, emotional and educational development.

    To enhance community education, assessments and interventions through training and workshops

    Service Objectives

  • Attachment Theory: helps us to understand human

    relationship development from pre-birth onwards

    throughout the life span.

    Trauma Theory: helps us understand the neurobiological

    and psychological impact of abuse and neglect on the


    Developmental Theory: helps us understand typical

    development and development under adversity

    Theories Underpinning Practice

  • Our earliest experiences are physical/sensory in


    Infants are wired to engage in social relationships

    Infants cries and behaviours are designed to engage

    the attention, care and concern of those close around them.

    Attachment relationship is something that children and

    caregivers create together in an ongoing reciprocal way.

    The quality of the attachment between an infant & parent

    is strongly associated with the infants language development.

    Attachment Theory

  • There is no such thing as a baby,

    there is a baby AND someone (Donald Winnicott)

  • Trauma is any event that overwhelms the

    infant or childs capacity to cope.

    What is Trauma?

    Complex trauma however:

    involves multiple incidents over a period of time

    is grounded in relational connections which

    involve isolation, shame and disconnection

    impacts on the persons sense of self in relation to


    impacts upon the childs development

  • Children are more vulnerable

    to trauma than adults because

    they have had limited

    experiences of facing and

    overcoming challenges in

    their life.

    Understanding Trauma?

    Their bodies and minds are still developing.

  • Trauma occurs when an event is so frightening it

    causes a prolonged alarm reaction, where the body

    is primed and pumped with chemicals and

    enzymes such as adrenaline and does not calm

    down for a long time. In any person, this creates an

    altered neurological state.

    Trauma Response

    Children exposed to significant threat will reset their

    baseline state of arousal, such that even at baseline

    when no external threats or demands are present they

    will be in a physiological state of persisting alarm.

    Bruce Perry

  • Hyperarousal (Sympathetic nervous system)

    (separation anxiety, hyper-vigilent, low thresholds, emotional meltdowns)

    Window of Tolerance

    Just Right Zone

    We can think and feel at the same time

    Hypoarousal (Parasympathetic)

    (Flat affect, shut down, passive aggressive, appears sluggish)

    Emotional Regulation

  • The brain is at its most plastic in early


    In childhood, there is the greatest

    vulnerability to harm but also the

    greatest potential for healing.


  • Early Education Program Kindy The teacher & teacher aide are funded by Education Queensland

    2 groups Kindy 2-3 years of age; Pre-Prep 4-5 years of age

    Focus is on developing social/emotional skills & school readiness

    Multidisciplinary approach utilised within the EEP environment

    Education & Prevention

  • LCCH schoolEducation


    Act for Kids

    Early Education Program

    Working in Partnership

  • Early Education Program Who can attend?

    Open case with Child



    Engaged with the Intensive

    Family Support

    Prior history of

    abuse, neglect and /or trauma

    At high risk due to

    developmental, social and emotional


    Currently in foster

    placement or being


    Need support to att