Having hope – a belief that things can get better – is an essential ingredient for people to move from crisis to thriving. Optimism is one of YFS’ values, and it’s a quality YFS staff demonstrate every day in their work.
In 2018-19, following a positive evaluation of our Sure Steps family coaching pilot project by the Parenting Research Centre, the Department of Housing and Public Works extended our partnership. This enabled our Sure Steps coaches to continue to help families living in public housing learn about child development and build on their plans to give their children the best start possible in life. Sure Steps uses a goal-oriented approach focusing on parents’ self-identified priorities, which emerging research shows leads to strong engagement and good outcomes.
In April-May 2019, our Beaudesert Domestic and Family Violence Service hosted a group for mothers who have experienced domestic violence and wanted to strengthen their relationships with their children. The group gave mothers an opportunity to meet other mothers and share their challenges in a safe environment. They also learned activities to do with their children to rebuild relationships damaged by trauma. The service works with children and their mothers to rebuild the hope and trust eroded by domestic and family violence.
We linked with the youth service Open Doors during 2018-19 to support their work with LGBTIQ young people in our region. Open Doors is providing outreach in Logan from a base at YFS, linking with young people who are struggling with gender, sexuality or other issues.
In July 2018, our CEO Cath Bartolo and Substation33 Manager Tony Sharp attended the Future Logan forum at Griffith University. They joined some of the city’s brightest minds to talk about upcoming opportunities, which really reinforced why we should all be positive about Logan’s future.
Our R4Respect youth ambassadors continued to shine. Their work in changing young people’s attitudes to gender and violence was recognised with several youth ambassadors appointed to high profile national and state advisory committees. In 2018-19, R4Respect reached more than 3,000 people face to face and almost 170,000 online.
R4Respect will launch Men4Respect, a project targeting young men to change attitudes that drive violence against women.
YFS will provide space in our 16Central facility for a drop-in group hosted by Open Doors and diversionary activities organised by YFS and ATSICHS as part of the Coordinated Response to Youth Justice.
Learning how to influence young people’s behaviour
R4Respect worked with the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) on a research project investigating young people as agents of change in preventing violence against women. Researchers assessed the impact of respectful relationships education workshops delivered by the R4Respect youth team.
The research found that peer-led interventions were effective in engaging young people on sensitive topics. The study found that 92% of youth participants agreed that it was helpful to have young people leading the learning on respectful relationships. 86% agreed they learned things in the program that would help them act with greater respect in the future.
The research noted that young men’s attitudes towards gender equality remain difficult to shift, leading R4Respect to design a new approach to working with young men in 2019-20 called Men4Respect.
Several YFS teams currently measure their impact on people’s positivity about the future. For example the graph at right depicts changes for families working with our Step by Step family support team, measured using a tool called the Parental Empowerment and Efficacy Measure.
Our Youthlink and ParentsNext teams can demonstrate improvements in motivation, confidence and aspiration, and our financial capability hub staff note increased empowerment and sense of control among clients.
We are keen to understand our impact on people’s levels of optimism and confidence for the future. From the start of July 2019, as part of our organisational outcomes measurement, YFS staff will ask all clients when we finish whether they are more hopeful about the future now than when they first came to YFS.
Positive view of children’s future
(based on a ten point scale)
Sense that there is more to enjoy than worry about
(based on a 10 point scale)
Meet optimistic parents Tony and Jaimee
Jaimee and Tony connected with YFS’ Intensive Family Support program last year, soon after their son Michael had been assessed by a speech therapist. The couple had been worrying about delays in his speech and the related frustrations were affecting their relationship.
“Now that I have support, I’ve learned to do things to occupy my mind. It’s making me a better parent and a better partner,” Jaimee says.