Learning | Growing | Thriving

Meet confident mum Larissa

Larissa and her two children, aged under eight years, were living on the streets of the Gold Coast when they first made contact with YFS.

Larissa had left her social housing in Logan and fled to her home town after a series of neighbourhood events left her concerned about her family’s safety.

“I had to move out and we stayed with my sister near Logan at first, but that didn’t work out,” Larissa said.

“I tried to move back to the Gold Coast but because I had housing in Logan, the housing shelters there recommended for me to go back home and come to YFS. So that’s what I did.”

As soon as Larissa contacted YFS, our intake and assessment service, YFS Connect, quickly referred her to our Housing 1st team.

Straight away, the team found Larissa and her family emergency accommodation. They soon established that Larissa could return to her Department of Housing premises if her safety concerns were worked out.

That’s when our Sure Steps family coaches stepped in.

They help families in social housing overcome tenancy issues and create environments where children can thrive.

Since then, Larissa has been working with Louise, one of our Sure Steps family coaches.

With Louise’s support, Larissa felt comfortable to move back into her property.

“We’ve been supporting Larissa all the way to sort out her neighbourhood issues,” Louise said. “She’s managed to set up privacy and security boundaries – she’s done a great job.”

Thanks to Sure Steps and some counselling provided by our Step by Step team, Larissa now has the confidence to maintain her new boundaries.

In particular, Larissa has learned to be clear about times when her visitors need to leave, so her children can settle for the night.

“It takes her forever for my older child to get to bed,” Larissa said. “When other people were at our home, she wanted to stay up longer. She’s only in Prep so I couldn’t let that happen anymore. She has to sleep as much as she can.

“I used to not have the confidence to stand up to people. Now, I don’t take any nonsense. My children’s safety is my top priority.”

Larissa’s newfound strength is due to a number of factors, according to her coach.

“I’ve been really impressed with Larissa’s willingness to take on information, advice and strategies,” Louise said.

“She’s been a dream to work with. She’s been very open to discussing new ways of approaching her problems.”

Today, Larissa is helping out the Bump program at The Family Place, sharing what she has learned with other Logan mums.

Find out more about Sure Steps on the YFS website: www.yfs.org.au/services/families-with-children.