As part of the two-year grant under the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery grants program, Save the Children is partnering with local councils and community partners in East Gippsland, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla, MidCoast and Snowy Valleys to address the social recovery and resilience needs of vulnerable children.
Save the Children will deliver four services across the regions for children and young people, families and community.
- Mobile Play2Learn: supported playgroups for children under five and their caregivers in Snowy Valleys and East Gippsland;
- Journey of Hope: an in-school psychosocial support program for children of all ages and self-care workshops for their caregivers in Eurobodalla, Mid Coast and Shoalhaven;
- Mobile Youth Outreach: after-school programming, assertive outreach and community events to foster safe, inclusive spaces for children and young people to gather; and
- Everyday Positive Play: trauma-informed training that builds the capacity of local organisations and practitioners working in bushfire impacted communities and leaving them with the skills and knowledge to apply this learning in future practice.
Aligned with national bushfire recovery principles, Save the Children’s response is driven by local recovery needs identified by children and young people, as well as informed by community consultations with councils and local organisations.
Collaborating with local providers is essential for responses that are inclusive of children’s unique needs and vulnerabilities. Community recovery is more effective when children participate as key stakeholders in the planning process, and the project partners share this belief and what this means for recovering communities and populations.
Save the Children Australia Director for NSW, VIC and SA, Catherine Harris, said the funding will provide long-term, trauma-informed support for families affected by the devastating bushfires.
“Ongoing recovery support for bushfire-affected families is critical, especially given the increase in climate-related disasters in Australia,” she said.
“Experiencing a disaster can have harrowing long-term impacts on children’s emotional wellbeing, especially if they do not receive the right support.
“By listening to the community, we know there is an urgent need for additional recovery services for children, young people and families.
“With more extreme and catastrophic weather events expected to hit Australia as the climate crisis worsens, the need for such services will only grow.
“We need to ensure that children’s needs are prioritised alongside other essential services in future emergencies.”
As Australia’s leading child rights organisation, Save the Children is an experienced provider of disaster recovery and resilience services across Australia. Over the Black Summer of 2020, Save the Children observed first-hand children’s unique vulnerabilities during emergencies. Floods, heatwaves, and a pandemic have followed. Save the Children has responded to these disasters across the country, assisting more than 6,000 children and their families during the response, mobilised through the rapid set up of Child Friendly Spaces and during recovery through the Journey of Hope Program.
This work in Australia during 2020-2021 demonstrated the positive outcomes of child-focussed, collaborative, emergency planning for children, their families and their broader communities. A partnership with the Mid Coast Council of Taree, NSW, led to significantly improved child-friendly flood responses by including children's insights in emergency preparedness and planning.
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Notes to editors:
- This project received grant funding from the Australian Government.
- Save the Children is set to deliver the following programs:
- Mobile Play2Learn: Supported playgroups for children 0-5 and their carers to foster children's psychosocial development, facilitate school readiness and build parenting capacity for carers.
- Journey of Hope: School-based psychosocial support for children 4-18 and carers to build healthy coping skills, instil a sense of hope, and empower children to respond to future challenges.
- Mobile Youth Outreach: Assertive outreach and early intervention for at-risk young people 8-18, providing safe and accessible spaces for young people to connect and be heard.
- Everyday Positive Play: Trauma informed, child-centred training for local organisations and practitioners, ensuring the community is equipped to respond to the recovery needs of children.
- Save the Children will partner with Reclink Australia and Resilience NSW to deliver the services.
- Save the Children Australia has also engaged with 372 children and young people in Victoria and NSW through our child participation program ‘Our Voice’ to ensure the views of children are heard during the critical phases of post-bushfire recovery.