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Supported accommodation

Providing timely support and accommodation to families during pregnancy and infancy to ensure children have a safe and healthy start to life.
 

Providing safe and supportive accommodation for mothers and their babies in South Australia

For families living in remote communities, becoming pregnant and creating a safe space for a new baby can be a stressful time. Expectant mothers may have to travel to big towns to give birth, separating them from their families and support networks. Safe and secure housing in regional centres often remains out of reach, and when women are also experiencing complex challenges such as family violence or child protection, things can become overwhelming.

That's why, in early 2017, Save the Children – with the support of local health and community agencies – opened a new supported accommodation service for pregnant women or mothers with newborns and young infants in the Ceduna area.

Why caring for babies, mothers, and families is so important

Across Australia, progress towards closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is stalling and, in some cases, going backwards. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children are dying at twice the rate of other Australian children1.

Additionally, when new parents don’t receive the support they need to care for newborns and young children at home, it can negatively impact those children for the rest of their life. Barriers to vital services, insecure accommodation, or other challenges during pregnancy or in the first few years can create lasting impacts making effective interventions during this period critical to creating generational change. Investment in those early years – particularly in the first 1000 days of life – is the best way to combat disadvantage in the long term.

Giving new parents the supportive environment they need to bring their children into the world, and care for them in the critical early days, can change the health outcomes for both children and mothers, and impact life decisions made by young families as they embark on the journey of parenthood.

Save the Children’s Supported Accommodation program

Located in a quiet area of Ceduna, our accommodation is fully furnished, with a shared kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities.  Families can engage with us independently or may be referred to the program by other community service providers.

Families receive practical support with meal planning, hygiene, washing clothes and other household tasks. They can get help with sleeping, feeding, care and attachment. And they can access information on parenting programs and become more aware about the importance of early childhood development.

We also address barriers such as inadequate housing or money issues. And we coordinate local services to deliver professional healthcare, parenting support, early childhood and broader family support services to families with young children in the area.

Thank you for accepting me into this loving home. Like a family I never had, you reminded me that safety and happiness are never far away.

An expectant mother escaping an abusive relationship.

How we know we're making a difference

We care for women who are either pregnant or have young children and are facing complex challenges. The program supports primarily Aboriginal families experiencing intersecting disadvantage, including domestic and family violence, child neglect, financial vulnerability, acute and chronic health conditions, and homelessness. These families stay with us for three to five months, with parents gaining the confidence and skills to care for and support their children. After they transition to sustainable accommodation, we continue to provide outreach support to help them access services and parenting assistance that support their children’s wellbeing, help them protect themselves and build a stronger future.

We strive to achieve the best outcomes for families upon exiting Supported Accommodation, including:

  • Families are safely and sustainably housed – demonstrated by 80% improvement in client housing outcomes upon exit.

  • Families are connected to community and are using relevant health and community services – demonstrated by 93% improvements in clients using health services.

  • Families are using new life skills to improve health, wellbeing, and financial security – demonstrated by 88% significant improvements for clients in responsive caregiving.2

Save the Children would like to thank the past and present supporters of this program, including SA Housing Authority, Country SA Primary Health Network, South Australian Department for Human Services, and the Department for Social Services.
 
1 https://ctgreport.niaa.gov.au/child-mortality
2 Client data from 2019-20 financial year.
Banner image: Tim Standing/Save the Children

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