Foundation House, Brunswick, Australia
Historically, the South Sudanese-Australian (SSA) Community has not generally accessed trauma counselling despite their prearrival experiences. The community’s sense of safety and belonging, fundamental to overcoming trauma, has been challenged by an increasingly hostile social environment fuelled by negative media coverage and opportunistic political campaigns. There have also been high levels of family disintegration.
In 2017, with some young people engaged in the juvenile justice system and high rates of recidivism, Victoria Police approached Foundation House with concerns that mainstream services were not adequately responding to the needs of families.
Foundation House has expanded its trauma-informed community engagement approach to support South Sudanese-Australians’ settlement needs through more intensive work with services, systems, individuals and families.
A team, including bi-cultural professionals, is informed by the Foundation House Integrated Trauma Recovery Service Model and the Framework for Community Capacity Building to inform ways of strengthening the capacity of services and systems and better engage with young people and their families. This is done through:
• delivering effective interventions (e.g., advocacy, warm referrals, psychoeducation, counselling, group work) to support the young person and their family’s integration into the wider community
• providing trauma informed training and secondary consults to services that deliver support to young people and their families. Critical to the roles is listening to the needs of young people. The workers will draw on participatory-action research methodology to reflect on the effectiveness of their roles, incorporating the perspectives of young people and families.
At the time of writing this abstract, the roles have just commenced. By March 2019 the presenters will be able to report on key learnings and the way in which the roles have developed and evolved, as well as further recommendations for ongoing support for this particular cohort of young people and their families.