Equipping families to prosper

When Lisa* was contacted by the Department of Human Services, she was left feeling “surprised”. She had recently left an abusive relationship of 18 years and was granted an intervention order against her former partner. Emotions at home were running high as Lisa’s children were left feeling confused following the separation.

Lisa and her family were referred to Baptcare’s Integrated Family Services (IFS) program, which offers practical support, information, advice, and opportunities to develop skills in parenting and household management to vulnerable families experiencing difficulties.

“When (the Baptcare IFS case worker) Sarah* came, I was quite upset and really angry with the DHS report, but from that point on she became a real anchor,” Lisa said, adding “(Sarah) had seen me at my worst but there was no judgement – she was able to help me find that safe place even in my anguish.”

Through the IFS program, Lisa was able to set personal goals as well as reshape her parenting skills. With Sarah’s guidance, Lisa was supported with crisis intervention, referrals and parenting strategies. Lisa was also linked with various government funded family services, services she credits as “helping us get back on our feet” and was also provided with pastoral care through Baptcare.

“After the separation I felt very vulnerable and fragile… but I feel so much more empowered now and know that I can stand on my own two feet and be a role model for my kids,” Lisa said.

“I hadn’t worked in 20 years, but I have two jobs now and just having that dignity to do my own thing is amazing.

“As part of the (parenting) classes I’ve attended I also know when I have to take care of myself and the effects of that if I don’t. When I struggle with the kids’ behaviour, I now try and see the world through their eyes and think of strategies to put in place when they misbehave.”

Baptcare IFS case worker, Sarah said while it was quite an emotional period for Lisa, she commended the mum for being committed to herself and her family.

“It’s about empowerment and meeting each other half way,” Sarah said.

A year later, Lisa has now created a safe space for her children and uses a strengths based approach to maintain a positive environment at home. She is now working towards a full-time job and saving for a family holiday.

“I see the difference of who I was then and how I present myself now – there are always going to be tough times but we’re moving forward and focusing on the bigger picture,” Lisa said.

“Having Sarah there was to be honest a blessing – she believed in me and that was huge for me.”

* Names changed for privacy and confidentiality

Contact: Annemarie Watt

Phone: 0428 063 664