BUSHkids Annual Report 2019-20

ANNUAL REPORT 2019–2020 SECTION TOPIC 52 HERVEY BAY • MOUNT ISA LOCATIONS Hervey Bay (Maryborough) • ECEI The Fraser Coast BUSHkids service centre started the 2019–20 Financial Year strongly in community engagement and capacity- building, working with parents and childcare centres to connect them with Autism Queensland and Initial Support Services and are bridging the gap. We participate in the Early Years Network , connected with the Queensland Health Child Development Service and the Early Childhood Development Programs (ECDP) in Maryborough and Hervey Bay. To break down barriers and work in collaboration with services in a family-focused way, we were invited to use the rooms at ECDP for a period of time before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. The pandemic’s limitations presented an unprecedented set of challenges to the community and local services but our Fraser Coast operation was able to quickly adapt and continued to provide services to our families. We moved to WFH and noticed an increased need for families to connect with services, having longer consultation sessions and the need of providing a space for parents to connect with their key worker, debrief and seek support in a time of significant stress and struggles. COVID-19 did not stop us from participating in the National Simultaneous Storytime 2020 using an online platform, dressing up as ‘Chicken Divas’ and reading, singing and dancing with the children in their living rooms or childcare centres. We introduced an intake process to triage children at risk, children in Out-of-Home Care, and children either under the age of one or over the age of five to ensure that these groups receive immediate support which is required to meet their needs. Hervey Bay • Case study 1: ECEI Getting Jackson* NDIS teleHealth Jackson is a four-year-old with a history of gastrointestinal problems. He has had numerous surgeries and has an extreme sensory disorder. He wasn’t able to eat solids and had to be bottle fed. He also has severe anxiety and was not able to leave the home, attend childcare and had difficulty attending health appointments. As well as providing general information about toileting, playgroups and community supports that could help Jackson, the BUSHkids ECEI team in Hervey Bay conducted a functional assessment and helped prepare an NDIS plan for funding and capacity-building assistance. Jackson’s mum has a very limited support network and was using her key worker as a ‘sounding board’ for her thoughts and processes, seeing BUSHkids as a strong support and someone she could turn to whenever she needed help. We supported her through the NDIS application process and linked her with local service providers that could help. BUSHkids also demonstrated to Jackson’s mum the benefits of teleHealth and the flexibility it offers, and showed her how to choose quality therapy providers. Jackson is now linked with a teleHealth team in Brisbane who provide the very specialist support he needs. Jackson’s mum recently contacted BUSHkids and provided very positive feedback about the support she received from our Hervey Bay ECEI team and her overall NDIS experience. Hervey Bay • Case study 2: ECEI Helping twins overcome their anxiety Two four-year-old twin brothers, Zac* and David* were referred to the BUSHkids Hervey Bay ECEI team with significant social anxiety problems. Their acute anxiety was preventing them socialising with other kids and restricting their ability to communicate, play and learn. Their BUSHkids key worker conducted a functional assessment and engaged with the wider BUSHkids team, including SP and Social Worker, to establish their needs and provide initial supports. The team’s observations were provided to Zac and David’s mum with strategies to help them develop and to support access to the NDIS. BUSHkids helped their mum through the application process and linked her with the supports the boys needed. Mum has said how happy she was with the funding and supports received from BUSHkids and that the boys are now progressing well. Hervey Bay • Case study 3: ECEI A new start for Karen* and Anna* Karen came to BUSHkids for help with her six-year-old daughter Anna. Karen herself had an undiagnosed disability for which she wasn’t receiving support and, during interviews with her BUSHkids key worker, Karen disclosed she was the victim of ongoing domestic violence (DV). Our key worker realised that if Anna was to be assisted it was her mum that needed to be helped in the first place. The key worker developed a safety plan with Karen and referred her to local DV services that could provide immediate support. The key worker followed up with Karen, providing her with a safe word/phrase she could use to request help and identified her safety network, the people she knew who could help her. It was also clear Karen needed support for her own disability before Anna could be helped, and she was referred to the NDIS Access Request Team (ART) team to gain NDIS support for herself. Karen subsequently left her abusive relationship, taking out a Domestic Violence Order against her former partner, and with the help of Relationship Australia was able to gain access to help with mediation and parenting. BUSHkids continued to support Karen, providing further information about community supports for Anna and how to establish a diagnosis that could give her daughter access to more long-term supports. Karen and Anna have since moved to a different area to be closer with their family and community networks and Anna has started at a new school. Karen contacted BUSHkids to let us know how much she appreciated the wide-ranging assistance provided to her and Anna during such a difficult time, and how they are now. Throughout this difficult year the Mount Isa team maintained regular contact with key community organisations and networks– including participating in the Local Level Alliance where local services that support vulnerable families with children meet to ensure that they are receiving the right support at the right time. This connection led to BUSHkids attending a community meeting to address truancy concerns in the community and to link with other support services. The team also progressed the development of collaborative partnerships with the local services Gidgee Healing , Save the Children and the Ngukuthati Family and Child Centre to support vulnerable and isolated families. https://bit.ly/35UViwR

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