BRIGHT FUTURES

Bright Futures – Children’s Specialist Support Service

Bright Futures provides enhanced case management and/or group work responses to children whose families are accessing Homelessness and/or Family Violence Services in the North West Metropolitan Region of Melbourne. Bright Futures offers 3 streams of support to children and young people.

  1. Assessment and development of a case plan
  2. Enhanced Case Management
  3. Therapeutic Group Work

Stream 1: Assessment and Case Planning

All referrals to the Bright Futures team will enter through Stream 1. In collaboration with the referring agency, the team will conduct an assessment with the child or young person (and caregiver) and develop a case plan specific to their needs.

  • If specific support needs, which cannot be met by the referring agency, have been identified, the child or young person will enter Stream 2 – Enhanced Case Management.
  • If support needs may be met by the referring agency, the Bright Futures team will organise a hand-over to go through the case plan with the client, parent/caregiver and referring agency.

Stream 2: Enhanced Case Management

Bright Futures offers enhanced case management for children and young people by providing specialist support to meet the needs identified in their case plan. Enhanced case management involves meeting with families and the client once a week to once a fortnight, depending on need.

The goals of enhanced case management include:

  • Intensive support that is focused on social, recreational, health and educational support needs.
  • Identification and linkages into appropriate services.
  • Supporting positive interactions with peers and family.
  • Minimisation of anxiety and stress related tension caused by various traumatic experiences.
  • Advocacy on the rights of children and young people to access services within their community.

Enhanced case management support is provided for 3 – 6 months.

Stream 3: Group Work Program

The Bright Futures group work program is a therapeutic creative arts group that provides space away from some of the more stressful times that children may have encountered through their experience of homelessness and/or family violence. Therapeutic methods such as art, drama, games and small group discussions are used to create an atmosphere that feels safe and relaxed. Groups explore specific issues faced by participants including family dynamics, understanding and managing strong emotions, looking after oneself, identifying hopes and dreams and strengths.

The goals of the program include:

  • Increasing positive peer interaction
  • Enhancing and building confidence and self-esteem
  • Reducing challenging behavioural issues
  • Alleviating anxiety and stress related tension
  • Reducing Isolation

Why do group work?

For children from homeless families there is often not much time for fun and ‘time out’ due to the difficulties of moving around and changing schools. Bright Futures aims to provide a safe space where children can have some special time away from all of this. The use of creative arts offers limitless potential in working non-verbally through issues that may be too hard to verbally express. Through exploring issues in a non-threatening way children’s interactions with themselves and others can begin to be restored and strengthened. Most of all groups can be a positive way for children to gain support after living in a difficult situation.

Groups can be tailored to suit the needs of particular agencies or locations. Contact Bright Futures for further enquires.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Children aged between 0 -18 years, accompanying their families who are accessing Homelessness Support or Family Violence Services
  • Living in the North and West Metropolitan area of Melbourne

Contact details:

For further information or to make a referral please contact the Bright Futures team on 9359 5493 or on brightfutures@merri.org.au