Innovative BCYF program empowers young mums

BCYF (Barwon, Child, Youth and Family) has revolutionised the way it supports new parents with a complete suite of innovative programs to support young mothers with their transition to parenthood.

Bubs to Tots has been running for the past two years and is designed for mothers (up to 24 years) of children in the 1-2 year age group.

With the support of nurturing facilitators, this program brings young mothers and their children together on a regular basis to promote socialisation with peers and to help give mothers confidence with their parenting.

The program promotes parent child attachment and healthy relationships through play based activities and assists parents with managing and enjoying the toddler years.

Bubs to Tots is a result of the state government funding as part of the Roadmap for Reform: children and families.

The then Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the sector, designed a new funding model to:

  • enable a more seamless and continuous service system
  • enable wrap-around support for clients
  • set up the system to use evidence-based practices and programs and outcomes-focused performance management

BCYF used this funding to ensure there was a focus on early intervention.

BCYF Manager Family & Community Services, Toni Gauntlett said it was important to ensure families were supported early on in their pregnancies and parenthood.

“What we’ve seen in the first year is that families are doing it tough,” she said.

“As the years go on, we see much more complexity within families.

“We really wanted to focus on getting to families before those struggles happened, and equipping families with the answers and the information and the resources they need so they can manage those complexities within the family with the support of their community.”

‘Bubs to Tots’ is a continuation of ‘Bumps to Bubs’, which is another program for young mothers, who can join in pregnancy and participate in until their children are 12 months.

Ms Gauntlett explained how Bumps to Bubs and Bubs to Tots fit into a suite of parenting programs with the agency, ensuring a progressive path for the first two years of a child’s life.

“Anybody who’s been a parent knows that parenting is a very hard journey, and BCYF wanted to offer a suite of programs right across the ages and stages of development,” she said.

“A whole suite of parenting programs will support parents in their journey of parenting with parent education, and skills, and knowledge, and support.

“Nurture is a really important part, because if we can nurture them as mothers that will in turn help them nurture their babies.

“To be in such a supported and nurturing environment for the first two years of their baby’s life is such an important start in terms of the attachment and helping their children reach their milestones and not being anxious, wondering, ‘am I a good enough mum?’”

Tahlia joined Bumps to Bubs when she was pregnant with her first child. She subsequently joined the Bubs to Tots program. After receiving the right supports to be a confident parent, she has aspirations of being able to help other young mothers.

“It has matured me a lot,” Tahlia said.

“Being around other babies when I was pregnant, made me realise I was going to be fine.

“It’s nice knowing I’m not doing the wrong things and giving my child the best possible care that I can. I love it.” BCYF offers a range of group programs, designed to support families. To see the full suite, visit www.bcyf.org.au/bcyf-family-services/parent-and-family-groups/

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