SunnyKids is an Australian children's charitable organization. Established in 1999 as a domestic and family violence service on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, the service initially partnered with the government and the community to build and purchase a series of properties in the region to accommodate women and children escaping domestic violence and family violence.
By 2003, SunnyKids was providing 7000 nights of accommodation per year, with 75% of this provided to children, many of whom represented the third and sometimes fourth generation of their family to live in refuge. Even though 75% of people living in domestic violence in Australia are children, government practice has been to support only adults, viewing children as "accompanying" their parents. The logic behind this is the idea that if the parent is helped any dependent children will also benefit, and therefore children do not require direct service.
In 2003, SunnyKids observed that many people using crisis accommodation services, including SunnyKids' own services, did so in a somewhat cyclical manner. Young people requiring youth refuge accommodation often required crisis accommodation as adults, and children who entered services as an "accompanying" child with their parent frequently returned to such services again as adults, often with their own children now "accompanying" them. In an effort to break such cycles, the Board of SunnyKids determined to develop their practice into child-focused interventions aiming to break intergenerational cycles of poverty and disadvantage.
Between 2003 and 2009, SunnyKids developed integrated support systems and child-focussed programs. During this time accommodation provision grew to 10,000 nights per year View annual report. At this time, the organisation also began to gain national profile as its services and programs won national recognition in multiple awards programs.
- 2005 National Community Housing Awards;
- 2006 National Crime and Violence Awards; Suicide Prevention Australia Awards
- 2007 National Volunteer Management Awards
- 2008 Givewell National Charity Awards;
- 2009 Schools First Local Impact Award; Schools First State Impact Award; WestPac Community Idol Awards
In 2009, the organization received multiple requests to establish similar programs in communities across Australia so the SunnyKids partners program, and SunnyKids children's charity were established. Today SunnyKids is establishing:
- A national affiliation – delivering crisis and early intervention services for children throughout Australia
- A collaborative resource development and distribution network
- A national brand advocating for the needs of under-served and disadvantaged children; and raising funds to support children's services.
SunnyKids' mission is to break intergenerational cycles of poverty and disadvantage and to provide the hope and resilience necessary to move forward both as individuals and as a society.
- Every child should have the opportunity to reach their full potential regardless of their circumstances at home.
- Children are the foundation of a prosperous society.
- Every community problem has a community-based solution.
A society in which every child can expect:
- To live in a safe home, in a safe community
- The opportunity to become a happy and effective citizen
- The chance to reach their full potential:
A children’s charity that will:
- Continue delivering best practice programs and services
- Make their programs available to other groups and communities across the country
Provide a foundation to:
- Fund elements of their own programs and services
- Provide programs and funding to other groups and communities across the Australia
Working with children in schools
A National Crime and Violence Prevention Award Winner and Schools First National Best Practice in School and Community Partnerships Winner, SCIPS (Supporting Children in Primary Schools), provides support to at-risk children to reach their full educational potential.
The process offers the services needed to support children facing significant barriers to their education.
- SCIPS is low cost, with one full-time worker able to support a student population of up to 4,000
- SCIPS is designed to remove the time burden from school personnel and support services alike by facilitating partnerships
- School personnel are able to focus more on teaching and less on being quasi support workers
- Over 50 per cent of children referred to SCIPS for absenteeism became regular school attendees
- Bringing hundreds of families and support services together effectively
- Responding to any social or emotional issue faced by children
- Measurable improvement in 90 per cent of referrals
Supporting homeless families
SunnyKids provides over 10,000 nights of emergency accommodation for women and children each year, 75 per cent is provided to children. Government subsidies are primarily directed towards supporting parents, child specific supports are funded through donations and fundraising.
- To support women and children escaping from family violence
- To break intergenerational cycles of homelessness
Delivering innovative support to kids and families through:
- Family violence prevention services
- Learning clubs
- Play groups
- Food safety and nutrition education programs
- Volunteer programs
Supporting young people
Winner of the Suicide Prevention Australia Life Award for ‘Most Outstanding Youth Suicide Prevention’. SunnyKids’ Head High Program provides support for young people bereaved by suicide and links mentors with young people who are at-risk. The program also empowers communities to be responsive and equipped to support young people who have been bereaved by suicide or are at-risk of suicide, taking into consideration mindfulness and appreciative care in all aspects of its approach.
- Reducing the number of attempts and completed suicides by young people
- Lowering risk by offering appropriate support to young people and those caring for young people
In partnership with CAPS (Community Action for the Prevention of Suicide) we[who?] provide professional development and training in youth suicide prevention including:
- One-on-one support through the Head High mentor program
- Regional Camps Program
- Support groups for young people bereaved by suicide
Publications and media
- Najidah 2006
- QLD Department of Communities Homelessness Funding Performance Measures
- SunnyKids Annual Report
- SCIPS Report 2009
- SunnyKids/QLD State Government Service Agreement