Sunnykids

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SunnyKids is an Australian children's charitable organization. It is a domestic and family violence service on Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, the service initially partnered with the government and social communities to purchase and develop properties in the region to accommodate women and children escaping domestic violence and family violence.

History[edit]

Founded in 1998, by 2003, SunnyKids was providing 7000 nights of accommodation per year, 75% to children, many representnig the third or fourth generation of their family to live in refuge. Although 75% of people living with domestic violence in Australia are children,[1] government practice has been to support only adults, viewing children as "accompanying" their parents. The logic behind this idea is that if the parent is helped, any dependent children will also have benefited, and therefore children do not require direct service.[2]

In 2003, SunnyKids observed that many people using crisis accommodation services, including SunnyKids' own services, did so in a predictable manner. Young people who required youth refuge later required crisis accommodation 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-focused programs. During this time accommodation provision grew to 10,000 nights per year[3] At this time, the organisation began to gain a national profile as its services and programs won recognition in multiple award programs.

In 2009, the organization received requests to establish programs in communities across Australia so the SunnyKids partners program, and SunnyKids children's charity were established. The expansion included 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 fundraising.

Mission[edit]

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.

Principles[edit]

  • Every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.
  • Children are the foundation of a prosperous society.
  • Every community problem has a community-based solution.

Vision[edit]

A society in which every child can expect:

  • To live in a safe home and in a safe community
  • The opportunity to become a happy and effective citizen of the country
  • The chance to reach their full potential: socially, educationally, professionally and physically.

Goals[edit]

A children’s charity that will:

  • Deliver best practice programs and services
  • Make programs available to other groups and communities across Australia

Provide a foundation to:

  • Fund elements of their own programs and services
  • Provide programs and funding to other groups and communities across Australia

Supporting Children in Primary Schools[edit]

Supporting Children in Primary Schools (SCIPS) is a National Crime and Violence Prevention Award Winner and Schools First National Best Practice in School and Community Partnerships Winner. It 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.

Strengths[edit]

  • Low cost, with one full-time worker being able to support a student population of up to 4,000
  • Designed to remove the time burden from school personnel and support services alike by facilitating partnerships
  • School personnel focus more on teaching and less on social work

Outcomes[edit]

  • Over 50 percent of children referred to SCIPS for absenteeism became regular school attendees
  • Hundreds of families linked to support services
  • Measurable improvement in 90 percent of referrals

Supporting homeless families[edit]

SunnyKids annually provides over 10,000 nights of emergency accommodation, 75 per cent of which is for children.

Government subsidies are primarily directed towards supporting parents. Child specific supports are funded through donations and fundraising.[4]

Objectives[edit]

  • To support women and children escaping family violence
  • To break intergenerational cycles of homelessness

Strengths[edit]

Delivering innovative support to kids and families through:

  • Family violence prevention services
  • Learning clubs
  • Play groups
  • Food safety and nutrition education programs
  • Volunteer programs
  • Reducing suicides and suicide attempts by young people
  • Lowering risk by offering appropriate support to young people and those caring for young people

Supporting young people[edit]

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.

Activities[edit]

In partnership with CAPS (Community Action for the Prevention of Suicide) SunnyKids provides 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

Recognition[edit]

  • 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

Publications and Media[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Najidah 2006
  2. ^ QLD Department of Communities Homelessness Funding Performance Measures
  3. ^ SunnyKids Annual Report
  4. ^ SunnyKids/QLD State Government Service Agreement

External Links[edit]