Three children from a family in western NSW who had not been attending school for a period of time are all now enrolled and in the classroom, in a promising early sign from a new program.
School absenteeism was a "frequently reported issue" when Uniting caseworkers with a fresh approach went out into the field from November.
The team is working with 10 families that have children deemed to be at risk of significant harm by Family and Community Services (FACS).
The clients of Uniting's Permanency Support Program Family Preservation have chosen to receive the extra support.
In the Dubbo-based program's first six months, youth services manager Angie Weir reported of progress in turning lives around and keeping families together.
"Some of the frequently reported issues are school absenteeism," Ms Weir said.
"We did have a family that their children hadn't been to school at all for the year.
"And now three of those children are enrolled and attending school so that's pretty exciting. We've had young people who [at] last check attendance this year was 96 per cent.
"So that's pretty exciting and it's just about really getting the stability around the home life happening, so that the parents don't see getting someone to school as an additional burden on the day."
The program is delivering services to Warren, Quambone, Coonamble, Cobar, Nyngan, Brewarrina, Bourke, Wilcannia and Broken Hill.
After all 10 packages were successfully filled, all clients had made it to the 90-day review cycle, Ms Weir reported.
The voluntary aspect of the program is regarded as significant.
"So the fact they're putting their hand up to say I'd like some assistance in my parenting is great, because you can do a lot with people if they're wanting it, rather than being told they have to do it," Ms Weir said.
The program is based off the Homebuilders model, "which is role modelling good family functioning in homes, so we can minimise the risk to children who've been identified at risk of significant harm", Ms Weir says.
What I like and what I get excited about in working in this space is we do all the work in somebody's home and in their community.Uniting youth services manager Angie Weir
It can involve sometimes three and up to seven home visits a week.
"What I like and what I get excited about in working in this space is we do all the work in somebody's home and in their community," Ms Weir said.
"So they have their natural supports around them.
"The package goes for two years, so during that period we can really build up somebody's supports in their own town, in their own home, they don't have to come to the office, they don't have to make an appointment.
"It's very organic and that's really exciting."
Ms Weir and program coordinator Rebbecca Smith were at the June 20 ceremony that launched Uniting's Reconciliation Action Plan at Dubbo.
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