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We all want our children to have the best possible start in life, but being a parent can be tough. Help and support can make a real difference.

The Brighter Futures program is for families with children aged 0 to 9 years or who are expecting a baby who face specific problems. Priority of access is given to families with children less than three years of age.

Problems might include:

  • domestic and family violence
  • problematic parental drug and alcohol use
  • mental health issues
  • parents with significant learning difficulties and/or intellectual disabilities.

You may also be able to join the program if you’re bringing up children without much support or if you’re struggling to manage your children’s behaviour. This program can provide you with support and services to help you give your children a good start in life and prevent some problems from getting worse.

How does the program work

Each family in the program will receive the ongoing support of a Brighter Futures worker, who will meet with you regularly in your own home. Together, you will plan for the support that you need to build a strong, positive relationship with your child.

Brighter Futures uses a strengths based approach. It recognises that parents already have skills and expertise when it comes to understanding what works for their family and as a result, the support offered will be tailored to your family’s needs.

Some of the services include:

  • Parenting programs  - you can meet with other parents and learn ways to manage your children’s behaviour.
  • Quality children’s services -  your children can be cared for by qualified staff while they play and learn with other children at child care or playgroups.

How can I get involved

There are 2 ways you can become involved in the program:

  • With your permission, a non-governmental agency can refer you to the program. A Brighter Futures worker may also contact you if the Brighter Futures team receives information indicating the program may be able to help your family.
  • Families can also be referred to the Brighter Futures program as a result of a report made to the Child Protection Helpline or through Aboriginal maternal health services.

See a list of non-government organisation involved in the Brighter Futures program that can refer you to the program.

Joining Brighter Futures is completely voluntary. Families can be part of the program for up to 18 months with a possible extension of 6 months, but they are free to decide how long they will be in the program and they can leave at any time.

Children can provide consent for participation at 14 years.

What happens next

After joining the program you will be able to talk with a Brighter Future worker about what is working well for their family and what is not. Your privacy will be protected once in the program and you will be involved in all decisions.

We will visit you to talk about how the program is working and if anything changes, we can arrange other types of support.

The Brighter Futures program aims to:

  • reduce child abuse and neglect through reducing the likelihood of family problems escalating into crisis within the child protection system
  • achieve long term benefits for children through improving intellectual development, educational outcomes and employment chances
  • improve parent-child relationships and the capacity of parents to build positive relationships and raise stronger, healthier children
  • break inter-generational cycles of disadvantage
  • reduce demand for services that otherwise might be needed down the track such as child protection, corrective or mental health services.

Here are some examples of how the Brighter Futures program has helped some parents:

"I’m a single mum with 3 kids under 8. I don’t have any family living close by and I was worried because I wasn’t coping and was taking a lot out on my kids. I now have a home visitor each week and just having a friendly ear has made a big difference to my life. My kids are a lot happier and I’ve got someone to talk to when I’m finding things hard."

"I always thought Sam was deliberately trying to make me angry when he threw tantrums and I was not proud of the way I treated him. After going to the parenting programs I learnt that what he does is normal. They taught me ways to cope and deal with Sam’s behaviour better rather than getting angry and taking it out on him."

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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019