Individualised, intensive, long-term therapeutic support for children and young people to assist with their recovery from significant trauma or violence.
In Australia, there are many thousands of children living with the effects of trauma.
Through positive learning opportunities at school, introducing wellbeing and life skills, building friendships, and helping parents and carers understand a young person’s behaviour, we can support children as they navigate and overcome the effects of trauma, helping to build a future where they can thrive.
Through research, evidence and experience, we know that for children and young people to recover from the effects of trauma they need a safe, predictable and stable environment, the opportunity to express and communicate their feelings, positive relationships, as well as a connection to family and community.
Our Children Ahead program provides intensive support for children and young people who have experienced violence and trauma to recover, heal and grow.
Building social skills and self-confidence, as well as developing a sense of belonging, is key to forming positive relationships. We help children and young people build friendships and trust, as well as develop social, communication and conflict resolution skills. We link them to their local community by helping them access recreational and skills-based activities.
Having positive learning opportunities at school helps prepare children and young people for the future. We work with schools, families and children to overcome education obstacles caused by trauma.
By helping parents and carers understand their child’s behaviour from a trauma perspective, they learn ways to respond differently – and effectively.
Maintaining and improving health is critical for growth and development in children and young people, and we work with families to achieve this.
Wellbeing and life skills
Using age-appropriate therapeutic tools and activities, we help each child and young person to speak openly and safely about their experiences and feelings. They learn skills to build self-esteem and resilience and manage strong emotions.
Who are the children we work with?
Traumatic events or ongoing exposure to violence and/or adversity often disrupts and damages brain development, and leads to problems in learning, behaviours and physical and mental health. Our trauma-informed approach helps create safe environments and respond in ways that help these children and young people learn and practice new patterns so they can flourish.
We work with children and young people aged up to 18 years whose development or behaviours have been affected by trauma, as a result of family, domestic or community violence, bullying, and/or the accumulated burdens of prolonged adversity.
Our voluntary, free program is unique as it is a process of individualised therapy, together with wrap-around education and community supports for children living in Victoria.
Understanding the importance of creating safe environments with supportive adults, we come to you, to where suits you best, and make connections in the local community.
With schools playing a critical role in the daily lives of children and young people, we also support teachers to understand childhood trauma and how it translates into a range of behaviours.
Recognising healing is not a linear process, we stay closely connected with children and young people and their supports for up to a year to consolidate learning and strengthen connections to restore resilience.
Referrals for the Children Ahead program can be made via the child or young person's school or early childhood education service. Schools and Early Years services are welcome to contact us should they want to know more about the Children Ahead program.
Children Ahead takes a child rights-based approach, recognising children as victim survivors of violence in their own right.
Increasingly, evidence shows that offering a longer term, multi-factored program to support children and young people recover from the impacts of trauma leads to improved outcomes.
Our service relies largely on donations, and funding from agencies and government is accessed wherever possible.