Supporting children and young people dealing with traumatic family situations in the Broadmeadows and Melbourne Children’s Courts
Cubby House is an Australian-first initiative providing a safe haven for children and young people.
Staffed by qualified and experienced youth workers, Cubby House provides a much-needed positive environment for children who are often feeling vulnerable as decisions are made about their futures in court.
In traditional court environments, children are placed in a room with few amenities and often minimal comfort or entertainment, which can be a negative and unsuitable environment for traumatised children and young people.
Cubby House provides a space which assists in reducing trauma and plays a critical role in promoting wellbeing as well as providing a positive environment for both children and Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) staff. It provides a space for nearby DFFH staff to have oversight to the children’s area as they retain duty of care for children and young people whilst at court.
Our experienced youth workers understand that many of the children and young people will have just been removed from their home because they are at risk. There may be others who have experienced distressing or confronting events, and our aim is to reduce these impacts on those attending court by providing a safe, calm and engaging space for these children and young people.
Our Youth Worker at the Broadmeadows Children's Court is also available to support the Koori Court as needed.
An external evaluation from June 2016 found that Cubby House “significantly improves the experience of spending time at court for young people in emergency care”, that it “enhances children’s capacity to provide instructions to their lawyer in a calm and relaxed state” and “improves productivity and efficiency for court staff, child protection staff and lawyers.”
Cubby House also provides Australia with the opportunity to be at the forefront of this new child-centred design approach – and approach to care – in a Children’s Court.
The initiation of this ground-breaking project was kindly supported by the Ian Potter Foundation. Cubby House has been designed by Mihaly Slocombe Architects in consultation with, and the continued support of, the Broadmeadows Children’s Court of Victoria, Melbourne Children’s Court of Victoria, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing of Victoria, Court Services Victoria and the Court Security Coordination Unit. The Alannah & Madeline Foundation also values the generosity of FareShare who provide fruit for children and young people attending the Broadmeadows site.