Photo: Prison Network
The impact of poverty on children is often profound and enduring, yet one in six Australian children currently live in poverty. It is forecast that the rate of child poverty will exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2023, having been reduced through the pandemic by the COVID Supplement payments. As we continue to be impacted by the ongoing pandemic and cost of living pressures, we are seeing rising rates of homelessness and family violence. We need early, trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate and culturally safe, sustained support for children, but also for families experiencing hardship. That’s why our latest grants round supported a number of organisations and responses that support children and their families.
The pandemic has hit many children and families hard, with school, work and social disruption, along with declining mental and physical health. As the pandemic enters its fourth year evidence is emerging that lasting impacts are unevenly affecting those in financial stress, those who have had COVID or lost someone to COVID and those with pre-existing vulnerabilities including poor mental or physical health prior to the pandemic.
Children across Australia have experienced the pandemic in different ways, with variations in experiences of restrictions and levels of community infections across states and territories. The current, resulting ‘cost of living’ crisis is also putting enormous additional stresses on carers of children and many children are experiencing increased levels of trauma and harm from rising household stress, food insecurity, housing insecurity, family violence and poverty. Cohorts who were already vulnerable have been impacted disproportionally including children experiencing domestic violence, young people in care and migrant/refugee families. Children are often hidden victims.
A 2022 review from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute concluded that interventions were needed to be developed now to address growing disparities in child health and wellbeing due to the pandemic. Children have experienced a “generation-defining disruption” with public health restrictions and interventions such as online learning, social distancing, increased screen time, reduced access to healthcare, less community sport and less outside play all having repercussions. The report highlighted that “children and adolescents experiencing adversity before the pandemic have been disproportionately affected, potentially leading to a widening of disparities in child health, wellbeing, and developmental outcomes.”
10 organisations funded to support vulnerable children
“Children that access WRISC’s programs have experienced trauma due to exposure to family violence. This can affect children’s development, emotional wellbeing, self-esteem and social connections. WRISC’s biggest challenge is that our case management and therapeutic demand is greater than our capacity to respond. Funding for resources for our therapeutic team is also always in short supply.” -WRISC
“These funds will ensure that intensive support is provided to children who have a mother in prison, including emotional, practical and educational support, including back to school resources. When a parent spends time in prison, away from their family and community, it creates an adverse childhood experience for children that can have a lifelong impact.” -Prison Network
Photo: Afri-Aus Care (children from marginalised backgrounds taking part in programs)
Photo: The Nappy Collective
“In Australia, research estimates that each year at least 280,000 children don’t have enough nappies to remain clean and healthy and many families spend up to 9% of their weekly income on nappies, forgoing food or other necessities. When families have enough nappies, their children are changed more often and are more settled, they report feeling calmer and that they can afford to pay for other essentials, such as food and bills, and that they are more emotionally supported.” – The Nappy Collective
“Our CALD young people often come from low-income families, and are disproportionately impacted by mental illness and undiagnosed disabilities due to cultural taboos limiting capacity to seek help. The Project will help deconstruct this structural discrimination by providing those involved with an inclusive environment to learn about their culture and identity through activities including Basketball/Netball and African Gardening techniques, as well as promoting the importance of volunteering and education in Australia.” –Afri-Aus Care
“Post floods we are seeing significant cohorts of children and teens who have experienced primary and secondary trauma due to houses being lost and properties affected, vehicle and transport damage, reduced employment and income and unstable access to food and health services. Subsequently we are encountering the flow of effects from this natural disaster – cumulative stress, domestic violence, disengagement from education, substance use, environmental trauma and troubled minds and hearts. This grant will help us respond and expand the capacity of our program, aiming to double the number of sessions we run every week from 20 to 40 in 2023. This grant will greatly reduce our 1–3-month waitlist.” -Horses for Hope
Click on organisations to find out more
|Afri Aus Care||Outer South East||8000|
|CIS Cranbourne||Outer South East||8000|
|Southern Cross Camps||Metro||8000|
|The Prison Network||Metro||8000|
|Thomastown West Community Hub||Northern||8000|
|Horses for Hope||Shepparton||8000|
|Junction Support Services||Wodonga||8000|