Local and Sydney / NSW Support Services

Kinship care support groups – Western Sydney

Support groups provide an informal opportunity to meet others and share information about common issues and resources in the local community. Groups often have guest speakers and social gatherings outside of meetings.

NEPEAN AREA & GREATER WEST

St Mary’s Koori Kids Kinship Group

Meets first Monday of the month from 10am-12pm h at the Arts & Crafts studio, St Mary’s Community Centre, Swanston St, St Marys. Aimed at carers of koori kids who want to maintain culture – carers themselves do not need to be indigenous. For further information contact Bronwyn on 4729 3907 or Tina on 4751 3033.

Western Sydney Grandcarers Group
Meets on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month from 10.30 a.m. to 1pm at the South Penrith Neighbourhood Centre, corner of Birmingham Rd and Trent St, South Penrith. For further information contact Cheryl on 9864 5923.

BLACKTOWN & THE HILLS AREA

Blacktown Grandparent’s Support Group
Meets on the 1st Thursday of the month, from 10am-12pm at Max Webber Library Function Centre, corner of Flushcombe Rd and Alpha St, Blacktown. For further information contact Amy on 9839 6287.

Yenu Allowah carers of indigneous kids
Meets on the last Tuesday of each month, at 3.30pm at Yenu Allowah, Corner Belmore Avenue & North Parade, Mt Druitt. Call Christine on 9625 6357 for more information.

Parents Again
Meets every first and third Tuesday of the month from 10am – 12pm at the Hills Club, Old Northern Rd, Baulkham Hills(across the road from Stockland Mall). Call Jane on 9639 8620 for more details.

SOUTH WEST SYDNEY

Campbelltown MyTime for Grandparents 
Meets on the 2nd & 4th Friday of the month, from 12-2pm at Hurley Park Hall, Dumaresq St, Campbelltown. Light lunch provided. Contact Playgroups NSW on 1800 171 882 for more information.

Fairfield MyTime for Grandparents
Meets on the 1st & 3rd Thursday of the month from 10-12pm at Community First Step, 82 Tangerine St, Fairfield West. Contact Playgroups NSW on 1800 171 882 for more information.

Miller/Liverpool Connecting Carers
Meets first Friday of the month, from 10.30-12.30pm, every 2 months at The Hub, 16 Woodward Crescent, Miller. Next meeting Friday 23rd March. Kinship and foster carers welcome. For further information contact Sue O’Connor on 0439 476 234.

KINSHIP CARE/OUT OF HOME CARE SPECIFIC SERVICES:

Mirabel
Mirabel is an Australian Children’s Charity based in Victoria that has been operating in NSW since 2003. Mirabel assists children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental illicit drug use and are now in the care of extended family/kinship care. Mirabel provides a variety of programs for children aged 0-17 years and their carers. For more information see http://www.mirabelfoundation.org.au/

Connecting Carers
Connecting Carers provides a range of supports to kinship carers, particularly those who are also statutory carers. They provide camps, training sessions, activities, host a 24 hour helpline and run support groups in NSW. For more information contact the local regional coordinator for the Metropolitan West region, Sue O’Connor on 0439 476 234 or metwest@connectingcarersnsw.com.au, or see http://www.connectingcarersnsw.com.au.

The Pyjama Foundation
The Pyjama Foundation is an Australian children’s charity established in Queensland in 2004 that aims to support children in out of home care (ie. children not living with a parent) with reading and literacy support via a volunteer mentoring program. Volunteers can also help with homework. Aimed at babies through to 16 years. Referrals are sought from the Western Sydney region, including Blacktown, Penrith, Hawkesbury & Blue Mountain regions. Referrals can be made via DOCS caseworkers, through an agency providing out of home care services, or through arrangement with a kinship care group if you are raising a child through a family law or informal arrangement. For further information about the Pyjama Foundation, contact Lisa on 9672 6893 or see http://www.thepyjamafoundation.com/ 

Softacare
Softacare is an Australian children’s charity that provides workshops for children in out of home care in NSW and Qld to encourage self expression and confidence through the creative arts. Workshops are free. Visit their site http://www.softacare.org.au/ for more details.

OTHER SUPPORT SERVICES:

Support Coordination Program for Older Carers
Aims to help older parents or grandparents, 60 years plus who are caring for a son/daughter/grandchild with a disability. The disability does not have to be formally diagnosed, but may include behavioural issues or attachment problems. The program provides flexible supports tailored to the needs of the individual carer. Anglicare’s program covers Penrith, Hawkesbury & Blue Mountains. Anglicare can be contacted on 4731 8399. The department of Ageing, Disability & Home Care website provides contact details of regional offices where you might enquire about similar programs operating in your area. See http://www.adhc.nsw.gov.au/contact_us.

Shine for kids
Shine for kids is a not for profit organisation supporting children, young people and their families affected by parental involvement in the criminal justice system. They offer parent/carer support groups and regular family recreational activities, mentoring programs for young people, financial support with childrens’ educational needs, plus facilitate child/parent activity days in prison. Locations include: Silverwater, Parklea, Windsor, Bathurst, Cessnock, Wellington, Junee & Kempsey.Visit http://www.shineforkids.org.au/about_us/index.htm for more details.

Aunties & Uncles
Aunties & Uncles is an early intervention mentoring program aimed at preschool (out of nappies) and primary school aged children up to the age of 12, who could benefit from stronger social and community networks. Their website states “Recognising need and reaching out for support is a sign of strength and good parenting. It acknowledges that ‘it takes a community to raise a child’, and assists you in giving your child the best possible foundation for life.” Support is provided once a month for a varying period of time once a volunteer is matched with the family. For more information look at the Aunties and Uncles site.

Barnardos
Barnados is a children’s charity that offers a range of children & family services in the Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains and Penrith areas, with some services extending further afield. Programs include the Kids Friend mentoring program which matches children aged 6-16 with volunteers who provide monthly mentoring and fun activities, and the Family Respite Care service which provides a full weekend of respite once/month once a family is matched with your child/children for ongoing support. Support is targeted to families with less support networks, including kinship care families. For more information see http://www.barnardos.org.au/our-centres/penrith/ or contact Barnardos Penrith on 4729 1211.

Kookaburra Kids Foundation
The Kookaburra Kids Foundation provides free camps, excursions, and day trips for children whose families are affected by mental illness. Counselling and other support may also be available. Children must be between grade 3 and grade 11 to be eligible. Services cover the Sydney and Illawarra regions, but children may access services from further away if the family is able to travel. Call 8203 1917 or visi thttp://www.campkookaburra.org.au/ for more details.

Kids Xpress
Kids Xpress run expressive therapy programs for children who have experienced trauma. Targeted at kids from ages 4 – 14, the program runs over 10 weeks in small groups with therapists experienced in music, art and drama therapies. Based in Moore Park, programs are run during school terms. For more information see their website at
http://www.kidsxpress.org.au/.