Our response to COVID-19
Barnardos Australia is committed to delivering our essential services to support vulnerable children and families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Families in crisis are turning to us for help in unprecedented numbers.
More and more people are losing their jobs, resources are becoming scarce and without access to community support, the threat of domestic violence and mental health issues will continue to increase. Social isolation will also mean more families will be under financial and emotional stress, which could push them to breaking point. And in these circumstances, sadly it is the children who suffer most.
We are rising to the challenge and are committed to keeping children safe from abuse and neglect by strengthening families more than ever during these uncertain times.
Our frontline workers have shown incredible dedication and resilience by developing innovative strategies to address the increased calls for help from struggling families in our community. All the while we have been implementing strict health and safety procedures, in accordance with Government directives, to keep our vital services running while minimising the risk to our clients and staff.
What we are doing to support those most vulnerable:
- Delivering food parcels and home-made frozen meals to those in our family support programs who are isolated in their homes and unable to access or afford the basics including: household cleaning products, toiletries and nappies.
- Food parcel deliveries also give our workers the opportunity to check-in with children and families (in line with social distancing guidelines) who are at-risk.
- Special groceries and essentials deliveries and support for carers of children with chronic disabilities and special needs.
- Support to single parents who are unable to leave the house to pick up supplies, as well as those parents who work in emergency services.
- Special food deliveries and support for older kinship carers (eg grandparents) who themselves are vulnerable to the virus.
- Aboriginal Learning Centres and Homework Clubs - delivering learning and activity packs to children in our programs. Many of our families don’t have internet access and would find home-schooling impossible without this support.
Staying in touch
- Regularly checking in on our children and families and providing face-to-face support for high-risk clients where it is assessed as safe to do so.
- Supporting our foster carers via telephone and video with clear guidance, information and practical support, especially in terms of online learning and how to speak to traumatised children about COVID-19 without increasing their anxiety.
- Youth programs – our youth workers are staying in touch with our young people isolated at home. They are also worried about the young people getting ‘cabin fever’ and wandering the streets. Activity packs all individualised for each client and have a focus on mindfulness and keeping young people calm.
- Virtual home visiting - Regularly checking in on our families via video conferencing or telephone and giving practical and emotional support to at-risk families in isolation.
- Virtual Playgroups - Playgroup staff are now contacting parents via facetime and supporting them with their parent-child interaction, along with delivery preschooler activity packs to keep children engaged with learning.
- Virtual Mentoring - Mentors are in touch with their young people via phone and text as this is a critical time for vulnerable young people and they will need support from their mentors.
Download our Little Buddy Activity book
Keep your kids busy during this crisis time with our wonderful buddies book filled with puzzles and colouring in activities.
Together, we will be there for vulnerable children, families and communities over the weeks and months to come.
Please support us today to help keep Aussie children safe from abuse and neglect.