Families in crisisBy Monique Duggan and Megan Price
Access to services- A family in crisis will need access to a wide range of services to support them in theirtime of crisis. Some of these services may include: - Relationship counseling and education - Income support payments - Intervention programs for families in crisis - Child care - Health services - Legal services - Emergency accommodation
Education• Families in crisis need information and strategies to cope with the changes experienced during the crisis and so they can learn ways to help them move forward.• - This includes specific parenting education, vocational training and counseling.• A parent who has not worked outside the home, but due to a family crisis, now needs to return to the workforce, may need job training and education about managing household finances.• School life should remain stable.
Employment• Family members may need time off work or a complete change in the nature or conditions of their employment.• - Job Services Australia offers people a number of services to assist families in crisis to gain employment.• Assistance to gain employment (preferably meaningful) is essential.• If employed, flexible work patterns or time off may be required.
Financial support• A family who has been uprooted either physically or emotionally due to a crisis will have significant financial needs.• May need assistance to secure accommodation, health care, educational costs, food, transport and other basic needs.• Centrelink offers a number of services for families who are experiencing financial difficulties, providing assistance such as:• - Crisis payment to assist people in severe financial hardship who have been forced to leave their homes.• - Social work services to provide help with counseling and information about a variety of other services in the community.• - The child support agency who assist in the collection of child maintenance payments for separated or divorced families.• - Families in crisis need assistance to meet basic needs.
Health• Families in crisis will undoubtedly experience high levels of stress.• For example, in the case of domestic violence some parents will need access to health care services to keep their children safe from real or threatened violence.• Will need access to mental health services at an affordable price.• Families coping with physical illnesses require assistance from medical services.• - Medicare and the PBS provide some relief for the cost medications and health.• When children experience difficulty in adjusting to a crisis, pediatricians, in collaboration with psychologists and other mental health professionals can aid parents/caregivers in communicating with children in ways that help them understand and adjust the situation.• Centrelink customers who are having family difficulties can gain access to counseling services via Centrelink’s social worker network.
Housing• Families in crisis need suitable, safe crisis accommodation as well as assistance to gain permanent housing once needs have been established.• - The Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) is a jointly funded federal government and state/territory program that assists people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.• The program aims to develop independence and a return to self-reliant accommodation by providing crisis accommodation or longer term subsidised accommodation.• - Those who access the service are given assistance to gain independent accommodation when this becomes feasible.• There are many charitable organisations that provide accommodation for families in crisis.
Emotional needs• Families in crisis need to feel safe and secure in their environment.• After the event of a crisis, families may need to seek counseling and other forms of support so that they can come to terms with what has happened.• People who have been through a crisis will undoubtedly need to feel like they have someone to talk to in their situation- this is where friends and family members who have been through a similar situation are useful.• Families in crisis need to stay positive. This is especially true with families who are struggling with an illness as the crisis. They need to have hope so they can get through their tough time.• A crisis such as a natural disaster affecting a large amount of families in the area, for example the recent Queensland floods, require families to feel safe within their home. Families may need reassurance from their Government that they are being attended to and to feel as though they are being looked after.• Most of all, families need to feel supported. Support can come from other family members, friends, and services in the community. Support is what keeps people going- knowing they have people there to fall back on. Support will often contribute to the family in crisis sticking together.
Emotional needs• Emotional needs such as security and safety, self esteem and sense of identity are a focus for families in crisis.• Security and safety:• - Families in crisis need a sense of personal safety at home, school, work and in the community.• Self esteem:• - Families in crisis may need assistance to feel good about themselves.• - They need confidence- building activities, understanding, reassurance and guidance from those around them.• Sense of identity:• - Assistance may be needed to understand how a crisis may change “who” we are, including recognition and acknowledgement of how change has affected the individual and family.
Factors affecting access to resources• Age:• - Access to services may be limited by age.• Opportunities for access to services may be created because of age.• Disability:• - Having a disability can limit access to some resources, but created access to others.• Education:• - An individual’s level of education and life experience may influence their ability to access and effectively use resources.• Ethnicity and culture:• - Can limit or create opportunities to access resources. E.g., (May not be able to access services because they don’t understand them or may have more resources than other cultures- In the case of Indigenous Australians)
Factors influencing access to resources• Gender:• - Being male or female may affect access to resources in a number of ways. (E.g. women more likely to require protective accommodation as a result of domestic violence- often results in more crisis accommodation available for women)• Location:• - Location affects access to resources as well as the type of resources available. (E.g. may not be able to access resources you may need if you live in a rural environment)• Socioeconomic status:• - Families from any socioeconomic status can experience crisis.• - Those from low income backgrounds will experience greater difficulty.• - May not have a financial safety net to fall back on, or may not have the social contacts to network in order to improve their situation the same as others.