Supporting Children

Every child has the right to a brighter future.

yourtown provides the resources and tools they need to achieve that through early intervention programs and specialised creative therapies.

Who we help

Expressive Therapy is a creative arts and play therapy developed for children with emotional and behavioural problems that may stem from exposure to trauma.

The therapy aims to improve emotional and social wellbeing, behavioural adjustment, quality of attachment relationships and self-concept. Operating within a trauma and attachment-informed therapeutic framework, it is integrated within family support programs at our domestic and family violence refuge and the young parents program in South East Queensland.

Therapists work with infants and young children to communicate and express their experiences through art, movement, music and play and to build safe and trusting relationships with their parents/carers.

Therapy sessions are in a dedicated therapy room or outdoor space, based on the needs of the child, and are offered individually, between the parent-child, with siblings or with other family or groups.

The provision of Expressive Therapy in yourtown’s domestic and family violence refuge has become an important component of our refuge model. Like traditional refuge models, we ensure families are safe and housed, but we also addressthe traumatising effects of family violence on children.

A yourtown two year evaluation of the program found the therapy resulted in significant improvements to children’s social, emotional and behavioural functioning, self-confidence and self-esteem, and in the quality of the parent-child attachment relationship.

The program was funded by the Margaret Pemberton Foundation.

This year, 138 children and 88 families participated in 713 individual and 316 group sessions.

Jess with Daemon

and his younger brother and sister Brandan and Lucy

Finding his voice

Mum of five, Jess, was struggling. She and her husband had tried to get their nine year old son Daemon the support he needed but nothing seemed to work. yourtown’s Expressive Therapy program was about to change all that and give Daemon a brighter future.

“The future for Daemon is bright now. He has a future.”

- Jess

Daemon had been diagnosed with autism and selective mutism, and experienced high levels of anxiety. His parents had tried many Doctors and treatments but not much seemed to work. The Doctor they had was no longer available and the waiting list for a new Doctor or therapist was months long. Jess and her husband did not know what to do next and worried about the future for Daemon and their family.

While taking medication to help, Daemon was still too frightened to do most things others take for granted. He hated leaving the house and even brushing his teeth made him feel anxious. Daemon did not speak to anyone outside his immediate family, which made things extra hard for him. He did not talk to his school teacher or other children in his class.

At her wits’ end, Jess spoke with the school counsellor who knew of yourtown’s Expressive Therapy program offered at Deception Bay. Jess had tried everything else and thought “why not?”.

Daemon and his family were soon working with therapists at yourtown. We worked with Daemon, then together with his siblings and mum, to work through his anxiety and other issues he was experiencing. Selective mutism is rare in Australia. His therapist, Tanya, found there were no indicators of trauma in his past to explain the anxiety disorder he was experiencing. The world and everything in it just seemed to frighten Daemon.

Finding his voice

Mum of five, Jess, was struggling. She and her husband had tried to get their nine year old son Daemon the support he needed but nothing seemed to work. yourtown’s Expressive Therapy program was about to change all that and give Daemon a brighter future.

“The future for Daemon is bright now. He has a future.”

- Jess

Daemon had been diagnosed with  autism and selective mutism, and experienced high levels of anxiety. His parents had tried many Doctors and treatments but not much seemed to work. The Doctor they had was no longer available and the waiting list for a new Doctor or therapist was months long. Jess and her husband did not know what to do next and worried about the future for Daemon and their family.

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Who we help

We aim to assist families where there are early signs of mental health challenges or children are at risk of poor mental health outcomes.  

The service also works to raise awareness of issues that may lead to poor mental health outcomes and reduce stigma associated with mental illness.

Support includes intensive long-term case management as an early intervention; short term support; practical assistance and home-based support; links and referrals to other local services and resources; targeted therapeutic groups and counselling. Mental health education, information workshops and community development outreach for parents and groups are also provided.

This year:

  • More than 300 people received support
  • More than 3,200 people attended mental health information and education sessions

Starfish is offered in South East Queensland and is funded by the Federal Government.

Starfish attended a professional development forum at St Columbian's Catholic School, Caboolture covering subjects such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidality and self-care.

Who we help

This innovative early intervention and prevention program uses technology to connect primary school aged children with knowledge that can positively impact their emotional and mental health.

Kids Helpline counsellors interact with children in their own classrooms, via video link or phone. Teachers work with the counsellor to develop a session based on the needs of the students, and play an important role in co-facilitating the session. Discussions help children develop their skills, resilience and ability to reach out for help when needed.

Our counsellors talk with classes in real time about issues that commonly cause problems for children. These include bullying, staying safe online, cyberbullying, transitioning to high school, friendships and feeling sad.

Since the program commenced in 2013, KHL has seen an increase in contacts from primary school aged children (from 8% in the 2013 calendar year to 12% in 2015) suggesting that more children have knowledge of KHL and have the confidence and trust to contact the service when they need help.

Optus provides funding support for the program.

This year, 15,435 children accessed the program.

What teachers and students said about KAS

  • 89% of students said they had more ideas about how to deal with the issue discussed
  • 87% of students said they would consider contacting KHL if they had a problem
  • 91% of teachers said the sessions appeared to improve their students’ understanding of the topic discussed
  • 96% of teachers said they would recommend the program to other teachers and schools

“It was helpful because I can be really shy at times and you guys (helped me) sort of come out of my shell and to be more confident.”

- Student

Winner in national child protection awards

Kids Helpline @ School was recognised by the National Association for Prevention of Child Protection Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) ‘Play Your Part’ awards 2015.

The awards recognise organisations that have played their part to prevent child abuse and neglect through promoting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in Australia.

KAS received the award as an inspiring example of collaboration between the private (Optus), NGO (Kids Helpline) and public sector (schools) to not only promote the safety and wellbeing of children through prevention and early intervention, but also provide support to children that was inclusive and engaging.

Kids Helpline @ School NAPCAN award
03 What we do