Imagine the distress and guilt of having a child that you don’t connect with or has behavioural problems. Well there are some parents in Canberra who are living with this anxiety each day, which is why the work of the Centre for Early Life Matters at Marymead in Narrabundah is so valuable.
One of the best parts of my job is seeing first hand how government grants and funds make a real difference to the lives of Canberrans. And earlier this month I met with the committed team at the Centre to talk about how they are improving the lives of parents and kids.
The team recently received a Child AWARE grant of $197,000 to evaluate the Marymead Circle of Security program. The program works with small groups of infants, young children and parents to sort out problems in their relationships or where there is risk of abuse or neglect.
The program attracts families from all over Canberra and from all backgrounds and has helped many Canberrans build a greater understanding of themselves and the role they play in the family. It has also helped improve parenting skills and develop stronger bonds between parents and their children and parents and their partners.
The team showed me the work they are doing in prevention, early intervention and the healthy development of infants and young children within their families.
Sometimes there are problems in the parenting relationship, which is often the door through which families seek help. This is where Marymead’s program is critical.
Their work with young children and infants is reducing child behavioural, emotional difficulties and parenting stress.
The feedback from parents confirms that the work at Marymead can change their lives by prioritising their children's needs and improving damaged relationships.
Marymead is conducting truly groundbreaking work as part of this perinatal, infant and early childhood mental health and wellbeing program. My visit reinforced just how important grant programs can help improve families and well-being.