Kalparrin Early Childhood Intervention Program has a long history of providing
specialised early intervention and support services to children with a
disability and their families in North Melbourne.
There are significant emotional,
physical, social and economic costs to parents of a child with a
disability. Currently, fathers and male carers are significantly
underrepresented in support services due to a lack of confidence and
fear of failing as a carer of a child with a disability.
Dads Can is a new peer-based program responding to a need identified by Kalparrin for a customised program to help fathers better support their children with disabilities. Flexible funding from nib foundation is allowing Kalparrin to consult with fathers, design a program that best meets their needs, and adapt it along the way to ensure it is delivering practical outcomes to families. Each month the dads get together over Sunday evening pizza to share experiences and advice, and participate in workshops where they develop the skills, knowledge and confidence in parenting a child with additional needs, and address issues around isolation, distress, anger, depression and family pressures..
The program has been designed based on the needs of families, and has been operating since early 2014. Early results indicate the program is helping the men attending to better cope with their situation, support their families and play a key role in the development and wellbeing of their child. Families have reported a decrease in behaviour issues, greater affection and more positive interactions between parents, children and siblings.
The Dads Can program has been named as a finalist in the 2014 Early Years Awards, which recognise outstanding achievements by those in the Victorian early childhood sector. The awards, run by the Victorian Government's Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, celebrate exceptional programs, services and partnerships that improve the health, learning, development and wellbeing of Victorian children, from birth to eight years, and their families.
Dads Can is one of five programs shortlisted for the award category 'improvements in parents' capacity, confidence and enjoyment of life', which recognise programs and processes that strengthen the role of parents and carers.
For more information visit: www.kalparrin.com.au.