As a parent it's good to know about services available in your area. They can give you some help when you need it.
Sometimes we need help with things such as our:
- children's schooling or behaviour
- legal matters
- drugs, alcohol, violence.
When there are problems try to:
- stay calm
- plan what you can do
- talk with a trusted friend
- find a service that can help.
Tell your children what's happening - but not too much about adult problems.
Getting support and dealing with problems early can stop them getting worse.
Finding a service
Aboriginal health services are a good place to start. You can talk to someone and find out what they offer. Many have counsellors, men's groups, women's groups or Elders' groups. Some have services such as drug and alcohol support. They can tell you about other services in your area too. Many staff are Aboriginal.
It's OK to try both Aboriginal and mainstream services. These days, more mainstream services have Aboriginal workers. You can ask to see an Aboriginal worker if available.
The Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS) is a good place to take your baby or young child. The nurses can check their health and answer your questions. It's free! Phone 1300 733 606 for an appointment. You can ask to be linked with an Aboriginal staff member.
When using a service you have the right to:
- be treated fairly and with respect
- give feedback to the service about your experience - whether it was good, or not so good.
It's OK to get someone to come with you when you give feedback or to write a letter if you prefer.
When using a service:
- find out a bit about it before you go, so you know what to expect
- treat staff with respect, even if you feel upset or angry
- do your part - work with staff to achieve your goals.
Services are bound by confidentiality. A worker or service cannot share information about you with other services or people in the community, unless you give permission or a child or someone else is at risk of harm.
Try both mainstream and Aboriginal services. Ask if they have Aboriginal workers, if you prefer. Stay calm, it helps children to feel safe and secure.
Services for children
If children need help, doctors, Aboriginal health services, and the Child and Family Health Service are good places to start. They can tell you where to get help with things like education, disability, behaviour, dental and mental health.
If there are problems at school, talk with your child's teacher. Some schools have counsellors or Aboriginal workers.
There are lots of services available. Keep trying until you find one that's right for you!